What makes the SCGS Jamboree so special? For me it is DNA day and all the attention paid to DNA at a first rate local genealogy conference. Of course we genetic genealogists also have the I4gg conference, which is returning to San Diego this coming December 9-10.
Daniel Horowitz of MyHeritage and Kitty
This year at Jamboree I made sure to go to presentations from the two newest DNA testing companies: MyHeritage (the European answer to ancestry.com) and LivingDNA. I also visited their booths and talked with both groups.
I also enjoyed finally meeting DNA expert Debbie Kennett and listening to her talk (both the lovely British accent and the presentations).
Daniel Horowitz made a convincing case for the future DNA features at MyHeritage (chromosome browser, family tree matching, etc), so yes get your DNA results uploaded there while it is still free! If your recent ancestors are not from North America, it might make sense to use that site for your tree and DNA testing. Plus the test is a cheek swab which is easier for old folk. Yes, GEDmatch takes uploads of the DNA results from MyHeritage and I just saw my first kit starting with an H in a one-to-many.
On the other hand, if you have British roots, LivingDNA may be the test for you and it is also a cheek swab. They have built on the academic research for the people of the British Isles, so can pinpoint the areas of Britain and Ireland that your ancestors came from. They are gathering more data from other countries but currently my Norwegian and German ancestors seem to have a large presence on the British and Irish coasts (think vikings and Saxons) but I will save those results are for a future blog post.
Two days of talks in sunny San Diego with headliners Cece Moore and Blaine Bettinger, what a pleasure for the roughly 275 genetic genealogists attending. I always enjoy any talk by either of them but I had to miss a few to go to other talks, so I am really looking forward to the videos. The people who missed the conference will be able to purchase them in a few weeks from the i4gg site.
Cece presenting the keynote
Those of you who overflowed the room for my talk on GEDmatch, thanks! My slides are always available at slides.com/kittycooper – this talk is called GEDmatch Basics. I also have a handout in the downloads section here on my blog.
So what other talks did I enjoy besides Cece and Blaine? Barbara Rae-Venter’s presentation of the Lisa project story had me on the edge of my chair and actually gave me nightmares. I don’t think I have ever had that happen before from a genetic genealogy lecture! Congratulations to all those DNAadoption.com volunteers who helped sort out that case!
Leah Larkin presents endogamy
I loved that Kathy Johnston pointed out the ancestors that you can inherit X from come in a Fibonacci series of numbers for each generation.
But the surprise delight was Leah Larkin’s endogamy presentation. She is the new editor of the Journal of Online Genetic Genealogy (JOGG) at JOGG.info and has endogamy on her Cajun side. This is a very hard topic to explain and to deal with in your genes but she aced this talk and her slides were terrific.
Going to a conference about your passion can be a really fun experience. It is wonderful to finally meet people who you have been emailing with and discussing important issues with online. Another favorite for me is the exhibit hall with vendors showing off their new and old stuff.
I had a great time at the SCGS Jamboree this year. Since I came home early, I am watching a talk streamed live about organizing my work space as I write this! The live stream is really well done. A small live image of the person is on the left and their slide is shown, much larger, on the right. Plus you can chat with the other folk watching. The live stream is available free, thanks to Ancestry.com, until July 5 see http://genealogyjamboree.blogspot.com/2016/05/jamboree-2016-registration-now-open-for.html
Richard and Kalani at the ISOGG booth
In order to pace myself at a conference, I try to limit myself to attending two presentations a day and spend the rest of the time schmoozing in the exhibit hall.
Two people who I have communicated extensively with online are pictured on the left in front of the ISOGG table.
Kalani Mondoy blogs about Polynesian DNA, which is tricky because it is so endogamous. His mother was adopted so he turned to DNA to find her biological family. Richard Weiss is a search angel and adoptee who is involved with DNAadoption.com including the building of their relationship calculator. Each has now found their biological families and both are Mayflower descendants!
Read on for some of my favorite snippets from the conference.
The Southern California Genealogical Society puts on a wonderful genealogy conference every year in Burbank in early June. There are only a few days left to register so, unless you have done so already, head over to http://genealogyjamboree.com/2016/about.html by May 22.
Thursday June 2 is DNA day and there are many terrific presenters and topics: Tim Janzten, Blaine Bettinger, Diahan Southard, Emily D. Aulicino, Katherine Borges, Jim Bartlett, David Dowell, Paul Woodbury and me to name a few. I will be giving my updated talk on DNA Triangulation as well as my Breaking Brick Walls talk. The full schedule is at http://genealogyjamboree.com/2016/schedule-dna.html
Friday morning there are a number of FREE events, including round tables led by experienced researchers both for DNA and genealogy. I will be hosting a DNA table about Triangulation.
The rest of the conference has numerous genealogy talks and a few more DNA presentations plus an exhibit hall of vendors (always one of my favorite parts). Since this is the year I plan to master German genealogy I was pleased to see that it is one of this year’s themes.
A particularly good feature is that you can sign up for a one-to-one consultation with an experienced researcher to help you with one of your genealogical problems, described towards the bottom of this page: http://genealogyjamboree.com/2016/special-events.html
Hope to see you at Jamboree!
Rootstech is over and I am exhausted. This year I was up early enough to go to the keynote sessions almost every morning. Wow! In a huge hall we saw great multimedia presentations over many screens while listening to a star speaker. I particularly loved Paula Madison and her Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem; so of course I bought the kindle version of the book. [update: the pictures are better in the physical versions but it is still a great read]
Perhaps it is because of my work with adoptees and DNA that I so appreciated her story, but more likely it was just that she was terrific and the tale was so well told. I also got to see the short form of her documentary at the media dinner, definitely worth seeing.
My other favorite keynote speaker was David Isay and his StoryCorps. His concept is to get two people in a booth, facilitate their conversation, and record the result for posterity. I think the story I liked best was the one where the boy with Asperger’s interviews his mother – Sarah and Joshua. But every snippet he played for us brought tears to my eyes, the wild grandad, my son the veteran, and the boy who became close to the mother of the boy from the rival gang that he had killed.
And of course it was great to see A.J.Jacobs again and hear a report on the Global Family Reunion.
Usually my favorite things at Rootstech are the exhibit hall, networking with fellow genetic genealogists, and learning a few new things. This year I have to add to that the sensational MyHeritage after party (click here for the slideshow over at Geneabloggers) and the Keynote sessions. [Addendum: The keynotes and other recorded sessions are available at the Rootstech video archive]