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John Donaldson (Victoria) – leading Family Tree Maker expertDonaldson 120
John Donaldson started using Family Tree Maker (FTM) when it was released as a two floppy disk program for Windows 3.1 in 1994. Since then he has used all the versions, and now uses both FTM 2014 for Windows and FTM for Mac 3. In 1996 he applied to beta test the program, when Brøderbund Software in San Francisco was producing it. Whilst the program has gone through a number of owners and is currently owned by Ancestry.com, John has continued to be involved in beta testing, and has participated in some 16 consecutive releases. In March 1998 he commenced writing a series of FTM columns for the Victorian GUM Inc. (www.vicgum.asn.au) newsletter and this series has continued unabated and now consists of some 160 plus tutorial articles. John is also the Hon. Secretary of Victorian GUM Inc.

In 2005, coinciding with the ownership of FTM by Ancestry.com, John and three others were invited to become alpha testers to advise the developers on future ideas for the program and act as a conduit of experienced users to the development team. As part of that involvement (the alpha group is now the ‘alpha 8’), John has visited Provo, Utah twice. John relates being able to spend the day with the developers as something akin to being in genealogical heaven. As well as writing about FTM, John runs regular FTM user groups and workshops for Victorian GUM and regional groups, as well as actively participating in a number of FTM message boards around the world. John’s comment about FTM is that it is the most addictive, intuitive and FUN program that he has ever used.

Cathy Dunn (New South Wales) – leading Norfolk Island and convict historianDunn 120
Cathy’s love of history research and writing started back in her Fashion and Marketing teaching days. After leaving full time TAFE teaching, Cathy continue with her studies at UNE and she completed Graduate Diploma in Local, Family and Applied History. She has published over 15 South Coast NSW regional history and early colonial NSW and Norfolk Island history publications. With the change in publishing formats and technology, Cathy has recently joined the Harbour Publishing House who has published many of her out of print books as ebooks, thus taking the opportunity to share her historical research with a whole new audience. Cathy has been involved with family history research and indexing of records of early colonial NSW and Norfolk Island for over 25 years.

Cathy is a member of the Professional Historians Association of NSW & ACT (PHANSWACT), and has completed many research projects in addition to heritage and family history reports for individuals, companies and government bodies including the Old Sydney Burial Ground 1792 – 1820 Project for the City of Sydney Council. And yes Cathy has other hats too. She is also a web designer and tourism destination publicist which is an ever changing industry online with her business South Coast Promotions. She has been an innovator and support to the South Coast business and tourism sector for the past 15 years. Cathy has worked in all media, from newspaper articles, radio, TV to social media.

Today she also works greatly in heritage tourism, combining all her heritage skills and knowledge with tourism promotion. Cathy is an experienced presenter/speaker and has for many years been involved with using Facebook as a communication tool for historians.

Her historical research and love of Norfolk Island started many years ago with her husband Arthur’s family members of Andrew Hamilton Hume, William Broughton, Richard Burrows, Elizabeth Cole and others. Over the years she has done vast research and writings on the people who arrived in NSW aboard the Royal Admiral 1792, many of whom were on Norfolk Island.

Her first visit to Norfolk Island was in July 2010 for the Islands of History, the 25th Anniversary Conference of the PHANSWACT. After many years of research, in March 2012 she published Norfolk Island Deaths: 1st Settlement 1788 – 1814, which was launched on Norfolk Island during ‘Foundation Day’ Week. In March this year Cathy launch her latest publication Rev. Fulton Baptisms, Burials and Marriages 1801 – 1806 during the 2014 History Lovers Tour of Norfolk Island.

Cathy Dunn and her husband live at Ulladulla on the South Coast of NSW.


Shauna Hicks (Queensland) – for Queensland and Victorian focus … and moreHicks
Shauna has been tracing her own family history since 1977 and worked in government for over 35 years in libraries and archives in Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne. Since retiring, she has written a number of family history guides and is a regular speaker at genealogy cruises, conferences and  seminars. She now operates a small part time research and consultancy business Shauna Hicks History Enterprises at www.shaunahicks.com.auand 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.

Rosemary Kopittke (Queensland) – leading expert on online data and family tree sitesRosemary Kopittke
Rosemary has been tracing her family history since 1985. A statistician by training, she has worked in that field as an hydrologist, teacher and biometrician. Her tertiary qualifications include a BSc (Mathematics) and BA (Computer Science) both from the University of Queensland. More recently she has completed the Certificate in Genealogical Studies (English Records) with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. She currently works as a consultant for Gould Genealogy & History, is regularly invited to speak on findmypast and other topics at events in Australia and New Zealand and has presented on all the Unlock the Past cruises. She has published numerous indexes to cemeteries and government records though is probably best known for her work with husband Eric on the Emigrants from Hamburg to Australasia 1850-1879 publication. She is editor of Unlock the Past publications and author and contributor to several. A member of the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO) Council from 2009 to 2013 and a current member of the Queensland FHS Management Committee, Rosemary is a Fellow of the Queensland Family History Society and in 2006 received the AFFHO Award for Meritorious Services to Family History.

Carole Riley (New South Wales) – for New South Wales focus … and moreRiley 120
Carol is a professional genealogist based in Sydney who specialises in researching land in New South Wales. She has a Diploma of Family Historical Studies from the Society of Australian Genealogists, a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and a Master of Applied Science (Psych. Coach), both from the University of Sydney. She worked for many years as a computer programmer, analyst and designer, and uses those skills in her work and life.
Carole is a Vice President of the Society of Australian Genealogists, Honorary Editor of the journal Descent and convenor of the IT and Website Committees. She presents educational seminars and workshops at the Society and elsewhere on family history research topics, including land, technology and social media. She is a Director of the Association of Professional Genealogists, and the founder of The Master Genealogist Sydney User Group.
Carole can be contacted through her business website at www.heritagegenealogy.com.au or by email at carole@heritagegenealogy.com.au.