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.

One tip that I came away with was that in her spreadsheets in the column for who the shared ancestors are she uses abbreviations and the birthyear for that couple. That could save me a lot of space. So instead of having:

Eivind Gjermundson ÅMOT 1751+ Margit Rinde

I could use


Of course given the mouthfuls some of those Norwegian names are, I will need a separate spreadsheet as a key to those ancestors until I get used to this new system.

The other thing I liked that she suggested in her talk, is to use the phrase she coined “Not the Parent Expected” for NPE, instead of “Non-Paternal Event”; a much kinder wording.

The ISOGG wiki lists DNA special interest groups at
If you do not see one for your area, perhaps you should start one! Emily’s book even has a chapter on how to do that.

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