Ancestry Time was started by Sharn White, Pauleen Cass & Fran Kitto when they found that the other great family history chats on Twitter occurred at inconvenient times for Australia & New Zealand. Even before the first session, a number of family historians came on board. You can read the bios for the hosts and moderators, Jill Ball, Maggie Gaffney, Shauna Hicks, Jenny Jones & Seonaid Harvey Lewis, below.
Many of us are long time members of Kiva Genealogists for Families, which is an online lending platform helping people worldwide.
Sharn White has a background in teaching and has studied history, local history and family history at three universities. She is soon to commence a Masters in Family and Local History (MLitt) and is a member of the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA). Sharn has been researching her family history for twenty-five years and is the author of four family history blogs, some listed below. All have been archived by Trove’s Pandora website for their contribution to Australian historical research.
Sharn appeared on the television documentary, Coast Australia, after researching the convict history of Norfolk Island. She presents regularly about a number of topics, including Convict History, German Immigration to Australia, House Histories, Blogging Family History, Surname Changes, Using Google Earth to Map Family Movements and Telling Family History Stories.
In 2012, Sharn branched into researching house histories and heritage reports and works independently as well as for David White Architects, a Heritage Architectural Practice.
Sharn has been a Rootstech Ambassador each year since 2015, attended the first Rootstech London Conference in 2019 and is looking forward to being an Ambassador 2021 at Familysearch’s first virtual conference Rootstech Connect in March 2021.
On Twitter, you will be able to find Sharn at – @sharnwhite.
Pauleen Cass has been researching her families’ histories for over 30 years. She has a mixed heritage from Ireland, Scotland, England and Germany. Over the years Pauleen has researched in archives and libraries around Australia, as well as overseas, and has been fortunate enough to “walk the land” in her known family places.
She has a particular research interest in emigrants from east County Clare in Ireland, especially the town of Broadford, and presented about the emigration from this area at the Clare Roots Conference in Ennis in 2016. She blogs occasionally about the East Clare Emigrants. As well, she has researched some 60 emigrants from the village of Dorfprozelten in Bavaria to Australia in the mid-19th century and writes about them (sometimes) on her blog, From Dorfprozelten to Australia.
Pauleen has an Advanced Diploma in Local History, online from Oxford University. She has presented at various conferences and family history seminars in Australia. Her presentations focus on Irish research, the Dorfprozelten emigrants and one place studies, blogging, offline research, and FANs (Friends, Associates and Neighbours).
In 2003 Pauleen published her family history “Grassroots Queenslanders: the Kunkel family” which won two prizes. She is passionate about her “ordinary” ancestors and their lives, times and challenges…you might even say she’d be distressed to find she had famous or royal relatives. Her main blog is Family History Across the Seas. It covers her family research interests as well as more general family history topics, and her interest in migration and offline research.
As a child, Fran was fascinated about her ancestors so talked to relatives about them. This knowledge of numerous maiden names, places and migration paths gave her a great start when she finally began researching her family history more earnestly, about 12 years ago.
She has commenced the Family History diploma at the University of Tasmania and attended many conferences as a crash course way to learn family history techniques over a few days, at a time. Fran believes it is important to continually learn and also to share what you have learnt.
Fran works full time in her family’s wallpaper wholesale importing business doing everything from sweeping the floor to building their online presence with The Wallpaper People website and social media. Qualifications include a Bachelor of Business Studies and a Master of Business Administration.
She has held ambassador roles for conferences including DNA Down Under, RootsTech in London and Salt Lake City, and for RootsTech Connect coming in March 2021.
In her spare time, she manages the Caloundra Family History Website, runs the Tech Help Interest Group and Facebook page and group. In 2020, when COVID-19 stopped the group’s ability to meet in person she played a major role in changing the way Caloundra FH meets over to Zoom. Sometimes she gets time to blog at TravelGenee and hangs out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter all with the handle @TravelGenee.
A former librarian, teacher and IT guy, Jill (aka GeniAus) Ball, is an amateur genealogist and grandmother of 12. Family is important to Jill who has been chasing her ancestors for thirty years and, in retirement, devotes every spare moment to genealogy activities. She is particularly interested in harnessing technology for family history.
Jill has presented at international, national and state education, IT and genealogy conferences and enjoys sharing her knowledge in face-to-face and in online presentations. She has represented Australia as an Ambassador at each RootsTech conference.
Closer to home Jill serves on the Education Committee of The Society of Australian Genealogists and is President of The Lake Macquarie Family History Group. On three occasions Jill has been voted by fellow genies as Australia’s Gold Genealogy Rockstar.
Jill is active on multiple social media channels. She shares her enthusiasm for social media, technology, and genealogy through her blog GeniAus (geniaus.blogspot.com), Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/geniauspage/), Twitter (@GeniAus) and website (www.geniaus.net).
Maggie Gaffney is a web and genealogy professional based in Wellington, New Zealand.
Maggie holds a Higher Certificate in Genealogy from the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, and an Advanced Diploma in Local History from the University of Oxford. She is an Associate of AGRA, the UK’s main body for professional genealogists, and a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG).
Maggie has a particular interest in community migration, and her current obsession is combining DNA analysis with genealogical research.
Shauna Hicks has been tracing her own family history since 1977 and worked in government for over 35 years in Australian libraries and archives in Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne. Since retiring from full-time work, she has written numerous family history guides and is a well-known speaker at conferences, seminars and genealogy cruises. She now operates her own part-time business at www.shaunahicks.com.au and is the author of the blog, Diary of an Australian Genealogist.
Shauna has 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.
She runs a genealogy business, Shauna Hicks History Enterprises and can be frequently be found presenting at conferences and seminars. Shauna is the author of numerous family history guides which can be found at Gould Genealogy. Her blog, Diary of an Australian Genealogist is a must-read with tips, news and insight into Shauna’s research that will interest fellow family historians.
On Twitter, you will find Shauna with the handle, @HicksShauna.
Jen lives totally off the grid in Central Victoria and has been an amateur family historian for about four decades. What started as a casual pastime has become a passion. She also loves researching the history of the places where my ancestors lived and building stories of their lives, which she shares on her blog.
She loves to help others to become bloggers and bring their family stories to life in blog form. Jen promotes Australian Family History as an ambassador to local conferences such as DNADU and the FHDU.
Her other passions are fitness activities such as gym, cycling and hiking and gardening.
Jen also is researching a location with the One Place Study, Axedale – Then and Now.
Catch up with Jen on Twitter where her handle is @Jennifer_Jones0. She blogs Family History at Tracking Down the Family. When adding this bio for Jen I just had to add two other blogs she writes. Next Phase In Fitness & Life & Best Bookish Blog as I do enjoy both immensely.
Seonaid Harvey Lewis
Seonaid’s love of history began when she was growing up listening to her mother’s stories – particularly Scottish history. Her mother also shared many family stories. As a young teen, she stole her parents’ Jean Plaidy books off their bookshelf thinking they never noticed.
Seonaid has a BA in Information and Library Services and is professionally registered with the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA ). She has been senior research librarian, family history specialist, with Auckland Libraries for over 10 years, and proudly manages reputedly one of the largest international family history collections in a public library in Australasia. She is a regular speaker, and teaches family history and organises events. Seonaid is the chair and convenor of the annual Auckland Family History Expo.
Seonaid’s personal research interests are Newfoundland, England and Scotland. Recently she has also started dabbling in Wales where half of her husband’s ancestors are from.
Seonaid sometimes contributes to her work blog, Heritage et AL and keeps promising to resurrect her long-neglected blog, Hunting Ancestors, when she has time. You can find her on Twitter with @genebrian.