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We have some great speakers lined up. See their profiles below.

Carol Baxter

Carol Baxter, the History Detective, is a Fellow of the Society of Australian Genealogists, an adjunct lecturer at the University of New England, and an inspirational presenter who teaches researching and writing skills to genealogists and writers. Her interest in genealogy and in names began while she was still at school. Later, her university major in linguistics – which helped her understand the sounds of surnames – and her years working for the Biographical Database of Australia as a transcriber – which helped her understand the letters of surnames – and her access to the BDA’s database of linked biographical entries led her to explore, with a view to explaining, the distortions that can make even our most common ancestor’s surnames difficult to find. She communicates the results of her research in talks and in books including Help! Why can’t I find my ancestor’s surname? and The Madness of Mac Surnames.

Carol is also the internationally-acclaimed, award-winning author of six historical true crime thrillers of which one is being turned into a big budget TV series by the producers of Lion, one into a feature film, and one into a computer game. She also tells her true tales of murder, mystery and mayhem on international cruise ships.

David Berry

David is a reference librarian at the State Library of NSW and is passionate about research and genealogy. He trained as an English/History teacher but has spent most of his working life in libraries. This includes postings in Britain (Westminster) and Canada (Vancouver), the latter as a family history librarian on a work exchange.
At the State Library he has led the Family History Team and is active in delivering seminars both at the Library and to family and local historical societies.

Judith Dunn

Judith is past president and Fellow of the Parramatta & District Historical Society having served on the Society Council for 24 years. She initiated the Historic Graves Committee almost thirty years ago, is still its convenor and is author of the Parramatta Cemetery Series, a series of five books recording the oldest cemeteries in Australia. She is currently president of Friends of Mays Hill Cemetery and Friends of St Johns Cemetery, a Councillor of the Royal Australian Historical Society and NSW delegate to the Federation of Australian Historical Societies.
Judith has received a number of awards including the Australian Centenary Medal, a gold medal in the Women of Australia Award, NSW State Government Award for services to History and Heritage and in her capacity as teacher, achieved a NSW State Government Quality Teaching Award. In 2011 Judith received an Order of Australia Medal for services to history and heritage.

Kerry Farmer B.Sc., B.A.

Kerry Farmer is a researcher, presenter and teacher in genealogical studies and has been teaching family history classes since 1997. With degrees in both science and humanities, she is on the Board of the Society of Australian Genealogists and convenor of their Education Committee. She is Director of Australian Studies for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, developing their Australian Records courses. She is a regular speaker at conferences and other events. Kerry authored DNA for Genealogists (4th edn, 2017), Arrivals in Australia from 1788 (2015) and together with Rosemary Kopittke wrote Which Genealogy Program? (3rd edn, 2012).

Ben Finn 

Ben has been in the role of Service Deliver Reform Manager since May 2017, and has overseen the implementation of the Online Birth Registration System. An important project recently is "Life Journeys" which looks at all the significant life journeys experienced by NSW citizens. It brings together various agencies to get an understanding of citizen pain points, which allows agencies to collaborate and design seamless, holistic services for citizens during major life events. Since joining the Registry in 2004 Ben has worked in Registrations, Client Services and Identity Security, as well as a stint as the Quality Manager.

Wendy Frew

Wendy Frew is an award-winning journalist who has worked in Australia and overseas for Fairfax Media, Reuters and AP-Dow Jones. In 2012, she was the inaugural editor of University of Technology Sydney magazine Brink, and in 2014 she established and was the first editor of the BBC’s Australian online news service.
In 2007, while working for the Sydney Morning Herald, she won the Peter Hunt Eureka Prize for Environmental Journalism.
Wendy has always been fascinated by Australian history and most recently channelled that passion into the search for her Cornish ancestry. Leane Times: One family’s transformation from Cornish farmers to Australian fighters is her first book.

Mary-Anne Gourley

Mary-Anne has been researching her family for over twenty-five years. Her interest in India began after finding information on a Scottish ancestor’s unsuccessful visit to Melbourne from India at the time of the Gold rush. Bankrupted as the economy in Victoria crashed, he obtained a large bank loan before beating a hasty but very profitable return to Calcutta.
As a result of her research Mary-Anne published The Travelling Scotsman: life and times of Paterson Saunders senior in 2010 in conjunction with a facsimile edition of Two years in Victoria: from 1853-1855 by P. Saunders.
Mary-Anne has been a member of Families in British India Society for some years and is currently their Australian representative. She is a member and volunteer at the GSV where she also convenes the British India Discussion Group. Mary-Anne also volunteered at the Blackburn Family History centre until its closure in 2012 and is a past member of both the AIGS and Tay Valley Family History Society in Dundee.
In 2014 Mary-Anne obtained a post graduate certificate in Local and Family History from the University of Dundee, Scotland. Mary Anne has been a guest speaker at family history societies both in Melbourne and around Victoria.

Gay Hendricksen

Founding partner of The Rowan Tree Heritage and Cultural Services.
As a history curator and writer, Gay has researched and interpreted cultural and social histories for 30 years. Content has ranged from Colonial times to the present with an emphasis on women’s stories. Her writing and curatorship has focused on early Colonial Australia. She curated the national award winning Women Transported – Life in Australia’s Convict Female Factories. Her latest writing is Conviction – 1827 Fight for rights at the Parramatta Female Factory.
Curatorial work has included Elizabeth Farm, Rouse Hill House and Farm, Meroogal, Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum, Penrith Regional Gallery, Parramatta Heritage Centre, St George Regional Museum, Tongarra Museum and freelance work.
Consultancy highlights have been: State Archives of NSW, Bundanon Trust, Wollongong Heritage and Stories Museum Digitisation, Blue Mountains Museum Advisor and Villages of the Heart illustrated and oral histories.

Jane Ison

Jane Ison is a member of Newcastle Family History Society and assists with the administration of their website and their Facebook page. For some years she was the editor of their journal. She learned the hard way that family history can often take researchers off on tangents.

In 2009 her Family History led her into a detailed study into the first arrests and admissions to the Newcastle Industrial School, opened after the passing of the 1866 Act for the Relief of Destitute Children, which was one such tangent. This research is ongoing.

Jane’s research into Newcastle and the biographies that she wrote remembering the lives of the first girls sent there, enabled her to uncover gaps in the records. Some records had not survived so had never reached NSW State Archives. Her research has enabled her to identify the names of both girls and boys who do not appear in official government pre-1887 records.

The resulting lists of names may be found on her website: (www.nis.wikidot.com)

Martyn Killion

Martyn Killion has had an association with NSW State Archives for over 40 years and is the Director of Collections, Access and Engagement. Martyn is passionate about the State Archives Collection and its immense value for research.

Danielle Lautrec

Danielle Lautrec works at the Society of Australian Genealogists as the Education Officer, where she plans and delivers the Society’s program of lectures, workshops, webinars, tours and conferences. She is also the Society’s Archives Officer and manages the Society’s manuscript and image collection. Danielle’s particular interests are the methodology of historical research, 18th and early 19th century Sydney and British Jamaican genealogy. She has degrees in history, archaeology, environmental studies and town planning.

Jeff Madsen

Jeff Madsen has had a long career in Information Technology using GIS (Geographic Information Systems) software to prepare maps for Government, private enterprise and family stories. His recent interest in genealogy highlighted that maps and historical geography can enhance a family tree to become more than just names and dates.
The Spatial Services Portal is but one of many websites where maps can be obtained for use in family history and stories. He has extensive knowledge of the information that can be obtained from Parish maps and how this can lead to improvements in your family story.
Advanced skills in digitising records were acquired when left the legacy of a large collection of records consisting of World War 1 diaries, glass negatives, photo albums, celluloid negatives and 16mm movies needing to be archived.
He is currently managing the digitisation of manuscript material for the Society of Australian Genealogists.

Lilian Magill

Lilian is an enthusiastic genealogist, who has been researching since 1985 and enjoys finding out interesting things about her ancestors and helping others find their ancestors, as well.
She has had articles and photographs published in Australian Family Tree Connection magazine and in 2017 published a book about her Vaughan/Chasmar ancestors. Lilian is a regular contributor to the Surname Society’s newsletter.
Lilian has completed a Certificate in Genealogical Research from the Society of Australian Genealogists and has also completed her Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies: Australian Records, with The National Institute for Genealogical Studies, Canada.
To keep her skills up to date, Lilian regularly attends seminars, talks, webinars and lectures. In both 2016 and 2017 she attended RootsTech, in Salt Lake City, Utah, attending lectures on a wide range of topics.
Lilian is the co-ordinator of the Society of Australian Genealogists, Writing Discussion Group and General Secretary of the Botany Bay Family History Society.

Joy Murrin

Joy Murrin is an experienced Family History Researcher, and Presenter.  She has over 40 years’ experience in family history research.  Since 1995, she has been an Accredited Transcription Agent with the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.   Joy had also developed practical skills with over  30 years’ experience  as Consultant at the Mortdale Family History Centre.

Paul Parton

Paul Parton is a presenter for FamilySearch in their Outreach program. He also gives technical support to 145 Family History Centres Australia-wide. He has had an interest in family history for more than 45 years. Paul was a professional trainer prior to his retirement as Pacific Area Director of Information Technology Services with FamilySearch's parent organisation.

Jason Reeve

Jason Reeve joined Ancestry in August 2016 as the Content Manager for Australia and New Zealand. A passionate advocate for all things history, Jason works closely with a range of archives, registries, historical and genealogical societies to uncover new record collections and share them with the Ancestry community.

Laurie Turtle

Laurence, or Laurie as he is generally known, has had a long interest in family history. His grandmother first sparked this interest when she began showing him old family papers and photos as a child. These documents had survived from the mid 1800’s, with some coming from England and Scotland when the family arrived here.
Laurie was a teacher “in another life”, and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in History, a Diploma of Education and is an Associate in Music (Piano). He completed the Archives Course through State Records and the Family History Diploma through the Australian Society of Genealogists. He has been a transcription agent and professional family history researcher for many years now.
On his mother’s side, Laurie is a First Fleeter and can claim a connection with four people who made this journey in 1787 and 1788. His prime interest has been Ann Colpitts who had a relationship with three men who also came to Australia on the First Fleet: John Colethread a marine, Thomas Smith her husband and Joseph Hatton with whom she spent the bulk of her time here.
Through his research and that of other family members, Laurie has come to question the long held view of where Ann Colpitts came from. This will be made clear in his talk about her.

Suzanne Voytas

Suzanne is currently Vice-President of the NSW/ACT Association of Family History Societies and a member of a number of family history societies and holds the Diploma in Family Historical Studies from SAG. She has been a family historian for nearly forty years and has seen the incredible development of research methods and facilities, from dusty boxes of records to the ultra modern facilities of the internet. However, without the support of the local family societies many of her brickwalls would have never crashed. Also most family historians never seem to be able to stay focussed on one task and tend wander all over the place or serendipity throws us a curve ball, which was the case for researching the convict women from the ship Elizabeth arriving in January 1828.

Dr David Wright

Dr David Wright, M.A., Ph.D., F.S.A., F.S.G., was born and bred in the English county of Kent and is a Fellow of the Society of Genealogists and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He has over four decades of experience in genealogical and historical research, and has written numerous books, including East Kent Parishes, The Kentish Census Returns, Kent Probate Records and Tracing Your Kent Ancestors. He has also taught classical and medieval Latin and palaeography.

Christine Yeats

Christine Yeats is the President of the Royal Australian Historical Society, President of the National Council of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia (ISAA) and the Chair of the NSW Chapter of ISAA. In addition, Christine convenes the Assessment Committee of The UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register.
An archivist by profession, Christine is a researcher and professional historian with a particular interest in Australia’s colonial history. Her current research projects include Australia’s Romani, colonial women silk growers and the botanist Sarah Hynes.
Christine has contributed to a wide range of publications; spoken at national and international conferences and presents talks and workshops for local and family history groups across NSW.