bigstockphoto-calendar-February 2014February 2014 is when Unlock The Past’s 4th History & Genealogy Cruise is scheduled to leave Sydney. Now I know it seems A-G-E-S away, but without a doubt it will come before we know it. In the meantime work on the conference program continues …

Now a major part of why the Unlock the Past cruises are so good is because of the guest speakers. Afterall you can’t really have a genealogy conference onboard without them can you? And this cruise most certainly takes the cake for the number of guest speakers. With six international speakers, and twelve from Australia this will be a cruise like no other.

But the cherry on top has to be the variety of topics that they are specialise in. It’s astounding the amount of knowledge that these people bring. So for anyone attending, trust me you are guaranteed an absolutely amazing variety of topics.

Now on to listing the guest speakers in alphabetical order:

4th cruise - Anne DanielsAnne Daniels (England)
Drawing on the Past
Anne’s business is ‘Drawing On The Past’. And she creates totally unique artwork using photographs of your ancestors. By incorporating both hand drawn and digital imaging techniques, the finished design is then printed on to a beautiful heavy grade watercolour paper using a high quality fine art printing process. When you commission a piece of work from Drawing On The Past you can be assured of receiving a unique artwork, drawn from your own personal history.

Now having a “resident cruise artist” onboard will be a first for an Unlock The Past Cruise, and Anne will be available for specially priced commissions for our geneacruisers. Nearer the time we will give advance notice abot coming prepared with photographs and documents so she can commence artwork creation onboard which will allow you to see its development. But printing and framing would have to be done afterwards. Anne will also be presenting two workshops.


4th cruise - Chris PatonChris Paton (Scotland and Ireland)
Scotland’s Greatest Story & British GENES
We were lucky enough to have Chris Paton join us for our 2nd Cruise, and he loved it so much (and we loved him too) that he’s coming back four the 4th Cruise. Originally from Northern Ireland, Chris Paton is a Scottish based professional genealogist, who runs the Scotland’s Greatest Story ancestral research service. He’s a regular contributor to several UK and Ireland based family history publications, and author of a number of books, and in his spare time <grin> he also writes the daily British GENES (GEnealogy News and EventS) blog.


4th cruise - Helen SmithHelen Smith (Queensland)
From Helen V Smith’s Keyboard
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 the author of Death Certificates and Archaic Medical Terms and has written for ‘Inside History’, ‘Australian Family Tree Connections’ and other family history journals as well as scientific publications. She is the author of a number of genealogy and history related blogs, with her main one being From Helen V Smith’s Keyboard.


4th cruise - Jan GowJan Gow (New Zealand)
Hooked on Genealogy Tours
Jan says she has been ‘Hooked on Genealogy’ since 1981 when she won an airfare to the States. She has been a tutor, author and lecturer at local, national and international levels since 1985. And on cruise ships! She has served three years as Treasurer and then three years President New Zealand Society of Genealogists. She is presently the Liaison Officer for FamilySearch/NZSG, is a NZSG Life Member and Past Board Member Association Professional Genealogists. She has owned Beehive Books since 1987, the one-stop-shop for NZ genealogists and led Hooked on Genealogy Tours (since 1992) – each year preparing and escorting genealogists to Salt Lake City for three weeks and on to the UK for a further three weeks.

Jan was awarded the AFFHO Award for Meritorious Service to Family History in 2006. She was on the organising committee for the AFFHO Congress in Auckland in 2009, and the NZ Family History Fair in 2010.


4th cruise - Jane TaubmanJane Taubman (England)
FHUG – Family Historian User Group
Having begun research into her roots in her early twenties, Jane has been combining her interests in computers and history ever since. In 2002 she purchased the first version of Family Historian and set up a place on the web for people to get help with it. Ten years on “FHUG: Family Historian User Group” is now full of resources to help people get the most from this powerful program. Having previously run short courses for the Society of Genealogists in London as well as for My History in the North of England, she now runs regular Family Historian courses near to her home in South Somerset, with people regularly travelling from across England to join them.

Simon Orde, Family Historian’s chief designer had this to say about her, when asked to recommend a presenter for Family Historian. “She is a real expert on Family Historian, on computing generally (she is a director of an IT company), and a lifelong committed and very knowledgeable genealogist. She is also an expert photographer and gives courses on that too. She regularly gives detailed advice to everyone on the FHUG and on the FHU Mailing List. She knows absolutely everything about Family Historian.”

Jane will present a special Family Historian stream of workshops as well as give and introductory presentation for non-Family Historian users.


4th cruise - Jill BallJill Ball (New South Wales)
Jill, now an amateur genealogist, has been a librarian, teacher and Head of IT at a Sydney Independent School. Jill embraces any new technology with an amazing enthusiasm, and she uses Web 2.0 tools including Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Picasa, and Blogger to communicate with genealogists and family members around the globe.

She shares her passion for integrating technology with genealogy through her blog (Geniaus), as well as presentations in Australia and internationally at Rootstech. Apart from being a well-known name in the genealogy blogisphere, having been an Official Blogger for RootsTech twice, and the Australasian Congress, she’s also written several articles for Inside History Magazine.

Jill will be sharing her knowledge of technology both in the toys that are available as well as the social media side of it with us on the cruise.


4th cruise - Julie GoucherJulie Goucher (England)
Anglers Rest
Julie lives in the South West of England, but was born and bought up in Surrey. The genealogy bug caught her in her early twenties and her obsession was fed by a series of elderly relatives who loved to share the family’s history.
Julie uses her ‘Anglers Rest’ blog to record the stories of her family as well as a place to records how her research is progressing.

One the cruise Julie will be speaking about One Place Studies.


4th cruise - Lesley SilvesterDr Lesley Silvester (Western Australia)
Lesley is a Londoner who came to Australia with her family in 1961. After a career in nursing and administration, Lesley’s long-standing interest in genealogy resulted in her starting the busy genealogical firm TimeTrackers in 2000. TimeTrackers has helped thousands of clients across Australia and in the UK, New Zealand, USA and a smattering of other countries. Lesley’s interests are historical and genealogical research and education. As well as working for clients, she is also heavily involved in WAGS and is a regular volunteer helping people find their families at a support centre for Child Migrants.

Lesley and her husband, Mike Murray will host a fascinating evening presentation of story and song called ‘Strangers on the Shore’ on the crusie. It’s all about Western Australia’s dramatic and moving Maritime past – shipwrecks, pirates, triumph and tragedy. And you’ll get the chance to sing a verse or two.


4th cruise - Linda ElliottLinda Elliott (New Zealand)
Mad About Genealogy
Linda is an English genealogy expert having started researching her family tree in the 1970s. Linda has worked as a freelance genealogy researcher in England and New Zealand where she now lives.

Linda has been awarded Life Membership of the Hampshire Genealogical Society and the Bay of Islands branch of the NZSG, and she has taught evening classes, workshops, seminars and at the present time is leading monthly classes through a 2 year syllabus designed to take family historians from beginner to advanced researcher level.


Marg Doherty (Queensland)
Genealogical Society of Queensland & History Queensland
Marg Doherty is as passionate about Queensland’s history as anyone can be. Being the current President of the Genealogical Society of Queensland, a position which she has held for a number of years now, as well as being the current President of History Queensland been actively involved in activities and projects which aim at recording or documenting history from the region, together with working towards making that more accessible to the public.


4th cruise - Mike MurrayMike Murray (Western Australia)
Mike’s interest in genealogy started in 1989, sparked by the sudden death of his mother and the reailsation that she was the font of all family knowledge, which had now gone. Mike resolved to find out more about the family’s roots, and has been successful in tracing his mother’s side in Ireland for many generations and the Murray family’s Scottish roots back to the 1600s. Like many of us, the quest for his family roots aroused his passion for genealogy and history.

After retiring from a career in industry and international consultancy, Mike joined his wife Lesley in running TimeTrackers, which specialises in British and Australian research, education, publishing and film-making. Mike does the publishing and film-making. Mike has had many speaking and educational engagements on a variety of genealogical topics, and is heavily involved with the WA Genealogical Society (WAGS), and is the Convenor of the Computer Interest Group and, with Lesley, the London and South England Special Interest Group.

Mike and his wife, Lesley Silvester will host a fascinating evening presentation of story and song called Strangers on the Shore on the cruise. It’s all about Western Australia’s dramatic and moving Maritime past – shipwrecks, pirates, triumph and tragedy. And you’ll get the chance to sing a verse or two.


4th cruise - Neil SmithLieutenant Colonel Neil Smith, AM (Retd) (Victoria)
Mostly Unsung Military History Research and Publications
Raised in Western Australia, Neil spent 24 years in the Australian Regular Army with postings throughout Australia and overseas including a tour of duty in South Vietnam. With a broad service experience no one knows better how to get the most out of military records and archives.

Since resigning from the army 20 years ago Neil has pursued an interest in military history which had started whilst stationed in the UK. With his wife Sylvie he established Mostly Unsung Military History Research and Publications and has published scores of unit histories and other works and articles on Australian and British military history. His first book with Unlock the Past, That elusive digger: tracing your Australian military ancestors is already publsihed, with more titles expected in time for the cruise.

Neil often provides presentations on military history with a particular focus on how to research the man behind the medal. He has undertaken much TV work from both sides of the camera and has also researched in detail tens of thousands of individual service personnel for a range of official and private clients, many of whom are genealogists.


4th cruise - Noeline KyleDr Noeline Kyle (New South Wales)
Writing Family History
Noeline has been researching and writing family history since the 1970s when as a mature age student she discovered family history, women’s history and a love of learning all at once. Noeline gained a doctorate in history from the University of Newcastle and published her first book in 1985, Tracing family history in Australia with other books following. Since her retirement from university teaching has supported family historians with their writing of family history with her book How to write & publish family stories in 10 easy steps and with workshops, seminars and talks on writing family history over the last thirty years.

For the cruise Noeline will be drawing on her recent and forthcoming books with Unlock the Past:
– Finding Florence, Maude, Matilda, Rose: researching and writing about women in family history
– Citing historical sources: a manual for family historians
– Researching & writing about nurses, midwives, hospitals and health: a source book for family historians
– Write it! Publish it! How to write & publish a family history the family will love to read


Rob Hamilton (Victoria)
Freemasons Victoria
Rob’s talk will be on the spread of Freemason’s Lodges throughout the world as the British empire expanded, together with the records that are available.

Often the Lodge building was one of the earliest permanent structures to be established, and many early records still exist, in some cases dating back to the mid 1700s in England. The records in Victoria in some lodges are in excess of 150 years old and through careful study give a good social aspect of the social and commercial life of the times.  Membership records will often give details such as, the occupation, age of the member, the date he joined the lodge, his address and the various lodges he was a member. This information assists with locating the movements of these men around the country.

Masonic lodges often have photos of the lodge members particularly the office bearers, and funeral notices often are placed in the press by a members lodge, and often only refer to that lodge by a number. These numbered lodges may no longer be in existence however in some cases the monthly minute books survive, detailing the activities of the day.

The subject is so vast that no amount of time would ever be sufficient to cover the entire subject, however as this will be the first time the subject of Freemasonry, their records and influence has been given on one of the cruises that Rob will not only be speaking on the subject as a talk, but he is likely to be helping out in the Research Help Zone for with further interest.


4th cruise - Rosemary KopittkeRosemary Kopittke (Queensland)
Queensland Family History Society
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. Recently she has completed Certificate in Genealogical Studies (English Records) with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies.  and currently works as a consultant for Gould Genealogy & History and is regularly invited to speak on findmypast and other topics at events in Australia and New Zealand. 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 current member of the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO) Council and the Queensland FHS Management Committee, Rosemary is a Fellow of the Queensland Family History Society and in 2006 received the AFFHO Award for Meritorious Services to Family History.


4th cruise - Shauna HicksShauna Hicks (Queensland)
Shauna Hicks History Enterprises & Diary of an Australian Genealogist
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 her own research and consultancy business, Shauna Hicks History Enterprises. She is a sought after presenter at Unlock the Past and other events. She is the author of a number of research publications published by Unlock the Past, as well as numerous articles for journals and magazines.

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; in 2007 she was awarded a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Australian Society of Archivists and is a recipient of the AFFHO Award for Meritorious Services to Family History.


4th cruise - Thomas MacEnteeThomas MacEntee (US)
GeneaBloggers & High-Definition Genealogy
As a genealogist specialising in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogical research and to interact with others in the family history community, Thomas MacEntee relies upon his 25 years of experience in the information technology field.

Born in the Catskill Mountain region of New York, Thomas was introduced to his ancestry in 1993 when he discovered a published copy of his family’s genealogy from 1916. Thomas now shares his knowledge of technology and experience as a genealogist with others through various forms of social media and speaking engagements. Through his business High-Definition Genealogy, he provides consulting services in the genealogy industry covering such areas as market research, education, technology and more. As the creator of, Thomas has organised and engaged a community of over 2800 bloggers to document their own journeys in the search for ancestors.


4th cruise - Tiggy JohnsonTiggy Johnson (Queensland)
Tiggy Johnson
Tiggy is an Australian writer and poet whose short stories, essays and poems have appeared widely, including in Black Inc’s Best Australian Poems 2012 in the Herald-Sun and on Melbourne trains. She has taught in the Professional Writing and Editing TAFE course and has spoken at and performed at various national writing/poetry festivals.

With a love of stories and puzzles, she was destined for genealogy.Tiggy is currently working towards her Masters in Information Studies, and since catching the genealogy bug, is writing her family history in poetry.

On the cruise Tiggy will be speaking on writing and poetry, and different ways to present your family history.


So there you go, it’s is an impressive line up isn’t it. And if you want to be a part of this totally amazing geneacruise, and mix it with so many wonderful people who share your passion for genealogy, join us, we’d love to see you there – but you will need to be quick as cabins are booking up fast.

For full details about the cruise, check Unlock the Past’s 4th cruise page
For queries or to book, contact Clean Cruising
To keep up with news about the cruise, ‘like’ Unlock the Past’s History & Genealogy Cruises Facebook page