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Preserving New Zealand's Vital Records for Current and Future Generations

Church Volunteers Join with Genealogists and Archivists to Celebrate Seven Years of Digitization and Preservation of Records

Representatives from the New Zealand Society of Genealogists, National Library of New Zealand, Alexander Turnbull Library and FamilySearch came together recently to celebrate seven years of digitizing, preserving and making freely accessible to the public vital records.

On 19 August 2014, archivists, librarians and other supporters met at Tiakiwai Conference Centre in Wellington, New Zealand to mark the milestone which coincides with August being Family History Month.


The event was organized by Joan McCracken, leader of outreach services at the Alexander Turnbull Library.  Along with volunteers, community leaders, families and friends, guests included staff members who have given presentations during the Family History Monthly Talks Series that has been running since March 2013.

Missionary couple from The Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints, Elder Duane McNamee and Sister Melody McNamee, were among the volunteers invited to this event. They are serving as FamilySearch volunteers for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

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The McNamees, who have been in New Zealand for one year, have given over 2,000 hours of volunteer service at the National Archives.

Sister McNamee prepares the documents to be scanned.  Many of these documents have been folded for decades and may be torn or contain mould, dust and stains.  She must flatten, clean and check the documents for errors so they can be captured digitally.

Elder McNamee takes digital images of probates (legal documents connected to a person’s death and the disposal of the deceased’s property or estate) and checks for accuracy.

Sister McNamee does a final check of the documents before carefully returning them to storage.

Sister McNamee said, “We pray each morning before arriving at our ‘digi-lab’ for the Lord’s help. There is a wonderful spirit associated with this work.” is a site sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is free and available to the public.  This site contains over two billion digital images and indexes of records from all over the world.




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