My 2019 Jamboree Roundup

Another wonderful Jamboree, the 50th birthday celebration, is over. This is my favorite conference not just because of the great weather and outdoor bar but also for the manageable size and a day for just DNA, not to mention the high quality of the presenters. So I was very sad to hear that it will not happen next year; they are reinventing themselves for 2020 – click here for the announcement on their blog.

Ask the DNA Experts: Brad Larkin, Kitty Cooper, Tim Janzen, Angie Bush, Dave Dowell, moderator Alice Fairhurst photo credit: Ann Schumacher

The DNA Experts Panel this year went particularly well. However when looking at one attendee’s evaluation form I saw that they had taken notes on their form (including my “read my blog!” refrain); so I include that image without the ratings (all good, yes we read what you say!) at the end of this post in case they did not make another copy.

My plan at a genealogy conference is always to attend a maximum of 2-3 talks a day (more is information overload for me) and otherwise hang out in the exhibit hall looking at what’s new from my favorite vendors. Plus spend time with friends over lunch and in the bar when the day is done. Thank you all for the glasses of wine!

When I get home after the conference, I like to watch some of the presentations that were streamed, particularly the early morning ones that I was not awake yet for. The genealogy ones are free online, thanks to Ancestry‘s sponsorship, until July 31. Go to to get a login id.

Thomas MacEntee of Abundant Genealogy starting his streamed talk – screenshot from that archive

I really loved listening to Thomas MacEntee explaining how to you can do genealogy in 15 minute chunks. Like you, I said to myself, “No way!” But his presentation taught me a great deal about keeping track of my research, staying organized, and how not to chase those bright shiny objects (BSOs – this latter is my biggest failing!) by adding them to my to do list.

There is always news at these conferences.

The big one for us genetic genealogists is that as of June 1, GENESIS has become the main GEDmatch site. No you do not need to upload again, your kit and id are migrated over. The details on that may be my next post.

Other important news is the retirement of Ancestry circles in favor of ThruLines this summer. MyHeritage has added health testing; but you need to be tested with one of their kits to get that; it’s not available for transferred data. Also the world tree at GENI has improved their HTML tree display; now you get a nice side panel display for an ancestor when you click on them.

Talks that were streamed from DNA day are not free; they can be purchased at this URL: include my updated unknown parentage presentation on all the latest tools for those searches – clustering, DNA2Tree, DNApainter, and GWorks. Plus I tried to make my slides somewhat understandable stand-alone. As always I used – click here for those slides.

Other presentations from the 2019 Jamboree are available for purchase either as videos or just audio at this URL: including the audio of my genealogy talk on finding your Norwegian ancestor across the Atlantic. It’s probably best if you view the slides that go with that while listening –

If you do any work with adoptees, I really recommend the talk from Richard Weiss of DNAadoption.comTH 023 – DNA and Uncovered Secrets: Help and Support – I was very moved by it. It made me realize that I need to be careful not to get in the middle once we have identified the birth family. It is up to the adoptee to make that contact.

Every presentation I went to was worthwhile; Angie Bush, Tim Janzen, and more, but I missed Blaine’s talks this year. I also missed Rob Warthen’s talk about all the new stuff coming from him – and (more future blog posts to write!).

DNA Programmers dinner in the bar: Jamie Nelson (WIKItree), Rob Warthen (DNAgedcom), Dave (DNA2Tree), me, Margaret Press and Joan Hanlon (Jane Doe project),  Kevin Borland (Borland Genetics), and John Collins (DNAgedcom). photo credit: unknown waiter

However it is spending time with people with similar interests that makes these live conferences so great. Some of the stories I tell about my work make my husband’s eyes glaze over, but my genealogy cohorts love them! I particularly enjoyed our DNA programmers dinner in the outdoor bar. I had not met Kevin Borland before, so now I will experiment with his programs and report back in a future blog post. Click here for the ISOGG wiki write up of Borland Genetics.

If only I could get up earlier, I missed Crista Cowan (aka the Barefoot Genealogist) on Ancestry DNA tools but heard it was great. I also missed a few other early talks like Lisa Alzo on Eastern European records.

The elephant in the room is that some presenters pulled out of the conference over the current controversy in the DNA community:  law enforcement’s  usage of our databases for identifying violent criminals and unidentified bodies. We were specifically asked as presenters not to bring this up. Click here to read my Opt In blog post on that topic.

An unidentified attendee’s notes on the DNA expert panel evaluation form


5 thoughts on “My 2019 Jamboree Roundup

Click here to add your thoughts at the end of the comments
  1. It was another fun weekend with friends and great presentations. I am hoping they don’t tweak this conference too much and really hope the location stays the same. What a wonderful venue.
    Yes, there was an elephant in the room and I am sorry to hear some presenters pulled out. We will and are getting past this issue and moving on.
    Thanks for always keeping us up to date Kitty.

  2. Hey Kitty! Sorry your post was feeling lonely! Now that I’ve unpacked, this was a great write-up, especially the part about your favorite dinner. Mine, too. What an inspiring evening, learning about exciting tool enhancements in the works, geeky networking, and hearing your stories about Men Lying Down in the Streets of Stavanger. Likely our cousins, don’t you think?

    DNA Doe Project really appreciates your promoting Opting in!!

  3. Kitty, It was so humbling to be part of this group! This was my first Jamboree. Loved your presentation and, of course, the dinner. Wonderful to meet Rob Warthen and John Collins. Dave Neal from DNA2Tree was a hoot to listen to! LOL [Dave: when is it coming to Android or Windows?] I wish Tim Jantzen would give a weeklong workshop. . . four hours just wasn’t enough. Would have loved to chat more with Jamie and Kevin. So many great people to learn from.

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