2018 Auckland Family History Expo round-up with speakers' notes

We had twenty-eight exhibitors, three streams of seminars with 17 speakers giving 38 seminars; and four computer workshops in Mt Roskill Library, with members of the public also joining in on their laptops. 


The star of the show this year was our youngest ever Expo presenter: 11-year-old Bradley who had made himself an expert in using Family Tree software by learning how to use it so he could teach his grandmother and provide her with tech support. He stood and showed a class of approximately 50 adults step-by-step how to use the software and get the most out of it.

Our key note speakers were: 
Kerry Farmer using case notes to demonstrate
using DNA with traditional research
  • Kerry Farmer (Australia), professional family historian and genetic genealogist; 
  • Jason Reeve (Australia), Content Manager for Ancestry, New Zealand and Australia; 
  • Russ Wilding (US), Chief Content Officer, MyHeritage; 
  • Diane Loosle (US), Director of the Family History Library and Senior Vice President of Patron Services, FamilySearch Salt Lake City.
Friday night's opening event was a keynote by Kerry Farmer on how to use DNA and traditional research together, demonstrating the research processes using case studies. This was followed up by panel discussion between Jason Reeve, Russ Wilding, Diane Loosle and Kerry Farmer - with contributions from the audience.

Saturday was extremely busy – the seminar rooms were fairly full (sometimes packed out) and the exhibition hall was full practically all day. The Auckland Libraries staff were kept extremely busy.

Jan Gow presenting an attendee with a raffle prize
- the Auckland Libraries Heritage pack
Sunday was a bit quieter, although still very busy. Probably about 50% of the people who attended on Saturday, also attended on Sunday.

We estimate somewhere around 950 attended over the course of the whole weekend.

Our sponsors gave us over 100 raffle prizes valued at over $9000. Prizes included picture frames and hairdressing appointments through to subscriptions to our sponsors websites and DNA kits!

The talks were wide and varied, and well attended.

DNA and genetic genealogy was the hot topic again this year and accounted for eight of the seminars held. Strong emphasis was given that DNA was not a replacement for traditional research, but an additional tool to assist with brick walls or to prove/disprove the paper research.

Local history librarian, Joanne Graves gave a talk on “Old Auckland, not just digital” to show off our collections, and myself and Marie Hickey did most of the beginners’ talks.

We had whakapapa talks and workshops both days provided by Raniera Kingi, Jacqui Snee and Dena Jacobs, (nga Poukokiri Rangahau Māori, Auckland Libraries) and a Pacific peoples talk provided by researcher Christine Liava’a. As well as our Auckland Libraries table, the NZSG Māori Interest Group and Pacific Islands Interest Group were in attendance and kept very busy.

Once again the Chinese community table was well visited, where they displayed their local and family history books, with their stories of early Chinese New Zealanders. Ruth Lam also gave a well-presented talk on the research into early Chinese families and how Chinese fruit shops flourished in the 1950s-60s, based on her research for the two volume book Fruits of Our Labours.

Diane Loosle, Director of the Family History Library
 and Senior Vice President of Patron Services,
FamilySearch Salt Lake City, US
One of Diane Loosle’s slides really resonated with me. It was a quote from a survey done by Emory University after 9/11, which said: “ The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functions. The “Do you know?” scale turned out to be the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness. 
They explained that “. . . the ones who knew more about their families proved much more resilient, meaning they could moderate their levels of stress.”

Rowan Carroll, Director of the National Police Museum
I was very pleased that Rowan Carroll, Director of the National Police Museum, accepted our invitation to come up from Wellington and give us a talk on The New Zealand Police Gazettes, and we really appreciated her case studies that told stories of individuals to be found within the Police Gazettes.

Of course the gazettes have been available for a while on
Archway, Archives New Zealand’s website – however, they are now also available on Ancestry and are now keyword searchable.
People attending were from all over New Zealand, not just Auckland (Kerikeri, Whangarei, Bay of Plenty, New Plymouth, Hamilton, Wanaka, Christchurch etc).

We’re very pleased to say that we will be holding another Auckland Family History Expo in 2019 – watch this space!

Some of the speakers' notes are available on the Expo page.
Please note that some of the speakers were unable to share their notes for commercial and/or copyright reasons.

Or you can download them direct from here (CTRL click on PC - if that doesn't work, copy and paste the link into the address bar of your browser):

Christine Liava’a

Diane Loosle

Gail Riddell

Jan Gow

Joanne Graves

Michelle Patient

Raniera Kingi

Rowan Carroll

Russ Wilding

Seonaid Lewis

Thank you once again to our wonderful sponsors