Guest contributor: Janelle Penney
Index Auckland came into being in the mid-1990s as the online version of an indexing effort that had been ongoing at the Auckland Library since the 1950s. Before Index Auckland there was the NZ Card Index, which as its name implies, consisted of tens of thousands of cards hand-written by librarians, pointing to useful references in a wide range of NZ magazines, newspapers and books. Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, the images of those cards and the transcription of their contents, are now also available online, just like Index Auckland, through the Digital Library part of the Auckland Library's website.
Yeah, ok, I hear you ask. So where's the family history in all that? Well, I can assure you, that both those resources are worth checking for your family history research, and not just if you have Auckland family. Although there is a strong Auckland 'flavour' to the contents, there are references to people there from other parts of the country and for both the 19th and 20th century. To misquote Forrest Gump, the indexes are a bit like a box of chocolates - you never know what you'll get.
I would suggest a simple keyword search for checking the NZ Card Index. Index Auckland can be searched the same way but as you will see from the search panel, it offers other choices, too.
If you want to browse your family names of interest, go to the 'Subject' search box and click the 'Browse' button. In the lower middle part of the view that opens you will see the choices 'Terms list' and 'Words list' with the default choice given as 'Words'. Change that by clicking the 'Terms' button, then put your family surname of interest in the 'Find' box at the top and click 'Find'.
You will be presented with a shopping list of all the entries, in alphabetical order by personal name, of all the people with your family surname who have a descriptor entry in the index. You can browse up and down the list to look for possible hits. Selection is easy - just click to highlight the entry of interest, click 'Add' and then 'Close'. You will arrive back at the 'Search' box with your person's name neatly filed in the subject search field and all ready for you to click 'Search'. Good hunting!