This newsletter is sent to those who have booked for the 4th cruise, the first of several to come in the next few weeks with updates and requests for your input to help with final cruise planning. This one includes a list of those who will be on the cruise with our group and an invitation for you to submit your research interests to help connect with others with similar interests.

Further newsletters will give an updated program and seek your feedback to guide us with shore tour planning and your topic preferences to help us with final room allocation on the ship.

In six weeks we will be well into the cruise
Voyager of the Seas is now fully booked out. Our group numbers have finished up at 245.

Who else is on the cruise
A list of most in our group on the cruise is attached for your information [not attached in the web version of the newsletter]. Please check your name and state to ensure we have these correct – we will use this list to prepare name tags for cruisers. Advise of any corrections.

Research interests register
Following requests from our 3rd cruise we will compile a register of research interests of those on the 4th cruise – names, places, subjects. Who knows? You may find someone with a common interest with whom you can connect. To submit your interest click here [only given in email to those booked].

We are working on a revision to the program and should have an update online in a few days along with short outlines of many of the presentations. We will give notice of the update in a newsletter soon, along with a topic interest survey.

A cruise hangout?
What is a Google Hangout on Air? It is similar in many respects to a webinar or group conversation in Skype.

  • it enables up to 10 people to interact in a live presentation, forum or discussion in the same way as a live presentation or panel at an event
  • in addition any number of people can watch the hangout live online. This is akin to the audience at a live presentation. It is also similar to watching a YouTube video – but with some differences:
    • viewers can ask questions or make comments by text chat online while the hangout is in progress
    • you can also pose questions on the hangout post BEFORE the hangout and follow up with questions/comments AFTER, much like a Google Plus or Facebook discussion
  • a further benefit is that all Hangouts on Air are recorded and posted on YouTube automatically – for subsequent viewing by anyone

Unlock the Past is planning an ongoing program of hangouts

  • we have set up an Unlock the Past Google Plus Hangouts community page – click here to check it out
  • the first is scheduled for Tuesday 14 January at 8pm Australian Eastern Summer time. It will be on the subject of Genealogy Cruising with Unlock the Past. It will touch on other coming cruises, but will be more aimed as an information/discussion session on the 4th cruise in February 2014. Jill Ball, the foremost Australian genealogy hangouts expert (and cruise presenter) will host the hangout, assisted by Helen Smith, another cruise presenter
  • we will give more information nearer the time to help you if you have not done a hangout before, but we recommend you go to the Unlock the Past Google Plus Hangouts community page and check out details of the 14 January hangout (click the “read more” link on the event post for more information), If you join the community, you can keep up with Unlock the Past hangout developments generally
  • we recommend you join the hangout on 14 January to learn more about the 4th cruise (and others). You will hear from some of the presenters and others Jill will interview – and if you wish, you can contribute questions or comments by text chat
  • we hope to do a hangout from the cruise – possibly in Hobart. Jill Ball will also do a presentation on hangouts on the cruise
  • from March onward we hope to do regular presentations and product tutorials from leading experts
  • to get an idea what a hangout is like, you can view a recent hangout by Jill. Bear in mind that this was the first one hosted by Jill and the first hangout for a number of the participants

Some cruise special extras – more information on these in coming newsletters

  • Anne Daniels, our resident cruise artist on board, will be offering ‘totally unique artworks using photographs of your ancestors.’Anne will be available for specially priced commissions for those on our cruise. We will shortly give notice about coming prepared with photographs and documents. Anne 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.
  • RootsTech at sea. We will be bring two presentations from RootsTech 2014, the largest genealogy conference in the world. These will be almost live – recorded and supplied to us with a moderate time delay. Click here to read more.
  • Maggie Clarke is an avid scrapbooker and teacher of scrapbooking. She will be giving a main program session on scrapbooking, but has also offered to do a separate workshop to supplement this. This will be outside the main program, so will allow those who may have attended other sessions to join in. Numbers will be limited and there will be a modest charge for materials. More information to come.
  • Getting to know the southern sky – special extra night time talk and tour and viewing of the southern sky. It was too good an opportunity to miss given we have a professional astronomer, Melissa Hulbert, in our group. Mel says “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.” We will choose suitable night/s on the cruise – the time will be after our own program is over for the day.

Chris Paton and Thomas MacEntee downunder – a seven city roadshow
Please mention to others who are not coming on the cruise that they can still hear the leading cruise speakers in one of seven cities of the MacEntee-Paton roadshow around Australia. Give them the roadshow link for details. The menu at the left has full details for each city.

Shore tours
We are looking to offer genealogically related shore tours in Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart. See program page – scroll to the bottom for further information. We will do a poll of shore tour interest in January to guide us in final tour planning.

Cruise speaker interviews
Alona has added more speaker interviews. Click here to see the full list of those already added and – check again later for more still to come.

Other cruises

  • we have now announced our Eastern Australia cruise (6th UTP cruise) – Oct 2014. This is a short three night cruise with several themes – convicts, Family Tree Maker, Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian research … and more. Now open for booking. It can be linked to a five day tour to Norfolk Island leaving Sydney the day after the cruise ends
  • some of you are interested in other cruises planned. As a guide we have knocked up a handy overview of all our cruises – past, current and under consideration. Click here to download

Keep in touch and follow cruise discussions with our occasional cruise newsletters and Facebook page.

We look forward to meeting you all in 39 days.

Alan Phillips and the Unlock the Past team