09 December 2015

TSLAC Website Redesign

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) just launched a redesigned website. The announcement indicates:
Highlights of the new site include a streamlined user interface, targeted informational categories, enhanced access to search functions and graphical based divisional landing pages. A key feature of the redesign offers mobile responsiveness to meet the needs of the growing number of users accessing the site via handheld and tablet devices.
Be sure to explore all of the topics. Some items of interest to genealogists are found on the "Online Collections" page as well as the "Genealogy Resources" and other pages. The new site has a nice clean look and seems easy to navigate and search. The pages resize for smaller windows. I love this as so many sites nowadays force me to make my browser fill the full screen width or to scroll horizontally.

Screen shot of TSLAC Home Page, 9 December 2015

As with any website, be creative with your search terms and think about how an item would have been referred to in documents. For example, a search for "texas lunatic asylum" results in no hits. Searching for "state lunatic asylum" or just "lunatic asylum" results in hits in two different collections. Neither of the hits is in a collection linked from the "Genealogy Resources" or "Online Collections" pages. Today's researchers are interested in many less used records to help us learn the full life story of our ancestor's lives.

Screen shot of TSLAC Search Results, 9 December 2015

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "TSLAC Website Redesign," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 9 December 2015 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

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

NGS Announces New Course -- Genetic Genealogy: Autosomal DNA Course

"Genetic Genealogy: Autosomal DNA Course" is now available!

One of the reasons I haven't blogged as much this past year is that I have been developing an online course on using autosomal DNA (atDNA) for genetic genealogy. The National Genealogical Society (NGS) just announced availability of the course. See http://upfront.ngsgenealogy.org/2015/12/ngs-launches-its-newest-course-genetic.html for more information.

The NGS courses are structured with short modules. Each module concludes with a self-test to confirm understanding before moving to the next module. Courses include a glossary and a reading list where additional information can be found. After registering for a course, you work at your own pace and on your own time schedule.

The "Autosomal DNA Course" is aimed at beginner to intermediate level researchers. My own research cases are used to illustrate examples, although some names are changed and blurred for privacy purposes. The first module begins with a brief review of DNA basics including inheritance patterns for DNA. The primary focus is atDNA with some information on X-DNA.

Mitochondrial DNA, Y-DNA, and genetic basics are covered in an earlier course titled "Continuing Genealogical Studies: Genetic Genealogy, the Basics" authored by Dr. Thomas H. Shawker.

The "Autosomal DNA Course" briefly discusses some of the testing companies and tools, but the focus is on concepts for analysis that can be applied no matter which testing company is used and which tool is used to do the analysis.

Credit: Family Finder Test Array Chip by Illumina, image by Debbie Parker Wayne, Family Tree DNA Lab Tour, 16 November 2015

I hope this course helps genealogists who are ready to take the next step toward being a genetic genealogist. My goal in teaching and writing about genetic genealogy has always been to teach only as much of the biology as is needed to use genetics for genealogical research. I try to cover the important concepts we need to know in a way that those of us who are not biologists can understand. I don't have anything against learning more about biology. As a matter of fact, I encourage genealogists who start using DNA to continue studying biological concepts. The more we understand biology and inheritance of DNA, the more we understand all of the implications when forming genealogical conclusions based on DNA. But, no one should be scared away from genetic genealogy thinking you need a biology degree before you start.

Genetic genealogy is a complex subject. For many of us, we need to read or hear something more than once before it sinks in. Reviewing the course material and studying the articles and books in the reading list will cement your understanding of the concepts and allow you to move to more advanced topics with a strong foundation.

Don't forget to check out the other Continuing Genealogical Studies and American Genealogical Studies courses available at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/educational_courses.

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "NGS Announces New Course -- Genetic Genealogy: Autosomal DNA Course," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 9 December 2015 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

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