Press Release - 30 July 2013

Ewe won’t believe the insights you’ll discover in’s new livestock records

Sydney, 30 July, 2013: Counting sheep may be one of the oldest sleep remedies in history but now other methods will need to be sought as leading genealogy site has sheep numbers covered.

New records released unveil a comprehensive overview on livestock ownership in New Zealand from 1881-1918. The new records have been compiled from the appendices of New Zealand’s Journal of the House of Representatives which includes the ‘Annual Sheep Returns’. These appendices track the quantity and title holders of sheep in New Zealand. The records indicate the details of sheep farmers throughout New Zealand, including their place of residence. The records from cover 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911 and 1918.

In addition to providing these wild and wooly figures, the collection is also a great resource for New Zealand family history enthusiasts. These records can be used as a census substitute enabling people to track where your ancestors lived at the time and provides an insight into their financial status.

Plenty of interesting ownership details can be found within the 91,000 records shedding light on the sheep farming trade in New Zealand. Notable New Zealanders such as W.H Field from the House of Representatives and even top clergy like the Venerable Archdeacon Williams attempted to get into the industry. The records also indicate that many families went into business together at this time with entries for brothers coming up numerous times. Other obscure organisations such as Helvetia Ostrich Company even tried its hand at sheep farming.

General Manager of Vicki Dawson states, “What makes these records so interesting is that they can be used as a substitute to census records. Many people are unaware of the vast amount of information captured in these records offering a wealth of information for New Zealand’s family history enthusiasts.”

These records also allow enthusiasts to follow the estate transactions of their ancestors. The records indicate when a selection of sheep have been passed down to a family member or when the ownership details have been placed into a trust – presumably for children too young to operate a sheep farm.

The full records are available to view at: