Unlock The Past will be at

Unlock the Past Cruises

Unlock the Past seminar speakers

The following speakers are recommended for one or two day seminar programs. But you can choose others, e.g. a military expert or someone closer to home to keep seminar costs down. 

Carol BaxterCarol Baxter — Carol has turned her genealogy hobby into many different career pathways. In the 1980s she was employed by the Australian Biographical and Genealogical Record – now the Biographical Database of Australia – and continues to edit colonial records for them. She is a Fellow of the Society of Australian Genealogists, writes genealogy “how to” books, and teaches genealogy research skills in Australia and abroad, including on Unlock the Past cruises. Additionally, she is the internationally-acclaimed, award-winning author of six historical true-crime books and tells her tales of murder, mystery and mayhem on international cruise ships. She also teaches writing skills to genealogy groups, writing groups and university students.

Carol’s expertise — writing (can do a full one or two day program on the subject), evidence analysis, surnames, given names, crimes and criminals, NSW research (various topics) and more.

Click here for full biography and list of topics.

Kerry FarmerKerry Farmer — Kerry has been teaching family history classes since 1997. With degrees in both science and humanities, she is a member of the Education Committee of the Society of Australian Genealogists, and a regular speaker at conferences and other events. Kerry is also the Director of Australian Studies for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, developing their course series ‘Certificate in Genealogical Studies – Australian Records’. Kerry has authored a number of publications covering DNA, Immigration, BDMs and more.

Kerry’s expertise — DNA, Australia, England and Scotland (can do a full day program on any of these), Australia (convicts, immigration, military, newspapers, government gazettes, deserters, BDMs), historical photos online, local history helping family history, Jewish records, Ancestry, findmypast, ScotlandsPeople.

Click here for full biography and list of topics.

shauna HicksShauna Hicks — Shauna has been tracing her own family history since 1977 and worked in government for over 35 years primarily in libraries and archives including the State Library of Queensland, the John Oxley Library in Brisbane, the Queensland State Archives, the National Archives of Australia in Canberra and Public Record Office Victoria. She has authored a number of UTP family history guides. Shauna is currently Director of Shauna Hicks History Enterprises. See www.shaunahicks.com.au

Shauna’s expertise — records (church, asylum, military, mining, convicts/criminals, education, sporting) introduction to family history research, caring for family archives, convicts, demolishing brick walls, diaries and letters, family history on the cheap, pictorial sources online, google, it’s not all online, national and state archives, online newspapers, Queensland, Victoria , skeletons, Trove/NLA, common mistakes, what was the voyage really like

Click here for full biography and list of topics.

Eric KopittkeEric Kopittke — Eric is a former teacher of Physics and Mathematics, He has been researching his families from Australia, England, Germany and former German areas for over 30 years. He and Rosemary transcribed, indexed and published the lists of direct emigrants from Hamburg to Australian and New Zealand ports from the years 1850–1879. In addition he has written Locating your German ancestor’s place of origin, Researching in German civil and church records, Introduction to German family history research for Australians and a handy guide Civil registration ... in Germany.

Eric’s expertise — starting German family history research, Denmark, 19th Century German migration to Australia, German family history in the ‘Information Age’, maps and gazetteers for German research, reading German handwriting, German region history overview, planning a genealogical trip, and more.

Click here for full biography and list of topics.

Rosemary KopittkeRosemary Kopittke — Rosemary has been tracing her family history since 1985 – in Australia, England, Scotland and Ireland. She is a statistician by training with tertiary qualifications in mathematics and computer science. 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.

Rosemary’s expertise — online family trees, online databases (Ancestry, Findmypast, MyHeritage, ScotlandsPeople, TheGenealogist), Family Historian (genealogy program), Australian church records, government gazettes, directories, electoral rolls, Google, online newspapers, expats in PNG, and select topics on research in Queensland, England and Scotland.

Click here for full biography and list of topics.

Helen SmithHelen Smith — Helen is a speaker, researcher and author and has been researching family history since 1986 in Australia, England, Ireland and Wales with forays into other areas of the world chasing after mobile family members. She has spoken in every state and territory in Australia, and internationally in New Zealand, Canada, USA, England and aboard the Unlock the Past cruises. Helen has written two guide books fo Unlock the Past.

Helen’s expertise — visit Helen’s web site www.dragongenealogy.com for a list of over 80 topics in the following — Australia, Queensland, research methodology (various topics), DNA, England. Ireland, Online resources free and paysites (Ancestry, British newspapers, Findmypast, MyHeritage), various online and technology topics, health and social history.

Click here for full biography and list of topics.