Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Geeking Out on DNA at the APG Conference

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cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Association of Professional Genealogists held their annual conference in Salt Lake City on January 10 and 11th. Since it was right before the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), it was the perfect excuse to spend a couple extra days in Genealogy Mecca. Saturday's schedule included a two hour workshop with CeCe Moore titled, "Advanced DNA for Professionals."

It. Was. Exactly. What. I. Needed. Now I'm no expert on DNA but I do understand the basics and need to learn how to use the tools to understand and analyze the results.

CeCe spent time primarily on autosomal DNA after briefly discussing Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA. She emphasized that what your goals are will define which DNA test to use. Then you must test the right people. In other words, target who you test.

The big takeaway for me was the explanation and demonstration of Don Worth's ADSA (Autosomal DNA Segment Analyzer) Tool for use with ftDNA (FamilyTreeDNA). The tool had just become available and is pretty awesome because it will create a spreadsheet for you that will allow you to analyze your matches. Previously, you had to create your own spreadsheets which can take hours. You can learn more at www.dnagedcom.com/adsa.

Another big takeaway is that you need to look to matches with strands that are say 20-30 centimorgans in common with you. This makes it more likely that you will have a common ancestor within reasonable time frame (say 300 years).

On Sunday, I sat down with Oldest Daughter who really understands the technicalities of DNA and went over my results. We came up with some questions that I was able to get answered by Angie Bush, who also helped with CeCe's presentation. Oldest Daughter wants to do DNA mapping. Yippee! She's interested in genealogy. Well, sort of. Anyway, we have a couple of family members we need to have tested in order to work on that project. Needless to say, I'm all over it.

Now if I can just figure out how to ask my "targets" for their DNA for my Ballinger project...Perhaps Blaine Bettinger's presentation at RootsTech called, "Begging for Spit" will help.

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