NERGC 2013 – Thursday

This morning I arrived at 7:00 A.M. to volunteer at the Registration area and found out that I won a prize in the Volunteer Raffle!  I won a copy of Historical Timeline: The New England States, which was provided by Mass Researchers of Upton, MA.  Thank you for the wonderful prize.  I’m always happy to win something but this will be especially useful for me.  I love timelines! After helping out for a while, I was to meet a friend for breakfast.  She had to run off to get materials for a last minute presenter change, but the rest of us who had been planning to meet with her had breakfast together anyway.  It turns out that one of her friends grew up in Digby, Nova Scotia, a place that is on my “must visit” list.  My second lucky happening of the day! Opening session, “Millhand Migrations to 19th Century Lawrence and Lowell, Massachusetts,” was presented by my ProGen 13 mentor, Sandra McLean Clunies.  Sandy is an amazing speaker.  She is organized, pulled together, relaxed, natural, and FUNNY!  I just love her.  I was so happy to be able to help her as much as I could with getting her things put together after the presentation.  The talk gave some background on the role of mills in the Industrial Revolution and then provided case studies of three individuals.  What amazing, and sometimes tragic, stories came out of the mill towns.  We learned of the Pemberton Mill collapse, which was one of the worst industrial accidents in American history.  The five-story building had been filled with heavy equipment, which caused the collapse.  Many were...

NERGC 2013 New England Regional Genealogical Conference – Tech Day

NERGC 2013 kicked off today at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Manchester, New Hampshire.  If my count at lunch was correct, about 150 people turned out for this new offering at NERGC.  It seems that it was a success! First to talk today was Stephen P. Morse, best known for his invention of the 8086 processor. Morse gave a talk called “Deep Linking and Deeper Linking: How to get the most out of existing Search Applications.”  The purpose of this talk, according to the handout, was “to expose you to the techniques that were used on the One-Step website and give you a better appreciation for what there is and how to use it.”  Morse talked about URL editing, using search forms, man in the middle, and complete takeover.  He shared how to block deep linking and defeating the deep-linking block.  Notes that contain the information from this presentation can be found online at www.stevemorse.org under publications. The next speaker was Laura Prescott, who presented “Publish Your Genealogy Online.”  As always, Prescott was an informative and engaging speaker.  She reviewed available genealogy software and gave an introduction to options for building a genealogy website.  Genealogy software can be used to make webpages to be uploaded to the internet.  Alternately, the webpages can be made online.  Ancestry.com offers a solution to put your information online to share if you choose.  TNG, The Next Generation of Genealogy sitebuilding builds pages for online sharing by using GEDCOMs that can be created using any genealogy software.  Some items to consider when building a website include cost, domain name, publishing options, layout, sharing and control options, and alternatives to viewing online....

8th Annual Conference on Genetic Genealogy – Day 2

ISOGG FTDNA Chapter Meeting Sunday morning at the conference always starts with a meeting of the International Society of Genetic Genealogists (ISOGG) FTDNA Chapter.  ISOGG President Katherine Borges reminded everyone that ISOGG is a free support network for genetic genealogists.  Upon joining ISOGG, members receive an invitation to the ISOGG mailing list.  Katherine reminded everyone that ISOGG is self-supporting and hosts booths.  They maintain speakers list.  If you speak on Genetic Genealogy, please submit your name. Alice Fairhurst is in charge of the ISOGG Y-SNP tree.  She pleaded with the audience for volunteers to help administrate the tree.  There are just a few people who struggle to keep up with everything on a voluntary basis outside of their regular jobs, which often includes engineering and IT positions.  Alice shared changes that we can expect, including migrating ISOGG to a more powerful server and utilizing an SQL database.  The tree will remain in its current style through 2012 and she is not sure if they will be able to get the new tree up in January.  It is still too early to say. It is going to be very important to learn SNP names, as subclade names may change as new discoveries are found on the Geno project.  The new system is going to be parent / child.  She said, “The explosion in knowledge in the last two years has been tremendous.”  Many universities and students are now using the ISOGG tree and routinely send notes of thanks to the group for all they’ve done and are doing.  The ISOGG page that receives the most hits is the Index to Y-DNA SNPs. Brian Swann, the ISOGG European Coordinator for England and Wales, has...

8th Annual Conference on Genetic Genealogy – Day 1

The 8th Annual Conference on Genetic Genealogy was held at the Sheraton Intercontinental North Houston on November 9-10, 2012.  Bennett Greenspan opened the conference with a welcome speech that included some new information for group administrators.  Usually Max does the opening, but his voice was not cooperative so Bennett had the honors this year. Bennett started by explaining the corporate structure of the company, Gene by Gene.  There are four branches: ancestry, health, research, and paternity.  The branch most people are familiar with is Family Tree DNA, the ancestry branch of Gene by Gene.  The health branch is called DNA Traits.  This branch does gene sequencing work for hospitals on a few continents and is a regulated branch.  DNA DTC  specializes in research and next generation sequencing including the entire exome at 80x coverage and the whole genome.  Finally, DNA Findings specializes in paternity testing and immigration. Family Tree DNA has purchased 1.5 million vials since its inception.  The vials have a tethered strap on the lid, which was ultimately causing wrist strain for the lab employees and wasting valuable time and resources.  Family Tree DNA discovered a company in Europe with an automatic capper and decapper that will also dispense the proteinase K to the approximately 500 sample tubes processed per day.  The new tubes will have a red removable cap.  More automation comes to Family Tree DNA! While waiting for Spencer Wells to join in live via Skype, Bennett answered a question about Geno 2.0.  Bennett indicated that National Geographic has decided that all people should buy Geno 2.0 through their catalog and get the nice kit that they have designed.  Bennett suspects (but cannot...

The Genealogy Event

Congratulations are in order for Bridget Bray of BBNY Group LLC, who did an outstanding job pulling everything together for The Genealogy Event in New York City on October 26th and 27th.  The Metropolitan Pavilion was a buzz of activity from just before noon on Friday, when a crowd lined up to enter, until 6pm on Saturday, when everything wrapped up. The format of the event consisted of 30 minute power learning sessions, with 15 minute breaks in between.  I really liked this format.  I typically start to get fidgety after sitting in a presentation for a while.  With the condensed timeframe, presenters needed to choose their best and most important information, which is obviously beneficial to attendees. One of the highlights of my visit was an appointment with Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective.  Maureen looked at three pictures and confirmed some suspicions I had, as well as gave some great tips and insight.  She was able to pinpoint two of the photos to the 1870s and one to 1900.  I thought that the two pictures from the 1870s had been taken several years apart, as the woman looked much younger.  Maureen said that she had recently learned more about the artists who did these terrible, inaccurate renditions.  The tintype, which showed the woman looking older, was probably a better representation of the subject’s actual appearance. I had the opportunity to speak with Kenny Freestone of Ancestry.com.  I was told by their representative that Kenny was a DNA specialist.  I asked Kenny about the availability of raw data.  He said the same thing we’ve been hearing.  Ancestry believes that our raw...

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