With a degree in Pure and Applied Chemistry and technical qualifications in Geology, Michelle Patient has a love of data, facts and research. Working for many years in civil engineering laboratories before moving into programming databases for marketing projects, she has spoken to various community and work-related groups since the 1970s. She has been using computers and the internet since the 1980s, and since becoming addicted to genealogy in 1999 she enjoys helping others make the most out of using technology to help further their research.

Unlock the Past cruises – 14th & 16th cruises

Topics (as at October 2017)


  • Is it true? The facts fun and fiction of family history
  • Digging for treasure in online newspapers
  • Digging for ancestors’ surnames: how this can help your research
  • The value of surname studies
  • Finding elusive ancestors
  • Reviewing your research: or how to get past that roadblock in your tree
  • Successful search strategies
  • Unknown parent research
  • Where is everywhere? Have you really looked everywhere?
  • Ancestry, Findmypast, MyHeritage and FamilySearch
  • Timelines: historical, personal or local: a discussion on their genealogical value


  • To DNA or not to DNA? that is the question.
  • Digging for ancestors using DNA: an introduction
  • DNA and idenity
  • DNA: the fourth vital record
  • First steps in analysing DNA results
  • Your DNA results have arrived – now what?
  • Breakthroughs, surprises and skeletons
  • Getting started with GEDmatch
  • Useful tools and tips for DNA research
  • An introduction to AncestryDNA
  • An introduction to FTDNA
  • An introduction to MyHeritageDNA
  • An introduction to LivingDNA


  • Creating and using an online journal for free: benefits, tips and hints
  • Ownership, privacy and copyright – some things to consider when sharing
  • Creating a Family History Website
  • Benefits and Limitations of the internet
  • Under the hood: indexes and archives in a digital age -how they are created and why they are useful
  • Genealogy treasures inside The Internet Archive
  • Creating your own digital records tips and tricks: includes suggestions for arranging folders, file naming & scanning tips
  • Backing up your research
  • An introduction to mobile and cloud technology
  • Uncorking the genie from your computer
  • Using Dropbox for genealogy
  • Using Evernote for gnealogy
  • Using Facebook for genealogy
  • Using Google for genealogy
  • Picturing the places your ancestors lived using Google Maps
  • Putting your family tree on Ancestry and/or Findmypast
  • Where to put your on-line tree?
  • Getting the most out of the FamilySearch website
  • Using the FamilySearch tree
  • Using the FamilySearch records
  • The FamilySearch website: using the one tree
  • Getting the most out of the Ancestry website
  • Getting the most out of the Findmypast website
  • Genie tech Q&A


  • A stitch through time: genealogical value in embroidery
  • Identifying and dating photographs
  • Extracting evidence from photographs
  • Reunion planning: tips and hints


  • Shackles, shekels and shrapnel: the exodus to the Southern Seas
  • From convict stain to royalty: the secret lives behind transportation
  • Australian research tips
  • New Zealand research tips


  • The Guild of One Name Studies
  • Who are we? The New Zealand Society of Genealogists
  • New Zealand Society of Genealogists resources: bring your “how to” questions along & be part of a wide-ranging discussion