The German-Australian Genealogy and History Alliance is a network of German-Australian history and genealogy organisations who have an interest in ensuring that research and knowledge about German Australian history is disseminated widely and, where possible, freely.

Members commit to the following:

  • share research and research strategies as freely as possible
  • help develop working relationships between organisations and individuals
  • contribute to a central catalogue of research and resources
  • actively promote the field of German-Australian Genealogy & History research & the work of the Alliance


Our Mission

To identify, encourage, contribute to and disseminate research and resources relating to the history and heritage of German-Australians

Our Vision

  • A vibrant and supportive community of researchers of German-Australian genealogy and history
  • A robust and open forum for discussion of current and existing research
  • An accessible repository of research and resources
  • A public appreciation of Australia’s German heritage

Organising Committee

Aileen Preiss South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Society Aileen is co-convenor, with Ben Hollister, of the SAGHS Germanic & Continental European SIG. She is also on the organising committee of the German Heritage Research Group Seminar, convened annually at the University of Adelaide.

Under her guidance, the group has successfully undertaken a number of projects, with the most recent being the digitising of approximately 27,000 index cards related to German migrants to Australia.

Eric Kopittke Queensland Family History Society Eric has been researching his family history in Australia, Germany, England and Wales since 1985. In the same year he joined the QFHS and has been convenor of the Central European Group for over 20 years. He is also President of the Baptist Historical Society of Queensland. He recently retired from teaching Physics/Mathematics at St Peters Lutheran College, Indooroopilly.

He regularly speaks at family history societies and events, and has authored/co-authored many publications including A century of the Taringa Baptist Church (1997), The Benfer story: The Benfer family in Germany and Australia from 1650 to 1988 (1988), So your ancestor was a Baptist in Queensland! (1995), Locating your German ancestor’s place of origin, Emigrants from Hamburg to Australasia 1850-1879 series, as well as indexes to government publications.

Eric has received the QFHS Award for Services to Family History (1990); was made a Fellow of the QFHS (2000); and was awarded the AFFHO Award for Meritorious Services to Family History (2006).

Margaret Nicholson Genealogical Society of Queensland Margaret has been researching her large and interesting family for 16 years. Her grandparents hail from the north and south of Ireland, Scotland, and Germany.

In 2014 Margaret began as the convenor of the German Interest Group at the Genealogical Society of Queensland. The GIG works closely with the Central European Interets Group at the Queensland Family History Society to ensure that that the important German heritage of Queensland is not lost.

Janette Lange Lutheran Archives Janette Lange worked for over 20 years in secondary schools as a teacher of German, and was for several years Director of Curriculum at Immanuel College SA. She is currently an Archivist at Lutheran Archives. She has had a long-standing interest in German family history research and her research has taken her back to archives and villages in Germany and Poland. She knows from personal experience some of the issues family historians face trying to track down their German ancestors, both in Australia and overseas.

With Lois Zweck, she wrote the guide Finding Forebears: Researching German family history in present day Poland to assist researchers. Janette has run several workshops to assist in research trip planning in Germany and Poland. In 2014, she led a tour visiting Germany and Poland.

Dirk Weissleder DAGV Dirk is a management consultant and national chairman of the Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft genealogischer Verbände, the umbrella organisation of the genealogical and heraldic associations in Germany. DAGV has 67 member associations with more than 22,000 members. He is also a member of the Interim Executive of the international German Genealogy Partnership.

As national chairman of the DAGV, he is focussed on developing partnerships with relevant German organisations worldwide. In May 2015, together with colleagues in Minnesota, he helped start the German-American Genealogical Partnership (GAGP - now the International German Genealogy Partnership) and in 2016 he worked with Australian groups to form the German-Australian Genealogy and History Alliance (GAGHA).

Ben Hollister Executive Officer Ben Hollister is currently acting as the Executive Officer for the GAGHA. A professional genealogist specialising in German-Australian and South Australian research, Ben is a graduate in Applied History from Flinders University and the University of New England, Armidale. He is currently serving as a director for the Association of Professional Genealogists, and is a Certified Professional with the Australian Library and Information Association.

With Aileen Preiss, Ben also convenes the SAGHS Germanic & Continental European SIG, and is a member of the St John Ambulance HS, the Tea Tree Gully & Districts HS, the Guild of One Name Studies, and the Friends of the Lutheran Archives, where he is seen with almost monotonous regularity.

Outside of genealogy and history, Ben is a classic nerd, with interests in steampunk literature and culture, science fiction and trains. He listens to a range of music from Bach (JS & JC mainly), Beethoven (yes, the 9th Symphony) to Black Flag via Billy Bragg and Billie Holliday.

He has Hannoverian heritage through both of his father's parents (BOHLMANN, SEEKAMP, TRONNIER, SANDFUCHS) and is married to Nicole who has Silesian, West Prussian and Württemburger heritage (BARTSCH, OSTERSTOCK, RIEGE).