NEW-ZEALAND-L ArchivesArchiver > NEW-ZEALAND > 2009-10 > 1255152842
From: Wendy Howard <>
Subject: Re: [nz] Illegitimate Births
Date: Sat, 10 Oct 2009 18:34:02 +1300
> I have uncovered an illegitimate birth in our family c1897 ...
> I know the mother's name, and the father's name... The
> birth does not appear on the BDM online register under
> either parent's family name. Are there alternative ways I
> can find out details of this child?
Is there any chance that Child Welfare or some other government
department got involved? If so, there will have been a file created,
and you may be able to find it at Archives.
I don't think Child Welfare files are listed on Archway
(http://archway.archives.govt.nz/), the online index for Archives New
Zealand (http://www.archives.govt.nz/). Write directly to Archives and
ask them to look for you.
If there is a file, you won't be able to just walk in and look at it, I
expect. These files usually have restricted access. If a file is
found, the archivist will tell you how to get permission to view the
file, and once you have that permission you can either go and view it
yourself, or ask the archivist to send a summary of the contents. I
don't think they will let you get copies of the pages, but you should be
able to make your own transcription.
As well as asking for the specific file number(s) that Archives will
tell you, ask to also view any other file relating to your person so
you're covered if anything else comes to light. Archives will probably
have recommendations about what you ask when you write for permission.
As many here have read before (more than once!), my grandfather (born in
1905) was left in foster care by the time he was five months' old. His
father attempted to pay maintenance costs, but was not able to meet his
commitment over the years. After he turned five a court order was made
to transfer my grandfather to an Industrial School.
All of this is recorded in files held by Archives in their Wellington
office. After asking and discovering that there were documents held at
Archives, I obtained permission to view the files and visited Wellington
to do so. They contained a lot of information that was never known to
the family before (including the names of his parents, which are not
correct on his birth registration), and made for very sad reading. But
it was a step along the way, and since then we have found and met
members of my grandfather's father's family.
Hope this helps. :-)
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Kaiwaka, Northland, New Zealand