Queensland Family History Society Inc


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QFHS Management Committee 2023-2024


President Allana O’Kane
Vice President Alex Daw
Secretary Helen Evans
Treasurer John Young
Committee members:
  Carmel Bell 
  Caroline Brudell
  Lyndal Cosgrove
  Clem Ditton 
  Chris Robertson
  Charlotte Sale



Allana O'Kane


  Okane Final
  Allana first joined QFHS in 2017 when she moved to Queensland. Both parents were Queenslanders who met, married and raised their family in Victoria so, for her, relocation to Queensland meant reconnection with family roots and meeting many cousins.

Ancestors include a clutch of convicts (starting but not ending with the First Fleet), a number of Pre-Separation settlers and hardy emigrants from England, Ireland, and Scotland, France, and Denmark, all of whom had arrived by 1880.

Allana's employment background includes 20+ years in education and school leadership, owning and operating small businesses, and working overseas supporting NATO. She is passionate about valuing the work of all volunteers and assisting the Society be the best it can be.

Alex Daw
Vice President

  Daw Original
  Alex has been a member of QFHS since the 1980s. Her occupation took her from working in publicity and production for the ABC Radio and Television, then training and professional development for the Australian Film Television and Radio School and then finally as an Operations Supervisor and Branch Librarian in public libraries in the Moreton Bay Region and Gold Coast Library Services.

Her family history interests are blogging
https://familytreefrog.blogspot.com/ and her research areas include the UK, Barbados, Canada, and Australia. She currently coordinates Social Media and Acquisitions for QFHS. Alex is also part of the #ANZAncestryTime Twitter team and the Coordinator for National Family History Month.

Alex is particularly interested in the library and the Society’s volunteer experience. Her goals are to ensure members’ experience of the library is welcoming and inspiring and targeted to their research needs. Likewise, she aims to ensure that volunteers are made welcome, feel appreciated and inspired by their work for the Society and are supported with appropriate technology to do their work efficiently and well.

Helen Evans




  Helen is a retired IT professional who has managed large IT projects in the Government and Financial sectors.  The proud descendant of 6 convicts (male and female) and strong pioneering families from the far south coast of NSW, she continues to research her family history and enjoys travelling to visit villages and towns in the UK and Ireland whence they came.  

Along with her family, Helen loves her dog, veggie garden and watercolour painting.


John Young


  Young J Final
  John’s journey in family history commenced in the early 1990s when he sought to understand more about his paternal English ancestors and his Irish maternal ancestors. The combination of the research challenge and understanding historical contexts was compelling. Membership of QFHS commenced at that time and on Saturday afternoons he could often be found in front of a microfiche reader at the QFHS Library. How times have changed!

John has been indebted since then to the dedication and knowledge of the convenors and members of the various Special Interest Groups, in particular, the Irish, Family Tree Maker and DNA Groups. He has attended the meetings of each of these regularly and always come away informed and enthused.

John is now retired, but in a previous life graduated as an electrical engineer and, over a career in the electricity distribution business in SE Qld, worked in engineering, IT, electricity retailing and general management roles.

His focus on the Management Committee will be to support strong interaction and communication with members, particularly as represented by the Special Interest Groups, so that member needs are clearly heard and articulated. He will work to ensure that these needs are then reflected in our services and in our infrastructure, both physical and digital.

Carmel Bell

Committee Member


My passion for family history began way back in around 1986 when I first joined GSQ and spent many Saturday afternoons either at their library or at the State Library, State Archives or LDS Library in Ipswich trawling through miles of microfilm and microfiche. After supporting them in many activities over the years we parted company after I felt our paths were heading in different directions.  I still felt the need to support a  family history society and so turned to QFHS.  Living out in the Ipswich area, Covid helped me to join  the many Special Interest Groups and General Meetings via Zoom without the need to travel across town at night.

When I finally retired and was able  to help in the print library I was made feel very welcome by the other volunteers and so would like to return the courtesy to other new volunteers. I have always felt the need to wholeheartedly support  those who offer their time and expertise to guide our volunteer organisations and as such spent many years on committees involved in school P & F Associations, sports clubs, dancing clubs, childcare and other social groups.

Before retirement my journey through life was supporting my husband and rearing our three children and now supporting them by helping out when needed with their children. I have had a varied work experience from governessing,  general office duties, bank officer and being Registrar for the Droughtmaster Society in my last position.

My family history research has involved searching records for Ireland, England, Scotland and Germany. Most of my ancestors settled in Ipswich, Gatton, Warwick and the Fassifern area.

I hope to be able to support and learn from  the current Management Committee and all current volunteers in their endeavors to provide an interesting, welcoming and inspiring experience for all members. 


Caroline Brudell

Committee Member

  Brudell Final
  Caroline has been a member of QFHS since 2017 and volunteered as minutes secretary for a couple of years as a way of becoming familiar with the society, as well as contributing to it. During that time, she gained a general idea of how the society runs and some of the issues that engage members.She believes that we have a responsibility to not only do our best for current members but also to consider the future impact of our activities.

The social side of our society has suffered during COVID and Caroline would like to see that revitalised. At the same time, she has been delighted to see the adoption of Zoom which has enabled participation by members outside Queensland as well as those who may not be able to leave home.

Before Caroline joined QFHS, she has worked as an executive assistant, a TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) teacher, and has also helped run a small family business.

Her family history research has been divided between Irish, Swiss and German ancestors who settled in Ipswich and Goulburn. The earliest connection with Queensland comes through a Lutheran pastor who was appointed to German Town (Nundah).

Lyndal Cosgrove

Committee Member

  Cosgrove W 340
  Lyndal has been a QFHS member since May 2014 and is currently working part-time as a legal secretary/personal assistant. She has lived in New Zealand and Kashmir for a year each, and has travelled extensively in Europe.

Her personal family history interests are her family in the UK as her maternal grandparents came to Brisbane in 1912, with no other family in Australia, and her paternal grandparents were here a generation before that, again with no other family in Australia.

Particular areas of interest for the Society are contributing to the Management Committee over a number of years, as Members’ Interests Co-Ordinator and Members’ Meeting Speaker Co-ordinator. She also edits our quarterly journal, Queensland Family Historian.

In her role as Editor of our journal, Lyndal has created the journals from 2008 onwards with coloured photos and weblinks ready to be added to the website for members, and indexes the current journals to add to the Names Index.

Clem Ditton

Committee Member

  Ditton Final
  Clem started his family history research journey in 1986 in Canberra, the year that his first child was born. Clem joined QFHS soon after moving to Brisbane in 1995. His participation in the Society has expanded since his retirement from a career in IT. The IT career was data and application focused and it included both government and private sector clients. Clem is a member of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) at QFHS and is in the process of trying to understand the risks and challenges of the extensive IT resources that the Society employs.

Clem is a Library Assistant for the society and is an active member of several Special Interest Groups, particularly the Family History Writers group. He has contributed a number of articles to the Society’s journal and has presented at some events for our education program and at SIG sessions.

Clem accelerated his research journey in recent years with the power of DNA being a particular interest. He has written and published a book in 2021 entitled Shaking the Mulga, an Australian family history, with which he won the 2022 QFHS Family History Book Award. Congratulations, Clem.

Chris Robertson

Committee Member


Chris joined the QFHS several years ago and has been researching his family history since the early 1980s. Chris was born and raised in Central Qld, and after graduating as an Engineer, he has worked across all Australian states and New Zealand developing modern manufacturing businesses in the Forest Products Industry.

Chris’s forebears include Irish, Scottish & Prussian descendants that began arriving in Qld from 1862 onwards, as well several convict family lines arriving from 1828 into Port Jackson, Norfolk Island & Van Diemen’s Land.

Having just retired, Chris is now focusing more time developing the family & personal stories of his expanding family tree. Over his working life, Chris has realised any personal rewards are more fruitful and sustainable by contributing back in some way to the organisation involved. This is the driving influence behind Chris seeking to volunteer and support the QFHS going forward.

With many decades of senior management experience in business and organisational development, Chris believes he will be able to assist and support the QFHS, its members and the Management Committee in fulfilling our nominated objectives. Chris looks forward to meeting & interacting with as many QFHS members as possible and sharing our diverse stories.


Charlotte Sale

Committee Member


Charlotte’s childhood was in central western Queensland, and she lived in Europe and interstate before settling in Brisbane. Her interest in family history began in the 1990s and she has now researched her family’s lives in more than ten different countries. At present she is enrolled in the Diploma in Family Historical Studies with the Society of Australian Genealogists, researching her grandfather’s life in western Queensland.

She joined QFHS in 2012, volunteering as an LA soon after. She was first on the Management Committee in 2014-15, and previously Vice President from 2019-2021. She presently coordinates the Welsh Special Interest Group and is a tutor for the popular Finding your family: the fundamentals of research which QFHS runs twice yearly. She’s also a regular presenter at QFHS and elsewhere.

Charlotte has a professional background in market and social research, organisational change, and communication. More importantly, she is the holder of family stories for her family, near and far, and regularly swaps granny snaps with her first, second and third cousins in Australia, the UK, Italy, Spain, and South Africa.