Carol Baxter is an experienced and informed historian and genealogist, an internationally-acclaimed, award-winning author and a dynamic, inspirational presenter.
Carol has been a genealogist for four decades having first become interested in family history research while still at school. Her career as a professional genealogist began when she was appointed Project Officer of the Australian Biographical and Genealogical Record (ABGR). In that role she edited six volumes of early New South Wales muster returns (similar to census returns) and later the convict indents for 1788-1812. She edited many other record series when she became General Editor of the ABGR’s new incarnation, the Biographical Database of Australia. She is a Fellow of the Society of Australian Genealogists and an adjunct lecturer at the University of New England.
Her career took a different turn in 2004 when she began writing ‘popular history’ and she had her first manuscript picked up by the first publisher she approached within a few weeks of submission. She is now the author of six ‘true-crime thrillers’ of which ‘An Irresistible Temptation’ (2006), ‘Breaking the Bank’ (2008), ‘Captain Thunderbolt and his Lady’ (2011) and ‘Black Widow’ (2015) were published by Allen & Unwin to critical acclaim. Both Breaking the Bank and Thunderbolt received first prize in writing competitions while Thunderbolt is being made into a feature film. Another of her books is being turned into a computer game. In 2013, Britain’s Oneworld published ‘The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable with ‘The Times’ (London) writing that it is ‘as lively and readable as a crime novel’ while Britain’s ‘Independent’ praised it as ‘totally irresistible’. Allen & Unwin also published ‘The Fabulous Flying Mrs Miller’ (2017). Ross Fitzgerald, Emeritus Professor of History and Politics, wrote in ‘The Australian’ newspaper: ‘this spellbinding tale of an extraordinary woman is one of the best books I have read in years’. Mrs Miller is being turned into a big budget six-part TV series by the producers of the Academy Award nominated film Lion.
‘How to’ genealogy books are among Carol’s other works. She published ‘Writing Interesting Family Histories’ in 2009 and produced a third updated edition in 2016 along with a companion volume ‘Writing and Publishing Gripping Family Histories’. She is keen to help researchers ensure that their evidence is accurate (having encountered much historical research that is inaccurate) so she published ‘Help! Historical and Genealogical Truth: How do I separate fact from fiction?’ in 2016. Her passion for surnames and given names and the knowledge she has acquired by virtue of her linguistics degree and her years working as a transcriber led her to write ‘Help: Why can’t I find my ancestor’s surname?’ (2014) and ‘The Madness of Mac Surnames’, published by Unlock the Past in 2018. A series of handy guides on English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh given names is being published by Unlock the Past in 2019. Unlock the Past also published her lively and humorous pre-beginners guide ‘To Trace or Not to Trace: a family history overview for the curious’ (2018).
Carol is the author of the History Detective newsletter, a free email newsletter with tips on history, researching, writing and publishing along with information about her forthcoming publications (including pre-publication discount offers). You can subscribe to the newsletter and find out more about Carol and her books via her website: www.carolbaxter.com.
Carol is also a sought-after speaker. She has been a presenter at four Unlock the Past genealogical conferences on international cruise ships, teaching researching and writing skills to family historians. She is also an enrichment speaker telling her true tales of murder, mystery and mayhem on international cruise ships. She recently told Mrs Miller’s tale as a three-part mini-series on the Crystal Serenity from Los Angeles to Auckland and is booked to speak on more cruises. In all of her books and talks, her aim is to educate and to entertain her readers or audiences.