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Discovering Her Past Through Genealogy Provides Identity and Comfort to Christchurch Māori Woman

'You can do the research from the comfort of your own home'

One of the universal desires of the human family is to belong to something greater. That desire is a driving force for many to look for and discover their roots.

Many who search out their ancestors learn that understanding the past gives meaning to the present.

Discovering similar physical features, qualities, challenges, triumphs and attitudes can answer questions about ourselves and our children.

Finding her ancestors, has given comfort, connection and meaning to a Christchurch Māori woman adopted at the age of 6 weeks to a British couple serving in the military. The couple named their new little girl Alison.

Alison describes the events that brought her birth-mother and adoptive parents together as “perfect timing.”

The British couple had just given up a baby they had fostered for 18 months and being heartbroken were looking for a child that no one could take away.

The birth-mother had come to Christchurch to conceal her pregnancy and to adopt her baby out.

The adoption was completed and Alison became a permanent member of her new family.


Her family lived in New Zealand until she was 8-years old then returned to Great Britain. She lived in the UK until her primary education was complete then the family moved back to New Zealand.

Upon her return, she was converted to and baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She accepted a call to serve a mission for the Church and upon her return she “really got into genealogy."

Alison had questions - she hungered for a knowledge of her beginnings and her heritage. She found that government documents and records such as voter registrations and birth certificates were very helpful in her quest.

“I was not able to find my mother, but her birth certificate provided the name of my maternal grandmother. I connected with her and she provided me with a picture. I was amazed that I looked just like her,” recalls Alison.

A meeting was arranged with her mother and other relatives quickly recognized her as one of their own.

DNA testing provided enough information that eventually she found and was reunited with her natural father in April of 2018. She was stunned to know he was still alive at the age of 91 and living in Auckland, New Zealand.

Alison encourages all who have the desire to understand their past to get on the computer and start to look. “It is that easy,” she said. “You can do the research from the comfort of your own home.”

Many public documents can be accessed through FamilySearch, a genealogical program funded by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the largest depository of digitised records in the world.

Many Latter-day Saint chapels have FamilySearch centres where all are welcome to use computers and access the vast data available.

Watch a video on family history.


Mormon believe that families are meant to be central to our lives and that family relationships are intended to continue beyond this life.                

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