Carol Baxter - Stop Thief 

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This seminar begins by discussing the big picture question of the British criminal justice system, including the contemporary attitudes to criminals and the policy of transporting them abroad. It then covers the types of records that deal with the crimes and punishments of British criminals.

Carol Baxter: Carol is also the author of six ‘how to’ books for family historians including: Writing Interesting Family Histories, Writing and Publishing Gripping Family Histories and Help! Historical and Genealogical Truth: How do I separate fact from fiction?  She is an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of New England, a Fellow of the Society of Australian Genealogists, and the editor of six volumes of early New South Wales records. She also teaches researching and writing skills at genealogical and historical conferences, and is an enrichment speaker on international cruise ships.

Kerry Farmer - How to use DNA to confirm Traditional  Research


Sometimes paper documents are inaccurate. Maybe our ancestor lied to cover some secret. Maybe the informant was guessing. Or maybe the document we seized on does not actually apply to our ancestor. But DNA does not lie. On its own DNA cannot tell you the name of your ancestor, but combining DNA with traditional research can confirm that the family tree you have constructed is correct – or at least, beyond reasonable doubt.

Kerry Farmer B.Sc., B.A.: Kerry 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 ed, 2017), Arrivals in Australia from 1788 (2015) and together with Rosemary Kopittke wrote Which Genealogy Program? (3rd ed, 2012).

Amanda Ianna - The NSW Registry of BDM can provide proof beyond reasonable doubt

Dr Perry McIntyre -Working for the surgeon in 1837

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An examination of the seventeen convicts who worked for Surgeon James McIntyre in 1837 reveals the wide range of occupations, religion, ages and places of birth and conviction of his convict workers. Whether these convicts were 'typical' of convict workers in Port Macquarie cannot be really judged from this small number but their previous and subsequent lives are interesting for Port Macquarie history. Was their conviction 'beyond reasonable doubt' and did they commit further crimes or did they reform and become part of the settlement population in the Port Macquarie district or elsewhere?

Dr Perry McIntyre: Perry has worked as a genealogist, historian and archivist since the 1980s. She has served on committees of History Council of NSW (President 2005-06), Society of Australian Genealogists, Royal Australian Historical Society, Australian Catholic Historical Society, The Great Irish Famine Commemoration Committee (Chair 2012-15, 2018-20) and Mosman Historical Society (currently) & recently appointed to the Aishling Society of Sydney. She has published and spoken extensively on immigration and family history throughout Australia and in Ireland. Her PhD on convict family reunion was first published by IAP as Free Passage in 2010 and reprinted by Anchor Books Australia in 2018. She is a director of Anchor Books Australia, formed to publish good quality history, particularly relating to colonial Australia. Several titles on colonial immigration have been published through that avenue as joint publications with Dr Liz Rushen. She was awarded an Order of Australia (AM) in the 2021 Australian Day Honours.

Martyn Killion -  Using the State Archives with Conviction

While most people are familiar with the wonders of the State Archives Collection, are you using it as effectively as you could for your research?

In this session, we will be challenged to think perhaps more analytically when we conduct research into the State Archives – who created the records, how did the system work and how does that all help with family history research?

Martyn Killion: Martyn is the Director of Collections, Access and Engagement at NSW State Archives.

He has had an association with State Archives for nearly 45 years through an interest in his own family history. As Director, Martyn has oversight of managing the State Archives Collection – its documentation, care through conservation; providing services for the public to access the Collection and developing and managing engagement initiatives, including an award-winning exhibitions program. Martyn has had a long involvement in the genealogical and historical research community. He is a former President, Fellow and a Vice-Patron of the Society of Australian Genealogists and Patron of the Richmond-Tweed Family History Society.

Dr  Hamish Maxwell-Stewart  -  Building a Digital Convict Memorial


Slowly bit by bit we are piecing together the nation’s convict past. This has been a huge research effort that has involved hundreds of hands transcribing, cleaning, coding and linking records. In this paper I describe a recent collective effort to use this information to create something more than a research tool. Plans are now at an advanced stage for the construction of a convict memorial in the Penitentiary Chapel, a National Trust Tasmania building in Campbell Street, Hobart. This will be a place where visitors will be able to explore convict lives in detail but it will also be somewhere convicts can be remembered. We think that this project is a world first — an example of how a collaboration between researchers, family and local historians, archivists and architects can lead to the creation of imaginative ways of visualising and interacting with the lives of those ‘who left their country for their country’s good’.


Hamish Maxwell-Stewart: Hamish is a professor of history at the University of New England. He is particularly interested in the way that partnerships with family and local historians can be used to build new tools to explore the past. A particular passion of his is the way that outcomes for one generation impact upon the lives of their children and grandchildren.

Michelle Patient - Celebrating Cousins

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After years of research Michelle has finally gathered enough evidence to identify an unknown great great grandfather. What clues did she find and what sort of evidence do you need to gather to feel confident you have identified the right person, so you can start researching the ancestors on that previously unidentified line?

Michelle Patient: Michelle is a genealogist, computer geek, and DNA enthusiast, with qualifications in Chemistry, Geology and Family History. She grew up with a grandmother whose family stories, photographs, and memorabilia sparked her life-long interest in genealogy. In 1989 Michelle began searching for her English half-sister, and in 2005 she reconnected her mother with her birth family.

Cate Pearce - Using DNA for Aboriginal Family History

For Aboriginal family history research, the usual archival records are often scattered, incomplete or missing, but now DNA is proving to be a very valuable tool in helping Aboriginal families, separated by child removal policies and forced relocations, to reconnect with lost family and Country. Using the case study of how Joy used DNA combined with archival research to find where her Stolen Generation grandfather had come from, this seminar explores the various ways DNA can be used for Aboriginal family history.


Cate Pearce: Cate is a professional genealogist, specializing in Aboriginal family history, and works as a family history researcher for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). Cate also works as a genetic genealogist, helping adoptees to find the identity of their biological family, and believes that DNA will be an increasingly important tool for helping Aboriginal people find their lost families and Country.

Jason Reeve -  Using Ancestry.com for Family History & An Introduction to AncestryDNA

Have you heard of Ancestry.com? How can you find the help you need to overcome obstacles with your family history research and where does AncestryDNA fit in to the picture? Join Jason Reeve, Ancestry.com’s Content Acquisition Manager for Australia and New Zealand as he explains using Ancestry, taking an AncestryDNA test and discovering your own family history.

Jason Reeve: Jason joined Ancestry in August 2016 as the Content Acquisition Manager for Australia and New Zealand. A passionate advocate for all things historical, he works closely with a range of archives, registries & genealogical societies to uncover new record collections and share them with the Ancestry community. When he's not trawling through archival collections, Jason speaks regularly at Family History events & at archival conferences as well as presenting on radio, television and on social media platforms.

Clive Smith   -  With Conviction: Finding the 1821 Volunteers

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When the penal settlement was established at Port Macquarie in 1821, the first              contingent of convicts, in March 1821, were 60 volunteers who were promised tickets of leave or pardons after 18 months if their work at building the necessary                      infrastructure was satisfactory. No list of these men has survived (there is a list of an additional 10 men sent in June 1821 on similar conditions). For the bicentenary of         the establishment of the penal settlement, it seems high time the workers should be recognised. Following clues in the surviving convict records, over 40 of the men have now been identified, with conviction (or beyond reasonable doubt). This paper will outline what records were trawled, how data elements from different sources were matched, and how it became possible to convert circumstantial evidence into conclusive proof (one way or the other).

Clive Smith: Clive began his archival career at the National Archives of Australia (then known as the Commonwealth Archives Office) in Canberra, where he worked primarily on documenting records as they came into custody. In 1983, he moved to Westpac Banking Corporation in Sydney, as Senior Archivist managing the oldest and largest corporate archives in Australia. In 1991, he moved to Washington, DC, to take up the position of Archivist for the World Bank Group, where (in addition to managing the archives and records management sections) he became heavily involved in developing the specifications for electronic document management systems. Since retirement, in addition to researching his own family history, he has been volunteering as archivist at the Port Macquarie Historical Society and has researched  and produced a number of books including Port Macquarie's Last Convicts and Return to Lake Innes (transcriptions of a number of Annabella Boswell's letters).

He published the book Port Macquarie's First Convicts in June 2021.

Dr Penny Walters - Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy

I’m a nice person. ‘I’m just compiling our family tree, what possible problems    could there be? Researching a family tree traditionally involved asking          grandparents and relatives about their lives, drawing a tree and                  undertaking a paper trail, but it now involves finding new records and dealing    with strangers on the internet. Ethical dilemmas came to the forefront since

law enforcement utilised information from GEDMatch to apprehend a suspected serial killer, which created a division in the genealogy field about invasion of privacy. Ethical dilemmas unfolding include discovering other people’s secrets, lies, enslavement, unexpected ethnicities, indigenous cultures, convict ancestors, criminality, new DNA relatives, and finding that some relatives aren’t now related. People can study accredited courses and join professional bodies which have Codes of Ethics and Conduct, responsibilities and accountability. What information should and shouldn’t you include on your tree? Attendees will benefit from reflecting on their own ethical dilemmas and considering ethical issues with empathy, sensitivity and diplomacy. www.searchmypast.co.uk

Dr. Penny Walters: Penny has been a University lecturer for 30 years teaching Undergraduate and Masters Psychology and Business Studies. Penny was adopted at birth, and recent DNA testing revealed 94% Irish heritage, which supports her paper trail and collaboration with 2 American 2nd cousin DNA matches. Penny is the mother of 6 mixed race children, and DNA testing revealed fascinating insights into her children's cultural heritage. Having researched her 2 family trees for 30 years, Penny lectures internationally, hosts webinars and writes articles about genealogy topics, including: the psychology of searching; mixing DNA results with a paper trail; adoption; black British heritage; ethnicity and identity; diaspora; Irish heritage; the 1939 Register; communication skills; delivering unexpected or bad news to clients; and today’s presentation - ‘Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy.’ Penny has recently published her books 'Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy,' and ‘The Psychology of Searching,’ available on Amazon in paperback or kindle. Please get in touch to discuss booking her as a speaker penny_walters@talk21.com or www.searchmypast.co.uk  

Amanda Ianna: Amanda has worked in the Public Sector for 28 years and was appointed Registrar of the NSW Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages in 2014. Amanda’s extensive background in Civil Registration and Identity Security has driven significant changes to the way the Registry records life events for the people of New South Wales. Amanda is currently a key consultant in the Step-Up Twinning Program, a Federal Government initiative to improve the Civil Registration process in the Pacific.


Amanda is passionate about the records that the Registry safeguards for future generations, and champions the Registry’s drive towards building online solutions for the Registry’s customers and stakeholders.


Official title: Registrar

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