This is the the first part in our series How To Research Using the Maori Land Court Minutes (MLCM) and outlines the preparation you should do before you delve into the MLCM.
To be able to get the most out of your research using the MLCM is is best to prepare before you go and look through the books.
Make sure you know which district area books you want to look at – if unsure visit Whakapapa Research – Maori Land Court Minutes which will help you to work that out.
Check with the place you are going to visit to see if they have a copy of the MLCM you want – some places may just hold an index of names and you will still need to see the MLCM to find whakapapa information
Find out if they will allow photos to be taken of the records. Some places only allow photocopies of which you will have to pay for
Put at least a half day aside (although a full day is better) for your visit
Read the Maori Naming Conventions so you are aware of the different ways names can be recorded in the MLCM. Take careful note of the example of other names for Hone Te Awa
If you are taking a laptop, save our Maori / English Name Translations page as that can help you with the different names you may come across. If you can surf the net on your phone, then bookmark that page for reference
Make sure you have printed copies, or the excel file on your laptop of our Whakapapa Research Log so you can keep track of the people you find
Make sure you have printed copies, or the excel file on your laptop of our Whakapapa Whanau / Family Group Sheet so you can keep track of the whanau groups that you find. Use a different sheet for each whanau group.
Make sure you know dates of death for your Maori great grandparents / grandparents so that you have a starting place. This will be recorded on your Whakapapa Whanau / Family Group Sheet
Make sure you record the maiden name of any wahine on your Whakapapa Whanau / Family Group Sheet as often that is the name that is found in the MLCM
Make sure you have printed copies, or the excel file on your laptop of our Maori Land Court Minute Book Records Sheet so you can record your findings. Use a different sheet for each book you look in. The user notes that go with this will also help you understand how to record the information
If you are taking printed copies of the worksheets, take a pencil and rubber also, as alot of places do not allow pens to be used. A rubber means that you don’t have pages of cross outs if you need to make changes
Can you read cursive handwriting? Most of the historical MLCM are hand written in beautiful cursive. If you are not sure if you can read this type of hand writing, do a google image search for old handwriting and see if you can read the scripts as that is what all of the historical MLCM are written like.
The second part in our series How To Research Using the Maori Land Court Minutes (MLCM) explains the process of finding information in the MLCM.