Unlock the Past Cruises


Main presenters

Chris PatonOriginally from Northern Ireland, Chris Paton is a Scottish based professional genealogist, running the Scotland’s Greatest Story ancestral research service (www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk). A regular contributor to several UK and Ireland based family history publications, and author of seven family history books, he also writes the daily British GENES (GEnealogy News and EventS) blog at www.britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk, as well as his own personal genealogy blog, Scotland: Walking in Eternity, at www.walkingineternity.blogspot.co.uk.

A holder of a Postgraduate Diploma in Genealogical Studies, Chris has tutored for the University of Strathclyde’s postgraduate genealogical studies programme (www.strath.ac.uk/genealogy), and teaches online Scottish genealogy courses through Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd (www.pharostutors.com). He has lectured across Britain, Canada and Australia, and currently serves as a member of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland user forum and a director of the Scottish Archive Network.

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MacEnteeThomas MacEntee As a genealogist specialising in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogical research and to interact with others in the family history community, Thomas MacEntee relies upon his 25 years of experience in the information technology field.

Born in the Catskill Mountain region of New York, Thomas was introduced to his ancestry in 1993 when he discovered a published copy of his family’s genealogy from 1916. Working with a detailed accounting of his Dutch ancestry, Thomas has continued to trace the other roots and branches of his family for the past 15 years. After attending The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., earning a Bachelor of Arts in Art History with a minor in Spanish Language and Literature, a career involving computers and the Internet was not on the radar for this lover of history and the liberal arts. But life has a funny way of interfering with “best laid plans.”

While working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Thomas was asked to learn all about a new-fangled machine called the IBM Personal Computer and then teach others in his department. Thus began a fascination with desktop computer technology and training. By then an “accidental trainer,” for the next 22 years Thomas went on to work in some of the largest global law firms in the world including Skadden Arps and Latham & Watkins as a trainer, technical writer, applications analyst and project manager.

Fast-forward to the present: Thomas now shares his knowledge of technology and experience as a genealogist with others through various forms of social media and speaking engagements. Through his business High-Definition Genealogy, he provides consulting services in the genealogy industry covering such areas as market research, education, technology and more. As the creator of GeneaBloggers.com, Thomas has organised and engaged a community of over 2800 bloggers to document their own journeys in the search for ancestors.

After spending close to 20 years in Northern California, Thomas currently lives in the Andersonville neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois. Thomas is widely sought after for presentations and classes focusing on social media and technology as a way to assist genealogists and genealogical societies.

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Other presenters (some cities)

JohnsonTiggy Johnson (Queensland) www.tiggyjohnson.com

Tiggy is an Australian writer and poet whose short stories, essays and poems have appeared widely, including in Black Inc’s Best Australian Poems 2012, in the Herald-Sun and on Melbourne trains. Her short story collection Svetlana or otherwise (Ginninderra Press) was released in 2008, and her poetry collectionsFirst taste in 2010 and That zero year, co-written with Andrew Phillips, in 2012. As co-founder of page seventeen literary magazine, Tiggy edited and published its first eight issues. She has taught in the Professional Writing and Editing TAFE course and has spoken at and performed at various national writing/poetry festivals. With a love of stories and puzzles, she was destined for genealogy.

Tiggy is currently working towards her Masters in Information Studies, and since catching the genealogy bug, is writing her family history in poetry.

kopittkeRosemary Kopittke (Queensland)

Rosemary has been tracing her family history since 1985. A statistician by training, she has worked in that field as an hydrologist, teacher and biometrician.

Her tertiary qualifications include a BSc (Mathematics) and BA (Computer Science) both from the University of Queensland. More recently she has completed Certificate in Genealogical Studies (English Records) with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. She currently works as a consultant for Gould Genealogy & History and is regularly invited to speak on findmypast and other topics at events in Australia and New Zealand.

She has published numerous indexes to cemeteries and government records though is probably best known for her work with husband Eric on the Emigrants from Hamburg to Australasia 1850-1879 publication. She is editor of Unlock the Past publications and author and contributor to several.

A member of the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO) Council from 2009 to 2013 and a current member of the Queensland FHS Management Committee, Rosemary is a Fellow of the Queensland Family History Society and in 2006 received the AFFHO Award for Meritorious Services to Family History.

Noeline KyleDr Noeline Kyle (New South Wales) www.writingfamilyhistory.com.au

Noeline Kyle  publishes  family history, biography and memoir, and books on writing family history.  Since her retirement from university teaching in 2001 she has continued to work closely with local,  national and international organisations to support, facilitate and  promote the writing of  family, community, regional and local histories.

As  well as an extensive list of academic publications Noeline has published in newspapers, community journals, popular books and bulletins to disseminate more widely her ideas on story writing, local and family history and the history of women in Australia.

Working with and supporting family historians for more than 30 years Noeline has conducted workshops, seminars and talks with family historians, local historians, continuing and adult education, for local libraries and community groups.

Noeline is a member of the History Council of NSW, a life member of Newcastle Family History Society, a member of Botany Bay Family History Society and maintains membership of several local family history groups along the mid north coast of New South Wales including Port Macquarie and Kempsy. She is an Emeritus Professor at Queensland University of Technology and an Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney.

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TaubmanJane Taubman (England) www.fhug.org.uk

Starting to research her family history in her early twenties, Jane has been combining her interests in computers and history to track her agricultural labourers through the south west of England, while fighting valiantly to track down her husband's elusive Irish and Isle of Man ancestors. In 2002 she purchased the first version of Family Historian and set up a place on the web for people to get help with it. Ten years on 'FHUG: Family Historian User Group' www.fhug.org.uk as that small website became, is now full of resources to help people get the most from this powerful program.

Having previously run short courses for the Society of Genealogists in London as well as for My History in the North of England, she now runs regular Family Historian courses near to her home in South Somerset, with people regularly travelling from across England to join them.

Simon Orde, Family Historian's chief designer had this to say about her, when asked to recommend a presenter for Family Historian. 'She is a real expert on Family Historian, on computing generally (she is a director of an IT company), and a lifelong committed and very knowledgeable genealogist. She is also an expert photographer and gives courses on that too. She regularly gives detailed advice to everyone on the FHUG and on the FHU Mailing List. She knows absolutely everything about Family Historian.'