Unlock The Past will be at

Unlock the Past Cruises

Exploring family & local history - Canberra 2018

Event Information

  • 23 Apr 2018 9:00am - 4:30pm
  • Hellenic Club, Matilda Street
  • Woden
  • Australian Capital Territory
Other Information
  • Cost: PRE-BOOKED by Wed 18 April $57 - ON THE DAY $60

 Scottish - German - newspapers (more than just Trove)

beyond indexes (source records) - Freemason ancestors

and more

CanberraAn Exploring family & local history seminar with

  • Rob Hamilton (Vic)
  • Eric Kopittke (Qld) 
  • Rosemary Kopittke (Qld)

Click here or the image at the right to download a brochure

3 top reasons to be there

  1. LEARN - from leading Australian genealogists/historians
  2. NETWORK - interact with exhibitors and others with similar interests
  3. SAVE - with seminar specials and hundreds of $$$ worth of prizes

Hellenic ClubWhen and where

WHEN: Monday 23 April 2018

WHERE Hellenic Club, Matilda Street, Woden, ACT



$57 for full day
Pre-booking preferred (by Fri 20 Apr, 11pm), but if you miss this come and register on the day

CLICK HERE or the icon below to go to the booking page


Program - subject to change

Monday 23 April 2018

9.00amregistration and exhibition
9.25amwelcome and seminar introduction                                                           
9.30amOnline newspapers: what happened in the “dash” - R. Kopittke
10.20amResearching in German church and civil records - E. Kopittke
11.10ambreak and exhibition
11.40amResearching your Freemason ancestor - R. Hamilton
- Flip-Pal mobile scanner
- 11 reasons to join a society
- prize draw
1.00pmlunch break and exhibition
2.15pmGould / Unlock the Past: more than just a bookseller and events organiser
2.30pmBeyond just indexes: why we should check source records - R. Kopittke
3.20pmbreak and exhibition
3.40pmScotlandsPeople: the place to launch your Scottish research - R. Kopittke



HamiltonRob Hamilton (VIC) - Rob is an inspirational speaker specialising in all things Masonic. Born into a family steeped in Freemasonry dating back to his great grandfather and the Island of St Helena. Rob first joined the order of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Victoria 48 years ago, and during that time he has occupied every position in what is affectionally known as the “lodge” at a local level, he currently holds the Masonic rank of Past Grand Standard Bearer. An 18th degree Freemason, Knight Templar and numerous other side orders associated with masonry He is a member of several Masonic study circles and The Victorian Lodge of Research, from which he holds a certificate of Masonic studies. He is also a freemason in the English Constitution.
     Rob has written numerous papers on various Masonic and related topics including, The Knights Templar, The Schaw Statutes of 1598 (and its influence on the current fundamentals of industrial workplace conditions), Symbolism in freemasonry, and Freemasonry is it a religion? He speaks on Masonic topics such as, The spread of freemasonry through the British empires conquests into America, and the Indian Sub-Continent. The arrival of freemasonry in the colonies of New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land in the 1780s. Masonic symbols and monuments found in cemeteries. Interpreting Masonic photographs. What Masonic records can tell us, and where they may be found? Interpreting the Masonic language found in Trove, what were the various constitutions that were operating in early Australia? Rob delivers Masonic knowledge from his 48 years of research into Freemasonry and family history. He has amassed an extensive private library of books and documents, some dating from the mid 1700s, research papers and modern electronic sources.

Researching your Freemason ancestor


Eric KopittkeEric Kopittke (QLD) - click here for full biography. Eric's blog
Eric is a former teacher of Physics and Mathematics, having taught at St Peters Lutheran College, Indooroopilly from 1973 to 2014.
     He has been researching his families from Australia, England, Germany and former German areas for over 30 years.
     He and his wife Rosemary transcribed, indexed and published the lists of direct emigrants from the port of Hamburg for Australian and New Zealand ports from the years 1850–1879. The publishing of these lists has helped many researchers find how their ancestors reached Australia and New Zealand from Germany.
     As well as being a presenter on several Unlock the Past cruises, expos and events, Eric has presented talks on many aspects of German family history at family history groups. He convenes the Queensland Family History Society's Central European Interest Group and often presents there. He has presented at two Australasian Congresses and at the Queensland State conference in 2017.
     In addition to the Emigrants from Hamburg to Australasia series, he has written: Locating your German ancestor's place of originResearching in German civil and church recordsIntroduction to German family history research for Australians and a Handy guide to civil registration – births, marriages and deaths in Germany (published through Unlock the Past and available through Gould Genealogy & History).
     Eric has received the Queensland FHS Award for Services to Family History (1990); was made a Fellow of the Queensland FHS (2000); and in 2006 was awarded the AFFHO Award for Meritorious Services to Family History.

Researching in German church and civil records - Obtaining a birth or marriage certificate from Germany for an immigrant ancestor is a goal that many researchers set for themselves. Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths was introduced at different times between 1792 and 1876 in the German States. Before civil registration, church records of baptism, marriage and burial were used instead. This presentation looks at using German civil and church records for research.


Rosemary KopittkeRosemary Kopittke (QLD) - click here for full biography - www.rosemarykopittke.com
Rosemary has been tracing her family history since 1985 – in Australia, England, Scotland and Ireland. 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 and the Diploma of Family History from the University of Tasmania. She currently works as a consultant for Gould Genealogy & History and is regularly invited to speak at family history events.
     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.
     She served as the Queensland member of the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations Council (2009 to 2013) and on the Queensland FHS Management Committee for 21 years. Rosemary is a Fellow of the Queensland Family History Society and in 2006 received the AFFHO Award for Meritorious Services to Family History.

Beyond just indexes: why we should check source records - Indexes to records are a great boon to our research but we need to be aware of their limitations, recognise their failings and go beyond just indexes when producing our family tree. Too often we can miss vital clues or fail to find errors in the indexes – disastrous family trees are the evidence that many people research using only indexes!

Online newspapers: what happened in the ‘dash’ - On headstones we often see just the name of the person followed by the birth and death years – with a “dash” between the years. There are many sources which can gives us information about births, deaths and marriages but newspapers can tell us so much more about what happened during a person’s life – the “dash” on a headstone.

ScotlandsPeople: the place to begin your Scottish research - ScotlandsPeople is the official online source of parish register, civil registration, census, land valuations, wills & testaments, coats of arms and military service appeals for Scotland. Use the records you find in Australia to discover your Scottish roots. Searches are now free with ScotlandsPeople so there is no reason for not checking out your family. 

Other information 

Exhibition - an exhibition with information and sales tables will be open in all breaks and before the first presentation

Food - this is not included in the seminar cost. We recommend the club's restaurant, cafe and bar for food and drink at the venue

Parking - there is ample onsite parking

Sponsors and exhibitors 

HAGSOC  Gen-eboooks     Gould Digital    

Gould      ADBA     UTP     

UTP cruises