Swab-A-Thon a Success ‘Thanks Ottawa!’ says Grandma’s Genes

Grandma’s Genes held Ottawa’s first (World’s First) genetic genealogy Swab-A-Thon.    The event, held at Bowman’s Bar and Grill on Saturday August 27th, brought a diverse crowd.  People came with questions about their origins, asking what they could learn from DNA testing?  Genetic genealogist, and Grandma’s Genes co-founder, Marc Snelling opened the event.  He spoke about the discoveries that can be made through DNA.

Marc spoke about how to learn more about your ethnic background. About how and where we fit into the human family tree.  He also spoke about breaking a brick-wall in records, such as adoptions where no records are available, or finding unknown grandparent. Other reasons for DNA testing he covered included; leaving a legacy for your children and grandchildren, making new discoveries, and connecting with living cousins.

Participants in Ottawa's first genetic genealogy Swab-A-Thon put on by Grandma's Genes, Family Tree DNA, and Ancestry.ca
Participants in Ottawa’s first genetic genealogy Swab-A-Thon put on by Grandma’s Genes, Family Tree DNA, and Ancestry.ca

Grandma’s Genes co-founder Mags Gaulden spoke about DNA tests currently available to consumers.   Autosomal tests  (chromosomes 1-22, and X),  are a test offered by ‘the Big 3’ testing companies, 23andMe, AncestryDNA and Family Tree DNA.  23andMe includes testing for DNA health markers, and idetifies paternal and maternal haplogroups, currently priced at $249 (CA). She also spoke about mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) a test of your direct maternal line and it’s associated halpogroup, and Y-DNA a test of the direct paternal lines. (tests offered by Family Tree DNA).  She also spoke about The Genographic Project, a science-focused DNA project to document the human family tree and it’s haplogroups.

Mags Gaulden, Marc Snelling of Grandma's Genes at Swab-A-Thon
Grandma’s Genes co-founders Mags Gaulden and Marc Snelling answer attendees DNA questions at the Swab-A-Thon.

Mags and Marc spoke with Swab-A-Thon particpants about the value-added services Grandma’s Genes provides to customers who have purchased a DNA test from one of ‘The Big 3’.  Some of the services offered by Grandma’s Genes include;

  • In-depth ethnic analysis, beyond simple percentages with results across multiple DNA testers,
  • Searching for birth families of adoptees, and uncovering the identity of unknown ancestors,
  • DNA mapping – identifying common ancestors shared with DNA cousins, through triangulation of DNA and genealogy across all company’s databases and public records, 
  • Preparing genealogical reports for First Nations or American Indian Nations, and other lineage societies such as United Empire Loyalists, Daughters / Sons of the American Revolution.

Lesley Anderson from Ancestry.ca spoke to the crowd about the Ancestry database, over 2 million samples. The size of the DNA database together with millions of user-created family trees creates discoveries through Ancestry DNA Circles. Ancestry DNA Circles are an automated tool that discovers common ancestors shared between DNA matches.

Everyone who came had a different reason for being there.  One adoptee sought to learn more about his birth parents.  Two others wanted to learn more about what their DNA will tell them about their deep roots in their home countries, France and Algeria.  Another wanted to know more about his maternal granparent. An ancestor the family says was in England while other lines were in Eastern Europe. Several others purchased tests as gifts for their relatives.

Free kits won by three!

Three free DNA kits were awarded.  One from Grandma’s Genes., one by Family Tree DNA, and a third from Ancestry.ca. Geraldine won the FTDNA Family Finder kit offered by Grandma’s Genes.  Vanessa won the Family Finder kit offered by Family Tree DNA.  Lyle won the free AncestryDNA kit.  Those who won prizes all purchased additional kits for testing themselves at both Family Tree DNA and AncestryDNA. They also purchased kits for other family members.

Another Swab-A-Thon?

Thanks to everyone who came out and helped create Ottawa’s first genetic genealogy Swab-A-Thon.  Several participants were hopeful another Swab-A-Thon will be held.  An event  to bring their cousins and family members to, to learn more about DNA testing.  Grandma’s Genes hopes to bring another Swab-A-Thon to the area in the future.

Source-A-Thon – October 1st & 2nd!

WikiTree, The Free Family Tree
What is more important to Genealogy than sources?!

Well, I guess something else important would be finding a long lost, multimillionaire uncle and finding you are his only relative…

In the perfect world all Genealogies would be well sourced, but unfortunately this isn’t the case. We have all run across online genealogies that are just repeats, copy and pastes, of what someone else had thrown up based on what aunt Mabel told them back in the 70’s. I am not saying Aunt Mabel’s memory is fallible, but Aunt Mabel’s tale is only a tale until it is proven with sources. Until it’s sourced, this kind of information can be used as a clue to where you might look.

What if there were a group of volunteers in the Genealogical community that worked continuously, tirelessly on sourcing a global family tree? And what if these Volunteers threw a party and invited you?

If you don’t already know about WikiTree and it’s Sourcers? Then you get an opportunity to know them and join in the fun at WikiTree’s Source-A-Thon, the weekend of Octber 1st, 2016. How can you help? You don’t have a tree on WikiTree? Hmm. There are no trees on WikiTree, just one tree. One Profile per person for anyone who lived from 0AD to now. Just one Tree.

You can start buy looking to see if you have an ancestor or living cousin on WikiTree. Your Grandma’s are there (Mags Gaulden / Marc Snelling). I stumbled on WikiTre, literally, while talking to a distant cousin about our shared ancestor, Esli Hunt, Sr. I was over the moon when I discovered Esli’s profile because other cousins – those living, breathing ones had already added all of his siblings – The Hunt 14 – to WikiTree. I had a great time adding my research to the research that was already posted.

About the Source-A-Thon from WikiTree’s G2G (Genealogist to Genealogist) Forum:

As a fun way to tackle the intimidating Unsourced Profiles category, we’re envisioning a “Source-a-Thon” weekend. A bunch of us would all work together to add sources over a two or three day period.

With Family History Month coming up in October, it could be the weekend of October 1-2.

We’re thinking we’ll make it a competition. Not a really competitive thing. I imagine most of us would just be participating for fun or as a challenge, like the way people participate in marathons. There could be a target for everyone, e.g. 100 profiles removed [from] the Unsourced category. – Chris Whitten

Why are there an intimidating number of unsourced profiles? WikiTree is for the serious genealogist as well as the family historian and the new family history keepers. Anyone and everyone can import a GEDCOM from another program and move it over to WikiTree. Because WikiTree is so open, it get uploads from other sites who do not require or work on making their numerous trees sourced. WikiTree is the only Global Family Tree with one of it’s main points of focus being that our big ole shared tree should be sourced.

WikiTree Sourcerer
WikiTrees Sourcerer Badge

Not a part of the World Family Tree – WikiTree – just join the family (it’s free) at www.WikiTree.com. You can put on your Sourcers hat and do some sourcin’.

The Stastistics

For Numbers on Unsourced as to sourced profiles? Wikitree currently includes 11,996,179 profiles edited by 353,768 genealogists from around the world. The majority of the profiles on WikiTree are sourced. Of the 240,786 unsourced profiles, 24,304 profiles have been sourced in the last year of the WikiTree Sourcerers challenge which leaves 216,482. If about 2/3’s of WikiTree’s profiles manager were to source one profile during the Source-A-Thon there would be 0 unsourced profiles on WikiTree…well until the next GEDCOM upload!