Unlock The Past will be at

Unlock the Past Cruises

Western Victoria seminar: German, English & Australian ancestry research

Event Information

  • 31 Oct 2015 9:30am - 4:30pm
  • Horsham RSL Conference Room (next to the Horsham Library) 36 McLachlan Street
  • Horsham
  • Victoria
Other Information
  • Cost: Advance bookings - $20, on the day - $25

Searching for Ancestors

A special opportunity for anyone in Western Victoria to hear leading experts Eric & Rosemary Kopittke speak on:

  • Emigration from Germany to Australia
  • Using directories & almanacs for family history
  • Researching German civil & church records
  • Tracing your ancestors in England

This seminar is also supported by Gould Genealogy and sister brands who will:

  • give an introductory presentation on getting the most from Gould Genealogy & History, Unlock the Past, Archive Digital Books Australasia, Genealogy ebooks and genealogy cruising
  • have a range of genealogy guide books, software and the flip pal mobile scanner for sale
  • have special offers and hundreds of $$ of prizes on the day
Event details
– at Horsham RSL Conference Room Saturday 31st October 9:30am to 4:30pm
– bookings: essential Horsham Library 28 McLachlan Street Phone 5382 5707
– cost: $20 includes 2 course lunch with morning and afternoon tea

Provisional program

9.30amRegistration, exhibition, sales
9.45amSeminar welcome and introduction
10.00amEmigration from Germany to Australia - Eric Kopittke
10.50amGetting the most from Gould Genealogy and Unlock the Past - Alan Phillips
11.20amBreak and exhibition/sales
11:50amUsing directories and almanacs for family history - Rosemary Kopittke
12:40pmLunch break and exhibition and sales
1.40pmPrize draw
1.45pmResearching German civil and church records - Eric Kopittke
2.35pmBreak and exhibition & sales
3.00pmTracing your ancestors in England - Rosemary Kopittke
3.50pmThe Library and family history - and closing remarks - Ros Ryan     



Eric KopittkeEric Kopittke has been researching his family history in Australia, Germany, England and Wales since 1985. Eric joined the Queensland Family History Society in 1985, and has been convenor of its Central European Group for over 20 years. He is also President of the Baptist Historical Society of Queensland.

Academically, he studied at the University of Queensland where he was awarded a Bachelor of Science (Physics and Mathematics), a Bachelor of Arts (Geography and Computer Science) and a Diploma of Education. He has recently retired from teaching Physics and Mathematics at St Peters Lutheran College Indooroopilly

Eric regularly speaks at family history societies and at other events as his teaching commitments allow. At the ‘Searching for Ancestors family history seminar’ Eric will be presenting:

Emigration from Germany to Australia - How to use records from Australia and elsewhere to determine your German ancestor’s place of origin, and an overview of the Hamburg Emigration lists – direct and indirect – why these are useful for researching your European ancestors.

Researching German civil & church records - Prior to the introduction of civil registration, church records provided details of baptisms, marriages and burials. German records often give far more detail than their English equivalents. Discover how to locate and use German civil registration records, unlike Australian and British records, German civil registration was not centrally located nor did all regions begin at the same time.


Rosemary KopittkeRosemary Kopittke has been researching her families in Australia, England and Scotland since 1985. That year she joined the Queensland Family History Society and has held many positions within the society.

Her academic qualifications include a Bachelor of Science (Mathematics) and Bachelor of Arts (Computer Science) at the University of Queensland and she has completed the Certificate of Genealogical Studies (English Records) with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Though trained as a statistician, she currently works as a part-time consultant for Gould Genealogy & History and Unlock the Past. Rosemary’s topics at the ‘Searching for Ancestors family history seminar’ are:

Using Directories & Almanacs for family history - A look at the wide range of directories and almanacs available and why you should use them when compiling your family history.

Tracing your ancestors in England - An overview of basic resources – civil registration, church records, census, cemetery records, directories, elector registers, maps, newspapers and wills - including many examples and covers a variety of ways of accessing the data – free and subscription.


Alan Phillips has been a publisher and reseller of a wide range of historical and genealogical resources since 1976, trading now as Gould Genealogy & History. Other related brands have been established in recent years. Alan will give a brief introduction and overview of the following:

  • Archive Digital Book Australasia (2003) – has digitised 2.1 million pages of old and rare books with approximately 140 million names. These are offered in various forms:
    - over 2150 data CDs
    - 51 value special collections
    - a selection (nearly 200 products) as digital downloads
    - a selection to major online providers Findmypast, World Vital Records, MyHeritage and Ancestry
  • Unlock the Past (2009) – a collaborative venture involving a team of expert speakers, writers, organisations and commercial partners to promote history and genealogy through: 
    - innovative major events – expos, roadshows, seminars, history/genealogy cruises – and Australia’s first ever battlefield tour
    - major events – supporting and attending events by others
    - a publishing brand – guide books for researchers – over 60 titles to date in print and ebook editions
    - general and events directories online
  • Unlock the Past Cruises (2011) – an international venture – major genealogy conferences at sea
  • Genealogy-ebooks (2013) – offering
    - all Unlock the Past print publications in parallel ebook editions
    - nearly 200 Archive Digital Books Australasia data CDs as digital downloads – 1000 more to come

Who should attend?

  • those interested in family or local history - or any form of history
  • those who might be encouraged to research and record their personal or family/local history

Bring a pen and paper or writing device.

Audio or video recordings are only permissible with the speaker's consent.