Eric KopittkeEric is a former teacher of Physics and Mathematics, having taught at St Peters Lutheran College, Indooroopilly from 1973 to 2014.

He has been researching his families from Australia, England, Germany and former German areas for over 30 years.
He and his wife Rosemary transcribed, indexed and published the lists of direct emigrants from the port of Hamburg for Australian and New Zealand ports from the years 1850–1879. The publishing of these lists has helped many researchers find how their ancestors reached Australia and New Zealand from Germany.

As well as being a presenter on several Unlock the Past cruises, expos and events, Eric has presented talks on many aspects of German family history at family history groups. He convenes the Queensland Family History Society’s Central European Interest Group and often presents there. He has presented at two Australasian Congresses and at the Queensland State conference in 2017.

In addition to the Emigrants from Hamburg to Australasia series, he has written the  following – published through Unlock the Past and available through Gould Genealogy & History:

  • Locating your German ancestor’s place of origin
  • Researching in German civil and church records
  • Introduction to German family history research for Australians
  • Handy Guide: Church Records in Germany
  • Handy Guide: Civil Registration Births, Marriages and Deaths in Germany
  • Handy Guide: German Maps and Gazetteers for Family Historians
  • Handy Guide: German Words for Family Historians

Eric has received the Queensland FHS Award for Services to Family History (1990); was made a Fellow of the Queensland FHS (2000); and in 2006 was awarded the AFFHO Award for Meritorious Services to Family History.

Unlock the Past Cruises – 1st, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th & 17th cruises

BlogGerman Family Matters


  • A century of the Taringa Baptist Church: celebrating the centenary of the formation of the Taringa Baptist Church 1897-1997
  • The Benfer story: The Benfer family in Germany and Australia from 1650 to 1988
  • Electronics for physics students
  • So your ancestor was a Baptist in Queensland!
  • Locating your German ancestor’s place of origin
  • Researching in German Civil and Church Records
  • Locating your German ancestor’s place of origin
  • Introduction to German family history research for Australians
  • Handy guide to civil registration – births, marriages and deaths in Germany
  • Emigrants from Hamburg to Australasia 1850-1879
  • and various indexes to government publications, transcriptions of many cemeteries


  • Australian resources for researching families of German origin
  • Church archives and records for German research
  • Civil records in Germany
  • Danish census and emigration
  • Early Germans in Brisbane/Queensland
  • Emigrant lists for European ancestors
  • German family history in the ‘Information Age’
  • German records ? what can I find?
  • Germans in NG / German NG / treatment of Germans during the World Wars
  • In the steps of my ancestor: planning a genealogical trip? How to prepare. Where to go. How to get organised
  • Locating your ancestor’s place of origin in Germany
  • Maps and gazetters for German research
  • Overview of the history of Poland
  • Reading and interpreting records from Germany (talk and practical exercises)
  • Reading German handwriting (workshop)
  • Researching in German church and civil records
  • Scots in Prussia
  • Starting German family history research
  • Understanding the system: a brief overview of the history of the German region