The Beginning – Leaving the Old Country for the Colonies…
My family tree research for the “Courageous Colonials” website focuses on the lives of the first pioneers and settlers in my family who came to wild and distant New Zealand as the new colony began. Here I tell the stories of those rugged individuals and their exploits in the early days of NZ settlement, in a way that provides interesting reading for younger generations of descendants.
Today’s New Zealanders predominantly descend from English, Scottish, Irish, Australian and Polynesian forebears. Many of us from immigrants who arrived during an initial founding period of European settlement extending over the four decades from 1840 – 1880. In general, we hail from overwhelmingly humble origins back in the old country. Farmers, labourers, miners and domestic servants formed the back bone of this young country. The majority of our forebears were “selected” for assisted passage to the colony by various schemes supported by both provincial and central governments.
Many far away villages have made significant contributions to the shaping of new communities in the new lands. Many distant families and friends have felt the terrible loss and pain of separation and our courageous colonial ancestors themselves made remarkable sacrifices.