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Overseas presenters

MacenteeThomas MacEntee (United States)

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. Working with a detailed accounting of his Dutch ancestry, Thomas has continued to trace the other roots and branches of his family for the past 15 years. After attending The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., earning a Bachelor of Arts in Art History with a minor in Spanish Language and Literature, a career involving computers and the Internet was not on the radar for this lover of history and the liberal arts. But life has a funny way of interfering with “best laid plans.”

While working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Thomas was asked to learn all about a new-fangled machine called the IBM Personal Computer and then teach others in his department. Thus began a fascination with desktop computer technology and training. By then an “accidental trainer,” for the next 22 years Thomas went on to work in some of the largest global law firms in the world including Skadden Arps and Latham & Watkins as a trainer, technical writer, applications analyst and project manager.

Fast-forward to the present: 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.

After spending close to 20 years in Northern California, Thomas currently lives in the Andersonville neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois. Thomas is widely sought after for presentations and classes focusing on social media and technology as a way to assist genealogists and genealogical societies.

PatonChris Paton (Scotland)

Originally from Northern Ireland, Chris Paton is a Scottish based professional genealogist, running the Scotland’s Greatest Story ancestral research service ( A regular contributor to several UK and Ireland based family history publications, and author of seven family history books, he also writes the daily British GENES (GEnealogy News and EventS) blog at, as well as his own personal genealogy blog, Scotland: Walking in Eternity, at

A holder of a Postgraduate Diploma in Genealogical Studies, Chris has tutored for the University of Strathclyde’s postgraduate genealogical studies programme (, and teaches online Scottish genealogy courses through Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd ( He has lectured across Britain, Canada and Australia, and currently serves as a member of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland user forum and a director of the Scottish Archive Network.

DanielsAnne Daniels (England)

My business is called Drawing On The Past. I create unique works of art based on people’s genealogy.

Initially trained in Theatre Design, I moved into TV design after studying for a Masters Degree in Communication Design at the Manchester Metropolitan University. After working within the arts and media industries for the past 25 years, I am now concentrating my efforts on ‘Drawing On The Past’, which I launched at the ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ live event in London, 2013. The process I use to create an artwork enables me to fully utilise the skills I have honed during my career. Using a well-trained eye and a love of social history, I create unique artworks that tell my clients very personal stories in a visually compelling way.  Each artwork takes me on a particular journey, as I research around the information given to me, to find interesting visual signs and symbols to bring underlying meaning to each story. It’s something I take great care over, and never underestimate the responsibility involved in getting it right.


This will be a first for an Unlock the Past cruise – a resident cruise artist on board, offering ‘totally unique artwork using photographs of your ancestors.’ Anne will be available for specially priced commissions for those on our cruise. Nearer the time we will give advance notice on coming prepared with photographs and documents. She can commence artwork creation on board allowing you to see its development, but printing and framing would have to be done afterwards. Anne will also present two workshops.

Kirsty GrayKirsty Gray (England)

Kirsty is a professional genealogist and heir hunter who runs her own research company Family Wise Limited ( As a freelance author, she has published articles in family, local and social history magazines and handbooks across the globe. She has been researching the story of her paternal West Country family for many years and, having realised in the late 1990s that her eccentric hobby was called a one-name study, joined the Guild of One-Name Studies and soon became Secretary and then in 2010, the Chairman.

In 2011, Kirsty took over from Penny Christensen as Director of English Studies for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, updating previous courses and expanding the provision for online genealogical research courses about English records.

Having published Tracing your West Country ancestors in 2013, Kirsty is now working on Tracing your industrial ancestors with Pen and Sword Books and is also chairing the new Society for One-Place Studies ( launched in September 2013.

Although a relative youngster in the field of genealogy, Kirsty has been involved in family history for almost two decades and has lectured on various stages from local to regional and national. Having traded in her day job as a teacher to follow her passion, Kirsty is widely sought after as a family history tutor, lecturer and motivational speaker in the UK.

TaubmanJane Taubman (England)

Starting to research her family history in her early twenties, Jane has been combining her interests in computers and history to track her agricultural labourers through the south west of England, while fighting valiantly to track down her husband’s elusive Irish and Isle of Man ancestors. 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’ as that small website became, 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.

Australian and New Zealand presenters

BallJill Ball (New South Wales)

Jill, now an amateur genealogist, has been a librarian, teacher and, most recently, Head of Information Technology in a Sydney Independent School. In 2011 Jill was honoured with Life membership of School Library Association NSW for her work in education.

This connected Granny 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, and with presentations in Australia and internationally at Rootstech.

Jill was an Official Blogger for the 2011 and 2012 Rootstech Conferences in Salt Lake City and the 13th Australian Genealogy Congress in Adelaide. She has written several articles for Inside History Magazine and is a contributor to Unlock the Past’s History and Genealogy 2012: Australia and New Zealand.

CassPauleen Cass (Northern Territory)

Pauleen has been sleuthing her family history for over 27 years. Since retiring from university research administration, and now being an empty nester, there’s time to dedicate to writing about family history online (blogging), researching, and learning more about the social context of her ancestors’ lives. Pauleen likes nothing better than researching in archives or libraries. She is a true-maroon Queenslander whose roots go back to the formation of the colony.

Pauleen has been blogging for four years and her 2012 series on researching Beyond the Internet was well received. In 2003 she published her Kunkel family history, Grassroots Queenslanders: the Kunkel family which was the winner of the 2004 Alexander Henderson Award (AIGS) and joint winner of the 2004 QFHS Queensland Family History Book Award. In 2006 she gained an Advanced Diploma in Local Studies by online study through Oxford University.

Pauleen also researches the emigrants from East Co Clare, Ireland and Dorfprozelten in Bavaria. Another research focus is Murphy’s Creek, Queensland where her Kunkels lived


ClarkeMaggie Clarke (New South Wales)

Maggie Clarke is an avid scrapbooker and teacher of scrapbooking. She has been holding classes in her local community for over seven years and runs workshops for community groups and local people. Maggie has been published in Scrapbooking Memories Magazine and is passionate about her craft. Her particular interest is in the area of family history and recording past family and events through the focus of scrapbooking. Maggie makes her scrapbooking pages come ‘alive’ by including documents and stories that enhance the heritage photos she has of her family. 

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 all the 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.

Doherty MMarg 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 in her third year as President of History Queensland, an umbrella organisation for local and family history organisations. 

In her spare time, Marg hopes to complete her Graduate Diploma in Local, Family and Applied History at the University of New England in 2013.  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?

Kerry Farmer (New South Wales)
Family History Research

Kerry began teaching classes in “Family History Research using the Internet” in Sydney in 1997, and is now the Director Australian Studies, developing the Australian Records certificate for the internationally recognised National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Kerry is the author of DNA for genealogists and together with Rosemary Kopittke Kerry also wrote Which genealogy program?, both published by Unlock the Past.

Kerry is on the Education Committee of the Society of Australian Genealogists, and presents seminars and classes there as well as at other conferences and forums and undertakes commissioned family history research assignments for others.

Kerry has researched her own family history for over 25 years, researching ancestors predominantly from Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. She has also tackled the family branches in Canada, United States, South Africa, India, Germany, Poland, Norway and Russia. Kerry graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Computer Science and Pure Mathematics), and also with a Bachelor of Arts (Literature).

D FosterDiane 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.

GowJan Gow (New Zealand)

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 air show in London, two of the largest family history events in the world. More details, including a list of topics Jan offers.

GrillNeil Grill (New South Wales)

Neil Grill is a retired Army Officer (Major), having spent 25 years in the Australian Regular Army and 15 years in the Army Reserve serving in a variety of postings and employments in the Royal Australian Engineers and Royal Australian Signal Corps. He also spent 17 years as a senior Manager for TAFE NSW and recently retired to pursue personal interests including study and research of history and genealogy, part-time teaching and lecturing, travel, hiking and bushwalking.

During his Army career, Neil was the Garrison Engineer for the Sydney Metropolitan area and the ACT and worked as a project officer for several years in the Office of the Chief Engineer for the eastern region of Australia. During this time he gained a unique perspective of Defence properties, fortifications and their history; he was involved with the hand-back to the State of several foreshore properties around Sydney Harbour.

Neil is a technology infrastructure specialist and spent many years of his service career developing, designing and project managing the installation of secure Defence networks and computer systems. He transferred this skill set to the education sector in NSW installing computer systems to support educational delivery and on-line learning.

His particular areas of interest in history and genealogy are Military History generally, WWI, Coastal Fortification of Australia, researching obscure genealogies of long forgotten soldiers, personal family history, engineering history and heritage, and how to productively use ever changing technology to research, record and share information.


Hamilton 120Rob Hamilton (Victoria)

Rob Hamilton first joined the order of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Victoria 43 years ago, and during that time he has occupied every position in what is affectionally known as the “lodge” at a local level, an 18th degree Freemason, he currently holds the Masonic rank of Past Grand Standard Bearer. He is a member of several Masonic study circles, and has a certificate of Masonic studies as issued by the Victorian Lodge of Research.

Rob has written numerous papers on various Masonic and related topics including, The Knight Templers, The Schaw Statutes of 1598 and its influence on the current fundamentals of industrial workplace conditions. And the symbolism in freemasonry.

Rob is the Founder of the “Graeme Love Memorial Masonic Library”, which is housed in the Historic Zetland Masonic Lodge building in Kyneton Victoria, and is believed to be the largest Masonic library of its type in Australia, outside of a capital city

He Lectures on Masonic topics such as, The spread of freemasonry through the British empires conquests into America and the Indian Sub- Continent, The arrival of freemasonry in the colonies of New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land in the 1780s, Masonic symbols and monuments found in cemeteries, Interpreting Masonic photographs, What Masonic records can tell us and where they may be found, Interpreting the Masonic language found in Trove, What were the various constitutions that were operating in early Australia?

These dynamitic subjects will help you fill in the gaps and put the flesh on the bones between birth and death. What did your ancestors do in the society they lived in and helped to establish. The Freemasons were in many cases the first organised groups in any new settlement, in fact 1802 saw the first Masonic meeting in New South Wales held between French naval officers and British officers of the N.S.W. Corp.

HicksShauna Hicks (Queensland)

Shauna Hicks 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 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’ Services to Family History Award.

She is the author of a number of research publications published by Unlock the Past, including

  • Family and local history resource directory for Victoria
  • Family history on the cheap
  • Finding ancestors in church records: a brief guide to resources
  • My ancestor was in an asylum: a brief guide to asylum records in Australia and New Zealand
  • It’s not all online: a guide to genealogy sources offline
  • What was the voyage really like?: a brief guide to researching convict and immigrant voyages to Australia and New Zealand
  • Our family history archives: a brief introduction
  • Tracing mining ancestors: a brief guide to resources in Australia and New Zealand
  • Trove: discover genealogy treasure in the National Library of Australia
  • numerous articles for journals and the History and Genealogy 2011: Australia and New Zealand

HulbertMelissa Hulbert (New South Wales)

Melissa’s interest in her past was piqued as a child with a visit to her great uncle and aunt. Her great uncle had been researching the family and when told as a child you have ‘Batman’ in your family tree it tends to leave an impression! Alas it was not the ‘Caped Crusader’! It was when she was older she understood that her uncle meant ‘Batman’ of Melbourne. She wasn’t disappointed with this revelation instead she became even more intrigued. The same great uncle also mentioned having traced back to a French Baron who came across with William the Conqueror in 1066 and currently Melissa is following his research and finding evidence of this line.

Melissa is an astronomer at Sydney Observatory and does astrophotography in her spare time. She especially likes taking images of eclipses and comets as no two are identical. Called the “young computer person” by fellow family researchers, she was sent a number of images to try and improve and this led to her trying some of the astrophotography processing techniques on her family photos…and they worked! She now likes to share these simple but effective techniques with others.

Melissa has agreed to lead anyone interested in a “getting to know the southern sky” group one evening – or more if needed. This will be after our evening program at a time and day(s) to be decide on board. Any who are interested should bring a small torch with red cellophane covering it (using an elastic band works best) and binoculars if you have them. Should be fun.


JohnsonTiggy Johnson (Queensland)

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. Her short story collection Svetlana or otherwise (Ginninderra Press) was released in 2008, and her poetry collectionsFirst taste in 2010 and That zero year, co-written with Andrew Phillips, in 2012. As co-founder of page seventeen literary magazine, Tiggy edited and published its first eight issues. 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.

kopittkeRosemary Kopittke (Queensland)

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 Certificate in Genealogical Studies (English Records) with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. She 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 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.

Noeline KyleDr Noeline Kyle (New South Wales)

Noeline Kyle  publishes  family history, biography and memoir, and books on writing family history.  Since her retirement from university teaching in 2001 she has continued to work closely with local,  national and international organisations to support, facilitate and  promote the writing of  family, community, regional and local histories.

As  well as an extensive list of academic publications Noeline has published in newspapers, community journals, popular books and bulletins to disseminate more widely her ideas on story writing, local and family history and the history of women in Australia.

Working with and supporting family historians for more than 30 years Noeline has conducted workshops, seminars and talks with family historians, local historians, continuing and adult education, for local libraries and community groups.

Noeline is a member of the History Council of NSW, a life member of Newcastle Family History Society, a member of Botany Bay Family History Society and maintains membership of several local family history groups along the mid north coast of New South Wales including Port Macquarie and Kempsy. She is an Emeritus Professor at Queensland University of Technology and an Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney.

Click here for further information on Noeline

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’s engaging presentation and teaching style stems from his successful consulting background and passion for his subjects.

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.

Maria NorthcoteMaria Northcote (New South Wales)

Maria has been researching her own family history for over twenty years. She is passionate about family history research with Australian connections and she is keen to help other researchers investigate the context and stories of their family histories, in addition to the facts and figures associated with genealogical research.
By hosting the popular free podcast and website, Genies Down Under, she assists genealogists who have an interest in family history with an Australian connection. Maria uses her genealogical research experience to provide other family history researchers with tips, tricks and tools, and traps to avoid, for researching their own family histories. Listeners to the Genies Down Under podcast frequently contribute to the podcast with ideas, tips and stories. Together with some of her listeners, Maria recently co-wrote and published a book titled, Convicts Down Under, which features homegrown stories about seven Australian convicts. The book is available through
You can access Maria’s podcast on iTunes, or through her website. You can follow Genies Down Under on Facebook and Twitter.
Maria’s research has taken her to various places in Australia, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England. While using various online research techniques in her genealogy work, she also recommends walking in your ancestors’ footsteps wherever possible. She has recently returned from six months living on Inis Meàin, one of the three Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland, where she was living, working and doing some family history research.
In her day job, Maria works as a lecturer and a researcher in higher education in teacher education. In addition to producing academic and research publications since 1998, she has also published articles in the Australian Family Tree Connection magazine. She is a member of the Society of Australian Genealogists, the Lake Macquarie Family History Group and the Bathurst Family History Group. Maria is currently enrolled in the Certificate in Genealogical Research which is facilitated by the Society of Australian Genealogists.
As a keen podcaster and blogger, Maria creates and accesses many of these online resources in her own research. She can provide you with advice on how to access and benefit from free family history podcasts and blogs that will help you to extend your own family history research. In her family history podcasting, blogging and research, Maria uses her Genealogy ROCKS! approach to guide her genealogy work:
  • Research your family history
  • Organise your files and research findings
  • Create family research products
  • Keep learning to extend your knowledge and skills
  • Share your family history with friends, family and the genealogy community
After living in Western Australian for many years, Maria has returned to NSW and now lives in the Lake Macquarie region. She looks upon her family history research as a never-ending enjoyable pursuit and she loves sharing what she has learned from her family history successes and mistakes with other genealogy researchers.

SilvesterDr Lesley Silvester (Western Australia)

Lesley’s 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.

In her later life Lesley took to tertiary studies with gusto: she gained a BA (Archaeology) from the University of Sydney, a Graduate Diploma in Cultural History from Curtin University (WA), an MA and most recently a PhD in Medieval and Early Modern Studies from the University of Western Australia. Her theses for both her MA and PhD both heavily relied on genealogical methods to address specific historical issues. Her PhD thesis was a longitudinal study of the poor of Norwich in the 16th Century and encompassed issues of kinship, demography and survival strategies of the desperately poor.

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.

Smith HHelen Smith (Queensland)

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 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, Unlock the Past March and November 2011 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 the National Institute of Genealogical Studies: English Certificate.

Smith NLieutenant Colonel Neil C. Smith, AM (Retd) (Victoria)

Neil Smith was raised in Western Australia. He spent 24 years in the Australian Regular Army with postings throughout Australia and overseas including a tour of duty in South Vietnam. He qualified at various staff training schools and was later awarded the Member of the Order of Australia for Explosive Ordnance Disposal in the Solomon Islands. 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 United Kingdom. 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 published, 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.