Unlock The Past will be at

Unlock the Past Cruises

Exploring family & local history - Brisbane 2018

Event Information

  • 19 Oct 2018 9:00am - 20 Oct 2018 5:00pm
  • Queensland Baptist Centre, 53 Prospect Road
  • Gaythorne
  • Queensland
Other Information
  • Cost: PRE-BOOKED $87 for both days, $57 for one day - ON THE DAY $90 for both days, $60 for one day


Immigration German - DNA - newspapers (more than just Trove)
convicts - historic photos online - Family Tree Maker
Combining family and local history ... and more

A two-day Exploring family & local history seminar with

  • Louise Coakley (Qld)
  • John Donaldson (Vic)
  • Doug Elms (Vic)
  • Kerry Farmer (NSW)
  • John Graham (Qld)
  • Eric Kopittke (Qld) 
  • Rosemary Kopittke (Qld)
  • Helen Smith (Qld)
  • ... others to be advised

6 top reasons to be there

  1. LEARN - over two days to learn from leading Australian genealogists/historians
  2. A WIDE VARIETY OF TOPICS - something for everyone
  3. DNA - find out why the interest in this emerging technology, what it can do for you - and what it can't
         - Family Tree Maker
         - DNA
  5. NETWORK - two days to interact with exhibitors and others with similar interests
  6. SAVE - with seminar specials and hundreds of $$$ worth of prizes

When and where

WHEN: Friday - Saturday 19-20 October 2018

WHERE: QB Centre, 53 Prospect Road, Gaythorne QLD 4051



PRE-BOOKED (by Mon 15 Oct 2018) $87 for both days, $57 for one day
(pre-book to be in the prize draw for several hundred $$$ in prizes)

ON THE DAY $90 for both days, $60 for one day

CLICK HERE [link to come] or the icon below to go to the booking page


Program - subject to change

FRIDAY 19 October 2018

large auditorium

9.00amregistration and exhibition - in small auditorium
9.25amwelcome and seminar introduction                                                           
9.30amImmigration to Australia - K. Farmer
10.20amOnline newspapers: what happened in the “dash” - R. Kopittke                                            
11.10ambreak and exhibition
11.40amtopic TBA - H. Smith
12.30pmlunch break and exhibition
2.00pmWhy use a computer program for genealogy? - D. Elms
2.20pmGenealogy society introductions - GSQ and QFHS
2.40pmtopic and speaker TBA
3.20pmbreak and exhibition
4.00pmConvicts: from trial to freedom - K. Farmer

small auditorium - registration. exhibition and half day Family Tree Maker workshop on the Friday afternoon

9.00amregistration and exhibition
9.25amwelcome and seminar introduction                                                           
11.10ambreak and exhibition
12.30pmlunch break and exhibition

Family Tree maker workshop - John Donaldson and Doug Elms (VicGUM)                                
     - topic 1
     - topic 2
     - topic 3
3.20pmbreak and exhibition

Family Tree maker workshop - John Donaldson and Doug Elms (VicGUM)
     - topic 4
     - topic 5
     - topic 6

SATURDAY 20 October 2018

large auditorium

9.00amregistration and exhibition
9.25amwelcome and seminar introduction                                                          
9.30amtopic TBA - H. Smith
10.20amResearching in German church and civil records - E. Kopittke                                                  
11.10ambreak and exhibition
11.40amCombining Family and Local History - J. Graham
12.20pmprize draw
12.30pmlunch break and exhibition
2.00pmtopic and speaker TBA
2.50pmtopic and speaker TBA
3.40pmbreak and exhibition
4.00pmFinding historical photos online - K. Farmer

small auditorium - registration. exhibition and half day intermediate/advanced DNA program on the Saturday morning

9.00amregistration and exhibition
9.25amwelcome and seminar introduction                                                           

DNA program: beyond the test - K. Farmer & others                                                                                             
     - topic 1
     - topic 2
11.10ambreak and exhibition

DNA program: going further - K. Farmer & others
     - topic 3
     - topic 4
12.30pmlunch break and exhibition
3.20pmbreak and exhibition


Presenters - further details to come

Louise Coakley click here biography. Website: DNA & Genealogy

John Donaldson - biography to come

Family Tree Maker workshop

Doug Elms - biography to come

Family Tree Maker workshop

Why use a compter program for genealogy?

KerryKerry Farmer (NSW) - click here for full biography

Kerry is the Director Australian Studies, developing the Australian Records certificate for the internationally recognised National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Kerry is the author of DNA for genealogists and Arrivals in Australia from 1788. Together with Rosemary Kopittke, Kerry also wrote Which genealogy program? and a number of handy guides - all published by Unlock the Past.
     Kerry has served on the Education Committee of the Society of Australian Genealogists, and presents seminars and classes there as well as at other conferences and forums and undertakes commissioned family history research assignments for others.
     Kerry has researched her own family history for over 30 years, researching ancestors predominantly from Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. She has also tackled the family branches in Canada, United States, South Africa, India, Germany, Poland, Norway and Russia. Kerry graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Computer Science and Pure Mathematics), and also with a Bachelor of Arts (Literature).
     Kerry is a frequent speaker for Unlock the Past (genealogy cruises and land events) and many other events.

John Graham - biography to come

Combining Family and Local History

Eric KopittkeEric Kopittke (QLD) - click here for full biography. Eric's blog

Eric 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: Locating your German ancestor's place of originResearching in German civil and church recordsIntroduction to German family history research for Australians and a Handy guide to civil registration – births, marriages and deaths in Germany (published through Unlock the Past and available through Gould Genealogy & History).
     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.

Researching in German church and civil records - Obtaining a birth or marriage certificate from Germany for an immigrant ancestor is a goal that many researchers set for themselves. Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths was introduced at different times between 1792 and 1876 in the German States. Before civil registration, church records of baptism, marriage and burial were used instead. This presentation looks at using German civil and church records for research.

Rosemary KopittkeRosemary Kopittke (QLD) - click here for full biography - www.rosemarykopittke.com
Rosemary has been tracing her family history since 1985 – in Australia, England, Scotland and Ireland. 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 and the Diploma of Family History from the University of Tasmania. She currently works as a consultant for Gould Genealogy & History and is regularly invited to speak at family history events.
     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.
     She served as the Queensland member of the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations Council (2009 to 2013) and on the Queensland FHS Management Committee for 21 years. Rosemary is a Fellow of the Queensland Family History Society and in 2006 received the AFFHO Award for Meritorious Services to Family History.

Online newspapers: what happened in the ‘dash’ - On headstones we often see just the name of the person followed by the birth and death years – with a “dash” between the years. There are many sources which can gives us information about births, deaths and marriages but newspapers can tell us so much more about what happened during a person’s life – the “dash” on a headstone.

Helen Nov 2015 120Helen Smith (Queensland) – Dragon Genealogy   
Helen has been researching her family since 1986 when her mother lamented the fact she had never known her grandfather, George Howard Busby. Helen found some information and a newspaper photo of him, was hooked and has been addicted ever since with research in Australia, England and Ireland.

She is researching the surname Quested anywhere, anytime and has registered the name with the Guild of One-Name Studies.

She is the author of Death certificates and archaic medical terms and has written for Inside HistoryAustralian Family Tree Connections and other family history journals as well as scientific publications. She is the author of a number of blogs which can be accessed via http://helenvsmithresearch.blogspot.com.au and you can follow her on Twitter @HVSresearch

She has spoken to a wide variety of audiences including Genealogical Society of Queensland Day Conferences, Library Technician Conference, all the Unlock the Past cruises, Unlock the Past Expos and Roadshow and numerous family history society meetings.

Professionally, she is a Molecular Epidemiologist specialising in Public Health Microbiology and has a strong interest in infectious diseases and Public Health through the ages.

She has a Graduate Diploma in Public Health, Bachelor Applied Science: Medical Laboratory Science and Associate Diploma in Clinical Laboratory Techniques. She is currently studying with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies towards the Certificate in Genealogical Studies: English Records.


Other information 

Exhibition - an exhibition with information and sales tables will be open in all breaks and before the first presentations each day

Food - this is not included in the seminar cost. We recommend you bring your own - or drive to one of nearby cafes

Parking - parking is available on site - or (if full) in a public car park 200m away

Sponsors and exhibitors 

  • GSQ
  • QFHS
  • Ryerson Index
  • VicGUM

  Gen-eboooks     Gould Digital     
Gould      ADBA     UTP     

UTP cruises