Category Archives: Australia

TGP 41 – Judy Webster – Queensland Genealogy

Featured Guest

Judy Webster

Judy Webster has been researching her family history since the 1970s. In 1986, at which time she was working as a medical scientist, she began her own part-time business as a professional genealogist.

After being accredited by the Australasian Association of Genealogists and Record Agents, Judy did four years of study to obtain a Graduate Diploma in Local and Applied History Judy Webster 1(University of New England, Armidale NSW). In 2001 she received the Queensland Family History Society‘s Award for Services to Family History. Judy’s speciality is research in original records at Queensland State Archives, with emphasis on unusual sources that are superb for overcoming ‘brick walls’. Her clients include family historians, academic historians, and law firms trying to trace beneficiaries of deceased estates.

Judy’s large Web site has advice on sources and strategies for family history research, and more than 53,000 names of local, interstate and overseas folk mentioned in Archives records. She has published various genealogy guides and indexes, and has given more than one hundred presentations at family history events in Australia and New Zealand, including the Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry.

Judy is also the founder and coordinator of the ‘Genealogists for Families’ project, which encourages family historians worldwide to help less fortunate families by making micro-loans through Kiva (a non-profit organisation).

Contact Links

Website –

Blog – Queensland Genealogy

Facebook – Judy Webster – Queensland Genealogy

Twitter – @JudyQld

Other Links   

Queensland State Archives

Tips for Queensland Research by Judy Webster

Specialist Indexes in Australia: A Genealogist’s Guide by Judy Webster


Kiva Lending Team: Genealogists for Families

“Genealogists for Families Project” blog

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

Find out more about the archives where you plan to do a lot of research. Really, really get to know it well.

Recommended Book

Weevils in the Flour by Wendy Lowenstein


“Always research the relatives.”

Action Item

Judy mentioned she was concerned that people don’t realize how much information is available in archives that isn’t online. She is absolutely right.  If we all do this action we can start to make a dent in the misperception that all research can be done online.


1) Aanalyze your local archive and discover which materials they have that are not online.

2) Make a list on a page of your website or blog listing all the resources from that archive that are not available online so that the public can have access to it.

Of course, you don’t have to list everything in your local archive that isn’t online! You might just provide broad categories. If you’re at a loss as to where to start, have a chat with the folks at your local archive and ask them! Tell them that you want to write about what they have that is not online. I’m sure they would be happy to point you to those collections. Not only will you be helping the general public learn more about the resources of the archive but even better, you’ll be on your way to developing a working relationship with the staff.

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In genealogy business news, the Association of Professional Genealogists is looking for a managing editor for the APG Quarterly magazine. Check out the publications page on for more information about the publication.  Interested parties can send cover letters and resumes to by July 10th 2016.

In other APG news the annual Professional Management Conference Early Bird deadline is coming up on July 15th. Be sure to register by then so that you can save money off the registration price. Here are just a few of the excellent speakers that will be presenting: Dr. Thomas W. Jones, Mary Penner, Bethany Waterbury, Dr. Michael Lacopo, Melanie Holtz, Michael Hait, Catherine Desmarais, Billie Fogarty and many others. Of course, I’ll be there too.

Aha Seminars has announced a new podcast called “Genealogy Connection” hosted by Drew Smith. Genealogy Connection will present interviews with genealogical speakers, authors, librarians and archivists, database service providers, software and technology developers, and other leaders in the community. The first episode debuts on June 27, 2016. Genealogy Connection will use the same feed as The Genealogy Guys Podcast so if you are already subscribed to that you will automatically get the episodes which will run in alternating weeks from the Genealogy Guys. Congratulations to Drew on that new project.

Lastly I want to mention a new Facebook group of genealogy business people called the Genealogy Business Alliance. This group is primarily for businesses that exhibit in the vendor halls at genealogy conferences. They are working on developing best practices that will meet the needs of both exhibitors and conference organizers. If that is of interest to you, search for Genealogy Business Alliance on Facebook.


TGP 24 Helen Smith – Medical Research & Genealogy

Featured Guest

Helen V. Smith

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, Wales and Ireland.

She is researching the surname Quested anywhere, anytime and has registered the name with the Guild of One-Name Studies.Helen V. Smith on the Genealogy Professional podcast

She is the author of Death Certificates and Archaic Medical Terms and has written for a number of publications including Inside History, Australian Family Tree Connections, Forgotten Times, family history journals as well as scientific publications.

Helen has spoken to a wide variety of audiences nationally (every state/territory in Australia) and internationally at Who Do You Think You Are? Live London, New Zealand Family History Fair, on four Unlock the Past Cruises, and will be speaking at the “Harvest Your Family Tree” Conference, Kelowna, BC, 2014.

Helen is President of Southern Suburbs Branch of the Genealogical Society of Queensland.
Currently Helen is a part-time professional with lecturing, writing, client research in Queensland, health histories and a part-time position in conference organising with Unlock the Past Genealogy and History cruises . Professionally in her day job, she is a Molecular Epidemiologist specializing 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 and is currently studying the National Institute of Genealogical Studies: English Certificate and the Professional Development Certificate.

Contact Links

Blogs by Helen Smith

Helen Smith on Facebook

Helen Smith on Google+

Helen Smith on Twitter – @HVSresearch

Other Links

Unlock the Past Cruises

Gould Genealogy

Guild of One-Name Studies

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

“Educate themselves about professional genealogy by buying and reading the book Professional Genealogy edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills.”

Recommended Book

Health and Disease in Australia: A History by J.H.L. Cumpston (1928)

A history of health & medicine in Queensland, 1824-1960 by Patrick, Ross (1987)
available as a PDF

Productivity Tool

Drop Box  – file sharing/storage service

Skype – free voice and video communication

Dragon Dictate – computerized voice dictation


“Education is never wasted. Invest in yourself. Never stop educating yourself. “

Action Item

Helen Smith talked about how “selling herself” ie. promoting herself to build a following was hard and not natural. This is a difficult action for many people to take yet it is important to building your career.  This week we’ll take a first step toward understanding what it means to build a reputation and an audience.


To get started with promoting yourself as a genealogy professional, this week we’ll take a look at those who have been successful at the task. Choose a highly visible professoinal (perhaps Thomas MacEntee, Judy Russell, Lisa Louise Cooke or Chris Paton) and then explore how these people make themselves visible as genealogy professionals.

Do they have:

  • a website
  • a blog
  • a social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc)

Do they do:

  • Public speaking
  • Write articles

Make note and learn how they have positioned themselves for success by using promotion as a tool.  Think about which aspects of promotion you would feel comfortable adopting.


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TGP 14 Carol Baxter – Writing for a Wide Audience

Featured Guest

Carol Baxter

Pursuing thieves and murderers through the ages is just an average day for the history Carol Baxter, author and genealogistdetective, Carol Baxter. Like Dr Who, she hunts ordinary individuals who unwittingly had such an extraordinary impact on their world that the consequences changed the course of history; then she brings their stories to life as ‘true-crime thrillers’. She is the internationally-acclaimed, award-winning author of An Irresistible Temptation, Breaking the Bank, Captain Thunderbolt and his Lady, and The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable. She is also the author of Writing Interesting Family Histories, with more genealogy ‘how to’ books in the pipeline, a speaker at genealogy conferences and cruises, a Fellow of the Society of Australian Genealogists and an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of New England.

Contact Links

Carol’s website –

Bushranger Thunderbolt website

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

Listen to podcasts!”

Recommended Book

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Productivity Tool

Microsoft Word – a great software program for writers


“Broaden your market by monetizing your knowledge. Become a speaker and then you can turn talks into books and sell them from the back of the room. That increases your exposure and your income.”

Action Item

Carol and I talked an awful lot about writing. This is a good time to stop and assess where you are with your own writing.  Do you like writing, does your writing skills need improvement, or are you terrified of writing and avoid it at all costs?

ACTION: Commit to writing every day for the next 7 days. Either choose an area that you need to work on or an area that you have no experience at all. Some types of writing you can choose from include writing client reports, writing an article for a magazine or writing blog posts. Remember you are doing this for yourself! You don’t have to show anyone the writing if you don’t want to. Commit to writing each day, one full item (article, blog post etc) each day for seven days.

At the end of the seven days you will have more practice, more experience and hopefully will feel more comfortable with writing. If we’re lucky you’ll decide that you want to continue writing past the seven days. Give it a try!



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TGP 9 Shauna Hicks – Genealogy Down Under

Featured Guest

Shauna Hicks

Shauna Hicks has been tracing her own family history since 1977 and worked in government for over 35 years in libraries and archives in Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne. Since retiring, she has written a number of family history guides and is a Shauna Hicks on the Genealogy Professional podcastregular speaker at genealogy cruises, conferences and seminars. She now operates a small part time research and consultancy business Shauna Hicks History Enterprises at and is the author of the blog, Diary of an Australian Genealogist.

Shauna has a number of tertiary qualifications from Queensland universities including a Master of Arts in Australian Studies, a Graduate Diploma in Library Science and a Diploma in Family Historical Studies from the Society of Australian Genealogists. She is a Fellow of the Queensland Family History Society; a recipient of the Australian Society of Archivists Distinguished Achievement Award and the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations’ Services to Family History Award.

Contact Links

Shauna’s website –

Shauna’s blog – Diary of an Australian Genealogist

Shauna on Twitter – @HicksShauna

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

“Buy a good book that gives you a base knowledge of what you intend to build your business on.”

For example in Australia this book would be the book Family History for Beginners and Beyond by Heraldry and Genealogical Society of Canberra.

Productivity Tool

Drop Box – File Sharing

Evernote – “Remember Everything with Evernote”


“Just Do It. But don’t do it in isolation.”

Action Item

Shauna talks about the isolation of working as an independent genealogist.  Also lacking is the support team that comes from working in a regular office environment. This week’s action launches from Shauna’s suggestion to build an online network.

ACTION: Get yourself a free online account if you are not online already. Some of the online social networking sites that have a community of genealogists include Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Once you have an account check with some other genealogists you know from your local genealogical society or historical society and see if they are on the site as well. Then send them a request to connect.  From there start building your online network.

If you really don’t want to get onto social media you can complete this task by arranging to meet some genealogy friends or colleagues weekly, face to face, for coffee, tea, lunch or whatever you like. But the frequency has to be enough that you build a support network. Quarterly is too infrequent to build a strong network.

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