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scroll down the page for a list of presentations and short outlines, for each speaker

Dr Maurice Gleeson (UK) – pre-cruise Seattle conference and the cruise
Maurice Gleeson is Education Ambassador for ISOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogy), a member of the APG, and organiser of Genetic Genealogy Ireland (the annual national conference on DNA & genealogy). He was born in Dublin where he trained as a medical doctor. He is currently a psychiatrist, a pharmaceutical physician, and a part-time actor as well as a genetic genealogist.

His father had been researching the family tree on and off for 30 years and in 2006 Maurice decided to join in the fun, quickly becoming addicted. Together they have toured Ireland, found a variety of ancestral homelands, and reconnected with cousins internationally, both through traditional genealogical methods and through DNA. It continues to be a wonderful adventure. Most recently Maurice has discovered he is probably a direct relative of JP Morgan and Princess Diana.

Maurice did his first DNA test in 2008 and has never looked back. Now he is administrator of several Surname DNA Projects, including the Gleason, Spearin, Farrell, O’Malley, & Maloney Projects. He also works with adoptees and with people of unknown parentage to help them reconnect with their biological family. In association with this work, he has appeared on Irish TV as a consultant for the TV series Adoption Stories. He authors several blogs (DNA and Family Tree Research, Genetic Genealogy Ireland, and blogs associated with his surname projects) and is a regular contributor to genealogical magazines (Irish Roots, Irish Lives Remembered). His YouTube videos on genetic genealogy are very popular and have won him international recognition (his YouTube channel is called DNA and Family Tree Research).

He has organised the DNA Lectures for “Genetic Genealogy Ireland” in Dublin and “Who Do You Think You Are” in the UK since 2012, and has given talks all over Ireland, the UK, and internationally. He was voted “Genetic Genealogist of the Year 2015” (SurnameDNA Journal) and “Superstar Genealogist, Ireland” in 2016 and 2017 (Canada’s Anglo-Celtic Connections).

Eastman 120Dick Eastman (United States)
Dick is widely known internationally for his Eastman’s online genealogy newsletter. He has been involved in genealogy for more than 30 years. He has worked in the computer industry for over 40 years in hardware, software, and managerial positions. By the early 1970s, Dick was already using a mainframe computer to enter his family data on punch cards. He built his first home computer in 1980. More about Dick.

Other speakers – click on links for biographies and further information

Blaine Bettinger (USA) – The Genetic Genealogist – pre-cruise Seattle conference only

Susan Brook (USA) – Chasing Your Ancestors

Dr Janet Few (England) – The History Interpreter

Jan Gow (New Zealand) – Hooked on Genealogy Tours

Caroline Gurney (England) – Historical Research Services

Shauna Hicks (Australia) – Shauna Hicks History Enterprises

Cyndi Ingle (USA) – Cyndi’s List

Eric Kopittke (Australia) – German Family matters

Rosemary Kopittke (Australia) – Rosemary Kopittke Genealogy

Kae Lewis (USA / New Zealand) – Goldrush Online

Mike Murray  (Australia) – Time Trackers

Michelle Patient (New Zealand) – The Patient Genie

Pat Richley-Erickson (USA) – Dear Myrtle

Teri Schaller (USA) – History Speaks, a division of Mile High Transcripts

Wayne Shepheard (author of Surviving Mother Nature’s tests) – pre-cruise Seattle conference only

Helen Smith (Australia) – Dragon Genealogy

Mary Stutters (Australia)

Ed Thompson (USA) – Evidentia software

PRESENTATIONS – and Research Help Zone advice expertise


Blaine Bettinger (USA) – The Genetic Genealogist – pre-cruise Seattle conference only

Using Y-DNA and mtDNA to Explore Your Ancestry – Y-DNA and mtDNA testing are the workhorses of genetic genealogy, and have helped genealogists break through thousands of stubborn brick walls. Learn about the unique inheritance of Y-DNA and mtDNA in your family, how these tests can be used to explore your ancient ancestry, and how the results can identify your relatives both close and distant.

Using Autosomal DNA for 18th and 19th Century Mysteries – Even though our 18th and 19th century ancestors have been dead for decades, their DNA still survives in their descendants. Learn how to use autosomal DNA to attack and potentially solve genealogical mysteries and brick walls for ancestors who were born or lived in the 1800’s, 1700’s, and beyond. Together we’ll also examine some of the ways that leaders in the field have attacked or solved their 18th and 19th century mysteries using autosomal DNA

Using Third-Party Tools to Analyze Your Autosomal DNA – Although DNA testing companies provide their own analysis of test results, there are third-party tools that allow test-takers to learn even more about their genomic heritage, including admixture calculators and the identification of genetic cousins. Together we’ll explore one of these tools, GEDmatch, and learn how how to use some of the many powerful tools GEDmatch offers.

Phasing and Mapping Your DNA – Phasing is the process of identifying what DNA you inherited from your mother, and what DNA you inherited from your father. Learn how to phase your DNA results, and how you can use that phased DNA. We’ll also learn how to map segments of your DNA to specific ancestors using chromosome browsers and third-party tools. By testing relatives and using known matches you can map significant pieces of DNA to your genealogical family tree!

Dr Maurice Gleeson (UK) – pre-cruise Seattle conference and the cruise

Challenges with Irish genetic genealogy (pre-cruise conference only) – Researching in Irish records can be challenging and brick walls tend to impede our progress beyond the 1800-1830 timepoint. However, DNA testing can be a useful tool to complement Irish research. This talk will explore how to use your DNA results to augment your use of Irish records.

Tracing your immigrant ancestor to Ireland – a strategic approach (pre-cruise conference only) – For many Irish-Americans, all they know is their ancestor “came from Ireland” but they have no further information than that. This talk gives an overview of the various techniques & records available in the US (and elsewhere) that can be used to help trace your ancestor back to where they came from in Ireland. These include shipping records, emigration records, but also surname dictionaries and distribution maps.

Navigating Irish birth, marriage & death records (pre-cruise conference only) – In the last year or so, many of the civil registration records are coming online. Most of these are available for free via and digital images of the original record can be downloaded. Civil registration started in 1864 for most records. Prior to this, one has to rely on church records for tracing further back and these can be very helpful indeed or not at all – coverage is patchy and most records peter out around 1800-1830. However, all of Ireland is covered by two websites and most of this research can be done from the comfort of your own home.

Newspapers, gravestones & probate: rich sources for Irish genealogy (pre-cruise conference only) – This talk explores the wealth of genealogical material to be found in newspapers, cemeteries, probate, petty session court records, & dog licenses. We will also explore some of the resources that everyone should be using as a routine part of their ongoing Irish research.

Commemorating the missing – using DNA to identify WWI soldiers (cruise) – There are 338,000 Allied soldiers from WWI still missing on the Western Front. Each year, routine farm work uncovers about 30-60 remains. In 2009, a mass grave of 250 soldiers was discovered and a painstaking retrieval and identification process was undertaken. This talk discusses how DNA played a major role in identifying these soldiers.

Using the Irish census & census substitutes (cruise) – Census records survive for only 1901 and 1911, with some scraps from other years. Griffith’s Valuation can be very helpful as a mid-1800 census substitute but it is the Cancelled or Revised Valuation Books that provide a wealth of information that allow tracing relatives forwards and backwards from the present day to the 1850s. We will also look at the Tithe Applotement books and the Registry of Deeds.

Where else to look? (with Michelle Patient) (cruise) – Having trouble with a match that isn’t replying, or hasn’t got a publicly-available tree? Where else can you find their family tree and thus make the most of your DNA results? This talk shows you hints and tips to get around the problem of absent, or inadequate, or private family trees associated with your DNA matches.

Analysing your Y-DNA surname study (cruise) – If you are running a Surname DNA Project, you will spend a lot of time grouping your project members. A lot of discussion has centred on this particular activity, but I want to shift focus on how you analyse the results once you have your project members adequately grouped. This advanced talk will explore what sources of information you can use to answer questions such as: how old is the group? where did they come from? does the DNA support what is written in the Ancient Annals or historical genealogies?

Using triangulation to break thru brick walls (cruise) – Everybody comes to a Dead End at some point along each of their ancestral lines. And some of these Roadblocks can become a particular research interest (e.g. an adopted mother, an illegitimate grandfather). DNA testing can help break through even the most resilient Brick Wall and help you push back one or more generations. This lecture teaches you how to use Triangulation to focus on breaking through the Brick Wall you have with a particular ancestor.

How I accidentally cloned myself over a couple of Martinis (cruise) – What started out as a casual evening of light drinking with a few colleagues turned into a wild and sometimes nightmarish journey into our fast-approaching future. Who would have thought that we would have met Barbara Streisland on the bandwagon?!

Research Help Zone advice – DNA, Irish research

Dick Eastman (United States)

Genealogy searches on Google

Going nearly paperless – how to get started

Use Evernote for genealogy and nearly everything else

Research Help Zone advice – technology

Susan Brook (USA) – Chasing Your Ancestors

Cornwall’s people and emigration: where did they Go? – Over 6 million people around the world are descended from the Cornish. Who were these people and why did an amazing 50% of their total population emigrate? Where on earth did they all go? Come learn some of the history and culture of the Cornish that set them apart from the rest of England while developing an understanding of how tin mining and the industrial revolution changed everything!

England’s Poor Law and her misfortunate outcasts – The history of the poor law in England is not only fascinating, but will help you understand what documents may have been produced about your family. Come discover the heartbreaking history of England’s poor in forced child apprenticeships, workhouses, and orphanages. Discover great resources for finding ancestor’s records in the facilities—sometimes including photos. A personal family story will be shared.

Research Help Zone advice – German(research, handwriting & planning a research) – British (civil registration, poor law, illegitimacy, Cornwall)

Dr Janet Few (England) – The History Interpreter

Harnessing the Facebook generation: ideas for involving young people in history and heritage – This presentation is a thought-provoking look at how we can encourage the next generation of family historians and historians and why we might want to do so. Suggestions cover activities, outings, toys, games, books and ways of exploiting technology in order to motivate and enthuse young people, even toddlers, so that they engage with their history and heritage.

Madness, mania and melancholia: the mental health of our ancestors – The history of mental ill-health is poorly understood and many of those who were labelled as ‘idiots’, ‘imbeciles’ or ‘lunatics’ in the past would have a very different diagnosis today. This presentation looks at the history of reactions to and the treatment of those who we would now recognize as being mentally ill, or as having a learning disability. It also investigates the institutions where sufferers might be held and the sources we can use to find out more about these, often forgotten, members of our family.

Toleration or turmoil?: English non-conformity and our ancestors – This talk is not just for those with English ancestors who worshipped outside the established Church of England. It does not focus on sources for tracing non-conformist ancestry, as many books and websites do that more that adequately. Instead, it considers the effect of a non-conformist presence on local communities. Whether our ancestors were the conformist Anglicans or the non-conformists of a wide variety of denominations, life would not be the same once there were alternative places of worship in a locality. This presentation considers the impact that groups of non-conformists had on social order and looks at the persecution of various religious groups. Then the relationship between non-conformity and emigration will be discussed. Were non-conformists more likely to emigrate and if so why? How did non-conformist groups impact on the world of work? Did being a member of a non-conformist group have a detrimental effect on mental health? Finally non-conformity as a force for cohesion or division within a community will be investigated.

Research Help Zone advice – migration – 17th century – social history – community history – England and Wales, particularly SW England

Jan Gow (New Zealand) – Hooked on Genealogy Tours

Remember the WWW??? No, not the world, wide, web – but the WHO, WHERE , WHEN.

24/7/52/365/1440!! It does not matter what you call it or how you look at it – it means WORK for you!

Research Help Zone advice – New Zealand – online data services – computer tech topics – Legacy genealogy program

Caroline Gurney (England) – Historical Research Services

Are you related to royalty? – Your documented ancestry may consist entirely of the humblest classes but you are almost certainly descended from royalty. This presentation explains why, taking a light-hearted look at the evidence from genealogy and other disciplines and introducing you to your cousins – royal, famous and infamous.

Lost in London: breaking down brick walls in London research – Research in London is difficult because of the size of the city, mobility of the population and volume of records. This talk presents strategies for finding your elusive London ancestors, with practical examples of the information which can be found for even the poorest families.

Research Help Zone advice – English, London & Bristol research – merchant seamen – agricultural labourers – tracing living relatives – British Newspaper Archive – Family Tree Maker

Shauna Hicks (Australia) – Shauna Hicks History Enterprises

Caring for your family archives

Finding pictorial sources online

Research Help Zone advice – Australian & New Zealand research – convict & criminals – military – newspapers – education – mining – asylums – church records – getting started

Cyndi Ingle (USA) – Cyndi’s List

The Hidden Web: Digging Deeper (pre-cruise conference only) – When Google and traditional search engines don’t return useful information, don’t stop there. We will explore resources that are invisible to Google and hidden deep within web sites and proprietary databases. The “hidden web” lies buried within the collections for commercial web sites, libraries, archives, and museums. We will also talk about the importance of indexes that deep-link into web sites online, thus uncovering hidden gems of information that may not be found easily through a search engine query.

Be your own digital archivist: preserve your research – Are you doing everything you can to safeguard your genealogical research? Your documents? Your data? Your scanned images? We will talk about the importance of taking charge of your own materials and making sure they aren’t going to disappear.

Remedies for copy & paste genealogy – Family trees and the information they contain are easily copied and re-published by others online. This means errors are duplicated many times over. We will discuss solutions for dealing with these issues.

Research Help Zone advice – Cyndi’s list – Google – Evernote – online tools – organising – internet research – US research

Eric Kopittke (Australia) – German Family matters

German maps and gazetteers – Maps and gazetteers are essential resources for family history and genealogy. A good map will show the location of your ancestral village, neighbouring villages, hills, mountains and valleys, rivers, lakes and canals, roads and railway lines. All of these can help you better understand your ancestor and his/her life. This presentation illustrates how these resources are of use to the researcher and provides links to enable access to them.

Understanding the system: a brief overview of the history of the German region – Depending where we went to school, most of us would have learned about our own country’s history and probably some British (especially English) history. However, apart from the two World Wars, we probably learned very little of the history of Germany and its neighbours. In this presentation, a broad look is taken of the history of this region enabling the researcher to understand better the forces which shaped the lives of his/her ancestors.

Research Help Zone advice – German, Danish, Queensland & Sussex research – Lutherans in Australia – DNA (beginners advice)

Rosemary Kopittke (Australia) – Rosemary Kopittke Genealogy

Beyond just indexes: why we should check source records – Indexes to records are a great boon to our research but we need to be aware of their limitations, recognise their failings and go beyond just indexes when producing our family tree. Too often we can miss vital clues or fail to find errors in the indexes – disastrous family trees are the evidence that many people research using only indexes!

Flip-Pal mobile scanner

ScotlandsPeople and more – ScotlandsPeople is the official online source of parish register, civil registration, census, land valuations, wills & testaments, coats of arms and military service appeals for Scotland. Use the records you have available to discover your Scottish roots. Searches are now free with ScotlandsPeople so there is no reason for not checking out your family. What else can I use? The talk also touches on burial records, directories, maps, electoral registers and more.

Research Help Zone advice – Australian, Queensland, Scottish & Derbyshire research – Family Historian (software) – Ancestry, Findmypast, MyHeritage, ScotlandPeople & TheGenealogist – directories – electoral rolls – government gazettes – DNA (beginners advice) – Flip-Pal mobile scanner

Kae Lewis (USA / New Zealand) – Goldrush Online

My ancestor was a 19th century goldminer: don’t rule it out – The major 19th century gold rushes were a great stampede of young men from all over the world to the gold fields of California, then over the Pacific to Australia, on to New Zealand and culminating in a rush to the Klondike. What was it like, what were the problems and above all, how do we find out who they all were?

Research Help Zone advice – goldmining and gold rushes (worldwide)

Mike Murray  (Australia) – Time Trackers

Highland clearances – where did they go? – Following the decisive defeat of the Jacobite army at Culloden in 1746, the Highland clan system was effectively demolished. Over the following century a grim new reality faced the Highlanders which culminated in waves of emigration – forced and unforced – and involuntary relocation of families.Along with hundreds of others, Mike’s great-grandmother was forced out of her house and moved to poorer land in the Isle of Lewis in the 1850s.  How did this happen and where did the emigrants go? Many ended up in Canada and the US. Were they victims or pioneers? Or both?

Hidden secrets in our DNA – in search of my mystery cousin – DNA testing can throw up unexpected results.  Mike’s DNA results matched two mystery 1st to 2nd cousins in Canada  (mother and daughter). Over the past 3 years he and his new cousins have been trying to unravel the connections between them. In the process they have had to grapple with a false trail carefully laid down by the ancestors, multiple cousin marriages (endogamy), the vagaries of X-chromosome inheritance, and secret liaisons among close family members. Join Mike for a ripping yarn of the gradual unpeeling of the onion of clues, using some of the DNA tools available and a lot of genealogical detective work. Will the secrets be revealed? Come and find out!

Research Help Zone advice – Australian, Western Australian, English, Irish, Scottish, & Welsh research -Reunion for Mac – online research – DNA

Michelle Patient (New Zealand) – The Patient Genie

Extracting evidence from photographs

Genealogy treasures inside The Internet Archive

Getting the most out of your Ancestry DNA matches

Is it true? The facts, fun and fiction of family history

Where else to look? (with Maurice Gleeson)

Research Help Zone advice – DNA – surname studies – online newspapers – Ancestry, Findmypast, MyHeritage & FamilySearch – technology, including Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook & Google for genealogy – online trees – photos – migration – New Zealann

Pat Richley-Erickson (USA) – Dear Myrtle

Seven habits of highly effective genealogists

Research Help Zone advice – Ancestry trees – FamilySearch – document analyis – Google for genealogists – blogging – cloud technology

Teri Schaller (USA) – History Speaks, a division of Mile High Transcripts

Why transcripts are essential to include in your family record

Research Help Zone advice – interviewing others for oral histories, i.e. questions to ask, recording media to use, care of the media once recorded, how to do a transcription

Wayne Shepheard (author of Surviving Mother Nature’s tests) – pre-cruise Seattle conference only

Genealogy and the Little Ice Age – As genealogists we seek information about our ancestors from as far back in time as possible. That being said, not all researchers may be familiar with the term, but some of the most important records we find were created during the time of the Little Ice Age.

The Little Ice Age was a climatic period that lasted from about AD 1300 to 1850, a time in history when, from a physical or environmental standpoint, in comparison to the warm periods that preceded and followed it, was characterized by:
– substantially cooler temperatures around the globe
– mostly unstable weather
– more frequent and intense storms
– especially challenging food production
– harsh living conditions

All of these factors had enormous impact on the lives and livelihoods of people and contributed to famine, spread of disease, social unrest, injury to being and habitat, and, in some cases, migration.

Summarizing of vital data began in earnest during this time. Apart from purely religious reasons or to establish hereditary claims, it may have been instituted in response to the need for more accurate rolls for churches and governments in identifying individuals from whom they could raise funds to support expanded social programs – parish relief efforts, poor laws and workhouses – involving the care of their citizens, more of whom fell into dire straits as the Little Ice Age progressed.

Because the Little Ice Age is the time frame that most coincides with genealogical research, it is important to understand the physical conditions under which people lived in order to assemble the most complete histories of families.

This presentation will hopefully bring perspective to the study of the generations of families who lived through the time of the Little Ice Age.

Helen Smith (Australia) – Dragon Genealogy

Begotten by fornication – Children being born out of wedlock was a problem for the parish, particularly when there was a risk they would need to support the mother through the confinement then the mother and child. There are a range of documents under the English and Welsh Poor Law system that can be very helpful in your family history research

DNA testing plan – In a perfect world we would have enough money to test everybody but sadly this is not the case. How to spend your money wisely while still making the most of your search to break through your brick walls. What are your options, what should you consider?

Getting the most out of your MyHeritage DNA matches – You have tested with MyHeritage or uploaded your autosomal DNA result from another company to MyHeritage but are you using all the available tools offered in your search for matches?

It’s a great time to be Irish: Irish online records – Researching in Ireland has a number of difficulties due to the losses in the 1922 and Ireland’s  political history. However, don’t despair, as in 2018, due to ever increasing digitisation, there are many Irish records now available online in free and pay sites. These range from surviving census, parish registers, civil registration newspapers and much more. It really is a great time to be Irish!

Research Help Zone advice – Australian, Queensland, Kent & Oxfordshire research – brickwalls – DNA – archaic medical terms – causes of death – one name studies – one place studies – Google for genealogy – social media – World War I research – The Master Genealogist

Mary Stutters (Australia)

Unpacking the WW1 Army Casualty Clearing process to better tell your Ancestors story – This talk examines the notations on the Service Record to chart a Casualty thru medical facilities on the Western Front, hospital ships/trains and military hospitals and convalescent depots. I’ll highlight alternative resources for temporary hospitals, Red Cross and VAD records, as well as newspapers notices and local civilian responses that may help you fill out something of your soldier’s story. Though I’ll focus on the Western Front, the processes and record-keeping were common across the British Army [including the Dominion Forces] and free access has often been prioritised by the Governments of Australia, NZ and Canada [B/Inter].

Research Help Zone advice – WWI AIF and British service records

Ed Thompson (USA) – Evidentia software

Software you never knew

Using Evidentia to organise your research and analyse your sources

Research Help Zone advice – Evidentia – genealogy software


RESEARCH HELP ZONE – additional helpers (not speaking on the program)


Amelia Bennett (UK) – Amelia has been researching her family tree for 24 years. She is a trustee of the Society of Genealogists. She has significant experience researching in England and Wales using a variety of records along with experience in most countries around the world. Her love is solving brickwalls either through detective work or through a knowledge of where datasets may be hidden. She has managed DNA kits with the majority of the suppliers and has solved the mystery of her great-grandfather through DNA matches and a lot of traditional research. Amelia has hosted a number of brickwall workshops at the SoG and has been provided advice within the SoG library and at conferences/family history shows for a number of years. On social media, Amelia is known as Mia.

Research Help Zone advice –  English research, Society of Genealogists (UK), DNA

Regina Negrycz (USA) – Regina, a DNA lecturer, has offered to help with DNA questions, but probably not in the allocated DNA help sessions – possibly some evenings. Contact Regina directly on the cruise.