'Vital part' of Canterbury history goes digital

20:03, Sep 06 2011

More than 1.8 million historical Canterbury and Westland documents will be digitally preserved.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker yesterday launched a project that will see probate records from the regions digitalised.

The project is a collaboration between Archives New Zealand and FamilySearch. The records, which include wills, shipping lists and immigration documents, were a "vital part" of Canterbury's history, Parker said. "The project should be celebrated because it's about preserving where you come from and your family's history, and that is something which is vital and worthy of preservation," he said.

It could take about five years to digitalise the records, which date from 1855 to 1998.

Christchurch regional archivist Chris Adam said the project had been planned for some time.

"But the earthquakes have definitely highlighted the importance and fragility of our documented history," he said.

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