5 Basic Steps to Start Your Whakapapa Research

Here is an easy to follow guide on how to start researching your whakapapa as well as how to record it.

Step 1 – Recording the Basics
Download the whakapapa whanau / family group sheet – they come in a pdf for printing as well as an excel file.  You need to use one sheet or excel file per whanau.

Create one sheet for your grandparents on your father’s side and another one for the grandparents on your mother’s side.  Fill in as much information as you can.  Their children will be your parents, aunts and uncles.

On separate sheets, do one for each of your aunts and uncles. Their children listed on the sheet will be your cousins.

Keep all of the whanau sheets from your father’s side together in one folder and all the whanau sheets from your mother’s side in another folder.

Helpful Hint: If you are printing out sheets and writing on them, use a pencil – it is far easier to change information without having scribbles all over the place.

Step 2 – Keeping Track of Your Research
Download the whakapapa research log as well as the notes which explain what the abbreviations in the log mean.  Put the name of each person on a separate line.

Step 3 – Finding More Information
Go through all of your photos and see if any of them have information written on the back.  If they do, add that into your whanau group sheet.

Once you have filled the sheets out as much as you can, contact the whanau members you know and let them know you are looking at doing the whakapapa and ask if they could help you by giving you some information you don’t have. As you talk to each person and find out a bit of information, put a tick in the column “Whanau” on the line of the name of the person they have told you about.

Step 3 – Search the Whakapapa Club
Check out the Searching the Forums and Records post – you can either watch the video or scroll down that page to read what is in the video.  Once you have finished that, do a search for surnames and see what you can find.  As each one is done you can tick those off in your research log.

As we add new lists regularly, by following us on facebook, you will get notified as we add new lists.

Step 4 – Do a Whakapapa Search Using Google
While you can go straight to google and search from there you may not get good results so check out the following links before you start your search.
* How to do a whakapapa search on google
* How to do a surname search on google
* Set Google alert for whakapapa

As you do each search, again tick off Google in the research log.

Step 5 – Do a Whakapapa Search Using the FamilySearch site
While you can go straight to FamilySearch and search from there you may not get good results so check out the following links before you start your search.
* http://www.whakapapaclub.nz/information/video-pt-4-basic-search-tips-for-the-familysearch-site/

Again, as you do each search, tick off FamilySearch in your research log.


If you come across more names in any of the searches, create a new entry in the research log for that name, and either put the extra names you find in the whanau sheet where they are, or create a new whanau sheet.

By following these steps, not only are you starting to research your whakapapa, you are also keeping track of your research, which in years to come will make things much easier.