Auckland Libraries: Family History Expo 2022 speakers

Family History Expo 2022 speakers

Auckland Family History Expo 2022 welcomes international and local guest speakers who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in researching genealogy.

International speakers

Brian Donovan.Brian Donovan   (Ireland)

Brian Donovan is the Global Head of Irish Collections at He previously lectured in history at Trinity College Dublin in the 1990s and since then has lectured throughout Ireland and the US on history, genealogy and digitisation. Brian’s experience in digital technology, as well as his background in history, helped motivate the founding of the well-known Irish genealogy company Eneclann in 1998. He played a key role in establishing the Irish collection at Brian oversees all aspects of the development of the Irish record collection at

Daniel Horowitz.Daniel Horowitz

MyHeritage  and The Israel Genealogy Research Association  (Israel)

Dedicated to Genealogy since 1986, Daniel was the teacher and the study guide editor of the family history project "Searching for My Roots" in Venezuela for 15 years. He is involved in several crowdsource digitisation and transcription projects, and holds a board-level position at The Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA). Since 2006 Daniel has been working at MyHeritage liaising with genealogy societies, bloggers, and media, as well as lecturing, and attending conferences around the world. Find out more about Daniel's genealogy work at his website 

Debra Carter. Debra Carter

Ancestry ProGenealogists  (Australia)

A professional genealogist for over ten years, Debra has a formal education in genealogy and local history: she holds the Society of Australian Genealogists Certificate and Diploma, and Oxford University's Local History Advanced Diploma. She is a Research Team Manager with AncestryProGenealogists, managing a team of UK and US-based researchers, and her research specialties include Australian, UK and associated migratory records.

Jason Reeve.Jason Reeve

Ancestry  AU & NZ (Australia)

As Head of Content & Community for in Australia and New Zealand, Jason is a passionate advocate for all things to do with history. Joining back in 2016, he continues to work closely with archives, registry offices, genealogical societies and community organisations to uncover new record collections, assist archival digitisation efforts and support family history organisations. When he's not trawling through archives, Jason speaks at events and conferences as well as presenting on radio, television and social media platforms.

Judy RussellJudy Russell

The Legal Genealogist  (USA)

Judy G. Russell known as The Legal Genealogist, is a genealogist with a law degree. She writes, teaches and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical topics, ranging from using court records in family history to understanding DNA testing. Her award-winning blog appears at The Legal Genealogist website.

Mark Bayley.Mark Bayley

TheGenealogist  (UK)

Working as the head of online development for TheGenealogist and company director at S&N British Data Archive, Mark has been involved in many aspects of genealogy and the family business from an early age. Mark develops online tools to help people break down their research brick walls. When he's not developing, he's travelling around the country, speaking at events to help others with their research.

Mia Bennett.Mia Bennett

Mia Genealogy  (UK)

Mia Bennett is an experienced genealogist who uses DNA to solve family history mysteries. Mia is an Associate of AGRA providing research and consultation services. She gives talks on traditional genealogy and DNA. Mia is an alumni of SLIG and a current student at IHGS.

Michael Higgins.Michael Higgins

FamilySearch  (New Zealand and the Pacific)

Mike looks after FamilySearch’s New Zealand and Pacific operations, including training volunteers, creating relationships with government officials and archive leaders in an effort to preserve significant genealogical records sets, and enjoying pleasant tours like this where he gets to engage with others who love this work. He recently graduated with a masters’ degree in business.

Shauna Hicks.Shauna Hicks

Shauna Hicks History Enterprises  (Australia)

Shauna has worked in libraries and archives for over 35 years, and holds a Master of Arts in Australian Studies, and a Diploma in Family Historical Studies. She is a recipient of the Australian Society of Archivists Distinguished Achievement Award, and the AFFHO Services to Family History Award. Her genealogy business is and she blogs at Diary of an Australian Genealogist.

Local speakers

Bradley Greer.Bradley Greer

Family Tree Maker 

Family Tree Maker representative Bradley has been studying genealogy with his grandmother since he was ten years old and has been presenting Family Tree Maker at the Auckland Family History Expo since the 2017 release. Aside from speaking at the Expo he will also be selling copies and walking people through the program.

David Verran.David Verran


David managed the Central Auckland Research Centre until 2017. He has led tours of Symonds Street Cemetery for many years, worked with its records since the early 1990s, and will talk about researching those families likely buried in the Cemetery. He will also advise as to why they may not be on the Symonds Street Cemetery database. Go to the database 

Elena Fowler.Elena Fowler

FamilyTree DNA  (FTDNA) representative

Elena comes from a family of keen genealogists. This Expo she is presenting on Y-DNA and mtDNA for Family Tree DNA.

Emerson Vandy.Emerson Vandy

National Library of New Zealand 

Emerson Vandy has been the Digital Services Manager at National Library of New Zealand for more than 11 years. He is a popular speaker and speaks regularly at a variety of events and conferences including the annual Auckland Family History Expo.

Fiona Brooker.Fiona Brooker

Memories in Time 

Fiona has served as both President and Treasurer of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists  (NZSG) and convened the 2008 and 2018 national conferences. She holds a Higher Certificate in Genealogy from the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies and began Memories in Time to help others trace their family history. She is a co-founder of Talking Family History .

Jo Cocker.Jo Cocker

Auckland Libraries

Family Tree Maker representative Bradley has been studying genealogy with his grandmother since he was ten years old and has been presenting Family Tree Maker at the Auckland Family History Expo since the 2017 release. Aside from speaking at the Expo he will also be selling copies and walking people through the program.

Liam Appleton.Liam Appleton

Auckland Libraries

Liam has been a Research Librarian with Auckland Libraries since 2017 and holds a Master of Arts in History from the University of Auckland. As a librarian, Liam has helped unravel pieces of many family histories, including his own. He also helps support the Auckland Libraries Heritage Talks programme and writes for the library’s Heritage et al blog .

Marie Hickey.Marie Hickey

Auckland Libraries

Marie has been researching her family for over 40 years and working at Research Central for over 15. A former staff member of the Society of Genealogists in London, she enjoys assisting others with research, and mentoring colleagues in family history. She has taught night school classes in family history, and presented papers at conferences and expos in New Zealand.

Melanie Middleton.Melanie Middleton

New Zealand Society of Genealogists 

Melanie brings multiple skills to the Board of NZSG. She is a passionate genealogist with extensive research skills. She holds the Diploma of Family Historical Studies through SAG and is currently studying further through IHGS. She has been a member of NZSG since 1993 and has volunteered on many occasions at NZSG and Auckland Libraries events. She was the primary organiser for the schools event at the NZSG Fair at the Vodafone Event Centre in 2013. She is very enthusiastic about taking Genealogy into the Education Sector.

Margaret Gaffney.Maggie Gaffney

MG Historical Research 

Maggie Gaffney lives in Te Whanganui-a-Tara | Wellington and has traced her tūpuna (ancestors) back to Ireland, England and Scotland. She is a tutor with the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies  and holds their Diploma in Genealogy as well as an Advanced Diploma in Local History from the University of Oxford. 

Michelle Patient.Michelle Patient

Talking Family History

Scientist and genealogist, Michelle is a past President of the NZSG and current NZ representative of the Guild of One Name Studies (GOONS) . She has spoken in New Zealand, Australia, and England, and has an interest in education, surname research, adoptions, methodology, and technology. She set up the New Zealand DNA Users Group  and is a co-founder of Talking Family History .

Sue Berman.Sue Berman

Auckland Libraries

Sue Berman is a Principal Advisor Oral History with the Auckland Libraries Heritage team. Sue’s love of oral history comes from her keen interest in peoples lived experiences and for recording lesser heard voices on topics of everyday social history. She's an active member of the National Oral History Association and enjoys creating podcasts and platforms that make our family and community stories more accessible.

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