Now that FHDU 2021 is past, we are currently updating this site.

Find out more.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are currently restructuring this event and website as a virtual event. Stay tuned, we'll have more information for you within a few days!

COVID-19 Update

In the wake of Covid-19 difficulties in hosting a live event, we are currently restructuring FHDU 2021 for a virtual event.

Sadly, the ongoing COVID-19 saga has caught up with FHDU 2021. We have reluctantly decided to change our in-person event into a fully virtual online event instead. We were all looking forward to a real, live, in-person event. Unfortunately, that is not to be.

But this gives us the opportunity to significantly re-format FHDU 2021. We are looking at this as a positive opportunity. We can now bring a significantly more valuable event to people around the globe.

Australia & New Zealand

Learn how to discover the story of your Australasian ancestors


... hidden in obscure places

Have you ever thought of looking into:

  • The history of your house or your ancestor's house
  • The clues that military service records hold
  • Understanding physical descriptions - tattoos and scar patterns
  • The weird (but incredibly useful) secrets that sewerage records can reveal
  • Interesting and detailed descriptions in police records - so much more than just criminals
  • The tough and life-changing, but rewarding lives of your convict ancestors
  • The mysteries that headstones reveal

Each of these sources hold meaningful stories and answers to the real life mysteries your ancestors left.

The problem is ... finding and using these sources is incredibly difficult.

To get insight into the lives of your ancestors, you'll need to find useful information...

Which leaves you with two options:

 1. Try to track down the obscure sources, and then spend hours trying to figure out how to use them
 2. Get help from over a dozen highly experienced family historians, who have spent years tracing their ancestors in hidden places

On Day 3 of Family History Down Under 2021, our experts will be leading you through a series of presentations designed to help you discover the stories your Australian and New Zealand ancestors left behind.

What do I get out of the event?

You get an extensive day of talks on a range of Australian and New Zealand research topics, be sure to look below at the program for a list.

Learn about the best resources and places to look for records. Also, gain a deeper understand of the history that influenced our ancestors.

Also, you will get access to the Australia & New Zealand Digital Hub, a private Facebook group where you can:

  • Ask questions. The presenters and others will be there to help
  • Interact with others researching the same topic
  • Share the things you learnt from the presentations

Importantly, you will be inspired and discover not only new ways track down your elusive relatives, but sources that reveal the depth of their stories.

And aside from all the great tips and tricks you will learn, you will have the opportunity to find mutual connections with other researchers!

So, what's actually included in the Australia & New Zealand Research track?

Great question. To be specific:

  • All up, get 27 presentations - to watch and re-watch at your convenience so you get more from each talk - until 31 July 2021
  • Access to the Q&A Australia & New Zealand Research Hub - a private Facebook group to share your thoughts, connect with others exploring Australian and New Zealand Research, comment on the presentations and ask questions
  • Entry into the prize draw - be in the draw for $1000s of prizes
  • Exhibition & special offers - researching isn't cheap. Our sponsors are here to help you save on your research costs!

Want to learn more? Keep scrolling.

Who's presenting? Can I view the program?

Of course! Click here to see the full list of DNA presenters.

Here's a link to view the Australian & New Zealand Research program.

I'm Interested. How do I book?

It's simple, just click the Book Now button below, and fill out the details requested.

We look forward to having you along for the ride!

Your Australasian ancestors have a rich history...


Meet our Australia & New Zealand Experts

The Australia & New Zealand Program

Australia & 
New Zealand

Presentations from Thursday, March 25
A little bit of earth: land grants in colonial Australia
Dr Imogen Wegman

Imogen will be discussing the practicalities of land granting in the early years of an Australian colony. She will explain how people got land and the differences between grants made to convict and free settlers. This talk will share tips about finding and using historic maps, and equip you to interpret maps that add to your own research. Sponsored by the University of Tasmania.

A window to the world: Queensland Family History Society
Alex Daw

A plethora of information and data is available for you at the Queensland Family History Society’s website. Step through and glimpse the world from it’s website!. Sponsored by Queensland Family History Society.

Auckland Libraries’ online
Seonaid Lewis

From the 300-page Addresses to Sir George Grey, to the Pioneer Women's Honour Roll, the Old Colonists Association Register to the C. Little & Sons Funeral Director cards, Auckland Libraries continues to digitise all manner of items for Aucklanders to enjoy. Join family history librarian Seonaid Lewis on a tour of these treasures and learn about the stories behind them, the information held in them, and how you can access them on Kura Heritage Collections Online. Sponsored by Auckland Libraries.

Australasian probate records
Shauna Hicks

This presentation examines the value of wills and probate records for family history research. Documents found in probate files include original last will with testator’s signature, a death certificate, inventory of estate, affidavits, and correspondence. Personal examples are given, and all Australian states and territories are covered as well as New Zealand.

Big brother is watching: Australian government archives
Kerry Farmer

Find fascinating stories about your ancestors in the documents created by national, state/territory and local governments within Australia. All aspects of life are documented, from education to death, from their military service or occupations to their success or failure in business, detailing where and how they lived. All these provide the material for you to record a richer family history.

Big brushes and big aims
Dr Tom Lewis OAM

They went after an Empire – and they got it. But could the Japanese hold onto their massive victories? Would they and could they invade Australia? What was the key to pushing them back? Island-hop with MacArthur and Nimitz, and close in on the Home Islands in this comprehensive look at the action, with a former intelligence analyst who has seen modern combat.

The Japanese attack on their half of the world
Deciphering Australian military service records
Ben Hollister

Military records have a huge amount of genealogical information – dates of birth, marriage and death, familial relationships – and corroborating information – occupations, places of residence. This presentation, however, focusses on the family history information that can be extracted. This is the information you need to add depth to biographies or biographical sections of your family history writing.

Essential sources of information for piecing together convict lives
Professor Hamish Maxwell-Stewart

In this presentation Professor Hamish Maxwell-Stewart from the University of New England will take you on a tour of British and Australian records that can be used to piece together the lives of transported convicts.

Fighters & bombers
Dr Tom Lewis OAM

What was it like to fly in combat in World War II? In a word – dangerous. But more lives were lost to mishap and adventure than to the guns of the enemy. It was the biggest war in our planet’s history, and in many ways it was an air war, from the bombers dropping their deadly ordnance to the fighters that kept them safe. This presentation explains much of the reality – and debunks much of the myth.

Aircraft of the Pacific War and the reality of air combat as opposed to Hollywood
From there to here
Marie Hickey

This presentation will include where to find passenger lists - but what about those ancestors/relatives who do not appear on a passenger list; how do you find out when they arrived in New Zealand? We will discuss some of the records available which may help ascertain approximately when and where your ancestor/relative arrived so that you can at least estimate the arrival. Some of the methods used to find arrivals in New Zealand may also apply to other countries too. Sponsored by Auckland Libraries

A brief look at resources to find how your ancestor arrived in New Zealand
Fuchida: “A sledgehammer to crack an egg”
Dr Tom Lewis OAM

The raid by 188 aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy on 19 February 1942 struck a hammerblow against Australia. But it was only one of 208 enemy aircraft missions against the country; many amassing bombers by the score to raid our northern coasts. Over the years numerous myths have sprung up: the government tried to keep the raids secret; thousands more died than were accounted for; the military ignored crucial warnings – and more. Find out the real story.

The Darwin raid. And a debunking of the myths
Getting the most out of physical descriptions
Professor Hamish Maxwell-Stewart

In this presentation Professor Hamish Maxwell-Stewart from the University of New England will share some tips for deciphering descriptions of tattoos and making sense of scar patterns and height measurements.

Reading tattoos and scar patterns
Placing individual convict lives within context
Professor Hamish Maxwell-Stewart

In this presentation Professor Hamish Maxwell-Stewart from the University of New England talks about the importance of digitising records in order to place lives in context. In the process he explores such issues as the long term health consequences of being locked in a solitary cell.

Researching your New Zealand family connections online
Seonaid Lewis

People from all around the world left their homes in search of a better life. Apart from those who came direct, many arrived In New Zealand having tried out Canada, the US, South Africa or Australia first. Let’s take a tour through New Zealand’s resources online available to help you find that lost Kiwi connection. Sponsored by Auckland Libraries

Researching your military ancestors
Dr Tom Lewis OAM

Why does the Navy employ poets? How do you find out what went on in grand-dad’s battalion – and what is a battalion anyway? Why don’t Service Records tell you much of a story, and where do you go next? Learn the secrets to researching your military friend’s and family’s past, and learn some background on Teddy Sheean VC – our latest Victoria Cross, and only the 101st in our history.

Understanding battalions, medals, and military acronyms, with some reference to the VC for Teddy Sheean case
Sewerage records: were your ancestors regular?
Susie Zada

Sewerage is not something we instantly associate with our ancestors, nor is it a resource that many people have high on their list for checking. For those who have looked at sewerage plans, you will start to understand the value of this resource. But when you dig even deeper into sewerage records [pun intended!] you will start to understand why this is a magnificent resource. These records don’t discriminate between large mansions and small workers’ cottages – they are all encompassing – you just have to dig them out!

Solving family mysteries: talking headstones
Melanie Dunstan

Have you been frustrated or stuck in your family history research? Been searching and researching for a very long time? Do you feel that you haven’t solved everything or that you still don't have the answers? These are common feelings of being frustrated, annoyed and stuck. By the end of this session, I will have given you some hidden pieces of the puzzle, to expand and grow your family history research. My hope that you feel less frustrated and annoyed, and instead feel inspired and equipped to try new ways and techniques to solve the puzzle.

The hidden piece of the puzzle
The loss of HMAS Sydney
Dr Tom Lewis OAM

The loss of the cruiser Sydney was the greatest maritime defeat the Royal Australian Navy has ever suffered. But it was only part of a huge naval war that raged around Australia’s coasts in World War II. Mine-layers; submarines, and surface vessels all cost thousands of lives in the war. Hear and read of the battles that menaced our country.

Maritime raiders, and the submarine war off Australia coasts
Treasures in government, police and education gazettes
Rosemary Kopittke

It is often thought that government gazettes contain only boring information and nothing of relevance to a researcher unless their family happened to work for the government. That is far from the truth! Check out these records and learn lots you won’t find elsewhere.

UTAS Diploma of family history
Dr Kate Bagnall

An overview of the online Diploma of Family History at the University of Tasmania – covering the course structure, what you’ll learn, and how we teach online. Sponsored by the University of Tasmania.

Visualising convict resistance
Dr Monika Schwarz

Approximately 3600 protesters were transported to Australia because of their participation in riots, union or national movements. Forced into an inhuman system of coerced labour, many more convicts engaged in acts of defiance after their arrival. Modern data visualisations bring new understanding.

Your house has a history
Sharn White

As family historians we search for records and evidence of people and their lives. So often the house is overlooked as a family history resource, when in fact, houses are significant and valuable historical records. Houses document family and local history and even the history and development of a nation. In this presentation you will learn to understand the language of your house and how to uncover stories about a house and the people who have lived in it. Researching a house can take you on unexpected twists and turns as you examine family records, photographs, newspapers articles, official records to uncover layers of family and social history through the tangible material evidence that is a house.

Researching the history of your home
Breaking down brick walls in your family history research
Mark Bayley

”Breaking down brick walls in your family history research” looks at how to resolve stumbling blocks in your family history research using new and unique search strategies to find those missing relatives. Techniques covered include searching for a family using just the individuals' forenames, keyword search tools (using criteria other than a name to search on) and other advanced search techniques. The talk also covers unique data sets such as Tithe records, Occupational Records, Non-Conformist records, Will images, Parish Records, Military Records, Directories, Newspapers and more. This talk is suitable for all levels, for those with an interest in online research Sponsored by TheGenealogist.

DNA FAQ: real frequently asked questions
Janine Cloud

In this talk, go beyond the basics of DNA testing and which test does what. We’ll look at pre-testing questions such as the differences between testing companies, privacy concerns, and what happens to your sample once your test is complete. We’ll also look at post-testing questions such as why you may not match someone you think you should, why you don’t recognize the name of people you do match, and the truth about “ethnicity” estimates. Sponsored by Family Tree DNA.

Exploring FamilySearch
Lesle Berry

A look at what is available at home and at Family History Centre/Affiliate Library. Millions of names and records to extend and verify your research – or take you further. From countries around the world digitized images and indexes are available. Help is available and easily accessible for most countries. Original records covering many topics that can be researched by name, place and time. Sponsored by Family History Connections.

How genealogy software helps bring your family tree to life
Doug Elms

Doug Elms, VICGUM President, will review the types of records and information which can be obtained during family history research. He has also included an introduction to using a genealogy program – Family Tree Maker. As one of the main reasons for using a computer program is to generate family stories his presentation illustrates how to: commence a tree, add data to the tree and also to produce charts, reports and books. Sponsored by VicGUM.

Mapping your ancestors
Mark Bayley

Mark demonstrates the map record collections and tools that are available for researching your British roots. The talk features Tithes, The 1910 Land Survey, Surname Maps and an innovative tool to view these maps in relation to modern-day maps - MapExplorer.. Sponsored by TheGenealogist

MyHeritage Library Edition
Lesle Berry

MyHeritage is a genealogy platform established in 2003. With millions of records available to search and download, some unique to this site. The Library Edition allows access to search names, families and records of various events. With partnerships with many well-known sources of information and research this is definitely a valuable tool for researchers. Sponsored by Family History Connections.

Researching Ancestors in British India
Mary Anne Gourley

This talk follows the history of the East India Company, the records they created, where these are found and how to access them using examples found during the speaker’s own research.

Scottish family history resources on Findmypast
Myko Clelland

Findmypast is one of the UK’s largest family history websites and has the fastest growing collection of Scottish records online. With many more on the way, join resident genealogist Myko Clelland as we explore some of the key collections and expert techniques to get you further, faster. Skill level - all levels Sponsored by Findmypast.

Tracing your Victorian British Ancestors
Myko Clelland

The Victorian era is one of huge change in British society. Mass migration, the creation of new record types, and new technologies, all transformed our ancestors lives. This presentation will explore the records created during this period and how to get the best out of these on our genealogy journey. Skill level - all levels. Sponsored by Findmypast.

Y-DNA Testing from Y-37 to Big Y
Janine Cloud

Many people know that Y-DNA follows the paternal line, but that’s about as far as they get. This talk looks at Y-DNA from the entry level Y-37 test to the comprehensive Big Y test. We’ll look at what results you should expect and help you determine which level is best for you and your research needs. Sponsored by Family Tree DNA.

Access recordings until 31 July

According to learning experts, the first time you hear or watch something you only take in 20% of the information, at best! And we don't want you missing a beat!

So we're making sure that you have access to the recordings of every talk in the track(s) you book for. So don't stress—you can watch, review, and take in all the great content our experts are bringing you.

Take a deep dive into family history

Shut the door, sit down, and don't forget the popcorn! Grab your notebook and relax in your own home while you enjoy up to 70 recorded webinars.

Each track has a focused theme from some of the best family history experts. The include DNA, Researching Abroad, Australia & New Zealand, and Methodology & General.

Learn at home in style

An innovative solution to help you interact with speakers and other family historians – four exclusive digital hubs (Facebook groups), one for each track theme.

Ask questions relating to the presentations and themes. Speakers and others with expertise are encouraged to participate.

Have your questions answered

Play and pause these presentations to your heart's content, so that you have time to implement all that you're learning.

Get immediate access to all recordings and review them at your convenience until 31 July 2021.

Rewatch Recordings

Get in the draw for $1000's of prizes for a huge range of family history resources.

Among the special offers from our exhibitors, there will be prizes drawn every two weeks. So buy now and don't miss out!

Exhibition & Prizes

Australia & New Zealand





Recordings Access

Until 31 July

Bonuses & Prizes



Via Facebook Group







Recordings Access

Until 31 July

Bonuses & Prizes



Via 4 Facebook Groups

The Complete
Family History Bundle



SAVE $205

Bundle & Save

If you're considering buying a package of recordings from Family History Down Under 2021, here's some useful information.

Purchase Recordings

Book for specific tracks individually
Save 35% by booking the megabundle
Get immediate access to over 70 recordings
Be included in the AU$10,000 prize draw
Ask questions on the dedicated Facebook Groups

DNA: Genetic Research

Learn the latest on DNA Research from experts around the world.

DNA: Genetic Research


Researching Abroad

Learn from the experts about British Isle and European research

Researching Abroad


Australia & New Zealand

Learn from experts about Australian and New Zealand research

Australia & New Zealand


Methodology & General

Learn from the experts about a wide range of general topics

Methodology & General

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