Tag Archive | i4GG

I4GG 2020 round up

My favorite yearly conference is the two days of talks that i4GG puts together for us serious genetic genealogists. Thank you CeCe and Lennart for doing this and for making the very professional videos, which are free to conference attendees and available for purchase by everyone else.

One of the highlights of the conference was hearing from Paul Fronczak and his daughter. Paul was the child returned to his parents after the famous Chicago baby-napping case in 1964. In 2012 a DNA test showed that he was not their child. His book The Foundling, about his search for his roots, his missing twin sister, and the real Paul Fronczak, is a terrific read. (click here for the BBC summary of the case)

I have just started using a great tool called Scapple, that I learned about from Michelle Trostler‘s talk. So far I love it! It is an inexpensive mind mapping package that makes it super easy to quickly put together possible family charts for clients. It is always pleasurable to hear about actual cases and how they were solved. Both Michelle and Carol Rolnick obliged.

Chaos ensued when Katherine Borges, the director of ISOGG (whose Wiki is my go to resource), told us about the FamilySearch app with “Relatives Around Me” on its menu towards the end of her epigenetics talk. Everyone was downloading it to their smartphones and running around finding their cousins. I discovered many 12th cousins, including Tim Janzen, from a dubious connection that needs more research, a Thomas Gray who went to Norway and became Graa. Sadly I never did find my real 8th cousin Dixie Hansen in the room!

I presented on What’s New at GEDmatch and also about Automated Tree Building Tools, focusing on DNA2tree, as Dana Leeds was covering Genetic Affairs (GA) which she did quite well. I do have a blog post on GA in progress, it now includes GEDCOMs with the tree building! As always my slides can be found at https://slides.com/kittycooper


The biggest take away from the conference for me was that we all need to be more diligent in getting our relatives to opt in to law enforcement (LE) usage on GEDmatch
. Many of the cases that have been solved with genetic genealogy could not be done today now that the usable database for LE investigations is down to about 200K from over a million before the opt in requirement.

Also perhaps we need a team to identify kits of people who are deceased. GEDmatch will opt them in if presented with an obituary.

I am also putting together a new email message to send to reluctant cousins appealing to their desire to be good citizens.

Continue reading

Upcoming talks, i4GG, and a case solved using the latest DNA tools

Unknown parentage searches have changed dramatically over the last year thanks to a number of great new automated tools. I will be updating my presentation on this for the upcoming i4GG conference in Las Vegas in a few weeks, the first weekend in February. I will also probably talk about what’s new at GEDmatch as well as be on a panel there.

Plus I will present how to use these new wonderful tools to explore your cousin matches at the North County DIG meeting next Saturday, January 18.

Below is a screen shot of the final slide in my unknown parentage presentation where I list the steps, in order, that I currently go through on these searches. I need to add at the beginning another step, “check the ethnicity,” as it can be a huge clue when the two parents are descended from very different populations. Click here for a recent blog post on a case solved with ethnicity. Also I have found that the listed communities at Ancestry are pretty accurate so they can be quite useful too.

Finding an unknown father in a few hours with DNA has become much more common due to the large number of American testers. A neighbor, let’s call her Dede, noticed I was a genealogist on FaceBook, so contacted me for help late one evening in December. She asked if I could help figure out who her unknown Dad was from her DNA results. She was a bit discouraged because no one had answered her messages.

Dede was tested on Ancestry and although her mother was not tested, a known maternal first cousin happened to be in her match list. That would be useful for separating the maternal from the paternal matches. Dede’s ethnicity had a surprisingly high 47% German percentage while her first cousin had only 27% . Plus that cousin had no Eastern Europe (Dede 10%) or Baltic (Dede 3%) so perhaps Dede’s father was part Germanic and Slavic.

Dede’s ethnicity at Ancestry  – note the Kentucky community

I took a quick look at her Ancestry match list and saw several paternal 2nd and 3rd cousin matches so I told her that it would be pretty easy, then quoted her my discount rates and a estimate. The next day I sent her the wedding picture of her father’s parents. She and her family drove to Oregon after Christmas to get to know her half sister and Dad. What a magical Holiday it was for all!
Continue reading

The i4GG Videos Are Here!

The videos from i4GG conference are finally available and I have not yet finished looking at Rootstech videos! You can purchase any or all of these videos from the i4GG site.

Personally, I went immediately to the presentations I missed at the time because they conflicted with another talk I went to.

Carol Rolnick, a fellow member of DIGG (the North San Diego DNA special interest group) gave a talk called “Tips and Tricks from the Genetic Genealogy Trenches” at the same time as my talk on “What’s new at GEDmatch on 2017” so of course hers was the first talk I listened to (after my own).

Several tips she gave were new to me. For example, did you know that in Chrome you can right click on an image and get google to search for it? Sometimes this works to find the name of an individual on your match list who has used a pseudonym. Of course a lot of the time it does not find a name but rather you get something like “official” or “portrait.”

Continue reading

My Favorite Genealogy Conferences with DNA

Living in Southern California might have some effect on my choices, but there is only one conference that is genetic genealogy only and that is the one from i4GG with headliners CeCe Moore and Blaine Bettinger. This conference is coming soon to the city with the best weather in continental USA, my hometown these days, San Diego. Hope to see you there in early December on the weekend of the 9th and 10th.

Click on the illustration for the larger and more complete poster, which doesn’t include the highlight of my name (I did that myself for this version of the image). To register go to i4GG.org/registration/ – to convince a friend to join you there, send them this video link – https://vimeo.com/236356778

My talk will be about the latest tools at GEDmatch, a site with much to help you further analyze your DNA results. Those of you who have been enjoying the tools from DNAgedcom, like GWorks, will be delighted to get a chance to meet their author, Rob Warthen, at i4GG.

That is what I love best about these conferences, listening to and meeting the movers and shakers in the genetic genealogy world, talking to people whose eyes don’t glaze over when I describe my lastest DNA success, and being with folk who share my passion.

Another favorite conference is the SCGS (Southern California Genealogy Society) Jamboree in June because they have a whole day devoted to DNA on the Thursday before the main conference as well as many sessions thereafter. Plus there is a charming outdoor bar between the conference area and the hotel where we can all chat into the wee hours over wine or whatever. My talks are about DNA: using GWorks for adoption cases, my favorite segment triangulation talk (which I update every year), and a panel appearance. I will, of course, do a round table as well.

Lara Diamond, the jewish genealogy and dna expert, is also speaking at i4GG. I first met her at Rootstech, the largest genealogy conference anywhere which happens every February and got to over 20,000 people last year! This is clearly the biggest and the best genealogy conference there is and it has many DNA sessions. I am very sad to miss it this year but I am an ambassador and will watch online. Wish there was an online tour of the exhibition hall which is always full of great old and new products.

Continue reading

DNA lecture videos are now available from i4GG

Cece Moore organized a conference just for genetic genealogy this past October in San Diego. It was terrific, the only problem was that I could not go to every lecture! Now that the videos are out, I can watch the ones I missed, including my own talk on GEDMatch.

For those of you who did not attend the conference, you can purchase all 19 videos for the amazingly good price of $99 or individual ones for $10 each. Click on the image below to order them. The quality is excellent.

i4ggvideoss

Those of you who were at the conference get them as part of the package so check your email inbox for the link and password.