Download a PDF version of the Programme HERE


An Evening at Riccarton House

Enjoy nibbles and some history in this grand historic homestead built for the pioneering Deans family.
Riccarton House, 16 Kahu Rd, Riccarton, Christchurch. Cash bar available



Stream 1: Social History

Stream 2: Research

Stream 3: DNA/Technical

Plenary 1

Janet Few

From Darlington to Wellington – The Story of Isabella Fry

Describing the sources and techniques used for uncovering the story of Isabella, a distant relation of the Quaker chocolate making, prison reforming Frys. She emigrated to New Zealand, and sadly committed suicide a month later.

Lecture 1

Geoffrey Rice

Lecture 2

Christine Whybrew

Lecture 3

Michelle Patient

Impact of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic on New Zealand Families

Research the History of Your House 


To DNA or Not to DNA,
That is the Question 

Based on interviews conducted 1978-82 and letters from survivors, this talk will explore the diversity of family experiences in the 1918 influenza pandemic.

Tracing where our ancestors lived can add to your family history. What resources can you use to research house history?


Heard about DNA testing? Want to know what the fuss is about or why it’s an essential genealogy tool? With examples of brick walls broken through, assumptions confirmed and new branches revealed.

Lecture 4

Susan McLean

Lecture 5

Marie Hickey

Lecture 6

Maurice Gleeson

Scottish Ragged & Industrial Schools

Appendices of the Journal of the House of Representatives 

Beginners Guide to DNA


A look at attempts to educate the less fortunate of society, from the early days of Charity Schools to the State operated Industrial Schools of the Victorian era.

This talk covers some of the many different types of reports and other material to be found in the AJHRs that can be of use to the family historian from asylum reports to photographs and maps. 

DNA testing might appear to be complicated but it is simply another tool for the genealogist's toolkit, and you don’t need to understand the technicalities of DNA to make it work for you. This talk discusses the three main types of DNA test and how they can help your genealogical research. 

Plenary 2

Maurice Gleeson

Identifying the Missing Soldiers of WWI - What Role Does DNA Play ?

There are 338,000 Allied soldiers from WWI still missing on the Western Front. Each year, routine farm work uncovers about 30-60 remains. In 2009, a mass grave of 250 soldiers was discovered and a painstaking retrieval and identification process was undertaken. This talk discusses how DNA played a major role in identifying these soldiers. 

Lecture 7

Geoffrey Rice

Lecture 8

Rae Wilson

Jenny Mayne

Lecture 9

Helen Smith

An Early Convict in Tasmania

Going to School in New Zealand

When Was It Taken? 

Dating Historical Photographs

Focusing on the early convict period in Tasmania, as seen through the eyes of Henry Rice (1751-1833), one of the few Irishmen among the founders of Hobart. The talk also briefly sketches the later convict period.

School records are a great source for genealogists. Here we look at the records that are available.

Our old family photos can be a treasure trove for genealogy researchers, especially if you can establish the date (or at least a date range) of when it was taken. If not, then it is time for some detective work to determine the clues that each photo holds.


Note: This is a double lecture, if you are attending this lecture you cannot register for Lecture 10 or Lecture 11.

Lecture 10

Janet Few

Lecture 11

Jane Teal

Putting your Ancestors in their Place


Confirmation Registers, Banns, Sunday School Rolls & Churchwardens Books

A one place study involves dissecting a small geographical area to examine the individuals, buildings and processes of the past. Here are 10 steps to follow in pursuit of this exciting branch of genealogical research.

The background to the collection of these records will be investigated with examples from the Christchurch Anglican Diocesan Archives. These examples will then be used to show how they can increase both genealogical knowledge and the social context of families.

Echoes of the Past Conference Dinner

We take you back to the 17th century with our special guest Master Christopher

Preceded by a mix and mingle. Cash bar available

Chateau on the Park, 189 Deans Avenue, Riccarton, Christchurch. 



Stream 1: Social History

Stream 2: Research

Stream 3: DNA/Technical

Plenary 3

Janet Few

The Life of 17th Century Ancestors

An interactive insight into the domestic life of 17th century ancestors. This session provides the historical context against which to set the documentary evidence for the period.

Lecture 12

Geraldene O’Reily

Lecture 13

Eileen Kennedy

Lecture 14

Edwina Swingler

Fiona Lees

An Irish Immigrant

BDM and Adoptions

Research Tips and Tricks

The talk focuses on the Canterbury Association, the Canterbury Provincial Council, Immigration Barracks, gold discoveries in Otago, land purchases in Canterbury, sheep stations, all built around the endeavours of a young Irish man, who fled famine in Ireland, initially finding find work in Kent, England before sailing to New Zealand in 1858.

Adoptions - How a pre-adoptive birth registration is created. Who and how a person can obtain pre and post-adoptive birth information.

  • Lists & Logs: It is so temping to just go on the web and surf. STOP!!!! You could get wiped out, take a breath.  Learn how to collect and record your finds.

  • Using PowerPoint to share your family history in a creative and fun way.

  • Time Lines: Timelines create clarity, identifies, establishes the why and enables you to keep focused.

Lecture 15

Margaret Copland

Lecture 16

Linley Robinson

Lecture 17

Maurice Gleeson

The Gaoler’s Wife:
Story of Lyttelton and the Gaol

Mining for Genealogical Gold
in the Yukon

Advanced Surname Project Management Using DNA

Eliza Reston was a woman in a man's world; employed as matron to a gaol while bearing & caring for 10 children. This is her story and the story of the Lyttelton gaol and its inmates.

The Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1800s attracted about 100,000 prospectors from around the world. Research on my New Zealand family members illustrates this period and how to research ancestors caught up in it.

Incorporating DNA testing into your surname project gives it a major boost. This talk will focus on how to use Y-DNA to group your project members accurately, and thereafter how to analyse the resulting genetic groups. 

Lecture 18

Julia Bradshaw

Lecture 19

Janet Few

Lecture 20

Emerson Vandy

Adjustable Marriages

Harnessing the Facebook Generation

Using Papers Past

Relationships, divorce and bigamy on the goldfields.

A thought provoking look at ways of encouraging and motivating the next generation to engage with their history and heritage.  Suggestions include toys, games, outings, activities and the use of technology.

Tips and techniques for getting the best out of New Zealand’s digital newspaper archives.



Lecture 21

Maurice Gleeson

Lecture 22

Marie Hickey

Lecture 23

Fiona Brooker

Ireland & the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Over the Seas They Roamed

The Time Travelling Genealogist

The Irish have occupied every rung of the social ladder in relation to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade - from working alongside enslaved Africans as “prisoners of war” and indentured servants, to becoming wealthy merchant slave-traders transporting thousands of enslaved people from Africa to the New World. This talk explores the variety of different roles that Irish people played in the TAST.

Passenger lists and alternative sources for finding these. This talk looks at where passenger lists may be found both on-line and in manuscript. It also covers other sources which enable the researcher to possibly locate a list or refine the possible years of entry.

As family historians we are great at travelling back in time to investigate our ancestors and find out about their lives. So what happens if we travel forward in time? What are our descendants going to find out about us? 

Lecture 24

Lynne Blake

Lecture 25

Susan McLean

Lecture 26

Helen Smith

Decimation by an Invisible Enemy

Poor Law in Victorian Scotland

GEDmatch Explained

The S.S. Tahiti carrying New Zealand troops to war is viewed as one of the first contacts New Zealand had of the 1918 Spanish flu. This paper reviews the impact of this influenza pandemic.

Records showing assistance to Scotland's poor can provide detailed biographical information and offer a fascinating glimpse into life in Victorian Scotland.

GEDmatch is a powerful free third party tool for the analysis of autosomal DNA. The ability to upload DNA results from a number of testing companies allows you analyse your matches and maximise your chances of a finding relatives. 

Plenary 4

Janet Few

Remember Then: memories of 1946-1969 and how to record your own

This talk describes the results of a project during which eighty women recorded their memories of life in Britain during the pivotal period 1946-1969 – a time when we moved from liberty bodices to mini skirts and from ration books to ready meals. This talk is much more than just a collection of memories. The techniques described will help both men and women, of all ages, to start writing reminiscences of their own.



Are you new to Family History? This is effectively a whole day seminar to help you with Getting Started on your family history.


Two Plenary Sessions (with our overseas speakers, along with the other conference delegates) plus four classroom lectures. Saturday only - Limited to the first 25 registrants.

Do you know anyone who would love to come along to this day long seminar?








Plenary 1:  Janet Few

From Darlington to Wellington

The Story of Isabella Fry


Morning Tea


Making a Start: Pedigree Charts & Family Group Sheets


Sort it Out: Organising, planning and a review of major websites


Lunch (Bring your own or order a bagged lunch)


Plenary 2: Maurice Gleeson

Identifying Missing Soldiers of WWI – the Role of DNA


Afternoon Tea


Researching NZ Records: What Where & How


Researching UK Records: What Where & How



Friday 1st June

9am to 3pm

Limited to first 24 registrants

Are you Sitting Comfortably? Writing up your family history

Janet Few

A one day course to help you create an end product from an accumulation of notes and computer files. This is suitable for those who have already done some research as it is not, primarily, about research methods.

Tuesday 5th June 

9am to 12 noon

Using your DNA results in practice - focus on autosomal DNA

Maurice Gleeson

Doing a DNA test is easy. Understanding the results and applying them in practice is a lot more difficult. This workshop explains the results of autosomal DNA tests, compares the different offerings from the various companies, examines the various tools that can be used to help you analyse the results, and explores various techniques (including triangulation) that can help you break down Brick Walls in your own research.