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My First Virtual Conference Starts Monday

I love presenting at genealogy conferences and mingling with others equally devoted to family history. I also really enjoy visiting the exhibit hall, chatting with vendors, and seeing what’s new. I am not sure how well that will work in an online environment but I am about to find out.

This coming week is the 40th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy. It was originally going to be here in San Diego, on Harbor Island, but now it is virtual, using a package called BigMarker. Click here for the IAJGS press release. I will be doing a live session called Ask the Experts About Jewish DNA with Adam Brown on Tuesday at 2:15 PST (5:15 EST).

For the originally planned San Diego conference, I was going to do a talk on dealing with Jewish endogamy in your autosomal DNA test results (click here for those slides), as well as tell a quick story about discovering via DNA that I have third cousins in South Africa (click here for that blog post), but those talks were cut when they went to the online format. So I will give a very brief summary of the endogamy issue in our Ask the Experts session or, if you want to know more, come talk to me at my “table” after that session. Click here to see my slide advising which Jewish matches to follow up on.

The pre-recorded, thus on demand, talks start tomorrow (Sunday) for conference attendees. I plan to listen to the one about South Africa now that I have relatives there.

I have been getting most of my information through the IAJGS facebook group for the conference. Recently they explained how to submit questions in advance, as follows: Continue reading

Will I see you at Jamboree?

Next Thursday is DNA day at the Southern California Genealogy Society’s Jamboree in Burbank, one of my favorite events. I particularly love the outdoor bar restaurant between the hotel and the conference center. Usually the weather is perfect for spending the evening there with friends. If you have been wanting to buy me a glass of wine, here’s your chance!

Thursday also has a series of free events all day long, including a DNA round table at 5:00 pm with a number of DNA experts at tables. You can come to mine to ask questions about 3rd party DNA tools. [UPDATE 28 May 2018: I should also mention that the exhibit hall with all the main DNA vendors is also free on Thursday but parking is $15]

The speakers for the paid DNA day sessions on Thursday, besides myself, include Blaine Bettinger, Leah Larkin, Paul Woodbury, Emily Aulicino, Tim Jantzen, Shannon Christmas, David Nicholson, Daniel Horowitz, Schelly Talalay Dardashti, Diahan Southard, Barbara Rae-Venter, David Dowell, and many more. My sessions are “DNA Segment Triangulation” and Using DNA and GWorks for Unknown Parentage Cases.” Click here for the full schedule.

If you can’t get there, you can sign up for live streaming at http://genealogyjamboree.com/live-streaming-2018/ – sadly it is not free this year, but very inexpensive. In previous years you could buy recordings of many of the sessions, hopefully that will happen this year too.

The main genealogy sessions start Friday morning, but there is at least one DNA related session at every time slot including an “Ask the DNA Experts” at 5pm (and yes I am one of them). Saturday also has plenty of DNA sessions.
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Another Wonderful Jamboree is Over

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.

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I4GG was a great conference

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.

i4ggkeynote

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!

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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.

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Snippets from the SCGS Jamboree

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

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.

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