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Here is a list of topics offered by presenters. A selection will be made out of these for the cruise.

Paul Blake

The following is a selection of Paul’s topics – about four of these will be presented on the cruise

British army records 1660-1913 – From its foundation in 1660, the records of the British Army are a rich source of information for those men, and their families, who chose to join the military. This lecture will look at these diverse and detailed records.

British probate records: an introduction to sources – After the vital records, wills can be one of the richest sources for genealogical research. Records of those proved in the Church courts survive from the fourteenth century and this lecture will examine the full range.

Child migration schemes from England to Canada, Australia and elsewhere – Britain operated a unique enforced child emigration policy, mainly for child paupers, from as early as 1618 to as late as 1967. It has been estimated that some 150,000 children were sent to British colonies and dominions during this period, most notably Canada, America and Australia.

Crime, criminals and punishment in England – Records of crime and criminals, and the resulting punishment of the offenders, including transportation to America and Australia, can reveal a great deal about our miscreant ancestors. And the records of prisons and hulks can often increase this knowledge.

London genealogy – or the metropolitan nightmare – London is probably the most difficult area in Great Britain to carry out successful research: the problems are revealed and many of the solutions explained, not least finding where the records are.

Manorial records – The manorial system was complex but the records of the English manor, many from before the introduction of parish registers contain a wealth of information relating to its inhabitants as well as the manorial lands themselves.

Only a pauper whom nobody knows: the poor law in England and Wales – Researching the poor is often beset with difficulties. However, the records created under the Poor Laws, first introduced in 1601, can often be the salvation detailing records of birth and migration, and of illegitimacy; and from 1834, those of the Union workhouses.

Royal navy records: and introduction to sources – The Royal Navy was the main defense for the Island Nation for many centuries. The records of its officers and ratings include a wealth of information on those who served. This lecture will examine many of them.

The British in India – The story of British India from the early days of the East India Company in the seventeenth century to the Indian Mutiny of 1858, and its aftermath.

The courts of equity – The records created by the Courts of Equity, principally those of Chancery and Exchequer hold a wealth of information for all manner of folk. These can be an essential but underused source, for researching the origins of early immigrant families.

The Gentleman’s Magazine – From 1731 to 1907, the Gentleman’s Magazine was an influential publication, covering history, topography and current affairs and listing many birth, marriages, deaths, appointments and promotions.

The tithe: its history, records and administration – In 1836, the system of paying the tithe ‘in kind’ finally ended with the Tithe Commutation Act. The records resulting from this act detail the owners and occupiers of much of the land in England and Wales, as do records from the previous decade for Ireland.


Lisa Louise Cooke

The following is a selection of Lisa’s topics – about four of these will be presented on the cruise

10 ways to enhance your genealogy with video – A recent Nielsen Study shows Internet video is experiencing explosive growth. Don’t let the video revolution pass you by! In this class Lisa Louise Cooke of the popular Genealogy Gems YouTube channel will give you ten ways that online video can enrich your family history. Genealogists can use video in countless ways to learn more about their ancestors, enhance their online presence to attract others researching the same family lines, and create intriguing projects to share their family stories.

Cool tech tool: clip it and make it searchable – How to clip newspaper articles, digitized book pages,  documents and anything else you find on the web and turn it into a keyword searchable resource with the free Evernote program and app.

Future technology and genealogy – 5 strategies you need – Envision your genealogy as technology speeds ahead into the future. There are 5 five key strategies that you can employ right now that will make the ride easier, and the results more exciting than ever. Discover the paradigm shift that will make finding the right technology for your needs easier than ever. And learn how to capitalize on how technology is changing the flow of information.  Finally, explore three areas that are poised to thrust ahead in the future, making this an exciting time to be a family historian!

Genealogy on the go with the iPad / tablets  – Technology has brought much more than the convenience of digitized genealogical records to our home computers.  It has also delivered an incredible level of portability to family history research!  The iPad is built for hitting the road and is ideally suited for genealogy due to the sleek lightweight size, gorgeous graphics and myriad of apps and tools.  In this class you will discover the top apps and best practices that will make your iPad a genealogical powerhouse!

How the genealogist can remember everything with Evernote – Would you like to be able to remember everything in your ongoing genealogy research? With Evernote you can because it puts all your notes right at your fingertips no matter where you are. In addition to super fast and easy note taking and retrieval, you’ll learn how to clip items from the Internet (rather than saving entire bulky web pages!) use OCR technology to search your digitized documents like newspaper articles, and tap into a myriad of apps that help Evernote help you do just about anything you need.  Evernote harnesses the power of the Cloud to allow you to work across all your computing devices (including your iPad and smart phone.) Best of all, it’s free

How to create exciting interactive family history tours with Google Earth – Google Earth is much more than just a mapping program.  In this presentation you will learn how to harness Google Earth’s capabilities by using is as a multi-media way to tell your ancestor’s story and leave a legacy for future generations. Learn how to incorporate images, videos, genealogical documents, and historic maps and bring it all together in a unique virtual family history tour that you can share on blogs, websites, by email and more, as well as use to further your research through geographic analysis.

How to reopen and work a genealogical cold case – Become a genealogical detective in this vital session. You’ll learn to track ancestors like a bloodhound, sniffing out holes in your research and getting missing information on the record.

Inspiring ways to capture the interest of the non-genealogists in your family – If you are researching your family tree but haven’t shared it with your family in a way that sparks their interest, then you are only experiencing half of the joy of genealogy! And if your descendants don’t grasp the importance of their heritage, your hard work may tragically find it’s way to the city dump when you are gone. Don’t just collect your family history and store it away in binders and files! Learn how creative displays and crafts can capture the imagination of your non-historian friends and relatives, while honoring your ancestors. These projects are guaranteed to inspire your family to ask you to tell them more about the family tree!

Ultimate Google search strategies – Learn the powerful search tips and tricks that will immediately help you maximize the Google search box!


Jackie Depelle

The following is a selection of Jackie’s topics – about four of these will be presented on the cruise

Digital photography – basic ideas, hints and tips for family historians

Family Historian – dedicated British genealogy recording software

Family history – sources before 1837

Ideas for researching non-conformist ancestors

In a dream world – ideas to organise family research

Our house and its contents – the butcher, the baker and the furniture maker

Parish chest material (including Poor Law)

Reading the original – hints and tips for deciphering old documents

The 1911 and other census – what’s the difference?

Tracing your Yorkshire ancestors online – specialists websites for God’s Own county

Wander the web – fun for Family History

Writing your family history – moving on from record sheets and charts


Marie Dougan

The following is a selection of Marie’s topics – about four of these will be presented on the cruise

Families moving between Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales – This talk will look at researching families who moved about the UK from Ireland and Wales to England and Scotland and back again!

Finding your Irish ancestors in Scottish records – Many Irish people moved to Scotland in the 19th century. Unfortunately, census records often only provide their place of birth as Ireland. How can you use other records in Scotland to help you trace their place of origin in Ireland?  This talk will examine some of the records that can prove useful.

Getting started in Scottish research – This session will introduce you to Scottish research, looking at the background of record keeping in Scotland and exploring some of the main resources to get your research  started.

Making the best use of your time in Scotland – A discussion with those planning to visit Scotland – what should you do before you come? How can you best use the time you have in Scotland?

Organising your family history research – This talk will explore ways of helping you organise your research more effectively – we will share ideas among the participants.

Reading old handwriting – This could be a short workshop where I provide a variety of materials for transcription practice.

Resources and records at the National Archives of Scotland – Scotlands National Archives (now part of the National records of Scotland) contain many records and resources which can help you take your research further. This talk will examine some of these records, including court records and land records.

Scottish church records – more than the OPRs – Pre 1855, the churches in Scotland kept a variety of records. The most famous are perhaps the Old Parish Records (or OPRs). However, there are many other church records in Scotland – this session will introduce a variety of these, including kirk session records and records of churches other than the Church of Scotland

Scottish wills and testaments – This talk will explore some of the legal and historical background to inheritance in Scotland and will explore a variety of resources available both online and at repositories across Scotland.

The genealogy community – finding information, help and advice – This talk will explore the variety of amazing resources out there among the genealogy community and will look at blogs, mailing lists, bulletin boards, podcasts and webinars.

Using ScotlandsPeople effectively – ScotlandsPeople is one of the main resources for researching your Scottish ancestors and is the only source for online copies of BMD and census records in Scotland. ScotlandsPeople also contains church records, some land records, and wills and testaments. This session will show you how to use the site effectively.

Using technology to assist your genealogical research – I use a wide range of technology to assist me with my genealogy research, Come and be introduced to lots of new ideas to help you take your own research further.

Eileen Ó Dúill

Dublin, 30 June 1922: did everything blow up? – intermediate/advanced – Researchers involved in Irish research will have heard of the devastating fire in June of 1922 which destroyed the Public Records Office in Dublin. This lecture will provide some background to the history of the Public Records Office of Ireland and an examination of the record groups which were deposited there prior to June 1922.  Contemporary accounts will provide the details of the explosion on 30 June 1922 and a discussion of the reaction of the Irish people of the time will be explored. A report on the rebuilding of the Public Records Office collection into what is now the National Archives of Ireland will encourage researchers not to assume that all Irish documents blew up in 1922.

Introduction to Irish genealogy: where do I start? – beginner – This lecture provides a beginner’s guide to Irish research. Learn about the “paper trail” left by your ancestor, that will lead you to his/her place of birth in Ireland.  An explanation of Irish civil records and Irish census is provided. The application process for Irish citizenship will be discussed.

Mrs Fancy Tart is coming to tea: making sense of family stories  – Family stories are a rich source of information for genealogists. In this talk, Eileen highlights points to bear in mind when listening to and interpreting family stories. A selection of stories demonstrates these points in a way which will amuse and hopefully assist you with your own stories.

Researching in Ireland: planning is the key to success – intermediate/advanced – This lecture is designed to help researchers who are planning their first trip to Ireland. The preparatory research necessary before embarking for Ireland and advice on the best use of time while in Ireland will be reviewed. Handy hints, gathered from experienced American researchers in Ireland will be shared. This “insider’s guide” to repositories and resources in Ireland will map out an effective research strategy and avoid the most commonly made mistakes. All of the major Dublin repositories will be discussed particularly the free Genealogical Advisory Services in the National Library and National Archives

Sean Ó Dúill

The following is selection of Sean’s topics – about three of these will be presented on the cruise

An introduction to the Irish language – Origin of writing in Ireland, Irish uncial alphabet, History of the Irish language and the changes in one word, Some useful expressions, Websites of interest for additional information on the Irish language.

Country cures from Irish folklore – This lecture is base on original research in the Schools Collection 1936-1938. Primary school pupils in Ireland gathered information on the folklore of their parish from their parents and grandparents and wrote essays on many topics. Research was conducted on over 200 contributions from 5 schools in the parish of Kilgeever, (Louisburgh) Co. Mayo.  In addition to the material supplied by the children, I am greatly indebted to the excellent book, Irish Country Cures by Dr. Patrick Logan who was director of Peamount Sanatorium and had a great interest in folk remedies. Anyone who treated disease had certain advantages which his patients did not realise. Many physical illnesses will get better no matter what treatment is given so it is only common sense on the part of the medical practitioner to make sure he gets the credit for a favourable result. Yellow jaundice is a perfect example. There is usually a favourable prognosis so the essential thing is for the doctor should wait for the disease to take its course while appearing to be busily engaged in a treatment. Masterly inactivity was often the mark of a skilled physician. All that was required was a procedure which took about 14 days to complete.

Death and burial: peasant Ireland in the 19th century – This lecture is in English, contributions in the Hiberno-English as spoken in Louisburgh County Mayo were learned by the lecturer at his grandparents’ knees. The parish of Kilgeever in west Mayo changed from speaking Irish to English in the period 1860 to 1890. The foundation of the Free State in 1921 brought a revival in tradition and community values which were captured by the Folklore Commission in the Schools Collection 1936-1938. Of the 10 National Schools (elementary schools) in the parish, 5 schools made contributions. The Master copies and 180 copy books from individual pupils make fascinating reading and are a valuable yardstick for reliable witness against the wilder excess of fold invention. The contributors are now in their late 70’s or gone to their reward. The quality of the work was sometimes outstanding and in almost all cases, was the only sustained “Literary” work done in their lives.  The traditions of the West of Ireland were not exceptional. Much of these traditions were shared throughout Ireland in the 18th and 19th centuries and were part of a wider western European tradition.

Matchmaking and marriage customs in 19th century rural Ireland  – This lecture is base on original research in the Schools Collection 1936-1938. Primary school pupils in Ireland gathered information on the folklore of their parish from their parents and grandparents and wrote essays on a range of topics. Research was conducted on over 200 contributions from 5 schools in the parish of Kilgeever, (Louisburgh) Co. Mayo. Our ancestors could not have imagined that a woman would choose a single life. Fulfilment for a woman meant having a husband and a family. Single people, no matter how old, were spoken of as boys or girls.

Matchmaking in a conservative society, the Dowry, the Love-Match, the ladder at the window, Finding a reliable “speaker”. Looking for a wife, The perils of failure; ability of women to accept or refuse offers, Fuadach and elopement, Hauling home, dragging, “the drag”, The wedding, Food and dancing until morning, The “Strawboys”, Going to couple’s new home, Birth of first child, payment of the second half of the dowry.

Rosemary Kopittke

The following is a selection of Rosemary’s topics – about three of these will be presented on the cruise

Australia government, police and education gazettes – Examines the hidden material in Australian government, police and education gazettes – mostly we consider them to be irrelevant and uninteresting but that is definitely not the case. The gazettes contain information about people we would never find in other records.

Connecting with family lines online – We used to write letters to discover family connections but now there are many different ways we can find others searching the same family lines. This presentation has a look at Genes Reunited, MyHeritage, Ancestry and other websites to see how we can use the resources of the internet to make those family connections. What does each of them offer and which is best for you?

Directories and almanacs – A look at the wide range of directories and almanacs available and why you should use them when compiling your family history.

Flip-Pal mobile scanner and Family Photo Book – A brief overview of the surprising possibilities of the Flip-Pal scanner and Family Photo Book. The scanner is tiny, light-weight and allows you to scan photos on the scanner, in the album or even in a frame. If you have large images, no problem, the stitching software joins multiple images together seamlessly. The Family Photo Book software is easy, fun and free to use (versions for Windows and Mac). An album is the perfect gift for anyone and any occasion – for recording family history, family reunions, weddings, birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, memorials – the possibilities are endless.

German research introduction – Do you have German ancestors and don’t know how to get started on the research? This presentation looks at key resources to get you started – certificates, Hamburg shipping lists, FamilySearch indexes/films and more. You can do it – the records were not all lost in the war.

Online newspapers: finding out what happened in the “dash” – Many sources can give us at least the basics of birth and death – newspapers can give much to add to the gap between, the real life of the person. Now that digital versions are available finding that information is so much easier – Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Ireland and more.

ScotlandsPeople: The place to launch your Scottish research – ScotlandsPeople – what it is, what records are available, how to search effectively and what are the charges.

TheGenealogist: what’s the difference – Apart from the English and Welsh census and BDM records, TheGenealogist.co.uk has many unique records to offer – official non-conformist registers, PCC Wills and images, electoral rolls and more. As well, it has some innovative search options which can help break down your brickwalls.


Mike Murray

The following is a selection of Mike’s topics – about three of these will be presented on the cruise

Crofts and crofting – a unique way of life in the Highlands and Islands – The story of the Highland Clearances is well-known. One of the consequences was that those tenants who didn’t emigrate were forced on to marginal small-holdings called ‘crofts’ on the coast of the Highlands and many Island communities. What was life like? Where are the records? How can they be found? Many communities are compiling Croft Histories which are invaluable aids to tracing this unique lifestyle. Mike’s father was born in the same croft that had been in the family for hundreds of years, and still is.

Finding Rhoda – The true story of the search for a missing cousin of Mike’s who left the Isle of Lewis in 1923 to come to Western Australia as part of the ill-fated ‘Group Settlement’ scheme. In this presentation Mike will explore the genealogical records of the Western Isles, the various settlement schemes for immigrants and what’s involved in tracing descendants in Australia.

Highland Clearances – where did they go? – The exodus of Scottish tenant farmers and their families to Canada, the Americas and Australasia has resulted in Highland Scottish enclaves all round the former British Empire, some of whom are more Scottish than the Scots. Where did they go and how do we find them? What were their lives like? Where are the records?

How to make your online searching more effective – Professional researchers need to maximise their efficiency in searching online resources. Daily use of the major online sites such as ancestry, findmypast and familysearch hones their search skills and allows the professional to keep up with the subtle changes and ‘improvements’ that are a constant feature of these sites. This session will demonstrate a number of useful search principles common to all these three sites and also some key differences between them.
The coming of the railways – The rapid introduction of the railways in the UK had profound consequences, leading to the enormous growth of new suburbs in the big cities, and mass movements of people as they gravitated to new places of employment. And the concept of a holiday by the seaside was born! The railways were also huge employers of labour, both in the construction and operating phases. This presentation explores the changes in society that resulted and the accessibility of useful records about the railways and the people involved.

Trace your descendants online – Tracing descendants is quite different to tracing ancestors and access to modern records is restricted in various countries. This talk describes approaches to adopt in Australia, UK and Ireland and examines the online records that can help identify long-lost relatives. Two brief case studies will illustrate the challenges and how they were overcome.

Welsh naming traditions and online resources – Welsh patrynomic naming traditions have caused many genealogists to shy away from Welsh family history. An understanding of the history of the naming system, combined with the wealth of recently available online resources have opened up Welsh genealogy to the researcher. This talk describes how to get to grips with surnames, the different regional approaches and examines some of the exciting online records now available to Welsh researchers. Finally, a few pointers will be given into Welsh geography and placenames.


Lesley Silvester

The following is a selection of Lesley’s topics – about three of these will be presented on the cruise

Lesser known London records – Ancestry.com has done an excellent job of providing us with digitised records for our London ancestors. However there are a number of lesser know records that can also be very helpful. A case study will show what these records are and how to use them.

Medicine or magic – In past times the practice of medicine was carried out by a number of practitioners of different status and expertise. Our ancestors could choose between university trained physicians, barber surgeons, apothecaries, midwives and ‘cunning-folk’, as well as spiritual healers. This discussion will delve into the past to explore the medical marketplace of our ancestors.

My ancestor was an apprentice... – What were guilds? What were Livery Companies? How were apprentices recruited and supervised? This presentation will outline a short history of guilds and detail the types of records that exist to find information about them and where it can be accessed.

Occupational records in England – A general look at the availability and accessibility of records to do with occupation, both trades and professional occupations. (And a lighthearted look at strange occupations)

The English Poor Laws – There are few genealogists who have not found paupers among their ancestors. This talk will give you an introduction to the English Poor Laws (Old and New). As well, it will look at some of the documents useful for researching the poor.

The Great Plague of London 1665-6 – This plague devastated the crowded suburbs of London, causing many of the wealthy to flee to the country to escape the noxious ‘miasma’. What caused it, what was its impact and why has it never returned? This popular presentation will fascinate us all.

The mystery of the standing stones – Orkney, Lewis and Ireland – Anyone who has visited Stonehenge, the best known of the neolithic monuments in Britain, can relate to the feeling of ancient mystery invoked by these imposing monoliths. There are many other sites in Britain where you can find other standing stones. What were they? Who built them? Why were they built? Lesley will take you on a journey back 5000 years to give an archaeological insight into the Callanish stones of the Isle of Lewis, the Ring of Brodgar in the Orkneys and the Newgrange Passage tomb near Dublin.

The watermen and lightermen of London – In days gone by the River Thames was a conduit for trade and travel and for centuries passengers and goods were carried by the watermen and lightermen of London. They have a fascinating history and many records have survived to help you gain an insight into any of your ancestors that were part of this trade

Using early records – a case study from Norwich – What happens when your family history research manages to creep back to the 16th and 17th centuries? Do records survive from that far back? If so, what are they, where can they be found and how do you use them?

What were the Quarter Sessions? – This presentation will show you what the quarter sessions were and where you can access them and other similar records. It will also demonstrate their importance to town and parish life.


Helen Smith

The following is a selection of Helen’s topics – about three of these will be presented on the cruise

Directories: a genealogical goldmine – Directories provide a glimpse into your ancestor’s environment with the size of the village, the industry, the businesses and the people only a few of the things about which you will learn.

Document analysis – Genealogists need to use original documents to further their research but are you getting all the details. We will look at how to evaluate your documents so you have squeezed out every last bit of information.

Kent research – Many people have research in Kent as the proximity to London and to France has meant it has had both Navy, Army and Coastguard contingents throughout the years as well as being the “Garden of England”. We will look at my favourite online sites for researching in Kent.

Mapping your ancestors – Maps are a wonderful resource that are sadly underused in family history research. There are many useful types of maps that will answer questions about your ancestors and add colour o your family history.

Researching Australian WW1 military – It has been said that by fighting at Gallipoli in World War One, Australia came of age as a country. Over 60 000 men in the Australian military in World War One were born in the UK and over 90% of the rest had UK ancestors one or more generations in their past. They served from Gallipoli, to Egypt to the mud of Flanders. This presentation will show the range of records and information that will allow you to find out more about and add life to Australian World War One military personnel.

Timelines as a research tool – Timelines are a great addition to your research toolbox. They can show gaps in your research, can help determine which of two people with the same name in the same place is yours, can show your ancestors’ lives in historical events perspective. There are a number of ways of creating a timeline and we will discuss timelines, ways of creating them and what they can do for your research.

Understand the context – why social history is important in your research: It is important to know the context and social history of the times in which your ancestors lived as from that you will find out what legal requirements such as inheritance laws, probate, marriage restrictions, requirements for naturalisations were in place and from that what records would be generated for what events.

Using DNA to solve genealogical puzzles – DNA testing has been highlighted in the media and is an exciting new tool for family historians to enhance their research. This presentation will discuss using DNA testing in family history, the various types of tests and what they do or don’t do, and will demystify the terms when talking about this area of research. Examples will be shown of how DNA testing has answered research questions and how to determine the best person to test for the genealogy puzzle you need to solve.

Writing a health history – Genealogical research can help establish the medical health history of a family. This can be important to determine possible health risks. A minimum three generation medical history can be a great help in evaluating potential risk and assist doctors in diagnosing and treating patients.



Genealogy software panel
Brief overviews of leading programs – Family Historian, Family Tree Maker, Legacy, Reunion, Rootsmagic, The Master Genealogist. The final selection of programs covered will depend on the availability of someone to do an overview of the programs proposed.