Paul Blake (England)
Paul Blake is a full-time researcher, lecturer and writer, with over twenty years experience, and he holds the Diploma in Genealogy from the Institute of Heraldic & Genealogical Studies. Based in London, England he specialises in London and military ancestry but has wide general expertise and is therefore available for commissions for all England and Wales. He is a regular visitor to The [British] National Archives and the several London record offices. He is joint author of the books, The complete guide to creating your own family tree and Discover your roots (UK and US editions). He is a regular writer for Family History Monthly magazine, including its monthly Q&As section, Your Family Tree magazine and other periodicals. Paul also contributed to the highly successful Readers’ Digest book, Explore Your Family’s Past. Paul has undertaken research for the television series The People Detective and Revealing Secrets, and has appeared on the latter, as well as on BBC national and local radio. Paul has worked as an advisor to the History Channel and the BBC and undertaken research into the family histories of several celebrities for the Sunday Magazine. Paul lectures widely on a variety of genealogy and related subjects, in England, in North America and elsewhere overseas, and on cruise ships. Paul has served on many committees. He is a past chairman, of the Society of Genealogists Executive Committee and of its Lectures Committee. He was vice-chairman of the Executive Committee of the Federation of Family History Societies, and its Director of Publicity. He serves on The National Archives Online Advisory Board and on the Regular Users Committees of TNA and the Family Records Centre. Paul is President of the East Surrey FHS and a Fellow of the Society of Genealogists. (biography taken from APG website)
Geoff Doherty (Queensland)
Geoff has been interested in Boer War research since he began his university studies in 1996 as a part-time student. He blames his wife, Marg, for this as she got him interested in family history in the first place, which ultimately led to him beginning the university course. That has now culminated with his commencement this year of a PhD course (for the second time, he freely admits) which will concern the four Queensland Bushman contingents sent to the war in South Africa. Geoff and Marg have been on most Unlock The Past cruises to date and consider them to be a wonderful way to explore family history and meet new people with a like interest.
Marg Doherty (Queensland)
Starting her professional life as an accountant and moving onto health administration, Marg was doing family history in the 1980s BC – before computers. Now retired, Marg is still doing family history and is now President of the Genealogical Society of Queensland (since 2007), one of the longest established family history societies in Queensland. Marg is also President of History Queensland, an umbrella organisation for local and family history organisations.
In her spare time, Marg has complete a Graduate Diploma in Local, Family and Applied History at the University of New England. Her final two units are a research project examining Central Queensland nurses in the First World War. Her passion for this topic triggered by knowledge that her mother trained as a nurse in Central Queensland in the Second World War. This also meets her interest in how women contributed to society.
Married to military historian Geoff Doherty, Marg loves cruising when complemented by family history lectures. What more could anyone want?
Diane Foster (Western Australia)
Diane began her professional career in libraries in 1980, adding archives in 1986. During her career, Diane has worked in archives at the state, local and “grass roots” sector at the community level. These included historical societies, local history libraries, community archives, schools and the archival processes for private collections with a special interest in preservation of heritage collections. Diane completed, with honours, the Advanced Diploma of Local History from the Oxford University in England which has enhanced her knowledge and approach to research and writing local history.
Throughout the years, Diane has kept up to date with professional development and has tutored and lectured in three universities in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Diane has always been active in professional associations connected with her work and contributed on many levels. She was involved in creating a Local History Conference that led to the association of a local history collective comprising of historical societies, local history collections, family history groups and archival groups. In 1995 the offer of a contract with the Nanaimo Community Archives, British Columbia in Canada beckoned culminating in the “rescue” of the significant Malaspina Murals. Her seven years as Archives Manger with the Sidney Museum and Archives ended when she resigned to take up a post as Manager / Curator with the Qualicum Beach Museum. This post ended after four months when she decided to return to Australia. Family history research and genealogy are a passion for Diane and this continues into her retirement years as a major project for herself and others. Diane looks forward to working in a team environment as the archivist for the Western Australian Genealogical Society.
Jan Gow (New Zealand) www.hookedongenealogytours.com
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. She has for ten years written a monthly genealogy column for NZ’s Netguide magazine, with a feature article most years.
Jan says “I need another category on my passport – that of Auskiwi – born in Australia, but live in Auckland NZ”. Jan was a presenter at 2011 RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City and at the 2011 Who Do You Think You Are? Live! show in London, two of the largest family history events in the world.
Shauna Hicks (Queensland) – Australia and various general topics
Shauna has been tracing her own family history since 1977 and worked in government for over 35 years in libraries and archives in Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne. Since retiring, she has written a number of family history guides and is a regular speaker at genealogy cruises, conferences and seminars. She now operates a small part time research and consultancy business Shauna Hicks History Enterprises at www.shaunahicks.com.au and is the author of the blog, Diary of an Australian Genealogist.
Shauna has a number of tertiary qualifications from Queensland universities including a Master of Arts in Australian Studies, a Graduate Diploma in Library Science and a Diploma in Family Historical Studies from the Society of Australian Genealogists. She is a Fellow of the Queensland Family History Society; a recipient of the Australian Society of Archivists Distinguished Achievement Award and the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations’ Award for Meritorious Services to Family History.
Louis Kessler (Canada)
Louis Kessler is a programmer, genealogist and promoter of family history research to the masses. A member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, Louis has been Chair of the Archives Committee, Board Member and President of the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada. Louis has led projects such as his society’s Cemetery Photography Project, written a genealogy column for a local newspaper, and given many lectures on genealogy and genealogy technology to societies, including being a speaker on the 3rd Unlock the Past Cruise in 2013 and at RootsTech in 2014.
Louis built his own website at lkessler.com in 1997. He designed and operates gensoftreviews.com, a site where genealogists can rate and review their genealogy software, and in 2011 at beholdgenealogy.com he released version 1 of his own software program Behold – destined to be the world’s first report-based data editor for genealogy.
Louis has university degrees in statistics and computer science. He lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada with his wife and two daughters. His daytime job is as the manager of the forecasting department at his province’s electric and gas utility company. Genealogy and programming are his after hour passions.
Eric Kopittke (Queensland) – Germany and Denmark
Eric has been researching his family history in Australia, Germany, England and Wales since 1985. In the same year he joined the Queensland Family History Society where he has been convenor of the 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 recently retired after teaching Physics and Mathematics at St Peters Lutheran College, Indooroopilly.
He regularly speaks at family history societies and at other events. In June 2012 he spoke on German research at the New Zealand Society of Genealogists Conference.
Eric has received the Queensland FHS Award for Services to Family History (1990); was made a Fellow of the Queensland FHS (2000); and in 2006 was awarded the AFFHO Award for Meritorious Services to Family History.
Rosemary Kopittke (Queensland) – online databases and Australian records
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 Certificate in Genealogical Studies (English Records) with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. 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 current member of 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.
Judy G. Russell (United States)
The Legal Genealogist Judy G. Russell is a genealogist with a law degree. She writes, teaches and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical topics, ranging from using court records in family history to understanding DNA testing. A native of the American west with roots deep in the American south on her mother’s side and entirely in Germany on her father’s side, she is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society (U.S.) and numerous state and regional genealogical societies. She has attended numerous genealogy training programs including the National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR) at the U.S. National Archives in Washington, D.C., and was a Walter Lee Sheppard Jr. prizewinner in Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis at the Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University in Alabama. Now on the faculty of IGHR as well as the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), she is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), from which she holds credentials as a Certified Genealogist? and Certified Genealogical Lecturer?. She has written for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, the National Genealogical Society Magazine and BCG’s OnBoard newsletter. Her blog – chosen as one of the American Bar Association’s top 100 in 2013 – appears at The Legal Genealogist website (http://www.legalgenealogist.com).
Helen Smith (Queensland) – 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 History, Australian 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 Certificate in Genealogical Studies: English Records.