Free genealogy lectures today, Friday, in Salt Lake City

So here I am in Salt Lake City visiting friends and family and I notice on facebook that Judy Russell, the Legal GenealogistLegalGenealogist, and one of my favorite speakers has arrived in town. Why? Well she is giving a talk today, Friday, at 11:30 in the auditorium at the newly reopened LDS Church History Museum, right next door to the family history library.

This URL has the full schedule of the six free talks being offered by the Board for Certification of Genealogists on Friday October 9th.

See you there?

DNA testing has been a blessing for adoptees

I can only imagine the pain of not knowing your family’s medical history or origins or why your mother gave you up for adoption.

DNA testing has reunited many adoptees with their birth families. Some get lucky and find their biological parents within days of their test results. Others work on it for years before succeeding. There are some wonderful reunion stories at – Trish’s story moved me to tears, as did many of the others. That web site has a tried and true methodology and classes for using DNA in these searches.

Richard Hill, an adoptee who found his biological roots, has just published an excellent two page summary of how to use DNA testing for adoptees. A great starting point, it is available at

Also if you have not read his autobiographical story of his search, I highly recommend it; click on image at the left to get that book from Amazon. It reads like a good mystery novel.

Times have changed now and for many it is no longer an embarrassment to have a child out of wedlock. These days an adoption can be open, which solves the medical and ancestry issues for the adoptee (see ). But back in the 1950s and 1960s, being unmarried and pregnant was a huge social stigma, so many of those women still want to hide that fact today.

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Meeting Emily Aulicino at DIG

Having a local DNA special interest group (DIG) is wonderful. It not only provides the pleasure of listening to interesting speakers; it is also a place to swap fun stories of NPEs and triangulations that would bore your non-genetic genealogist friends. For me that group is the DNA Special Interest Group of the North San Diego County Genealogical Society which meets on the 3rd thursday of every month.

My first time there, a few years back, I went to hear Cece Moore talk about using 23andme’s tools. I learned some good tips from her. One was to regularly sort my matches by Contact Status and look at the end for new ones. I had been using just Most Recent First and some had slipped by me. Another good tip was to have a standard contact message and send it out to everyone on my list while watching TV.

Kitty and Emily Aulicino

Kitty and Emily Aulicino, photo by Kathleen Cooper

This past week I had the great pleasure of hearing Emily Aulicino speak. She is the author of the excellent book on the basics of autosomal DNA testing – Genetic Genealogy: The Basics and Beyond

Emily also blogs at and coordinates many DNA projects, the NW ISOGG branch, and a few mailing lists. Quite impressive and she is a good speaker as well!

She was talking about using autosomal DNA testing. Although I did not learn much that was new to me, I loved her stories.

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Thank you from rockstar number ten

Thanks to all of you I slipped into the 10th spot in the top ten rockstar genetic genealogists list. This makes me extremely happy. I did nothing to promote myself since I did not think that I deserved this honor and also this was my first year on the ballot.

So I will do my best to continue to bring you “how tos” and posts about new tools and features as well as write a few more tools myself. Stay tuned and thank you all so very much.

Top Ten Rockstar Genetic Genealogists

Genetic Genealogy Top Ten

Using an ahnentafel and the DNArboretum tool

There is a new tool, a chrome add-on called DNArboretum, that will generate an ahnentafel ancestor list from a Family Tree DNA tree or from the old format 23andme tree (not myHeritage).

An ahnentafel is a very clever and condense way to show all your ancestors. When trying to match up with a DNA relative it is particularly useful since you can quickly scan their ahnentafel for places and names in common. Obviously it would be better to automate that comparison but with misspellings and Norwegian names that has not worked well for me. However it might work for you, so click here for my blog post about how to use automation to compare GEDcoms.


This is part of my ahnentafel as generated by DNArboretum from my tree at Family Tree DNA when logged into another account there. I clicked on my great grandmother Maren Wold and it bolded all her ancestors and descendants. Note that my parents are missing because they are marked private.

Sue Griffith of Genealogy Junkie has blogged in detail about how to install and use this tool at

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