Meet the Speaker: Shannon Sutton

Shannon-SUTTON-225x300In the coming weeks Ambassadors for the Waves in Time 2019 conference will be introducing you to the speakers. You’ll get to learn a little about them, their expertise and what they will be sharing at the conference.

Today’s featured speaker is Shannon Sutton from the National Library of Australia.

I wonder if you could tell us a little about your background? Are you a genealogist, researcher, historian or representing your organisation?

I’ve worked at the National Library of Australia as part of the Newspapers and family history team since 2014. Before coming to the Library, I was an archaeologist working mostly in Victoria but also the Pilbara, New South Wales, the Torres Strait, all over Australia really.
Much like genealogists, archaeologists don’t necessarily discover anything new – they are
more in the business of uncovering bits of information that people have forgotten over the years.
I’m delighted to be a guest presenter at the Waves in Time conference, where I’ll be
speaking about Trove and a few of the other newspaper databases you can access (for free!) with a National Library of Australia library card.

What do you love most about genealogy/family history/history/heraldry?

I’ve always been interested in the past and family history is just a different way of ‘digging’ into it. I’m a great lover of stories (many told to me by my grandparents); so researching my family history has given me a way to verify a lot of what I’ve been told. My favourite thing about family history is finding ancestors who my immediate family don’t seem to know much or anything about…and then pondering why this is so.

Have you attended a History Queensland Conference in previous years?

I certainly have. I delivered a presentation at the Footsteps in Time conference that was a
comedy of errors. I solemnly swear to do a much better job of it at the Waves in Time

How do you think your topic/s will help the family & local historians at the Waves in Time Conference?

If you have ever used Trove’s newspapers to research your family history, hopefully my talk will have some tips and tricks you’ve not yet heard of. If you haven’t used Trove, or if you’re just starting out on your Trove adventure, you will soon be a Trove addict!
Newspapers offer us a fascinating, and sometimes scandalous, glimpse into the lives of our ancestors. And Trove is a resource unlike any other – it provides free access to digitised Australian newspapers from 1803 onwards (with coverage of most titles ending in 1954 due to copyright).

Do you have a favourite piece of advice or a tip or trick you can share with
conference attendees?
The National Library has recently started creating online learning videos (webinars), which highlight resources such as Trove, government gazettes, newspapers, how to research the history of your house – and much more. You can get alerts for upcoming webinars by subscribing to our eNews letter ( You can also view all of our past webinars on our YouTube channel:
What do you think are the benefits of attending a large conference like this, for
you personally and for others attending?

It is a great chance to meet like-minded researchers and discover new and exciting avenues for exploring your family history. And, as a whole, family historians tend to be a lovely group of people. At the last conference I met some incredibly friendly and knowledgeable ladies from the Central Queensland Family History Association in Rockhampton (which has an excellent Facebook page – go like it now!).

If you could pick one new project to do, what would it be? (Assuming no funding issues)

I’d really love to digitise more of our Pacific collections – starting with the Indian emigration passes to Fiji. The emigration passes are an amazingly rich source of family history information for descendants of Indians who entered Fiji under the British indentured labour system between 1879-1916. The emigration passes are one of a few collections in the Library that are on the UNESCO Memory of the World Heritage Register. You can read more about the significance of this collection in the National Library’s magazine:

Thanks Shannon for sharing your story with us. Who doesn’t love Trove whether they’re genealogists or not? It is definitely a world leader – and it’s free!! Thanks also for the tips so I’m going to check those out too. However are we going to choose which presentation to attend. Maybe we all need to find a genimate and swap information about the sessions.

Disclaimer: As a Waves in Time Ambassador I receive a free registration in return for promoting the conference in various social media forums and on my blog.

3 thoughts on “Meet the Speaker: Shannon Sutton

  1. I cannot remember there being problems with Shannon’s talk at Footsteps in Time. The fact that he got invited back means some of us enjoyed his talk and must have learnt something. I look forward to him telling us about the new webinars.

    I have shared your post on the Waves in Time Meet the speaker page.

    Liked by 1 person

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