26 February 2015

Apostille or certification of DNA Test results

I have received several private e-mail messages from Europeans asking me to provide an apostille for DNA test results. This question may come up more often as DNA testing becomes more common, but some may be using the test results in ways not intended or easily supported with our current handling methods for genetic genealogy tests.

Open Clip Art http://openclipart.org/, designed by Anonymous, modified by Debbie Parker Wayne, 2015

An apostille is a a certificate that authenticates a document for use in another country. Genealogists who do research for and in European countries often deal with the need for an apostille authenticating the documents they provide.

While I would be willing to attest to the contents of my own reports or proof arguments, I do so with many caveats. I cannot attest to who provided a particular DNA sample—and neither can any genealogical DNA testing company that receives the sample via postal service. I cannot attest to the validity of the test results—only the testing company can do that. I cannot attest to the interpretation of those results unless I do the interpretation myself.

Anyone who needs authentication of DNA test results should contact the testing company to determine if the company can provide such authentication and what rules for chain of custody might be required. It would be best to determine the needed authentication is available before taking the test as special circumstances may be needed to verify the sample came from a particular person.

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Apostille or certification of DNA Test results," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 26 February 2015 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2015, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

23 February 2015

Genetic Genealogy at GRIP 2015

The availability of genetic genealogy education this past year or two has soared. In addition to many regular conference sessions and one-day pre-conference offerings focused on genetic genealogy, last year saw the first week-long courses in genetic genealogy offered at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP). We filled two sessions. Then in January at Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) we filled a getting started course and an advanced course.

Registration for GRIP 2015 has started. This year GRIP is offering courses on two dates, (1) June 28 to July 3, 2015, and (2) July 19 to July 24, 2015. We still have openings for "Practical Genetic Genealogy" in both sessions.

Sessions offered starting June 28th include:
  • Writing Your Immigrant Families’ Stories: From Research to Publishing with John P. Colletta, PhD and Michael Hait, CG
  • Determining Kinship Reliably with the Genealogical Proof Standard with Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL
  • Research in New York State: Resources and Strategies with Karen Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS (formerly Green)
  • Problem Solving with Church Records with Rev. Dr. David McDonald, CG
  • Advanced Research Tools: Land Records with Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL and Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL
  • Practical Genetic Genealogy with Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, CeCe Moore and Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD

Sessions offered starting July 19th include:
  • Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper with Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA
  • Advanced Research Methods with Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL
  • Refresh, Rebuild and Recharge Your Genealogy Career with D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS
  • Pennsylvania: Research in the Keystone State with Sharon Cook MacInnes, PhD and Michael D. Lacopo, DVM
  • Law School for Genealogists with Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL and Richard G. “Rick” Sayre, CG, CGL
  • Practical Genetic Genealogy with Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, Patti Hobbs, CG, and Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD

The 2015 "Practical Genetic Genealogy" course has been modified based on our experience and on suggestions from 2014 attendees. The GRIP course still goes more in-depth than the getting started course did at SLIG. Several topics have been compressed or removed, without removing any critical content. This makes time for two new sessions illustrating genealogical problem solving using genetic genealogy tools such as GenomeMate, Genetic Genealogy Kit (GGK), utilities on DNAgedcom or GEDmatch, or other useful tools.

CeCe Moore, Blaine Bettinger, and I will speak again at GRIP. We are also adding a new speaker.

Patti Hobbs will be joining us this year at GRIP in July. She has been focused on completing her portfolio for the Board for Certification of Genealogists. I was able to convince her to attend the 2014 "Practical Genetic Genealogy" course with the idea she would help teach once she completed her portfolio. It was not a surprise to anyone who knows her when we saw the announcement that Patricia Lee Hobbs was now a board-certified genealogist. Her knowledge of biology helps her understand more than many of us about how DNA can be used in genealogy, her teaching and speaking skills help her explain complex concepts in an easy to understand way, her credentials demonstrate she knows traditional research. Patti will be a great addition as we focus on correlating genetics and documentary evidence to solve genealogical problems.

CeCe Moore is well-known as the genetic genealogy consultant for Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Genealogy Roadshow, both on PBS. She has worked many high-profile cases that used DNA to trace family history, seen on television on 20/20, CBS This Morning, and The Doctors. She also works extensively with individuals of unknown parentage to help them learn about their genealogy through DNA, often reuniting them with biological family members. CeCe uses case studies from her work to illustrate how autosomal DNA can help solve genealogical problems.

Blaine Bettinger, PhD (Biochemistry), JD, is also well-known in the genetic genealogy community. Blaine is an intellectual property attorney and blogs as The Genetic Genealogist. He chaired a committee that formed Genetic Genealogy Standards to help us all as we navigate this exciting field of research. Blaine's experience as a project administrator and in using genetic genealogy for his own research provide useful examples for students.

I am a full-time, professional genealogist experienced using DNA analysis, as well as more traditional techniques, for genealogical research. My client projects include both documentary research and DNA analysis. My family research incorporates both. I performed research for television shows such as the Canadian series Ancestors in the Attic, the PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr., and The Learning Channel’s Who Do You Think You Are?.

Between the four of us, we have wide-ranging experience in documentary research and genetic genealogy. We all enjoy showing others how exciting it can be to solve genealogical problems with DNA test results. We want all of our students to leave with knowledge they can immediately put to use, gained from hands-on experience using DNA evidence from real family history stories.

Because genetic genealogy is a complex topic some concepts are best retained when heard more than once. Our reading list includes some books that will give you a head start. My online bibliography also has links to some articles freely available online and to some videos.

We'd love to have you join us. The GRIP registration page is here.

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Genetic Genealogy at GRIP 2015," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 23 February 2015 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2015, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

13 February 2015

DNA Quick Reference Notes

This post has been superceded by the updated documents and additional information in the Publications area of my website.

I've been promising students in the genetic genealogy sessions at the
Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), the
Forensic Genealogy Institute, the Institute for Genetic Genealogy (I4GG), the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), and many of my other presentations that I would put copies of my Quick Reference DNA documents on this blog where they could get copies. I'm finally fulfilling that promise so everyone can print color copies of the complete document even if only portions or non-color copies were provided in syllabus material.

Many of these have a Creative Commons license so others can improve them as long as copies are freely provided to others under the same licensing scheme.

Documents I keep close when doing genetic genealogy include:

QuickRef___DNA_mt_.pdf - mtDNA QuickRef with my mtDNA molecule diagram, mtDNA Regions and Common Ancestor Matches chart, Family Tree DNA Match List Threshold chart, Native American mtDNA Haplogroups table, and Heteroplasmy notes.

QuickRef___DNA_Y.pdf - Y-DNA STR Marker chart noting fast-mutating markers, conversion between AncestryDNA and Family Tree DNA marker values, and noting which Family Tree DNA markers were tested by AncestryDNA.

QuickRef_DNA_inherited_atDNA.pdf - table with Percentage of Shared Autosomal DNA averages by relationship, some shared percentage ranges and some cM values also included.

Xinherit_chart_femalecolored.pdf - X-DNA Inheritance Chart for Female Focus Person.

Xinherit_chart_malecolored.pdf - X-DNA Inheritance Chart for Male Focus Person.

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "DNA QuickRef Notes," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 13 February 2015 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2015, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

Hands-On Workshops for All Serious Genealogists

I can't count the number of times I have attended a lecture, thought I perfectly understood what the speaker was saying, then could not figure out how to put what I had learned into practice after I got home. Most of us learn more by doing than by listening. For more advanced concepts this "doing" can be even more important than it is in a basics class.

The BCG Education Fund Putting Skills to Work workshops give us two different half-day workshops in one day. Both workshops are at an intermediate to advanced level. Both provide hands-on exercises designed to complement the lecture material so we go home with practical skills we can immediately make use of. We leave knowing how to put what we learned into practice because we've already done so.

At the NGS conference this year in St. Charles, Missouri, the BCG Education Fund, an independent charitable trust, sponsors the Putting Skills to Work workshops, on Tuesday, 12 May 2015, 8:30 am–4:30 pm.

This intensive day of learning, limited to sixty students, focuses on skills needed by any genealogist and advocates established standards of the genealogical field. Topics are geared to intermediate and advanced practitioners. The registration fee of $110 includes lunch, hands-on exercises, and syllabus. NGS Conference registration is not required.

These workshops are unique offerings even when the title is similar to sessions taught by these speakers in the past. Workshop attendees will participate in one workshop in the morning and the second workshop in the afternoon, getting both of these useful topics in one day.

Barbara J. Mathews, CG, will lead the session "Evidence Analysis, Correlation, and Resolution: The Heart of the Genealogical Proof Standard." Focusing on only direct evidence creates unnecessary research dead ends. This session addresses weighing and correlating sources, evidence, and information in its diverse forms for successful resolution of thorny problems. There will be hands-on exercises and active class participation.

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, will lead the session "Baker's Dozen Steps to Writing Research Reports." Many researchers think that committing their research to paper is a separate process from performing the research. Use these thirteen steps to "write as you go" to use time more efficiently, drive the research process, and produce a sharable work product.

Every genealogist needs to understand how to analyze and correlate evidence to ensure we place our ancestors in the correct families. We all should be writing reports, even if those reports are only to ourselves, so that we don't waste time trying to remember what we did when we last worked on a particular line.

Come join these two experts and learn ways to efficiently and accurately perform research and record it.

Registration is through the NGS Conference registration site at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/. If you've already registered for the conference, just login and add the Putting Skills to Work workshop. If you haven't registered yet, now is the time to do it!

For more information see BCG Education Fund



To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Hands-On Workshops for All Serious Genealogists," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 13 February 2015 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2015, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved