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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Latest post from the Unlock the Past Team 4th UTP Genealogy 9 day Cruise

With just six days to go I'm sure most of you have almost finished packing and preparing generally. If so you are well ahead of us. With this final cruise newsletter we have pulled together information on special sessions on the cruise and have prepared a handy FAQ sheet – see attached. You might also like to check out Pauleen Cass's excellent blog post Packing for the 4th UTP geneacruise .

Final program

Please bring the program that was supplied with your ticket. Only minor changes have been made since then. The final version can be downloaded from the program page of the website but these are the main changes:

  • the 4:30/5 PM sessions on Wednesday, 5 February have been swapped with the 4:30 PM session on Friday, 7 February
  • Jill Ball's Ethical dilemmas panel on Wednesday, 12 February has been swapped with Kerry Farmer's DNA talk on Monday, 10 February
  • a few talks in the same time slot have switched rooms to better suit the numbers expected. Check the program to be sure you have the right room.
  • the considerable interest in the special getting to know the Southern sky sessions means we will likely need to run two or more of these, weather permitting and if Mel is prepared to do the extras

Check the speaker biographies and presentation outlines to help you plan ahead. Outlines for all presentations are no online.

Special sessions - BE PREPARED

Anne Daniels – Anne brings something very special to our cruise. As well as presenting Anne is offering discounts on specially commissioned "family history heirlooms". But to take advantage of this you need to be prepared. I recommend you look at her website to learn more about her work – and just in case you would like to go further why not bring along a few photos and documents. And don't forget to attend Anne's presentations on the cruise. Anne writes:

To anyone who is considering commissioning a ‘family history heirloom’ artwork from

I’m really looking forward to meeting you all and maybe getting to know you a little bit. As well as taking a couple of design-based workshops on board, I will be available to accept commissions from any of you who would like a bespoke artwork from ‘Drawing  on the Past’, at a specially discounted price. I will be offering a 20% discount on my online prices, which you will find by looking on Please check out the ‘Family History’ section of the website, and maybe read some of the testimonials, so that you can get a basic idea of how the process works. If anyone is interested, but has questions, please get in touch via my website or email me on

For anyone who is interested in this service, please could I ask you to bring any personal photographs and documents with you on the cruise. As well as being able to scan these into my laptop on the ship, we will be able to sit down and have a chat together, to gather interesting information about your life, which I will use to enrich your artwork. I will be able to begin your artwork on the ship, so you will be able to see its development right up to the point we disembark. By that point, I will have taken all of the details I need to be able to have your final piece printed and posted out to you once I’m back on terra firma.

Scrapbooking workshop with Maggie Clarke – if you are attending Maggie's scrapbooking workshop she has asked that you bring a paper trimmer or pair of scissors, an adhesive runner (she will supply a glue stick for everyone), a 7"x5" photo in portrait and a document that goes with the photo. (Maggie's sample page has her grandmother's wedding photo and her marriage certificate... just to give you an idea of what you need). If people are scrapbookers they could also bring a stamp pad in brown but this is not essential. If anyone has any questions they can email Maggie on Be aware that Royal Caribbean list as prohibited – sharp objects including all knives and scissors with the blade length of 4 inches or more. Also our own experience – our case was held up in security last year because they detected scissors. They did not confiscate them but our case delivery was somewhat delayed while this was checked out. Numbers will be limited to 25 maximum.

Getting to know the southern sky with Mel Hulbert – this may not be a genealogical topic but it has certainly attracted a lot of interest if the topics survey is anything to go by. Well we'll give a brief introductory talk (10 mins) followed by a viewing and guided tour of the southern sky. Any who are interested should bring a small torch with red cellophane covering it (using an elastic band works best) and binoculars if you have them. We will choose suitable night/s on the cruise - the time will be after our own program is over for the day. More than 50% of our survey respondents have indicated interest in this so it looks like we may need to run this two or more nights if Mel is willing and the weather permits. Mel has prepared a night sky map for us. A copy is attached for those who are interested. You should print this out to bring with you.

iPad productivity workshop for genealogists – this workshop by Neil Grill will be limited to 25 maximum. Neil will tell how to use it to boost productivity, assist research, access genealogy applications and work seamlessly across several devices. This is a hands-on workshop and participants are expected to bring their own Apple iPad (or iPad Mini or iPhone). A private WiFi network will be provided for participants to join and exchange data, ideas and ask questions.

Note: if numbers for any of the workshops are more than the 25 limit, priority will be given to those who submitted interest in the topics survey.

Other notes

  • book sales – whilst most purchases on Voyager are made in US dollars on your sea pass card any purchases from our bookshop or other speakers selling books will need to be in Australian dollars. Cash is preferred as internet access for credit card processing is limited at sea. If necessary we can probably process credit cards when we are in port.
  • research interests – a list of these will be displayed on board.
  • shore activities – we put a list of ideas that may interest our group when in ports - in the itinerary page of the web site. Please note that these were for your information only – we are not organising groups to these activities. We were simply gauging interest and are quite happy to bring together those interested in the same activity to travel together on public transport where available or as a group sharing a taxi. Generally this will be worked out on the cruise, probably the day before we arrive at each port.
  • Lutheran archives – this is not open on Saturday when we are in Adelaide, but they have agreed to open for a while if there are sufficient numbers interested for them to do so. There has been some interest expressed but not enough at this stage to ask them for a special opening. If you are likely to be interested in this can you please do the short survey we have on shore activities (we will leave this open) – or email us directly with your interest. It will probably be offered from about 10 AM to 1 PM. The archives holds records for Lutheran interests throughout Australia including indexed parish registers, a large library of books, church magazines, district and regional histories and much more. You can learn more by visiting the website (link on the itinerary page the cruise website) or we can email you more details that they have supplied us about a proposed visit.
  • Stan Hessey book – some of you will remember Stan Hessey from our last cruise. He advises:  "I recently published a book called Walking with Grunts.  Its about my experiences as a chaplain with the 8th Battalion in Vietnam 1969-70.  I have had favourable reviews, especially one by Craig Wilcox, Centre for Historical Research at the National Museum of Australia.
  • Video – we plan to do more video on this cruise than previously. This will be mainly for future cruise promotional purposes, so we will mainly limit this to portions of presentations (with speaker permission), casual interviews with cruisers, conference and cruise life generally. We hope to do a few more formal interviews with some of our special presenters and may film a few sessions fully. We will seek a video release from any who feature in a video if it is to be used in any public way.
  • Recording sessions – neither audio nor video recording of sessions is permitted without permission of the presenter.
  • First day – boarding will take place throughout the afternoon. We expect to have a registration table and gathering point set up in the conference room on Deck 2. It is likely you will want to find your room first. Your checked baggage may or may not be delivered when you first go to your room. You will no doubt want to explore the ship, but please look us up in the conference centre which you will need to locate soon anyway to pick up your nametags and other goodies offered to our group. The conference centre and small theatre are where most cruise sessions will take place. The opening and closing sessions will take place in Cleopatra's Needle on Deck 5.

Our cruise survey

  • Research interests survey – Last chance! We will close research interests submissions at mid day tomorrow – Thursday, 30 January. To submit your interest click here.
  • Cruise topics survey – this has served its purpose in helping us plan rooms for the sessions but we will leave it open if you are still interested in doing it  Click here to do the topics survey
  • Shore activities and places to visit – if you still wish to submit your interests here you can still do so. We won't close this survey. Remember we are not organising tours or groups but rather getting an idea of people's interests so we can bring them together to get there. Two special notes:
    • If you wish to visit the Cascades female factory in Hobart we recommend you visit their website and book in to see their show – see cruise itinerary page
    • If you are interested in visiting or researching the Lutheran archives in Adelaide please do the shore activities survey or email us. We have some interest already but not enough yet for them to especially open for our group.

More cruise information

Just 6 days to go!

Alan Phillips and the Unlock the Past team

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