Interview with Robyn Williams – speaker AFFHO Congress 2015

13 December 2014

Generations Congress 2015As one of the official AFFHO Congress 2015 bloggers, it is my pleasure to interview speakers and learn more about them prior to the Congress in Canberra in March 2015. Organised by AFFHO (Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations),  Congress is only held every three years. It attracts some of the best speakers in Australasia and overseas, hundreds of keen family history enthusiasts and lots of trade exhibitors and without doubt is the major genealogy, family history and heraldry event in Australasia. See the program here and for information on sponsors and exhibitors see here.

Previous interviews – Richard ReidSue Reid, Michelle Nichols

This is the fourth post in my series of interviews – speaker Robyn Williams


SH: Are you a genealogist, researcher, historian or representing your organisation?

RW: Firstly I am a genealogist having commenced my enquiries into family history when I was very young!  At age of about 6 or 7 I started asking questions about various family members.   This carried on until mid teenage when other activities gained my attention.  I then married and had my children and came back to finding out about my forebears in the 1980s when my sister went to St Catherines House in London and purchased the birth certificate for our grandfather George Green who was born in 1861.  In 1987 I joined the New Zealand Society of Genealogists which assisted on my family history journey.  Very soon this turned from being helped to helping others.

Secondly I represent the New Zealand Society of Genealogists on the AFFHO Board and am currently the Vice President.

SH: I wonder if you could tell us a little about your background?

RW: I was born and brought up in Auckland City where I attended school.  I am a widow with two adult children and a grandmother to Kate who is aged 2 years.  I am an accountant and am currently self employed.

SH: How has genealogy improved or changed your life?

RW: Genealogy has enabled me to find out just who I am, where my forebears came from and to understand more about myself.  It has made me curious about history, technology and travel.

SH: What do you love most about genealogy/family history?

RW: I like the people I meet and those who I am able to advance in their family history journey.  I enjoy making information more available to everyone by talking on the subject.  There is nothing like lecturing which makes you really get to know the subject.

SH: Have you previously attended Congress?

RW: I attended my first Congress in Christchurch in 1997 and have attended every Congress since.  Canberra will be my 7th Congress.  I was part of the organising committee for the Congress held in Auckland in 2009.

SH: What are your key topics for Congress?

RW: I am talking on Sources for Research in New Zealand and Migration to New Zealand including Trans-Tasman Shipping movements.

SH: How do you think your topic/s will help the family historians at Congress 2015?

RW: I will be concentrating on the key free online research aids for research in New Zealand.

SH: What do you think are the benefits of attending a large conference like this for you personally and for others attending?

RW: The key benefits of attending Congress are to learn about new developments in the fast moving world of both genealogy and technology.  It is an opportunity to meet others with the same interests and to talk with peers about all matters genealogical.

SH: Do you have a favourite piece of advice or a tip or trick you can share with conference attendees?

RW: Enjoy the Congress, soak up all the information, and be ready to be challenged.

SH: Is there somewhere we can connect with you online?

RW: Via email or skype.  Skype address:  Robyn.Williams1

Thanks Robyn for sharing your thoughts with us.

Over the next few months I will be bringing you more interviews with Congress speakers. My official blogging team partners Jill Ball and Pauleen Cass will be doing similar interviews and we will bring you news of Congress as it comes to hand. I am looking forward to catching up with and making new geneamates as well as attending some great speaker sessions next March. Hope to see you there too.


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