History, Genealogy and Heritage Events

Unlock The Past will be at

Unlock the Past Cruises

Researching abroad roadshow: speakers

Main presenters

PatonChris Paton (Scotland) www.britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk
Originally from Northern Ireland, Chris Paton is a Scottish based professional genealogist, running the Scotland’s Greatest Story ancestral research service (www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk). He is a regular contributor to several UK and Ireland based family history publications, and author of 13 family history books (9 of them published by Unlock the Past). He also writes the daily The GENES Blog (GEnealogy News and EventS) at www.britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk, as well as his own personal genealogy blog https://scotlandsgreateststory.wordpress.com/blog

A holder of a Postgraduate Diploma in Genealogical Studies, Chris has tutored for the University of Strathclyde’s postgraduate genealogical studies program (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, Australia, New Zealand, US, Portugal and on genealogy cruises.

He currently serves as a member of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland user forum and a director of the Scottish Archive Network.

Chris was the featured presenter at the Unlock the Past Sydney expo in October 2010 and has been a presenter on three Unlock the Past genealogy cruises. He will also be a lead presenter on our 2018 Alaskan cruise.

WeisslederDirk Weissleder (Germany) www.forum-familiengeschichte.de (in German - but can be translated)
Dirk is a genealogy consultant and national chairman of the Deutsche Arbeisgemeinschaft genealogischer Verbände e.V. - www.dagv.org. This is the umbrella organisation of the genealogical and heraldic associations in Germany. DAGV has 67 member associations with more than 22,000 members. He is President of the Federation of Family Associations (Bund der Familienverbände, BdF).

As national chairman he is developing partnerships with relevant German organisations worldwide. In May 2015, together with colleagues in Minnesota the German-American Genealogical Partnership (GAGP) was established and in 2016 the German-Australian Genealogy and History Alliance (GAGAHA). The German-American partnership has just been renamed International German Genealogical Partnership. It will host the 2017 International Genealogy conference in Minnesota 28-30 July 2017.

Dirk Weissleder is married with two children. He is interested in history & politics and has run for the national parliament (Deutscher Bundestag) in 2009 and 2013, he is an active local politician in Laatzen and in the Hannover Region, member of the state board of his political party of Lower Saxony, Germany.

Dirk was interviewed about his visit down under at RootsTech 2017 by Jill Ball (Australia) - click here for the interview.

MyHeritage presenter

Rosemary KopittkeRosemary Kopittke (Queensland) giving two presentations in each Australian city on MyHeritage technologies
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 the Certificates in Genealogical Studies (English and Australian Records) with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies and the Diploma of Family History with the University of Tasmania. She currently works as a consultant for Gould Genealogy & History, is regularly invited to speak at events in Australia and New Zealand and has presented on all the Unlock the Past cruises.

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 member of 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.

DNA presenters
One DNA introdcutory talk will be given in each Australian city by the following presenters - listed in date or city order

Helen SmithHelen Smith (Brisbane) – helenvsmithresearch.blogspot.com.au
Helen has been researching her family since 1986 when her mother lamented the fact she had never known her grandfather, George Howard Busby. Helen found some information and a newspaper photo of him, was hooked and has been addicted ever since with research in Australia, England and Ireland.

She is researching the surname Quested anywhere, anytime and has registered the name with the Guild of One-Name Studies.

She is the author of Death certificates and archaic medical terms and has written for Inside HistoryAustralian Family Tree Connections and other family history journals as well as scientific publications. She is the author of a number of blogs which can be accessed via http://helenvsmithresearch.blogspot.com.au and you can follow her on Twitter @HVSresearch

She has spoken to a wide variety of audiences including Genealogical Society of Queensland Day Conferences, Library Technician Conference, all the Unlock the Past cruises, Unlock the Past Expos and Roadshow and numerous family history society meetings.

Professionally, she is a Molecular Epidemiologist specialising in Public Health Microbiology and has a strong interest in infectious diseases and Public Health through the ages.

She has a Graduate Diploma in Public Health, Bachelor Applied Science: Medical Laboratory Science and Associate Diploma in Clinical Laboratory Techniques. She is currently studying with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies towards the Certificates in Genealogical Studies: English and Australian Records.


FarmerKerry Farmer (Sydney)
Kerry began teaching classes in “Family History Research using the Internet” in Sydney in 1997, and is now the Director Australian Studies, developing the Australian Records certificate for the internationally recognised National Institute for Genealogical Studies.

Kerry is the author of DNA for genealogists (4th edn 2017) and Arrivals in Australia from 1788 (2015) published by Unlock the Past. She is one of the most highly regarded presenters in Australia. She has spoken at Unlock the Past history events and on genealogy cruises.

Kerry has served on the Education Committee of the Society of Australian Genealogists, and presents seminars and classes there as well as at other conferences and forums and undertakes commissioned family history research assignments for others.

Kerry has researched her own family history for over 30 years, researching ancestors predominantly from Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. She has also tackled the family branches in Canada, United States, South Africa, India, Germany, Poland, Norway and Russia. Kerry graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Computer Science and Pure Mathematics), and also with a Bachelor of Arts (Literature).


DalyPatsy Daley (Melbourne)
As a child Patsy was often asked, and indeed is still asked: A Baulch are you? Are you related to? To avoid embarrassment at not knowing the answer she started what has become a lifelong search for answers. This search was intermittent during study and work interstate but back living in Melbourne, Patsy is applying her experiences to continue her research into family and local land selection in South Western Victoria. This has now spilled over into searching for her favourite ancestor, John Bourke Ryan, and his forebears in Irish Title Deeds.

Curious about the value of DNA as a family history resource Patsy and a brother created their DNA testing strategy. Their initial focus has yet to bear fruit but their plan has had two unforeseen consequences. Firstly, research by Patsy and other members of the family has resulted in almost 300 Ancestry Trees which have now been used by current researchers to create an Ancestry DNA Circle of almost 20 members for each of Patsy's third great grandparents Charles Baulch and Ann Beddlecombe. Secondly, because four siblings were tested, Patsy is now engrossed in learning to use Visual Phasing – a methodology of mapping DNA segments to grandparents.
Over the past year Patsy has given introductory DNA presentations to the AIGS and to Deniliquin, Mornington, Rosebud and Warrnambool family history groups.
A former committee member of VicGUM, she continues to contribute the Legacy Family Tree article to their monthly magazine.
Patsy also volunteers at the Genealogical Society of Victoria.

Rosemary Kopittke (Canberra) - see above for biography

Richard Merry (Adelaide) - Richard administers four DNA projects and is convenor of the Genealogy SA DNA Interest Group. He is also Australia South regional representative for the Guild of One Name Studies.
Cate PearceCate Pearce (Perth) - Genetic genealogist. Cate has been a dedicated genealogist since 1977, when she first visited a small English village parish church to research her family history and read the musty leather register that recorded the shaky X signatures of her ancestors. Now she is interested in reading the family stories contained in another book – the book of life that is written with our DNA, where that shaky X is now the X chromosome that forms a part of our genetic code. Working as a genetic genealogist, DNA educator and consultant, she is now dedicated to helping others to solve their family history puzzles by combining traditional archival research and DNA testing.

Cate is the founder and convenor of the DNA Interest Group at the WA Genealogical Society and is enthusiastically engaged as a ‘citizen scientist’, contributing to an international community of genetic genealogists who are constantly working to develop new applications for DNA in family history research.

Cate’s academic credentials include BA History, Graduate Diploma in Family and Local History, and Certificate in Genealogical Research, as well as DNA professional development courses with the University of Strathclyde (Scotland), Duke University (USA) and National Institute for Genealogical Studies (Canada). Cate is a member of the international Association of Professional Genealogists.

Website: Genetic Genealogy Australia

Genealogy society presenterslisted in date or city order

Genealogical Society of Queensland - speaker to be advised

Queensland Family History Society - speaker to be advised

Society of Australian Genealogists - speaker to be advised

Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies - speaker to be advised

Genealogical Society of Victoria - speaker to be advised

Heraldry & Genealogy Society of Canberra - speaker to be advised

Genealogy SA - speaker to be advised

Western Australian Genealogical Society - speaker to be advised

Library and archives presenters - listed in date or city order

State Library of QueenslandKirsten Perris is a library technician who has worked at State Library of Queensland for over 12 years, mostly as a family history specialist. State Library of Queensland has the premiere collection of Queensland newspapers and many family history resources not found elsewhere including a significant collection of State Library digitised material. Kirsten assists family historians in accessing this material by contributing to indexing projects,  presenting family history sessions to small and large audiences as well as participating in radio interviews highlighting State Library resources.  She creates and edits family history information guides and web pages, which includes a collection of Useful websites for family historians, ensuring the sites are up to date and relevant. She contributes to State Library blog site SLQ Today, which includes articles to do with family history. Kirsten also provides detailed research responses to family history public inquiries received via State Library’s Ask us free reference service. Check the website, http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/resources/family-history, for further information on what’s available at State Library.

Lutheran Archives - speaker to be advised

State Library of South Australia - speaker to be advised

State Library of Western Australia - speaker to be advised