26 April 2013

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

My upcoming speaking engagements are listed below. I hope to see you all at one of these events:

Saturday, April 27, Canton, Texas, Van Zandt County Genealogical Society
"Certified, Accredited, Professional: What's the Difference?"

Some in the genealogical community are confused about the differences between genealogical credentials and those who offer professional services. This presentation covers the credentialing and professional organizations in the U.S. The discussion is aimed at those interested in becoming credentialed genealogists, those considering hiring a professional, and genealogical event planners who need to understand the plethora of initials following a name.

Friday, May 10, NGS 2013 Family History Conference, Las Vegas
"Going Nuclear: DNA Discoveries to Trace All Lines of Descent"

Learn to link families using autosomal DNA test results from any testing company. Maximize impact on your genealogical research goals. Includes how to use test results such as those from 23andMe and Family Tree DNA Family Finder tests.

Saturday, May 11, NGS 2013 Family History Conference, Las Vegas
"Ours and Theirs: Tax and Land Laws"

Tax and land records can provide clues to the lifespan of an ancestor, if you can interpret the records according to the laws of the time. Tax records can also tell you how your ancestor may have lived. Learn to interpret records using real-life examples.

Saturday, June 1, Mesquite, Texas, Mesquite Historical & Genealogical Society All-Day Seminar
"GATA GACC! DNA and Genetic Genealogy Today"

Learn where we are today using DNA for genealogy. Maximize Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA, and autosomal DNA test results to contribute to genealogical research goals.

"DNA Case Studies"
Case studies will illustrate using your DNA test results for genealogical research.

"Spice It Up: Adding Historical and Social Context"
Make your family history an enjoyable read by including more than the begats. Examples show how to find and use sources that provide pertinent information to place your ancestor's story in historical and social context.

"Bypass the Roadblock: Getting Beyond A Sticking Point"
Tips and tools to help get around the proverbial roadblock or brick wall.

Thursday, June 6, Burbank, California, Southern California Genealogy Jamboree: Family History and DNA
"Mitochondrial DNA: Tools and Techniques to Go Beyond Basics"

Learn advanced uses of mtDNA. This lecture uses case studies to demonstrate databases and analysis methods using mtDNA for genealogy. Low resolution and full mitochondrial sequences are discussed.

Wednesday, June 12, Birmingham, Alabama, IGHR, "Genealogy as a Profession" Course
"Genetic Genealogy for Clients"

Introduction to basic analysis techniques, reporting methods, and educational needs of professional genealogists and DNA project administrators.

I didn't post about them beforehand, but I also recently gave these presentations:

Saturday, March 9, Tyler, Texas, East Texas Genealogical Society and Tyler Stake FHC Spring Seminar
"Texas Family Cemetery Laws"

Information on laws affecting forming a family cemetery and access to existing cemeteries.

Friday, April 12, Dallas, Texas, Forensic Genealogy Institute, Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy
"Forensic Techniques for Genetic Genealogy"

Introduction to analysis techniques, reporting methods, and educational needs of forensic genealogists.

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Upcoming Speaking Engagements," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 26 April 2013 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2013, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

18 April 2013

DNA Day Sale at Family Tree DNA

Update: Family Tree DNA has extended this sale through 11:59p.m. April 25th.

Information on this sale just came in from Family Tree DNA:

Family Tree DNA

We are pleased to announce our 2013 DNA DAY Promotion.

While the special pricing features all the major tests, we’re placing particular emphasis on the Full Mitochondrial Sequence and Family Finder. We’ll offer Y-DNA upgrades during a Father’s Day sale and will give you those details at that time.

By carefully choosing the sale options and limiting the length of the sale, we will be better able to focus our resources on processing the tests efficiently and avoiding delays in delivering results.

We are proud to announce we have successfully moved our mtDNA Full Sequencing line from Sanger DNA sequencing to what is called Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). This gives us much greater capacity to process tests, to reduce costs without sacrificing quality, and to ensure shorter turnaround times.

We must run the entire sequence every time we process an mtDNA full sequence test, even for upgrades. However, in recognition of your prior investment- and National DNA Day – we’re offering our lowest price ever for the FMS and upgrades.

Rather than the 8-10 weeks first generation sequencing required, we expect results to be completed within 5-6 weeks. This does depend on the number of orders received though. If their DNA is already at our lab, those who order first may expect even shorter turnaround times.

For a limited time we will be selling the FMS for $189 and whether you’ve tested HVR1 or HVR1+2, you’ll be able to upgrade to the Full Sequence for just $129!

In addition, we are also lowering the Family Finder to $169 for this sale!

Here is the list of all tests under the promotion:

Full MtDNA Sequence: $189
Upgrades to FMS: $129
Y-DNA37 (new and add-on): $119
Y-DNA67 (new and add-on): $199
Y-DNA37 + Full MtDNA Sequence: $308
Y-DNA12 + FF: $218
Y-DNA37 + FF: $288
Y-DNA67 + FF: $368
Family Finder: $169
Family Finder + Full MtDNA Sequence: $358
SuperDNA: $388 (Y-67 + FMS)
Comprehensive DNA: $557 (Y-67 + FMS + FF)

The sale will begin tonight, April 18th, at 6PM CDT and will conclude at 11:59PM CDT on Monday April 22nd. All orders must be placed and paid for by the end of the sale to receive the promotional price.

There will be no need for a coupon - all prices will be automatically adjusted on the website.

Bennett Greenspan
Family Tree DNA


Full Mitochondrial Sequence: $189
Family Finder: $169
Y-DNA + Full Sequence: $358

All orders must be placed and paid for by 11:59PM on Monday April 22nd, to receive the promotional rate. As with all promotions, orders need to be placed by the end of the sale and payment must be made by end of this sale.

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "DNA Day Sale at Family Tree DNA," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 18 April 2013 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2013, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

15 April 2013

Useful DNA Tests for Genealogy

This article is available as a PDF file with permission granted to freely copy this document in its entirety for educational purposes.

Genealogical DNA Tests

There is a lot of confusion on how to use DNA test results for genealogical research and which tests are useful for what purpose. Some of that confusion comes because the terminology is new to us. Spending our money wisely on the right DNA test means taking the time to understand the terminology, what each particular test can show us, and how that applies to our family research.

In many situations a DNA test may be the only way to find evidence to support a theory of kinship. In other situations a DNA test will not help at all. Consulting a genetic genealogist can help you decide what may work for you if you don’t want to spend the time to study this yourself.
Before ordering any DNA test you should know:

1. What is it you are trying to learn or prove?

2. Which DNA test will provide the information needed?

3. Who is alive in the particular line in your family tree who has inherited the right DNA segment to provide evidence for what you want to learn?

Reading articles and blog posts by genetic genealogists can help us answer the second question. Use a search engine to find online articles, blogs, and websites of genetic genealogists.

DNA Analysis for Genealogical Purposes

All of the DNA tests described below will provide results that may be useful for a historical or genealogical research project—your research project. But the results must be carefully analyzed and correlated with your evidence from traditional genealogical research before a conclusion is reached.

As you find a new document related to your ancestor you take the time to learn what the contents of that document mean so that you can interpret the information correctly in relation to your family. You will have to do the same to make use of results from a DNA test. It won’t be like the CSI shows on TV where an answer magically appears in a matter of minutes. You will have to study how to use the test results to make the most of this exciting technology and the information it provides.

Autosomal DNA Tests
(Family Finder, Relative Finder, AncestryDNA, Geno 2.0, and others)

Autosomal DNA tests (atDNA) have been available for some time, but it is only in the last five or so years that they have become really useful for genealogical purposes. An autosomal DNA test can be performed on a man or a woman. It tells us something about many of our ancestors, not just the direct paternal or maternal line.

The results of your atDNA test can be compared to others who have tested and mathematical algorithms predict how closely you may be related based on how much DNA is shared. Using these test results to the fullest will require some time and study. But amazing discoveries may be made about the last five or so generations of the family of the person whose DNA is tested. Predictions related to ancestral populations, such as Vikings and others, are still being studied and there is more to learn.

Y-DNA Tests

Y-DNA tests have been used for genealogical purposes since about 2000. A Y-DNA test can only be performed on men and only tells us about that man’s paternal line. The basic Y-DNA tests offered, referenced by the number of markers tested such as “37-marker test,” usually gives you information that can determine if two men have a common ancestor within a genealogical time frame or not. The test cannot usually indicate any specific relationship between those two men, such as father-son.

Mitochondrial DNA Tests

Mitochondrial DNA tests (mtDNA) began to be used for genealogical purposes a few years after Y-DNA. An mtDNA test can be performed on a man or a woman and only tells us about that person’s maternal line. Changes in mitochondrial DNA happen at a rate that may make this more difficult to use except for specific genealogical purposes. Discussing your particular problem with a genetic genealogist and using a pedigree and/or descendant chart can help determine if an mtDNA test can help you gather evidence to solve a particular problem.

Use of DNA Tests: Scientific vs. Genealogical

Scientists use these same or similar DNA tests to study populations and ancient migration paths and many other things. When scientists talk about “genetic ancestry” they usually mean deep ancestry, tracing the migration of humans thousands of years ago. Scientists may disagree on exactly what can and cannot be proven with the knowledge we have today. That is how scientific research works—someone has a theory, experiments or tests are performed, results are analyzed, and findings may cause a new theory to be formed or the old theory may be supported. Free and open discussions bring new evidence to light. As new evidence is found our understanding may change. This sounds a lot like genealogical research to me.

Most genealogists are not as concerned about our deep ancestry so we aren’t as concerned with the scientific debates. We want to know more about our ancestors within the last few hundred years. A DNA test is likely to help you discover more about your family. But it will require you to study and learn more than you may know now. As more people test we will learn more and we will learn new ways to apply this new knowledge.

Genetic genealogy is cool, cutting-edge science.
But you have to learn how it works
to make the most of this new technology.
When reading about genetic research be sure you
understand whether genealogical research
or scientific research is being discussed.
Terms that sound similar may be used in a
slightly different way by the two groups.

What doesn’t help much with scientific research may be exactly what a genealogist needs.

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Useful DNA Tests for Genealogy," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 15 April 2013 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2013, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

13 April 2013

Using Common Sense to Make Sense About Genealogical Uses of DNA Tests

The immediate world-wide sharing of information in our modern age is both a blessing and a curse. We know what is happening this very second in a place thousands of miles away. Disagreements between factions can generate so much data it is difficult to keep up and get to the truth. Misunderstandings occur when minor differences in usage of terms cause a reader to think of one thing when the writer meant something else.

A consumer should always do their homework before parting with precious dollars. This applies whether you are buying a house, where you'd have an experienced person inspect the plumbing and foundations, or a vacuum cleaner where you might check out reviews in Consumer Reports.1 It is the responsibility of a consumer to understand what they are buying. It is common sense to investigate before you buy.

It is the job of a marketing person to present his company's product in the most favorable way. It is the job of a saleswoman to convince you to buy the product from her company. It is the job of entertainment media companies to gather as many viewers or readers as possible with a good story. These may not always be the best people from whom to seek impartial advice and accurate information.

While there are some unscrupulous companies out there taking advantage of consumers (aren't there always?), there are also companies trying to do the right thing. Good companies are trying to provide a balance between tests reflecting the science we have tested and trust and the leading edge tests demanded by those who must gather more evidence to prove or disprove their theories.

When the consumer is not knowledgeable about a product, as is often the case with genetic genealogy tests, she needs impartial advice so she won't be unhappy with the end result. A DNA test is not a magic bullet to solve your genealogical problems. It is one more piece of evidence to weigh along with all the other evidence you have gathered before you reach a conclusion. Exactly what you are trying to prove has a huge impact on determining which DNA test, if any, is appropriate for your goals.

One problem in our modern world is that there are many groups out there now with names that make them sound knowledgeable and impartial, but every group is made up of humans who may have a secret purpose we don't know about. With marketing materials, the purpose is not a secret. We know the purpose is to sell us something. So we need to read the statements even more carefully. We need to talk to someone who knows the product so we can understand what we are getting.

Specialists, including scientists, use terms differently than the man-on-the-street does. Specific phrases have very specific meaning to scientists that may not be clear to those who are not specialists in the same field. If we don't understand what the term means to the scientist we may misunderstand the point being made.

I received a copy of a flyer (which I am deliberately not supplying a link to) written by the Sense About Science group in the UK. This is now being used by some in the U.S. to support a statement that genealogical testing is not useful for genealogy. The Sense About Science flyer seems to be related to a dispute between two academic groups in the UK.

A careful reading of the flyer shows most of the negative comments are directed at using DNA analysis to determine ancient origins. The science and the available databases are not at a point where we can accurately predict ancient origins. No matter what you've seen on TV we can't be 100% sure someone is descended from the Queen of Sheba, Zulus, Vikings, or any other ancient population. This is exactly the reason that organizations like National Geographic have the Geno 2.0 project2 — we need to learn more. To learn more we need more people to test and more analysis of the results.

CeCe Moore covers this well and illustrates the differences in results displayed by three of the big DNA testing companies in the U.S.3

One small inset in the Sense About Science flyer clearly indicates "There are some things genetic ancestry tests can tell you quite accurately" and has two good points. The first is that one of those credible uses of genetic ancestry tests is "to supplement independent, historical studies of genealogy." That is EXACTLY what our genealogical research is - an independent, historical study of our personal genealogy. The genealogist is the independent researcher. The second point is that, "To answer a specific question about individual ancestry with any degree of confidence requires a combination of historical records and genetic information." And that is exactly what the Genealogical Proof Standard4 teaches us. We make no conclusions based on a single piece of evidence. We gather all of the relevant evidence from a reasonably exhaustive search, including the DNA test results, then analyze and correlate it to form a logical conclusion.

The magic solution to all of your genealogical problems will not be printed in so many words as part of your test results. But DNA tests have many uses in genealogical research. Many researchers have made wonderful discoveries about their family history because of what they have learned from a DNA test.

Getting the most information from DNA results to further your genealogical goals requires understanding what tests are available, what results can realistically be expected, what your goal is and which of the tests can help achieve your goal, who is alive in the line of interest who can provide a DNA sample, and, most importantly, how to analyze and interpret the results when you get them, correlating the DNA results with all of your evidence from traditional research. It requires some work on your part, a lot of work, but in some situations DNA test results can provide the key to solving a genealogical problem even if you won't learn whether your ancestor was a Zulu or Viking warrior or the Queen of Sheba.

1. Consumer Reports (http://www.consumerreports.org/ : accessed 13 April 2013).

2. "GENO 2.0: THE GREATEST JOURNEY EVER TOLD. Your Story. Our Story. The Human Story.," The Genographic Project, National Geographic (https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/ : accessed 13 April 2013).

3. CeCe Moore, "Comparing Admixture Test Results Across Companies (otherwise known as "ethnic" breakdowns): FTDNA, AncestryDNA, 23andMe and Geno 2.0 - My Review," Your Genetic Genealogist blog, posted 18 December 2012 (http://www.yourgeneticgenealogist.com/2012/12/comparing-admixture-test-results-across.html : accessed 13 April 2013).

4. Christine Rose, Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case, 3d ed. (San Jose, California: CR Publications, 2009).

For more information on the academic dispute and the response of a UK genetic genealogist see:

Debbie Kennett, "Sense About Genealogical DNA Testing," Sense About Science blog, posted 15 March 2013 (http://www.senseaboutscience.org/blog.php/41/sense-about-genealogical-dna-testing : accessed 13 April 2013).

Debbie Kennett, "Sense About Genealogical DNA Testing," Cruwys news blog, posted 15 March 2013 (http://cruwys.blogspot.com/2013/03/sense-about-genealogical-dna-testing.html : accessed 13 April 2013).

Debbie Kennett, "Sense About Genetic Ancestry Testing," Cruwys news blog, posted 8 March 2013 (http://cruwys.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/sense-about-genetic-ancestry-testing.html : accessed 13 April 2013).

Jonathan Bucks, "Rector assessed: Moffat blasted over 'laughable' scientific claims," The Saint, "an independent newspaper written and run by students at the University of St Andrews, Scotland," posted 7 March 2013 (http://www.thesaint-online.com/2013/03/rector-assessed-moffat-blasted-over-laughable-scientific-claims/ : accessed 13 April 2013).

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Using Common Sense to Make Sense About Genealogical Uses of DNA Tests," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 13 April 2013 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2013, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved