Unlock the Past Cruises

History & Genealogy Expo Sydney - Speakers

Lindsay Allen

  • State Records of New South Wales

Lindsay has been a Senior Archivist at State Records for 10 years. He supervises the City Reading Room and also works at the Kingswood Reading Room on some weekends. Lindsay has given many presentations at Family History Seminars and spoken to family history and local studies groups. He is interested in many aspects of NSW history and before joining State Records was the Senior Reader Services Librarian at the Mitchell Library.

Paul Brunton

  • The Mitchell Library and its collections

Paul Brunton is Senior Curator, Mitchell Library. He was recently the curator of the Library's centenary exhibition One Hundred.

Fiona Burn

  • National Archives of Australia

Fiona Burn is the Assistant Director, Access and Communication, in the Sydney Office of the National Archives of Australia. Since joining the National Archives in 1983, she has gained experience in many areas of archival functions and management.  She is responsible for managing the provision of reference services within the Sydney Office and for outreach activities. She has spoken extensively at seminars and conferences on the holdings of the National Archives. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (University of Newcastle) and the Graduate Diploma in Information Management - Archives Administration (University of NSW). She was a Federal Councillor of the Australian Society of Archivists Inc from 1995 – 2000. She has been an Australian Society of Archivists representative on the General Council of the History Council of New South Wales since 1999.

Neil Chippendale

  • London: tyranny of cost & distance

Neil Chippendale worked as Local History Librarian for the London Borough of Hounslow for 14 years. He also operated a small family history business titled "Chippendale's Family History Research Service". He worked for the Cairn's and Maryborough Family History Societies and also did work for Janet Reakes. He moved to Australia 9 years ago and now works for Hornsby Shire Council in NSW running the local and family history sections of the library service. More details.

Liz Doyle

  • History/Heritage Touring

Liz is on a mission! She is passionate about family, history and travel and has now combined these interests to provide small, fully escorted and customized, ancestral tours to Ireland and England. Her inspiration is to help others to experience something that brings their family research to life. Liz lives on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria with her husband, Garry. They both enjoy getting out into the Victorian High country in their 4WD and spoiling their grandchildren!

Vicki Eldridge

  • Government & police gazettes

Vicki Eldridge, has been working professionally as a family historian since 1988. She holds the Diploma in Family Historical Studies (Dip FHS) through the Society of Australian Genealogists where she has been a member since the early 1980s. In 2005 she was elected to the Council for the Society and has, since 2007 been a Vice President. She currently serves on a number of the Society’s committees and is a regular speaker on their education activities programme and for clubs, historical and family history groups. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. More details.

Kerry Farmer

  • Which genealogy program?
  • DNA for genealogists

Kerry worked for many years designing, writing and testing computer software. Teaching family history classes since 1997, Kerry is on the Education Committee of the Society of Australian Genealogists, and presents seminars and classes there as well as at adult education colleges and elsewhere. She currently teaches online courses in “Australian and New Zealand Genealogy” through the National Institute of Genealogical Studies (see www.genealogicalstudies.com ). Kerry and Rosemary Kopittke recently wrote the book “Which Genealogy Program?” published by Unlock the Past. Kerry’s website is www.familyhistoryresearch.com.au. More details.

Heather Garnsey

  • Society of Australian Genealogists treasure chest: SAG collections

Heather Garnsey has worked full-time with the Society of Australian Genealogists since 1984, where she is also a Fellow and holds the Diploma in Family Historical Studies. She regularly lectures on a wide range of family history topics and contributes a monthly genealogy column to Australian Personal Computer magazine.

Megan Gibson (Family Tree Time)

  • Behind the scenes at 'Who Do You Think You Are?' (Aust)
  • How To Get More Family Tree Time - Tips for the Time Poor!

In between working as a Freelance Researcher on episodes of the hit tv family tree show 'Who Do You Think You Are?' (Series 2 & 3) tracing the genealogies and family histories of famous Australians, Megan runs Family Tree Time, offering research, writing and family tree coaching services to help ordinary Australians trace their own family tree ...before it's too late. Her tips book for the time poor, 'How To Get More Family Tree Time' is out, online & at Sydney Expo. More details.

Jacqui Haraldstad

  • History/Heritage touring

Jacqui is Business Development Manager for Clean Cruising, and is partnering with Unlock the Past in organising and managing the inaugural Unlock the Past cruise in March 2011.

Shauna Hicks

  • Caring for Your Family History Archives
  • Family History on the Cheap
  • What was the voyage like?

Shauna Hicks has been tracing her own family history since 1977 and worked in government for over 35 years primarily in libraries and archives in Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne. She is currently Director of Shauna Hicks History Enterprises and a collaborative partner in Unlock The Past. Shauna has a number of tertiary qualifications from Queensland universities as well as the Diploma in Family Historical Studies from the Society of Australian Genealogists. She is a Fellow of the Queensland Family History Society; a recipient of the Australian Society of Archivists Distinguished Achievement Award and in 2009 received the AFFHO Services to Family History Award. More details.

Jennfer Higgins

  • National Library: family historians' treasure trove

Jenny Higgins has been tracing her own family history for almost 35 years, including volunteering at local family history and LDS libraries for about 10 years and doing contract family history research for a number of years. Although originally a computer programmer, she has been at the National Library of Australia for over 11 years and became the Family History Reference Librarian there about 5 years ago.

Rosemary Kopittke

  • Findmypast.co.uk
  • Findmypast.com.au

Rosemary has been tracing her family since 1985. A statistician by training, she has worked as an hydrologist, teacher and biometrician though now works as a consultant for Gould Genealogy & History. She has published numerous indexes but is best known for Emigrants from Hamburg to Australasia 1850-1879. A current member of the AFFHO Council and the Queensland FHS Management Committee, Rosemary is a Fellow of QFHS and in 2006 received the AFFHO Award for Meritorious Services to Family History. More details.

Dr Perry McIntyre

  • Immigration from Ireland

Dr Perry McIntyre has worked in genealogy for over 30 years, has been a councillor of the Society of Australian Genealogists for over 19 years until November 2008 and co-tour leader of nine successful tours of Ireland between 1991 and 2007. She still convenes the SAG Irish Interest Group. She was President of the History Council of NSW in 2005-06 and is currently a member of the Great Irish Famine Commemoration Committee. Perry has published and spoken extensively on genealogy and immigration, especially on Irish immigration for over 25 years. She was awarded her PhD in 2006 looking at the wives and familes of convicts' scheme. She has recently been co-author of three books on single female emigration in the 1830s and currently works part-time as the historian and archivist at St John's College, within the University of Sydney.

Cassie Mercer

  • Rebels, highwaymen and bride thieves: the stories behind our early Irish convicts

Cassie Mercer is co-founder of Irish Wattle, a publishing house focusing on Irish convicts transported to New South Wales. Cassie has worked in publishing since 1999, after completing a BA in English Literature at the University of Queensland. She's worked as a sub editor for UNSW Press, Pacific Magazines and ACP Magazines in Sydney, and IPC Media and the National Magazine Company in London. Her 5 x great grandfather was a highwayman in Dublin in the 1790s. More details.

Sylvia Murphy

  • British in India

Sylvia is based in Sydney and has been researching families in Colonial India since 1996 in which she has developed considerable expertise.  She is the Australian Membership Liaison for Families in British India Society and is a volunteer librarian at both her local LDS Family History Centre and at the Society of Australian Genealogists Library.  She convenes the South Asia Research Group for S.A.G. which meets quarterly.  She has created or contributed to several indexes of value to the British India Researcher – including the Bombay Marriage Index, Personal Information of Subscribers to the Madras Military Fund and others. Her other main areas of interest and expertise are Belgian and English family research.  After a course of study in 2009 she was awarded the Advanced Diploma in Local History from Oxford Uni. More details.

Joy Murrin

  • NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages: Understanding transcriptions and index search

Joy Murrin has over 21 years experience in transcriptions and many more years in family history research In 1995 Joy was appointed as an Accredited Transcription Agent by the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages and operates her business, Joy Murrin Family History Services with Australia wide and International clients. Over the course of time, she has visited LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City Utah and family history facilities in England and Scotland.  Since 1989, she has been a volunteer Librarian at the Mortdale Family History Centre. Joy is an experienced lecturer and has spoken on National Television.  She has also written lesson plans for Australian lecturers of a multi-national company.  Joy is an exciting speaker and has spoken on Family History topics to many societies and groups. More details.

Mike Murray

  • Telling your story: producing a video documentary

We're family history specialists. We specialise in genealogical and historical research, education, publishing and film-making. If you want to trace your ancestors, or find out what their lives were like, we can help you. If you want to tell your family story, and preserve it for the future, we can produce a DVD, a book or a series of elaborate charts for you.

Paul Parton

  • FamilySearch: Ancestors At Your Fingertips
  • FamilySearch: More Records to More People Faster

Paul Parton is a presenter for FamilySearch in their Outreach program. He also gives technical support to 145 Family History Centres Australia-wide. He has had an interest in family history for more than 40 years. Paul was a professional trainer prior to his retirement as Pacific Area Director of Information Technology Services with FamilySearch’s parent organisation. He was also involved in the early development of data acquisition systems for Australia’s nuclear research facility.

Chris Paton

  • Discover Scottish family history
  • Discover Scottish church records
  • Discover Scottish land records

Chris Paton is a former television producer and director on BBC history programmes, he now works as a professional Scottish based genealogist, writer, lecturer and tutor. With his wife and two young sons he resides in the picturesque Ayrshire town of Largs, on the Western Scottish coast. He currently runs the Scotland's Greatest Story family history research service, and writes regularly for most of the British family history press. He is also a tutor with online family history and genealogy course provider Pharos Teaching & Tutoring Limited, teaching the Scottish Research Online course. More details.

Kim Phillips

  • Gallipoli and the Spirits of Gallipoli project

Kim Phillips has served on the Committee of the Australian Jewish Genealogical Society (AJGS) since 1998. For the past 9 years, Kim has spent her spare time on the Spirits of Gallipoli project, trying to find as much as possible about the men of the first AIF (our First Anzacs), who are either buried, or commemorated at Gallipoli. In late May of 2009, Kim led a team of 12 self-funded enthusiasts to Gallipoli, and photographed all the headstones, memorials and cemeteries.  These photos will form part of the large amount of information already held by the project, on the men, and be made available to those interested. See www.spirits-of-gallipoli.com. More details. 

Carole Riley

  • Social Media

Carole Riley is a professional genealogist based in Sydney, Australia with a background in computer programming and an interest in using the web to further genealogical education and networking. Carole serves on the Council of the Society of Australian Genealogists  and is the Convenor of their IT Committee. She is also the founder of the Sydney User Group of The Master Genealogist  (TMG) and is currently serving as a Director of the Association of Professional Genealogists . She has a Master of Applied Science (Psychology of Coaching) and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Sydney, and a Diploma of Professional Counselling. Carole writes two blogs - Genealogy in New South Wales  about genealogy research in NSW and elsewhere; and Carole's Canvas , which is her personal blog about her own family history and other topics. More details.

Mark St Leon

  • The saga of Australia's circus people

Mark St Leon is a direct descendant of the St Leons, one of Australia's major circus families in the period from 1847 until the 1950s. He has devoted many years to the documentation of his family's history in the circus and Australia's circus history generally. He has been widely published in this area and is a longstanding member of the Circus Historical Society Inc. Professionally Mark has lived and worked for extended periods in England and Switzerland. He currently lectures and/or tutors at several internationally-focussed universities in Sydney in the general subject areas of accounting and management and specialises in the teaching of international students at diploma, graduate and post-graduate levels. More details.

Ray Thorburn

  • Pauper migration to Australia
  • Convict transportation overview

Ray Thorburn is a member of the Australasian Association of Genealogists and Record Agents and was appointed founding director of the Australian Genealogical Education Centre (now known as the Kiama Family History Centre) in Oct, 1988, retiring in Nov, 2006. An experienced communicator, Ray, as a full-time family and social historian, has spoken to many organisations on a variety of subjects, both in Australia and overseas. Ray is also involved in the Kiama Rotary Club, is a Paul Harris Fellow, writes a regular column for the Rotary Down Under magazine, and broadcasts on the Print Handicapped Radio network. More details.

Susie Zada

  • Look local: it's not all on the web
  • Sewerage records: an untapped magnificent resource

Susie Zada has been researching her family since the late 1960s and working as a genealogist, historian and researcher since 1990. She completed an Associate Diploma in Local and Applied History at University of New England (Armidale) in 1996 and has been working in the area of the built Heritage since 1996. Susie has been guest speaker on various topics at genealogical and historical societies and community groups across Victoria. She has worked on Heritage Studies and Conservation Management Plans for various sites in Victoria, and is a researcher and publisher. Susie is currently Assistant Resources Manager at the Genealogical Society at Victoria. More details.

Discover Scottish family history