20 January 2016

A Different DNA Course - IGHR: GG Tools and Techniques

The Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) opened registration yesterday for the 2016 courses. We are offering a new tool-intensive course for genetic genealogy: Genetic Genealogy Tools and Techniques. We still have a few open seats in the course. Several people have questioned me about the difference in this course and about what is expected in the work sample if the person has studied on their own instead of attending one of the prerequisite courses.

The Tools and Techniques course was designed to answer the requests of prior students for ...

More Hands On, More Tools

The IGHR course builds on the concepts taught in the GRIP Practical Genetic Genealogy and SLIG courses. The focus at IGHR is on how to use the tools to do the analysis — using the concepts taught in the earlier courses. The lectures will be a brief review, then in-depth on using the tool to analyze problems, then you actually use the tools yourself while instructors help you, if needed, and answer your questions.

If you haven't taken one of the prerequisite courses you must submit a work sample demonstrating you have the knowledge taught in the prereq courses. The less class time spent on review, the more time we will have to spend on using the tools.

The prereqs are:
  • An understanding of basic genetic inheritance patterns for Y-DNA, mtDNA, atDNA, and X-DNA
  • An understanding of test results returned for each of these test types, how to access the data online, and how to begin analysis of the DNA results
  • Expertise using your own device (laptop or tablet) to access genetic genealogy websites such as company testing sites GEDmatch, and DNAgedcom

The work sample must illustrate your analysis with details and not just contain a summary stating, for example, you helped a friend with an unknown line compare family trees of close DNA matches to find someone who might be her ancestor.

Your work sample does not need to present a final conclusion, but must describe in detail the DNA analysis process. The citations and documentary research will not be judged — use the space to demonstrate you know enough about DNA to successfully complete the IGHR course. Pseudonyms can be used for privacy purposes, if needed, but the course coordinator (me) or instructors (CeCe Moore, Blaine Bettinger) will be the only persons reviewing the work and will not share the work with anyone else. Length should be no longer than necessary to demonstrate your understanding of DNA. For example, 5 to 10 pages: 1 or 2 pages with bullet lists for the blogs, books, courses, DNA sessions, and webinars you have studied; and 3 to 8 pages clearly indicated how you applied DNA analysis to one genealogical problem. If the work is still in process indicate what steps are planned next to reach a conclusion.

The work sample should include details of the DNA analysis you have done. Details might include tools used for the analysis (company tools, GEDmatch, DNAgedcom ADSA or others, spreadsheets), number of testers, total atDNA shared and longest segments, chromosome number and start and stop point for shared segments, whether/how triangulation was used, whether/how In Common With matches were used, Y-STR values and knowledge of mutation rates impact on the analysis of differences, mtDNA differences from the rCRS, correlation of the DNA information with a family tree to find a common line, etc.

If you have primarily done light reading (as opposed to in-depth study) of the reference materials and do not understand
  • Y-DNA STR differences between multiple testers to determine how far back the common ancestor might be and if there is a common ancestor
  • using Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroups to determine ethnicity and potential kinship
  • significance of the different mtDNA regions
  • using shared and overlapping atDNA segments (total percentage of DNA shared)
  • using longest atDNA block comparison to statistical average predictions,
  • determining which ancestor an atDNA block could have been inherited from by comparing trees and shared DNA segments from multiple DNA testers
  • what counts as a good / significant match on atDNA and what is insignificant
  • using output from FTDNA chromosome browser and ICW tools
  • using output from 23andMe DNA Relatives
  • accessing trees at FTDNA, 23andMe, and Ancestry
  • using AncestryDNA DNA data (sparse as it is) and how it compares to Circles and NADs
  • random recombination, inheritance patterns, why using the X is different, etc.
then it will be more difficult to follow the lessons in Genetic Genealogy Tools and Techniques. You don't have to be an expert on all of the topics listed above. You need to be familiar with the meaning of the items and you need to have done some hands-on analysis so you can follow the lessons in the course. You definitely need to know how to access all of the necessary websites on your own device which you will bring with you to Birmingham.

We hope to see you there. This last year for IGHR to be in Birmingham at Samford University should not be missed.

© 2016, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

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