Decennial Conference on Genetic Genealogy

  Family Tree DNA kicked off its Decennial Conference on Genetic Genealogy at the Hyatt North Houston in Houston, Texas.  Max Blankenfeld welcomed the crowd of more than 180 group administrators and acknowledged those who had been to all ten conferences as well as those who have been group administrators for more than ten years. Max encouraged constructive feedback of Family Tree DNA in order to be sure the company moves in a way that works for the administrators and customers. Bennett Greenspan gave an overview of the speakers for the weekend. The first speaker of the morning, Dr. Blaine Bettinger, is an intellectual property attorney who writes The Genetic Genealogist blog. Blaine pointed out that there are no “Ethics Police” and you will not go to ethics jail, although there may be consequences. He reminded us that we need to be proactive instead of reactive in order to increase positive feedback and reduce the negatives. The way to do this is through education. Be sure to remind individuals to read Terms of Use but you do need to explain further and not rely on this, as most people do not read terms of use. Be sure to provide information to project members about what information will be made publicly available. Surprises occur and people should be aware of this before testing. Blaine warned to be aware of genetic exceptionalism. DNA reveals family secrets every day. Never promise anonymity, as DNA is identifiable by nature. It is important that we never promise the absence of medical information, as we don’t know what we don’t know. Blaine reviewed GINA and...

Education Plan: Have you got one?

Most who know me know that I thrive on learning new things. I finished my MBA with a concentration in Project Management in 2006 and took a few years off before completing the Boston University Genealogical Certificate Program in December 2012 and ProGen Study Group in February 2013. During the ProGen 13 course, I was required to write an education plan. I haven’t been writing them formally since then, but I thought it might be fun to lay it out in writing for the year and perhaps others might benefit from learning about some educational opportunities in the genealogy field. Boston University Advanced Forensic Genealogy GEN222 – I have heard great things about this course from a few friends who have attended. The course description states, “This course not only presents the practical and theoretical aspects of conducting a commercial practice in forensic genealogy, it also offers instruction on creative elements essential to successful casework. By working through actual case studies, students will learn innovative ways to conduct the investigative process by locating sources of information, analyzing data, and reporting findings.” I have two prerequisite homework assignments to complete before the course in August and I plan to make the most of them! What could be better than a week in Boston? I really wanted to take the Family History Writing course being offered. Decisions, decisions! Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy Advanced Genealogical Methods Track 9 – This course is a must do for all serious genealogists! The course description states, “The course will address advanced use of evidence from a variety of genealogical records and research in populations...

Family Tree DNA Updates and New Features – June 2014

The Engineering team at Family Tree DNA has been busy preparing some new settings and features for us. Over the past week or two, there had been some question among admins about pricing on the Y-DNA25 test. It has been adjusted to put it inline with other tests. A SNP search feature has been added on the Haplotree page. Also, there are new myOrigins cluster names. Many will be happy to hear that Deep Clade Extended SNP results have been restored. Here are today’s release notes: 1. Added a privacy setting that will allow a user to opt out of Big Y matching. By default, matching is enabled. If someone opts out of matching they will not be able to see Big Y matches and other users will not see them. The opt in/out setting is located in the myFTDNA Account Settings page, under the “Match and E-mail settings” tab. Here is the setting: ​2. Updated the retail price for Y-DNA25 from $229 to $109. This will put it in line with our other Y-DNA product prices. Upgrade prices were also edited accordingly. 3. Created a SNP search feature on the Haplotree page to aid users in locating a SNP of interest. It is located at the top right side of the Haplotree page. The page will scroll down to the SNP being searched for and highlighted it with a yellow bar. Even SNPs buried in the “More…” pop up will be searched! Here is a pic of the search bar: and here is what a successful search looks like: 4. We restored Deep Clade Extended SNP results. These...

Family Tree DNA Announces Free Webinars

Family Tree DNA is now offering FREE live webinars.  Sign up for any or all that interest you.  Kudos to Elise Freidman for including information on X chromosome matching so quickly! There are also three pre-recorded webinars to watch at your convenience.  Don’t pass up these wonderful resources. January Schedule of Free Live Webinars Family Tree DNA Feature Launch: X Chromosome Matches in Family Finder Time: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 @ 12pm Central (6pm GMT) Registration: http://bit.ly/19Wohgg On January 2, 2014, Family Tree DNA launched an exciting update for Family Finder: X chromosome matches!  This webinar will provide a brief overview of the new tools on the Matches and Chromosome Browser pages for viewing and analyzing your X chromosome match information. myFTDNA: Managing Your Personal Account at Family Tree DNA Time: Thursday, January 9, 2014 @ 12pm Central (6pm GMT) Registration: http://bit.ly/19WorUP Learn your way around your personal myFTDNA account at Family Tree DNA! We’ll cover basic account settings, where to locate your results when they come in, how to upload a GEDCOM (family tree), how to update your Most Distant Ancestor information and map coordinates for your ancestral location, how to join projects and account privacy. (Note: This webinar does not cover interpreting your results. We have other webinars dedicated to understanding your results!) Family Tree DNA Results Explained, Part 3: Family Finder Time: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 @ 12pm Central (6pm GMT) Registration: http://bit.ly/196yt7L An information-packed webinar focusing on how to read and understand your Family Finder results. Learn about autosomal & X DNA inheritance, how Family Finder determines your relationship with your matches, how to use the Chromosome Browser, and much more!...

9th Annual International Conference on Genetic Genealogy – Day 2

*Note: It’s very late but I had a flight tonight and I wanted to get the information out.  With little sleep, I am sure there are countless errors.  I’ll fix it up tomorrow.  I figured everyone would rather have the information quickly rather than perfectly! The first thing on the agenda for the morning was the International Society of Genetic Genealogy 2013 Meeting.  ISOGG was born at the 2004 FTDNA conference.  Katherine Borges spoke about the development and launch of ISOGG in 2004 and 2005 and the fact that it is free.  It is a self-supporting and volunteer organization.  There is always a need for help.  If you have a niche where you can help, that would be great. The ISOGG Y-Browse is now up. One ISOGG wiki page that is getting a lot of hits is the new page for Free DNA Tests.  Many administrators sponsor tests and some projects raise money to sponsor tests. The Journal of Genetic of Genetic Genealogy was founded the same year as ISOGG at the FTDNA conference.  Katherine said that she has been lobbied to take JOGG under ISOGG’s umbrella but she has resisted because it wasn’t broken.  At this point JOGG is not working well but we are not at that point yet.  Katherine is determined not to let it die.  The current editor of JOGG is Dr. Turi King of the University of Leicester who worked on the King Richard III project.  Turi has been very busy with this and now there is a rumor that Dr. King will have to work on the King Arthur project. Katherine reminded us to be...

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