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 ancestors 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, 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 Australasian 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 and New Zealand Research track?

Great question. To be specific:

  • 6 Australian and New Zealand presentations - streamed via Zoom on Thurs 25 March 2021
  • 21 extra recorded presentations - get access from 29 March 2021
  • All up, get 27 presentations - to watch and rewatch 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
  • Special offers and vouchers - 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

Talks given as webinars on Thursday, March 25 - times AEDT
Your house has a history
Sharn White
9.00am - 10.00am

Researching the history of your home
Big brushes and big aims
Dr Tom Lewis OAM
10.15am - 11.15am

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
Essential sources of information for piecing together convict lives
Professor Hamish Maxwell-Stewart
11.30am - 12.30pm

Treasures in government, police and education gazettes
Rosemary Kopittke
1.30pm - 2.30pm

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.

Australasian probate records
Shauna Hicks
2.45pm - 3.34pm

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.

Deciphering Australian military service records
Ben Hollister
4.00pm - 5.00pm

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.

Recordings only
Recorded talks available after the conference
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.

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
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

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

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
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.

Additional sponsored recordings
Available after the conference
A little bit of earth: land grants in colonial Australia
Imogen Wegman

Sponsored by 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.

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.

Family Tree Maker topic 1 TBA
Doug Elms

Sponsored by VicGUM

Mapping your ancestors
Mark Bayley

Sponsored by TheGenealogist

New Zealand topic TBA
Seonaid Lewis

Sponsored by Auckland Libraries

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

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. Let me know if you need anything else or if that's good - and if it is, I'll get on the recording and the rest of the preparations! 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.

UTAS Diploma of family history: putting your ancestors in context
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.

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

Australia & New Zealand is the theme for the third day of FHDU2021. You will hear from some of the best international researchers.

Shut the door, sit down, and don't forget the popcorn! Grab your notebook and relax in your own home while you enjoy a full day of streamed webinars.

Remember, you get access to recordings of the 6 presentations shown on the day, and 21 more (from 29 March) to watch in your own time and space.

Learn at home in style

An innovative solution to help you interact with speakers and other family historians – an exclusive digital hub (Facebook groups), dedicated to Australia & New Zealand discussion.

Ask questions relating to the presentations and Australia & New Zealand. Speakers and others with expertise are encouraged to participate for up to a week after the conference date. This is a much stronger Q&A forum than just a few minutes at the end of a talk, and it is open to those who don’t “attend” the conference itself.

Have your questions answered

Too much to watch in a day? Clashes with other commitments? Time zone doesn’t suit? No problem!

All conference sessions will be recorded and available to you to review at your convenience. Whether you join the conference on the day or not, you get full to access to those presented at the conference and about 21 more in addition. All are available for viewing until 31 July 2021 – at times convenient to you.

Rewatch Recordings

As we’ve reshaped and rebuilt FHDU 2021 through the difficulties of COVID-19, we are immensely thankful for your patience.

A virtual event opens up the opportunity for more value. The benefits include:
 • a high value prize pool
 • more special offers from our sponsors and other partners
 • attend from anywhere in the world

Bonuses, prizes, and more

Australia & New Zealand

Tracks / Days




Recordings Access

Until 31 July

Bonuses & Prizes



Via Facebook Group



Tracks / Days




Recordings Access

Until 31 July

Bonuses & Prizes



Via 4 Facebook Groups

The Complete
Family History Bundle



SAVE $205

Bundle & Save

If you're considering booking for Family History Down Under 2021 here's some useful information.

Open for Bookings

Book for specific tracks individually
Save 35% by booking the megabundle
Get access to recordings till 31 July
Be included in the AU$10,000 prize draw
Ask questions on the dedicated Facebook Groups
DAY 1  |  TRACK 1

DNA: Genetic Research

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

DNA: Genetic Research

DAY 1  |  TRACK 1
DAY 2  |  TRACK 2

Researching Abroad

Learn from the experts about British Isle and European research

Researching Abroad

DAY 2  |  TRACK 2
DAY 3  |  TRACK 3

Australia & New Zealand

Learn from experts about Australian and New Zealand research

Australia & New Zealand

DAY 3  |  TRACK 3
DAY 4  |  TRACK 4

Methodology & General

Learn from the experts about a wide range of general topics

Methodology & General

DAY 4  |  TRACK 4
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