Saturday, April 4, 2020

SAVE THE DATE: Requires advanced registration



FREE WEBINAR From SCGS, Saturday, May 2, 2020 at 10:00 AM Pacific

 


When Prussian Grandpa Contributed 
No DNA, Can We Find Out Who Did?

Free Webinar from SCGS

Saturday, May 2, 2020,
10:00 AM (Pacific Time)

Register here:
ABOUT THE PRESENTATION
When three siblings did not receive any DNA from their supposed maternal grandfather, a systematic research plan traced the origin of the biological grandfather. Family oral histories, digital phasing, DNA testing of many extended family members and analysis of xDNA inheritance patterns were needed to find the real source of that missing DNA. It was from Donaghadee, Ireland rather than Prussia.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER
David Dowell, PhD, was a librarian for 35 years and a special investigative officer in the USAF for 4 years and has two degrees in history and two in library science. He has researched family histories since the 1960s. His most recent books are NextGen Genealogy: The DNA Connection (2015) and Crash Course in Genealogy (2011). Previously he taught “Genealogy Research” and “Ethics in the Information Age” at Cuesta College and chaired the Genealogy Committee and the Ethics Committee of the American Library Association. He blogs as “Dr. D Digs Up Ancestors” at http://blog.ddowell.com and coordinates three DNA projects.




HANDOUT

A handout will be available shortly before the presentation. A link will be included in a reminder that will be sent the day before the session.

2020 Webinar Times
1st Saturdays                                   3rd Wednesdays
10:00 AM Pacific                             6:00 PM Pacific
11:00 AM Mountain                        7:00 PM Mountain
12:00 PM Central                            8:00 PM Central
1:00 PM Eastern                              9:00 PM Eastern


ABOUT THE SCGS
JAMBOREE EXTENSION SERIES WEBINARS
A goal of the Southern California Genealogical Society is to offer educational opportunities to genealogists and family history enthusiasts everywhere. The Jamboree Extension Webinar Series helps delivers those opportunities.

COST
The initial webcast of each session is offered to the public free of charge. 

Webinars are archived and available only to SCGS members as a benefit of membership in the society. The webinar archive can be found at http://www.scgsgenealogy.com/webinar/archive-index.html.

Mukherjee’s The Gene: An Intimate History comes to PBS


Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter yesterday called our attention to a presentation first airing on PBS next Tuesday that should be of interest most of the readers of this blog:
Ken Burns Presents the Gene: An Intimate History will be broadcast on April 7 and 14 on PBS. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D., and acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns have collaborated on the new documentary inspired by Mukherjee’s best-selling 2016 book, The Gene: An Intimate History.

The viewing guide on the PBS site gives the following preview:
 

The Gene: An Intimate History has 2 parts

 

“The Gene: An Intimate History” brings vividly to life the story of today’s revolution in medical science through present-day tales of patients and doctors at the forefront of the search for genetic treatments, interwoven with a compelling history of the discoveries that made this possible and the ethical challenges raised by the ability to edit DNA with precision.

PART 1: Dawn of the Modern Age of Genetics

PART 2: Revolution in the Treatment of Disease

This mini-series seems to have two things going for it as far as I'm concerned: Ken Burns and Siddhartha Mukherjee. Denise and I enjoy all the documentaries that Burns produces for PBS. In addition I found The Gene to be a fascinating book when I read it a couple of years ago. We have already set our DVR to record both episodes just to be sure we don't miss them. 

 Abacus

Dr. Mukherjee had a very interesting interview on CNN a couple of days ago about the COVID-19 virus. His article, "How Does the Coronavirus Behave Inside a Patient? We’ve counted the viral spread across peoples; now we need to count it within people." was published last week in the New Yorker and will be republished on Monday in the CORONAVIRUS CHRONICLES.

I hope you enjoy these presentations as much as I plan to.


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Should we CELEBRATE genetic Ethnicity?



Over the years I've been one of the biggest critics of those who put great faith of ethnicity predictions based largely on our autosomal DNA test results. Some market research suggests that a majority of millennials who test do so primarily -- if not exclusively -- to get that information. That is why much if not most of the advertising media is aimed at getting the public to scratching this particular itch. You probably recall the dilemma of deciding whether lederhosen or a kilt are the appropriate attire for the next family reunion.

Those who know me know that I like to wear clothes that have something to say. Recently I was working with Alex Coss of Celebrate DNA™ to finalize the shirt order we had began discussing a few weeks ago at RootsTech. I have long admired the colorful and clean lines of Alex's designs but I couldn't decide which of the ethnicity estimates I have received from various labs I wanted to feature. I finally decided I wanted to go a slightly different direction and list the biggest chunk of DNA from each of the top 5 companies. In each case the "biggest" chunk identified was from the same general geographical area: "Great Britain, Ireland", "British Isles", "England, Wales","British & Irish" or "English". Alex was very accommodating of my idiosyncrasies.
Alex Coss' depiction of my 5 current ethnicity predictions.
At first blush these results seem greatly at odds with each other. However, closer examination suggests the results have a basic similarities. Since each company has it's own proprietary algorithm and method of conducting population studies, the bottom three have a certain similarity. One must understand how far back in history each company is trying to measure ancestral migration. 500 years? 5,000 years? 20,000 years? Those who tested several years ago with the National Genographic Project are used to seeing these longer time frames. My Genographic results were a little different than the more current ones above and with good reason. The projected timeline was much longer:

My closest ethnicity prediction by the Genographic project.

My second closest population according to Genographic.

But the attention span of most of us does not extend that far back. Those of us who are now North Americans are primarily interested on where our ancestors were living just before they boarded boats to immigrate here. Generally that is only one to four centuries ago. Even over that short timeline, national borders have changed and ancestors have migrated over the decades before they got to their ports of departure.

Fortunately these ethnicity predictions have been getting better as population geneticists learned more and testing companies improved their projection algorithms. Genetic genealogy is still a new and our learning curve is still steep. By the time some of you read this, my shirt may be out-of-date. FTDNA has announced that it will soon be updating its projections. Your can see a sneak preview of what to expect by reading Roberta Estes' post last month about what we can expect when myOrigins 3.0 is rolled out. Fortunately, when this happens we generally do not have to line up and retest. The reports of results from our original tests are just updated to reflect the new and hopefully more accurate predictions. In my case it may not significantly alter the results as shown on my new shirt; but who knows, I may be in for a surprise.

Below is what the shirt Alex created for me looks like. Read it quickly before the data is obsolete! Thanks Alex, I really like the shirt and my wife does too.
My shirt created by Celebrate DNA


Monday, January 27, 2020

Virtual Pass Schedule and FREE Live Streams for RootsTech 2020



Live Streaming Sessions


I hope many of you will be able to join me at #RootsTech in four weeks in Salt Lake City. If you are there I hope we get a chance to meet. If you are not able to work this into your travel schedule, the live streaming schedule has now been announced. For four days from Wednesday, February 26 to leap day on Saturday, February 29 you will be able to watch live at least five sessions from where ever else you are. Several of the best programs will be live streamed FREE of charge but you must register to get login information. These will include presentations by recognized experts on a wide variety of genealogical topics. Also celebrity key notes are included:


Virtual Pass Classes

Even if you are able to be in Salt Lake City, you may want to multiply your number of learning experiences and your options by purchasing a Virtual Pass. This will allow us to attend one session live and others from that same time slot at a later time. The 30 sessions covered by this pass will be available for a year after you have been notified they are available. This pass is available for $129 (US) if you are not attending the conference and for only $79 as an add on if you are already registered for RootsTech. A list of the presentations covered by this pass are available on the Virtual Pass page.   

Virtual Pass Classes (Beyond the Free Streaming classes)

















































































Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Genetic Genealogy identifies parent of fetus?


If you are looking for a medical science fiction thriller, Genesis may be of interest. This would be particularly true if you are a fan of Robin Cook from reading some of his earlier thirty or so medical crime novels. Published last month Genesis can stretch your mind a bit about the potential of genetic genealogy to solve crimes and not just cold crimes.


If you are not familiar with Cook's genre, he takes an emerging technology and fictionalizes its use or abuse when applied to medical practice. For example about five years ago he wrote Cell about using cell phones to advance personalized health care.  


In Genesis his protagonist is a brilliant but antisocial pathology resident who stumbles into genetic genealogy as she tries to identify a killer who has attempted to cover his tracks by masking them as fentanyl laced opioid overdoses. Armed only with Blaine Bettinger's The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genealogy and Tamar Weinberg's The Adoptee's Guide to DNA Testing: How to Use Genetic Genealogy to Discover Your Long-Lost Family she steamrolls in search of her killer who may be the father of a 10 week old fetus discovered during the autopsy of his mother.



From Cook's epilogue:

“Let’s look on the bright side,” he said.”
“I’m having trouble seeing the bright side,” Laurie said.
“It seems that you and Aria Nichols have added genetic genealogy to the forensic grab bag of tricks to make it possible to construct a perpetrator’s genome. If that’s not a bright side, I don’t know what is.”
That's enough of a spoiler.