Maegan Kasteler | Dec 6, 2018

DNA Classes at RootsTech 2019

Odds are, if you are reading this, you are interested in learning more about DNA and its connection with family history. After receiving and reading your feedback, we are so excited to be offering so many classes on DNA at our 2019 conference. Here are just a few:

Wednesday, February 27

Me and My 1,000+ DNA 4th Cousins

If you have seen the results from an autosomal DNA test, you have likely seen a long long list of 4th cousins. Who are all of these people? Are all of them relevant to your family history research? How do you go about figuring that out? We will cover the tools available at your DNA testing company that will help you sort and filter your match list to present you with only your best matches, those who are most able to help you with your genealogical questions. We will learn both analysis and organizational techniques that are sure to add another leaf to your dinner table.

Presenter: Diahan Southard
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Location: Ballroom B

Ask a Scientist

How can DNA tell you how Irish you really are and why you have so many cousin matches? Arming yourself with a firmer grasp of the underlying science behind ethnicity estimation, DNA matching, and other tools will allow you to use them more effectively. Join a member of our science team to get personal with your DNA results.

Presenter: Barry Starr
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Location: Ruby Room

Understanding the Ethnic Ancestry in Your DNA Test

Many DNA tests now include a breakdown of your overall ethnic ancestry. Yet many people don’t get the results they expect, and different companies may show different results for the same person. People also wonder why siblings see different results on the same test or why Native American ancestry does not always show up when expected. This session will address these issues and more—which tests to consider and which ones to avoid, where to find additional opinions on your ethnicity without paying for another test, and when other test types (like Y-DNA) may be helpful. We will review and compare actual ethnicity reports from AncestryDNA, 23andMe, FTDNA Family Finder, MyHeritage, Living DNA, GEDmatch, National Geographic’s Geno 2.0, and Insitome. Many examples will be for people of mostly European ancestry, including some siblings. Reports for an African-American and a person of Mexican ancestry will explore more diverse ancestry.

Presenter: Richard Hill
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Location: Ballroom B

Connecting Your DNA Matches

There is so much information in your DNA match list just waiting to be discovered. You need to start with a solid understanding of the Shared Matches tool, and then move on to applying the shared amount of DNA into your analysis. In the end, you will be gathering a small subset of your matches to work with in order to address your genealogical questions. We call these groups genetic networks. Genetic networks are very powerful tools to help you make genealogical discoveries. We will learn how to create and then employ these networks to boost your confidence in your genetic genealogy skills and break down brick walls.

Presenter: Diahan Southard
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: Ballroom A

Thursday, February 28

Jewish Genealogy's Other Side: Sephardic Resources

In recent years, there has been a massive increase in accessible Sephardic resources. This has assisted Hispanic and Jewish genealogists in researching their roots.

This session will provide insight into Iberian and new world historical events such as the Inquisition; who the Sephardim are, where they migrated, and their history; as well as archival resources, books, journals, websites, Facebook groups, specialized societies, the various languages, and specialized skills required. Archival documents will be analyzed to demonstrate the amazing resources of Spanish archives.

Presenter: Schelly Talalay Dardashti
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Location: 155 D

FamilySearch and DNA: What the Future Holds

FamilySearch is all about connecting families today and through the generations with records, trees, memories, and discoveries. DNA is a powerful genealogical record that engages many people in discovering who they are, where they come from, and how they are connected. Come and find out what the future holds for FamilySearch and DNA together.

Presenter: Robert Kehrer
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Location: 255

You Need Both! Uniting DNA and Traditional Research

DNA results often yield more questions than answers, yet when combined with traditional genealogical research, these results can lead to untold discoveries and solutions to longstanding research problems. This session provides the combined perspective of an expert in DNA testing and a genealogist to discuss and examine the best ways to integrate these two important elements of family history. Examples will include families from the United States and Europe, show resolutions to 100+ year brick walls, overcome previously inaccurate research, and explore the pathways to use traditional research to build a DNA testing plan (and what to do with the results)!

Presenter: Angie Bush and D. Joshua Taylor
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: Ballroom A

Protecting Your Privacy and 23andMe

23andMe gives you control over your genetic information. We want you to decide how your information is used and with whom it is shared, and we take great care to design our product with privacy in mind. In this session, we'll discuss how you can control your information and how we protect your privacy.

Presenter: Kate Black, presented by 23andMe
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Location: 355 C

Friday, March 1

Chromosome Mapping for Absolute Beginners

This session is intended to provide the gentlest introduction possible to the concept of chromosome mapping. The field of genetic genealogy can be confusing and overwhelming for beginners, with a wide variety of new concepts, terms, and technology to contend with. This can cause some to give up, which is a loss for the genealogy community as a whole. Since chromosome mapping is visual, it can provide a useful and practical framework for learning the essential DNA concepts needed for family history. As well as defining and explaining the concept of chromosome mapping, the session will address why you might like to try it, and what you can realistically hope to get out of it. A brief introduction to current tools will be provided, along with a checklist of simple tasks attendees will need to complete before they can start mapping their chromosomes.

Presenter: Jonny Perl
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Location: Ruby Room

Before You Test: DNA Basics You Need to Know

Because there is more than one kind of DNA, there is more than one kind of DNA test. And even with the most popular kind of test, there is more than one company that offers it. Without understanding the basics of DNA and how it is inherited, a genealogist might purchase the wrong kind of test or test with a company that doesn't offer the features they need. This session will cover the different kinds of DNA testing and how each can help with a different kind of genealogical problem. It will also cover the pros and cons of each company that offers DNA testing, as well as some third-party websites that can add additional value to a DNA test.

Presenter: Drew Smith
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Location: 355 C

DNA Testing and Those with Unknown Biological Family

Genetic ancestry testing has revolutionized the world of adoption, donor conception, and others seeking their biological family tree. This presentation will discuss navigating the sometimes-tricky waters of finding a new, close family relationship you may not have expected to find.

Presenter: Angie Bush
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Location: Ballroom B

Saturday, March 2

Examining Your DNA Matches with DNA Painter

DNA Painter is a website that can help interpret and demystify your autosomal DNA results. Using practical examples, this session will demonstrate how DNA Painter can be used for a variety of activities, including chromosome mapping and relationship prediction for unknown DNA matches.

Presenter: Jonny Perl
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Location: Ballroom A

Your DNA Story Has More Chapters Than You Think

Discovering your DNA Story through DNA testing can take you on a journey revealing specific details about your past. In this class, you will learn about how Ancestry detects new regions, why you get assigned to a particular region, and how to use them in your research. 

Presenter: Ross Curtis
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Location: 255

“Looks Like We're Cousins”: Tips for DNA Collaboration

Collaboration is one of the key principles of genetic genealogy analysis, but sometimes it may seem like a waste of time: “What do I ask? What information could they provide which would help me? I already know how we are related, so why bother?” While the main focus of most genetic genealogy collaboration is to identify common ancestors, there is much more that could be useful for your research. In this session, explore tips and tricks for successful collaboration in relation to genetic genealogy. Gain ideas for information and assistance you can request from your genetic cousins. When you get no response, review other ways of identifying and contacting your relatives. Tap into the full power of DNA test results by improving your collaboration with genetic cousins.

Presenter: Paul Woodbury
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: 151

This is not a complete list of all DNA related classes being offered at RootsTech. For a full list of classes, check out our website.

Maegan Kasteler

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