Archive | 2024

Using AI for Genealogy by Steve Little

One of the most unusual talks at the recent i4GG conference (videos coming soon) was the one about the use of AI for genealogy by Steve Little, the AI program director for the National Genealogical Society (NGS).  I learned that it was how you phrased your question that could lead to more accurate answers, e.g. “you are a professional genealogist … ” I found out that AI, particularly the paid versions, could extract text from documents, even handwritten ones and translate in context. Here is my favorite slide from that talk. Personally my first impression of ChatGPT had been that it was great at sounding good while making stuff up.

Slide from Steve Little’s talk, used by permission

Steve will be speaking at RootsTech at 8 am Thursday this week and will also be available at the NGS booth as per his post on FaceBook.

Amusingly, in my own talk about using bioancestry to solve unknown parentage cases, I had experimented with using AI generated images to illustrate a few of my points. For example, when I asked the deepAI image generator for a Hungarian violinist I got this image whose hands are imperfect, but it still adds pizzazz to the slide.

No sooner has my favorite DNA conference (i4GG) ended, than it is time to get ready for Rootstech! No I won’t be there in person this year, too much to do to prepare for our move to Connecticut. Hope everyone has a great time. I will attend virtually, so if you are logged in there, you can click here to see if you are related to me! As all my ancestors are fairly recent immigrants (earliest 1860s), I have only 434 relatives at Rootstech, the closest being a fifth cousin. Oh well.

What’s new at GEDmatch and i4GG

Every year genetic genealogists gather in San Diego in February for the i4GG conference founded by CeCe Moore and Dr. Tim Janzen. This year is the tenth anniversary and I am honored to be one of the presenters again. Click here for the i4GG web site.

In past years I have talked about the new features at GEDmatch. In 2022, this was a particularly dense lecture. (click here for the slides), as there were so many new and enhanced features. Clustering was taking the community by storm and GEDmatch has two versions of that, one of which even includes tree building.

{UPDATE 9 Feb 2024] My talk for i4GG this year is about how to use Ethnicity to solve DNA cases. This year, I will talk about GEDmatch yet again, but as there are fewer new features, I will include some of the ways that site has helped me solve DNA puzzles.

One nice new feature is that the site now sends you an email when you have a new match. You can select both the frequency of those emails and the match size which triggers an email.

Whenever I get a new match on the One-to-Many, the first thing I want to see is who else they match among my relatives, so it has always puzzled me why they did not include a button to do that. Needless to say this was a feature I requested. Now it is finally here! There is a column called ICW tool which has the word Match which when clicked takes you to the function People who match both, or 1 of 2 kits with the kit numbers filled in, ready to use.

 One-to-Many image showing new ICW tool

middle section of the free version of One-to-Many limited version


Come to my lecture to hear more!