Maegan Kasteler | Jun 20, 2019

DNA Classes at RootsTech London

If you are joining us in London for RootsTech this October, now is the time to start organizing your schedule! To help you get started, here are some of the many classes being offered on DNA.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

A General Introduction to DNA Testing for Family History

During the past 20 years, advances in technology and science contributed new and exciting ways to research our own family history using DNA. Genetic genealogy is the application of genetic data and utilities to learn more about a person’s past and how we are connected to other people, even if the genealogical records to support these connections might be scarce or missing. The benefits of this approach are countless. Thanks to the field of genetic genealogy, individuals can now connect to distant genetic cousins, verify research that has already been done, link to other people’s family trees, discover the origin of specific family lines, understand the ancient migrations of their early ancestors, and so on. In this session, I will share basic information about how genetic genealogy works and about the tests available to those that would like to add DNA to their genealogy toolbox.

Presenter: Ugo Perego
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Location: Room 4

Exploring Ethnicity Estimates

DNA testing companies try to assign your ancestry to specific regions and countries from around the world. But why do you get different results from different companies? Why have you been assigned ancestry from Norway or Italy when you have no ancestors from these countries? In this session, we will look at a range of results from all the different testing companies. You will understand the science behind the calculations so that you will be able to understand what the results actually mean. Although for most people the population percentages are nothing more than an interesting conversation piece, in some cases the results can provide important clues for your family history research. For a few people, unexpected results can be a life-changing experience.

Presenter: Debbie Kennett
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: S22-A

Using Genetic Genealogy Techniques to Identify an Adoptee's Birth Family

For the past 10 years or so, genetic genealogy has proved hugely successful in helping adoptees reconnect with their birth parents, half siblings, and wider family. More recently (and more controversially) it has been used to identify serial killers and rapists as well as unidentified human remains. It is likely to play an increasing role in situations with mass graves where standard forensic tests fail to identify specific individuals. But the technique used in all of these situations is the same and follows a very logical, methodological approach. This presentation discusses the three key steps in this approach—namely, Triangulate Back, Trace Forward, and Confirm with Targeted Testing. The application of various tools to this specific, three-step methodology will be illustrated, including the Shared cM tool, the DNA Painter, the triangulation techniques using Shared Matches/ICW Matches/Relatives in Common, my own Adoptee Worksheet template, and the WATO tool, among others. Ethical issues will be raised for discussion.

Presenter: Maurice Gleeson
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Room 13

Genetic Genealogy: A Get To Know You Guide

YDNA, mtDNA, and autosomal DNA. Family Tree DNA, 23andMe, AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, and Living DNA. Do three test types + five testing companies = eight times the confusion? In this accessible lecture, we will cover only exactly what you need to know about this exciting science and how it can lead to important discoveries in your family history. Using plain English and real examples, we will answer important questions like, Who should be tested? Which test should I take? What will I receive? Will the DNA results help me? You will be entertained and enlightened and leave with a better understanding of your next steps.

Presenter: Diahan Southard
Time: 3:30 pm
Location: Auditorium

Friday, October 25, 2019

How to Use Autosomal DNA to Resolve Historical Paternity Cases

The majority of genealogists are drawn to DNA testing out of curiosity or because they are trying to discover unknown relatives in the ever-growing databases managed by the different DNA testing companies. Still, too few have grasped the power genetic data has to resolve family history mysteries. During the session, I will share a summary review of a paternity case that had historians puzzled for nearly 150 years. This father-and-alleged-daughter case was eventually resolved through autosomal DNA testing that required 55 individuals to be tested and nearly 15 years of research.

Presenter: Ugo Perego

Time: 9:00 a.m.
Location: Room 1

Ask the Wife! A DNA Research Strategy

With the advent of autosomal DNA testing, women were catapulted into the limelight, no longer needing to rely so heavily on the men in their life to spit or swab. This lecture will focus on all things female. We will start with a review of the mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down from a mother to all of her children, and how it can be helpful in your family history research. While XDNA is technically both male and female, it does have a unique inheritance pattern that can be very insightful. We will spend most of our time learning how to use the wives of our ancestors to help identify our autosomal DNA matches. In autosomal DNA, inheritance is all about the couple, so we can look for clues in the lines of spouses to be sure we are barking up the right genealogical tree.

Presenter: Diahan Southard
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: S22-B

Using DNA and Historical Research to Extend Your Family Tree

A DNA match in isolation is only one piece of data and alone is often not useful in pushing past genealogical brick walls. This presentation will highlight how DNA matches can often lead to historical records and how traditional research goes hand-in-hand with DNA to extend and expand family trees. Case studies will highlight specific English branches (Norfolk, Yorkshire) of the presenter’s family tree.

Presenter: Angie Bush
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Auditorium

DNA Testing Panel Discussion

This session will be a panel discussion on the ethics and practical applications of genetic genealogy. Maurice Gleeson will chair the discussion, and the panel will consist of Michelle Leonard, Debbie Kennett, John Cleary, Donna Rutherford, and Laura House. The panel discussion will start with a number of set questions posed to the panelists followed by an open Q&A for attendees.

Presenters: John Cleary, Maurice Gleeson, Laura House, Debbie Kennett, Michelle Leonard, Donna Rutherford
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Location: S22-B

Saturday, October 26, 2019

DNA Is Dynamite - How to Ignite Your Ancestral Research

This session is aimed at beginners and will give an overview of the basic information required to understand the three main types of DNA tests available for ancestral research. Michelle will explain how each test works and cover the inheritance patterns of the different types of DNA that can be tested, including the X chromosome and its importance. She will talk attendees through the first steps they should take once their results arrive and provide easy to follow hints and tips on how to get the most out of those results. Practical, real-life examples will illustrate how DNA testing can be used to connect with previously unknown cousins, break down brick walls, and confirm the accuracy of family trees.

Presenter: Michelle Leonard
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Location: Room 4

Getting Started with DNA

DNA testing is an essential tool for the family historian and has the potential to provide answers which can’t be found from the paper trail alone. The large genetic genealogy databases are helping reunite long-lost cousins and break down long-standing brick walls. But if you’ve not yet done a DNA test, it can be very confusing trying to decide which test you should be taking and how it can help your research. In this session you will learn about the three different tests—Y-chromosome DNA, mitochondrial, and autosomal DNA—and how you can apply them to your research. The talk will be illustrated with case studies and some inspiring, real-life stories.

Presenter: Debbie Kennett
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: Auditorium

The Power of Siblings

This session will explore the DNA kits of five siblings—my Dad’s five brothers. Sadly, my Dad passed away many years ago. He was one of six boys, and I’ve been lucky enough to work on the brothers’ five kits for my research. The presentation will include some analysis of the five kits—how their match lists compare, what matches they have in common, and how I’ve created a much larger pool of matches for my research by extracting the unique matches from each kit. I will also cover technical aspects and tools we can use when we have sibling kits: for example, visual phasing, chromosome painting, and rebuilding genomes (for example, Lazarus kits and other options). To keep it interesting, I will include some slides showing how the brothers all compare—so along with the more technical side of the talk, there will also be some interesting facts and findings from looking at five brothers’ DNA. The objective is to teach the audience about technical tools, help them understand DNA recombination, and make them think about whether testing siblings in their own tree could help their research.

Presenter: Donna Rutherford
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Room 13

This is not a complete list of all DNA-related classes being offered at RootsTech London. A full list of classes being offered can be found here.

Maegan Kasteler

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