The book publishing division of Australia’s Unlock the Past have been working their butts off, as they have released six new books in the past two of weeks. This includes four brand newys, and two new editions of earlier releases – now fully updated.

With topics such as genealogy pitfalls, Australian and New Zealand church records, how to use social media to advantage with your family history, DNA in genealogy, and the National Library of Australia’s Trove, and a book on how to get the most out of the brand new website, there really is something here for everyone.

So here they all are (listed alphabetically):

DNA for Genealogists (2nd edition)
Author: Kerry Farmer
paperback, 60 pages
ISBN: 9781921956072
Year: 2012
Item Code: UTP0291

As well as providing information about ourselves, DNA testing allows us to find others who share our ancestors, and also confirm or challenge apparently known as relationships. Such tests can provide evidence of relationship even when no documents exist. Previously available only to medical and law-enforcement professionals, commercial testing companies now make genetic testing directly available to anyone who is interested.

DNA testing will not replace the more familiar genealogical research techniques of gathering oral and documentary evidence and compiling family trees. Instead it offers entirely new research tools – more information to augment the documents and oral histories – as well as a way of testing family trees, to see if conclusions drawn are confirmed by this new evidence. This book shows you how you can use DNA to harness this exciting new range of genealogical tools.

The amount of scientific jargon associated with genetics can be intimidating. This publication provides a contextual understanding of DNA suitable for genealogists and discusses the currently available tests that are likely to be of interest to family historians, especially those wanting to prove (or disprove) compiled family trees, the connect ‘new’ relatives by means of inherited genetic material and to draw conclusions about where we fit into the greater human family. Click here for the full description.


Finding Ancestors in Church Records: A Brief Guide to Resources
Author: Shauna Hicks
paperback, 64 pages
ISBN: 9781921956126
Year: 2012
Item Code: UTP0006

This publication highlights the wealth of information that can be found in religious publications, church newspapers and magazines. Information and photographs on individuals, not usually found elsewhere, can be discovered and may include obituaries, details of weddings, school news, social events and so on.

Using examples from her own family history, the author demonstrates how to locate this type of information on your own ancestors.

Women are often hard to find in colonial records, but one place where they may have had a role was the local church serving on committees and assisting with Sunday School and other church bodies. Church and religious archives are also features and the book explores how to locate original records.

If you have never considered looking for your ancestors in religious and church records, then this guide is a great starting place. You might be amazed at the stories waiting to be discovered. Click here for the full description.


The New Gateway to the World Collection
Rosemary Kopittke
paperback, 36 pages
ISBN: 9781921956140
Year: 2012
Item Code: UTP0103

Subscriptions to online history and genealogy research sites are not cheap so it pays to know what records they offer and how to use them most effectively. ‘The New Gateway to the World Collection’ includes many examples and tips on how to achieve the most from your searches. was launched in May 2010 – since then the number of records available has almost quadrupled. Following the release in August 2012 of the findmypast World Collection, it is now your gateway to all the findmypast records: for the UK, Australia/New Zealand, Ireland and the US.

The site has a fantasically rich source of data to offer to Australian and New Zealand researchers – for both family and local history users. Over 135 million records are currently available – now including the extremely popular ‘Passengers lists leaving UK 1890-1960’ – and most are not available elsewhere online. Where else can you search the full text of electoral rolls, government gazettes, police gazettes and uncover detailed descriptions of family and places? Are you related to the person with ‘dark eyebrows, keen eyes, thoughtful look, dent on nose, about half an inch from the end, rather large ugly mouth; dressed in black hat with crape, brown mixture overcoat, and shepherd’s plaid trousers’?

This is just the beginning – there are many more records in the pipeline! Click here for the full description.


Pitfalls in Family History
Author: Graham Jaunay
paperback, 32 pages
ISBN: 9781921956102
Year: 2012
Item Code: UTP0246

This booklet outlines some of the issues that throw up barriers to family history research. What is a pitfall? Look it up in a dictionary and you will find that it is defined as … a concealed pit as trap for man or animal, an unsuspected difficulty or danger or an error into which it is easy to fall.

Somewhere there may be a family historian who claims never to have encountered a pitfall in their research, but most of us, if we’re honest, will admit to being bruised all over by the number of falls we’ve taken whilst our family trees have been growing.

By reading this booklet you will be more aware of many of the pitfalls waiting to entrap you. Click here for the full description.


Social Media for Family Historians (2nd edition)
Carole Riley
paperback, 80 pages
ISBN: 9781921956065
Year: 2012
Item Code: UTP0161

The internet allows us to interact in ways we have never had before. We can find friends and relatives; stay in touch with them; share news, family trees, stories, photos, and videos; find useful information for our research; and be an active part of as many communities as we care to join. The websites that enable all of this are called ‘social media’.

‘Social Media for Family Historians’ introduces more than 25 websites that can help family historians to communicate, share and collaborate with other family historians and with their own families. It covers new ways to communicate such as Skype and Second Life; social networking sites such as Facebook,blogs and microblogs such as Twitter; sites for sharing photos and videos such as Flickr and YouTube; and community information sites such as wikis and social bookmarking.

You will learn what social media is; why you would want to use it; what the risks are, and how to avoid them. Easy-to-follow guides on how to get started with Facebook and blogging – two of the most useful forms of social media – can help you take the plunge.

If you are a family historian, or if you have a family, this book is for you. Click here for the full description.


Trove: Discover Genealogy Treasure in the National Library of Australia
Shauna Hicks
paperback, 40 pages
ISBN: 9780980874600
Year: 2012
Item Code: UTP0007

As a regular presenter at genealogy expos and seminars I am constantly surprised by the number of people who don’t know or are not aware of, all the genealogy resources available on the National Library of Australia website. Trove is the catchy name of the Library’s discovery service into its many collections, but it is only one of a number of resources available for research.

While people may be aware of Trove, they are not aware of how to effectively use the various filters to narrow down their searches to maximum advantage. Features such as comments, lists, tagging or correcting text are other areas that many have not yet explored and there are always a few who put up their hand to say they haven’t got an eResources card.

There are other features such as Ask a Librarian and Cite This that I am fond of, but many in the audience haven’t discovered them yet, or realised how these features can assist their research.

This guide outlines why I’m a huge Trove fan. It lists and explains the various features so that other family historians and genealogists can make maximum use of this fantastic free resource. Follow the tips and you will soon become another Trove fan. Click here for the full description.


Stay tuned for a heap more titles from Unlock the Past, as the list of coming titles continues to grow at a rapid pace, and believe me, there is a truly amazing collection of topics coming … but more on those later 😉