History & Genealogy Cruise November 2011 - Presentation outlines

Many of the following are programmed as main presentations. Others will be run as interest groups, or meal table themes. These and other topics may be taken up with our presenters in the Research Help Zones.

Scottish Interest - mainly by Chris Paton - some may be as interest groups, meal table or Research Help Zone themes


  • Basic beginner’s class in Scottish Gaelic (Chris Paton) - maybe a few short sessions throughout the cruise
  • Discover Scottish church records - The Scottish Reformation of 1560 dramatically changed Scotland from a Catholic to a Protestant nation, creating an institution that soon became one of the main arms of state, responsible for discipline, education and the moral well being of its flock. With the Church of Scotland's obsession with antenuptial fornication, its constant splits and the hellfire damnation of John Knox himself, understanding the Kirk's role and history in Scottish society is crucial to understanding how to research your family history prior to the advent of civil registration in 1855.
  • Discover Scottish family history - A general introductory talk covering the basic online records used for researching Scottish ancestry. As well as exploring the ScotlandsPeople website the talk will also look at further sites for Scottish maps, gazetteers, newspapers and other useful resources. Along the way it will also point out some of the key differences between the pursuit of Scottish research and that within the rest of the United Kingdom. 
  • Discover Scottish land records - Although part of the United Kingdom since 1707, Scotland has always enjoyed its own separate legal, religious and education systems, meaning that in many regards the country remains a genealogically foreign country to its southern neighbour of England. Where England abandoned feudalism in the Middle Ages, in Scotland it remained the principle method of land tenure until 2004, with major implications for land transfers and even inheritance. This talk will explain the systems and records of land transfers, and show how to pursue them successfully for your research.
  • The Mount Stewart Murder - This case study presentation looks at Scotland’s longest unsolved murder case by a modern police force, the Mount Stewart Murder of 1866, which occurred in Forgandenny, Perthshire. The talk will examine a Victorian murder investigation in Scotland – the role of the procurator fiscal, the sheriff substitute, the county and city police forces, and more – and explain how you can research murders and other crimes in Scotland. The victim was Chris Paton’s three times great grandmother, and forms the subject for his next book, available from the History Press in 2012.
  • Scots and Gaelic – d’ye ken the difference? - Prior to the union with England in 1707, Scots, a separate Anglo-Saxon dialect to what became English, was the language of state, whilst Scottish Gaelic was the native language of the Highlands and Islands, a cousin of Irish Gaelic. This talk explains the background to both languages, where they were spoken, and more importantly, how knowledge of both can help with understanding some genealogical records.
  • Scottish censuses 1841-1939 - This talk takes a look at the history of the Scottish census system from 1801, and provides a run through of each of the censuses from 1801-1911. It also examines the recently released 1939 National Register, a de facto census carried out at the start of the Second World War, and various census substitutes that can fill in the gaps between the decennial census years.
  • Scottish civil records - The history of how Scottish civil registration was established, as well as a basic run through of the nature of Scottish statutory records from 1855 to the present day. The talk will demonstrate what to expect in birth, marriage and death records, registers for corrected entries, and other civil records, as well as describing where to find other British recorded BMD records for Scots based overseas.
  • Scottish marriage - Scots Law is different to English law – until the mid 20th century there were many ways you could be legally married in the country, some of them not even requiring a ceremony. If you cannot find a marriage in the church or civil records, this may help explain why. Includes a dash of antenuptial fornication!
  • Scottish Weavers - For centuries the right to manufacture in Scottish burghs and their surrounding liberties was exclusively held by craft guilds and trade incorporations. In this presentation, the history and records of the Weavers Incorporation of Perth will be examined as an example of what can be found from guild records. As well as describing the many methods of entry into the ‘Calling’, its purpose in regulating the weaving trade of the burgh and the methods in which it looked after its members, the session will also focus on how to locate guild records from other burghs. Why did the weavers of Perth have to pay for a football before joining?! And what ended the monopoly of the guilds? An essential session for anyone with a craftsman in their ancestral tree.

Irish Interest - mainly by Perry McIntyre, Richard Reid and Keith Johnson - some may be as interest groups, meal table or Research Help Zone themes


  • Beginning Irish research (Perry McIntyre)
  • Books for Irish research (Keith Johnson)
  • Civil registration in Ireland (Perry McIntyre)
  • The convict Irish (Perry McIntyre)
  • Earl Grey's Famine Workhouse Orphan Emigrants (Perry McIntyre)
  • Fairly and intelligently represent the Catholic and Irish section of the community: Australian Catholic newspapers, 1840-1950 (Richard Reid)
  • Finding your Irish ancestor in Australia - basic BDM and arrival information (Perry McIntyre)
  • Free women in the 1830s - Irish and English (Perry McIntyre)
  • Finding your Irish ancestor in Australia - basic BDM and arrival information (Perry McIntyre)
  • Get to know Ireland - what is a province, county, townland, parish, poor law union etc (Perry McIntyre)
  • The great famine, 1845-1855: Irish ancestral experience and memory (Richard Reid)
  • Historical influences on emigration such famine, agrarian uprises, evictions; pull factors like the gold rushes; convicts (Perry McIntyre)
  • Irish convict immigration (Perry McIntyre)
  • Irish emigration to Australia (Perry McIntyre)
  • Irish families in context in 19th and early 20th century Ireland
  • Irish free immigration (Perry McIntyre)
  • Irish gaol registers (Perry McIntyre)
  • Irish newspapers (Perry McIntyre)
  • Irish parish registers (Perry McIntyre)
  • Irish place names (Perry McIntyre)
  • Irish resources online (Chris Paton) - an overview of currently available online resources for Irish research, particularly civil registration, Irish based censuses from 1821-1939, how to determine which church records exist for a parish, newspapers, PRONI databases and more. There is a lot happening online just now and in the coming months with Irish resources!
  • Key Irish documents - concentrating on between 8-10 significant things researchers can focus on for thinking about their Irish ancestor based on a set of simple questions - were they literate? what were they taught? what did they look like? what did they live on?
  • The nineteenth century Irish landscape of your ancestors
  • Not just Ned: A true history of the Irish in Australia? (Richard Reid)
  • Obliged all the small cottiers to leave his land: A map for the descendants of John Tighe from County Sligo (Richard Reid)
  • Irish old age pension claims (Perry McIntyre)
  • Over the foaming billows: the Irish emigrant journey to 19th century Australia (Richard Reid)
  • The poem book of my people: the emigrant landscape of 19th century Ireland, people and place (Richard Reid)
  • Research on the ground in Ireland (Keith Johnson)
  • Ryans and Redemptorists: An Irish settler family in colonial New South Wales and their legacy (Richard Reid)
  • ‘Sinners, Saints and Settlers’: Irish Australian places and stories from Kiama to Kalgoorlie (Richard Reid)

Military Interest - mainly by Richard Reid - some may be run as interest groups, or meal table themes


  • 1942: War comes to Australia - Darwin, Sydney and other places under attack (Alan Phillips) - In 1942 Australia was attacked from outside for the first time. Soon after the sinking of the cruiser Sydney (Nov 1941), bombing of Pearl Harbour (Dec 1941) and fall of Singapore a series of attack on the Australian mainland occurred. Darwin was bombed in February 1942, and Broome in March. The Coral Sea battle occurred in May and subs enter Sydney Harbour in May/June. Sydney and Newcastle were bombarded from the sea in June. Numerous other air raids on towns in NT, WA and Qld began in 1942 and continued into late 1943, many with minor damage and only occasional casualties. This presentation will give an overview of these attacks. It will conclude with a brief look at some of the 70th anniversary commemorations coming in 2012 and some of the WWI and Gallipoli Centenary commemorations already being planned for 2014 and beyond.
  • The Anzacs:  Australians at Gallipoli and Gallipoli today (Richard Reid)
  • Boer War (Geoff Doherty)
  • British civilian POWs at Ruhleben (Chris Paton) - The story of 5500 civilians from the UK and the British Empire (including a few Australians) who were interned in Germany in the First World War, a couple of miles away from Berlin. A fifth were merchant seamen. Chris says "I run a web project on this trying to locate the names of all of the prisoners – my great uncle was one of them – and will likely be writing a book on it".
  • The very flower of our manhood: the men of the Australian Imperial Force on the Western Front, 1916-1919 (Richard Reid)
  • Tracing military ancestors (Shauna Hicks) - This talk looks at tracing military ancestors from the Boer War plus WW1 and WW2 and draws on the speaker's own research for her military ancestors. Resources available online are highlighted.
  • We have not forgotten: World War One in an Australian country town (Richard Reid)

Australian Interest - some may be as interest groups, meal table or Research Help Zone themes


  • Are you making the most of TROVE? (Shauna Hicks) - This talk highlights what the National Library of Australia can offer remote researchers (ie those not living in Canberra). It covers various e-Resources, the Library's comprehensive catalogue TROVE and its various subsets including Picture Australia, Historic Newspapers and More and the NLA's web archive PANDORA.
  • Asylum records: A place to look for missing ancestors (Shauna Hicks) - Asylum records are an under-utilised resource and it is important to realise that asylums also housed the elderly, the sick, the destitute as well as those suffering a mental illness. This presentation looks at what records are available and how to access them.
  • Australian Catholic newspapers, 1840-1950 (Richard Reid)
  • Australian government, police & education gazettes (Rosemary Kopittke) - Examines the hidden material in Australian Government, Police and Education gazettes - mostly we consider them to be irrelevant and uninteresting but that is definitely not the case. The gazettes contain information about people we would never find in other records.
  • Behind Bars: Convicts and criminals (Shauna Hicks) - This talk explores a wide range of resources for those with convicts or criminals in the family and draws on the speaker's experience in researching her own family history. All Australian states are covered.
  • Biographical Database of Australia (Keith Johnson)
  • Colonial Secretary's correspondence in the Archives in NSW (Perry McIntyre)
  • Convict family reunion (Perry McIntyre)
  • Distressed Weavers Emigration Scheme (Helen Smith)
  • Mining ancestors (Shauna Hicks)
  • New South Wales BDM records (Perry McIntyre)
  • St John's College and educating Catholic men at the University of Sydney in the nineteenth century
  • Making the most of Australian government archives online (Shauna Hicks) - This talk specifically looks at using State and National Archives online and how to make the most of their online catalogues, indexes, databases and digitised records.
  • Ryerson Index (Helen Smith)
  • Tracing Catholic or Church of England ancestors in Australia
  • Various states research
     - Queensland Research (Helen Smith)
     - New South Wales
     - other states as there are offers to lead
  • William Busby: Stone mason of Toowong (Helen Smith) - William Busby, an Oxfordshire stonemason emigrated to Brisbane in 1882. He worked as a monumental mason. He became quite well known after being successful in a design competiton in memory of Lieutenant Lachlan John Caskey,  killed in action in South Africa. This monument is the first known South African war memorial in Queensland.

New Zealand Interest - may be as interest groups, meal table or Research Help Zone themes  


  • Introduction to New Zealand research (Lynne Blake)
  • Using New Zealand birth death & marriage records online - hints and tips and unique features  (Jan Gow)
  • Various other NZ topics (Jan Gow)

English Interest - most can be as interest groups, meal table or Research Help Zone themes


  • Checking the big 5: creating your check list for UK research (Jan Gow)
  • English Hatch, Match Despatch records (Helen Smith)
  • English parish records: Hatch, Match and Despatch (Helen Smith)
  • English parish records: More than Hatch, Match and Despatch (Helen Smith)
  • Parish chest records (Helen Smith)
  • Probate (Helen Smith)
  • Researching criminals in England (Helen Smith)
  • Using UK Archives for family history (Helen Smith)
  • They’re dead but where are they buried in England? (Helen Smith) - In Australia we are spoilt as our death certificates give the place of burial. in England no place of burial is given. This presentation will discuss ways of determining where a person may be buried.
  • Tracing your ancestors in England: Beginner's guide (Rosemary Kopittke) - An overview of basic resources – civil registration, church records, census, cemetery records, directories, electors registers, maps, newspapers and wills. Includes many examples and covers a variety of ways of accessing the data – free and subscription.
  • Various English county research
    - Kent (Helen Smith)
    - Oxfordshire (Helen Smith)
    - Warwickshire (Helen Smith)
    - other counties as there are offers to lead

Computers and the Internet - some may be as interest groups, meal table or Research Help Zone themes


  • Ancestry.com.au (Rosemary Kopittke)
  • Blogging for family history (Helen Smith)
  • Choosing a family history program (Helen Smith)
  • Connecting with family lines online: Genes Reunited, MyHeritage and Ancestry (Rosemary Kopittke) - We used to write letters to discover family connections but now there are many different ways we can find others searching the same family lines. This presentation has a look at Genes Reunited, MyHeritage, Ancestry and other websites to see how we can use the resources of the internet to make those family connections. What does each of them offer and which is best for you?
  • FamilySearch (Jan Gow)
  • Findmypast Australasia (Rosemary Kopittke) - Findmypast has come to Australasia! Learn what a great range of unique records are available for researching family and local history on this new site and learn the best way to do it.
  • Findmypast UK and Ireland (Rosemary Kopittke) - This presentation looks at the hundreds of millions of records currently available on findmypast.co.uk and how they can help you with your family history – records predominately covering England and Wales though you will find people from elsewhere as well in the passenger lists and other documents. It will also look at what is to come – more military records, Welsh parish records, workhouse records, and much more. Also a quick glimpse of the new site findmypast Ireland.
  • Genealogy programs - Family, Historian, Family Tree Maker, Legacy, The Master Genealogist
  • Genes Reunited (Rosemary Kopittke) - Genes Reunited was created on Guy Fawkes Day in 2002. It was the first British website set up to connect people searching the same family lines and in 2010 was ranked the #1 family website based on market share of visits among all UK sites. Since its acquisition by brightsolid in 2009 various historic records from the findmypast collection have been added - now it includes the complete 1841-1911 census collection, BDM records, Military records, passenger lists, and recently 35 million parish records.
  • Google your family tree: Tips & tricks (Shauna Hicks) - This talk looks at basic search strategies and how researchers can maximise their search results. It also addresses more advanced searching using Google features such as Alerts, Library, Images, Videos and Maps.
  • How I use my computer for my family history - other favourite programs I use (Helen Smith)
  • MyHeritage (Rosemary Kopittke) - Founded in 2003, MyHeritage has grown to be one of the world's largest social networks and genealogy sites. It focuses primarily on connecting families offering SmartMatches to link families together. It also offers tagging of photos, free genealogy software, web research and more - in 38 different languages.
  • On the Internet with a genealogy storehouse (looking at various programs on and off the internet) (Jan Gow)
  • On the Internet with free genealogy sites (Jan Gow)
  • On the Internet with England (Jan Gow)
  • On the Internet with Ireland (Jan Gow)
  • On the Internet with Scotland (Jan Gow)
  • On the Internet with search engines - background to search engines, how they work, how to evaluate, how to make the most of them (Jan Gow)
  • On the Internet with UK Pay 2 View sites (Jan Gow)
  • Online family history trends - including social networking (Shauna Hicks) - This talks looks at various Web 2.0 technology and how it can be used for family history research. In particular, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, nings, RSS and wikis will be discussed. 
  • Online newspapers (Shauna Hicks)
  • Social media for family historians (Helen Smith)
  • TheGenealogist.co.uk (Rosemary Kopittke) - Apart from the English and Welsh census and BDM records, TheGenealogist.co.uk has many unique records to offer - official non-conformist registers, PCC Wills and images, electoral rolls and more. As well, it has some innovative search options which can help break down your brickwalls.
  • TreePad, the wonder tool: make life easier and more efficient with TreePad (Jan Gow)
  • Using free and pay resources on the net (Helen Smith)
  • Using the internet effectively (Helen Smith)
  • Using Legacy (Jan Gow)
  • Using The Master Genealogist (Helen Smith)

General Interest - some may be as interest groups, meal table or Research Help Zone themes


  • At sea: Then and now (Shauna Hicks) 
  • Beginning your family history: in the beginning ... first catch your hare! (Jan Gow)
  • Breaking down brick walls (Australia, England, methods) (Helen Smith) - How to continue in your research when you have come to a halt in your research? This talk gives strategies and ideas to enable you to get around that brick wall and change that stop sign in your research to full speed ahead.
  • Brief introduction to family history research (Shauna Hicks) - This talk looks at how to start by looking at family sources, archives and libraries, what's online, useful books to read, the benefits of joining genealogy and family history societies and recording and organising your research.
  • Brick walls: Sitting down on the job  (includes using TreePad!!) (Jan Gow)
  • Caring for your family archives (Shauna Hicks) - This talk addresses three areas - organising your family records and memorabilia, storing and preserving your family archives and finally, sharing the results of your research with others and the long term future of your research and records.
  • Digitising and organising your family history (Helen Smith)
  • Directories and almanacs (Rosemary Kopittke) - A look at the wide range of directories and almanacs available and why you should use them when compiling your family history.
  • DNA and genealogy - The use of DNA in genealogy, particularly the Y-chromosome tests which can be especially useful for Scottish (and Irish) clan-based surname and island studies. How it works, what the tests involve, and getting past the hype to show they can really be useful for family history. Includes a brief introduction to the new area of autosomal DNA.
  • Family history on the cheap: Tips and tricks (Shauna Hicks) - This talk highlights a wide variety of tips and tricks that researchers can use to save themselves time and money when researching their family history. Areas covered include family sources, archives and libraries, online resources, technology, travel tips and so on.
  • Family Photo Book: An easy, fun way to present your photos or research (Rosemary Kopittke) - Why just leave your photographs on your computer. The Family Photo Book software is easy, fun and free to use (versions for Windows and Mac). An album is the perfect gift for anyone and any occasion - for recording family history, family reunions, weddings, birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, memorials or any special occasions. Share your travels with pictures, write a journal, create a stunning business portfolio or presentation - the possibilities are endless.
  • Friendly Societies and family history (Helen Smith)
  • Help! I’m stuck: Breaking down brick walls (Helen Smith)
  • Help! my ancestors are lost! (Helen Smith) - At times it seems that our ancestors are unable to be found, almost as if they are deliberately hiding from you. This presentation looks at reasons why this occurs and ways of demolishing the brick walls so your research will be back on track.
  • Mapping your ancestors (Helen Smith) - The use of maps can add a lot to your family history. There are many different kinds of maps showing geographical features, parish boundaries, Poor law Unions, political boundaries, historical maps, tithe maps and now Google Earth. This presentation will show how maps can be used to enhance your family history.
  • Medical
     - Archaic medical terms (Helen Smith)
     - The Black Death (Plague) in Australia - Bubonic Plague in Australia (Helen Smith)
     - Causes of death: fact or fiction? - death certificates through time (Helen Smith)
     - Great-Uncle Charlie had TB - TB was the major cause of death pre-antibiotics and treatments varied (Helen Smith)
     - Just what did cause their death? - making sense of archaic medical terms (Helen Smith)
     - No Medicare for them - how our ancestors accessed health care (Helen Smith)
  • Newspapers: A family history treasure chest (Helen Smith) - Newspapers are a familar valuable source for birth, marriage and death announcements. They contain so much more and with the advent of digitisation have never been more accessible. Regional history, sporting events, natural disasters, epidemics, employment opportunities, social activities as well as advertisements which can all be used to give life to your family history.
  • One Name Studies: What can you get from them? (Helen Smith) - One Name Studies are a neglected resource for family historians. In a One Name study information about a specific surname is collected and collated. This information can include civil registration, church records, probate, electoral rolls, parish chest records, maps, photographs and much much more. The study co-ordinator finds any reference to the surname and usually establishes family linkages where possible. This presentation shows the wide range of material that is available in most One Name studies and explains how the author does her One Name Study of the name Quested. It also explains ways of finding if a One Name Study exists of your surname of interest.
  • One Place Studies: What can you get from them? (Helen Smith) - One Place Studies are a neglected resource for family historians. In a One Place study information about a specific area is collected and collated. This information can include civil registration, church records, probate, electoral rolls, parish chest records, maps, photographs and much much more. This presentation shows the wide range of material that is available. It also explains ways of finding if a One Place Study exists of your geographic area of interest.
  • Organising your family history (Helen Smith)
  • Researching at home in your pyjamas (Helen Smith)
  • Ten ways to research your family history - with and without a computer. Comparing old ways and new (Jan Gow)
  • Warning Warning: Tips and tricks to avoid common family history mistakes (Shauna Hicks) - This talk draws on the speaker's own experiences and provides some tips on avoiding common mistakes when starting out family history research. It also provides some tips and tricks to save time and money when researching.
  • What was the voyage really like? (Shauna Hicks) - This talk illustrates how researchers can find out details of an ancestor’s trip to Australia. There are a range of resources covered including passenger lists, on board reports such as medical officer’s reports, ship’s diaries and logs, newspapers, photographs and government reports - from these it is possible to learn what our ancestors may have experienced during their voyage to Australia.
  • Where else can I search for ancestors: It’s not all online (Shauna Hicks) - This presentation is a reminder that not everything is online and that researchers still need to use archives, libraries, historical societies and museums, genealogy and family history societies and so on. Finding out where our ancestors lived, where they went to school, worked and what their involvement was in the local community are all aspects of our ancestors lives and help us to know them more.
  • Where to start in family history (Helen Smith) - Family history is a fascinating, popular past-time. This presentation aims to show the not so experienced researcher the wide range of resources available to aid their research.
  • Writing family history articles (Chris Paton) - There are many publications looking for articles from their readers, and in this talk Chris outlines how to make your contribution. Who do you contact, how do you propose an idea, how do you structure it and who are you writing for? Chris is a monthly/bi-monthly contributor to several UK based magazines, including Your Family Tree, Family History Monthly, Family Tree magazine, Discover my Past Scotland and History Scotland.
  • Young Genies: helping and inspiring young people (Lynne Blake)
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