Louise Coakley

Professional Genealogist

Louise loves solving puzzles and enjoys making difficult concepts easy for others to understand.  She started her career working with big business data in a multi-national blue-chip company, and now works with DNA data and family trees to solve genealogical relationship puzzles.

Louise has been researching family history for more than 22 years, and has been using DNA testing as a research tool since 2011.  She convenes a DNA Interest Group, a Drop-In DNA Clinic, maintains a website to guide beginners, and guides others to help them explore, interpret and apply their DNA results to their unique family situations.  Louise created and leads the popular Facebook support group Using DNA for Genealogy – Australia & NZ and is an administrator or co-administrator of several other DNA groups and projects.

Louise is a member of the Society of Australian Genealogists, the Genealogical Society of Victoria, the Cairns & District Family History Society, the International Society of Genetic Genealogy, and the Association of Professional Genealogists.  She holds a Certificate of Genealogical Research from the Society of Australian Genealogists.  Louise is from Melbourne, but currently lives in Cairns.  Her background is in business systems and data analytics, and her professional qualifications include a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Bachelor of Business (Data Processing), and she is a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA).


Louise’s talks – Brisbane – Perth – Adelaide – Melbourne

All levels

Genetic genealogy: standards, ethics, risks, limitations –  The guidelines and considerations that genealogists must consider when utilising DNA testing, especially when they recruit relatives to provide DNA samples.  

Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne 


Finding Australian matches – The closest matches of many descendants of First Fleeters, convicts and early settlers are likely to be other Australians and New Zealanders.  Sometimes it is difficult to notice them in amongst the thousands of other matches.  Learn some useful tips on how to find more cousins.
Level:  Beginner/Intermediate

Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide 


Verify a family line with DNA –  One of the first things a genealogist does after receiving autosomal DNA results is to confirm existing research. Learn how to verify a family line, step-by-step. The outcome may be apparent immediately, or it may require developing a longer-term targeted testing plan.

Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne

Louise’s talks – Sydney


Different paths: DNA inheritance patterns – The inheritance paths of the different types of DNA are often misunderstood. Learn how the powerful and unique inheritance patterns of the four DNA types can be applied to your pedigree to help limit your DNA matches to certain branches, and extend your tree and solve research brick walls.

All levels

Great great DNA After experience with their own DNA results, genealogists recognise the power of testing older generations but often regret not having DNA from their deceased ancestors. DNA can be extracted from objects such as envelope and aerogramme seals, stamps, photo corners, and more. Resulting raw data files are compatible with GEDmatch. Learn what you can test, at which companies, how much it costs, the limitations and risks involved, and important ethical and privacy considerations.

All levels

DNA & adoption down under – DNA has been a game changer for adoptees looking for their roots, living relatives and medical history. Louise and Michelle discuss some of the aspects around using DNA for adoptees with specific reference to Australia and New Zealand.

All levels

Practical tips for working with speculative trees – Speculative trees are an invaluable and essential tool to help identify shared ancestors of DNA matches, and manage descendancy research in unknown parentage cases. Learn a range of practical tips and tricks to simplify the process and improve your chance of success.


Hone in with WATO (What are the odds?) – Learn how DNA Painter’s What are the odds? (WATO) tool uses shared matches in a known tree to help guide you to where an unknown tester might fit in.