Genealogy Gadget Geek

This weekends BIFHSGO conference has all the traditional Genealogy lectures and Tours and Workshops and a great Marketplace Hall.

Social Media Team

I am also volunteering here at the conference since BIFHSGO is also my “home” Genealogical Society (OGS Ottawa too). Surely you have noticed my tweets about the conference as a member of the Social Media Team. As such I spend a good bit of time slinking along the back rows of lectures taking quiet pictures and tweeting briefly, politely during those lectures so you all can live vicariously through me and my Social Media Shares.

DISCLAIMER – Please do not take pictures or do social media while attending lectures unless you are  a part of a recognized Social Media Team for the event.

Gadget Proximity

Since the Social Media Hub at this event is set-up in the BIFHSGO Conference MarketPlace we have the opportunity to hob nob with some of the venders while sessions are running. No it’s not downtime, because you don’t have to be registered or even pay to get into the Market Hall, so there are always people buzzing about, it’s just a break from the crush of people from the sessions.

This year the Social Media Hub is just around the corner from this conference’s main Gadget Geek Vender, Shop The Hound!

I want to buy everything they have!

A Few Eye Catching Gadgets

One thing that has caught my eye is the ZCan Scanner Mouse. If you have ever had a scratch off card? Lottery or coupon – as you scratch an image appears kind of thing? Well this is similar  you run your mouse over an image or document and with each swipe of the mouse the image or document appears. It’s crazy cool and it’s easy to carry.

Shop the Hound has other Gadgets too. Need to add some bling to your headphone jack? They have has shiny, sparkly bangle for this. Want to carry a full blown, but portable, Scanner? You can walk away with the Flip Pal. Have a lot us SD storage cards from Camera’s or netbook storage floating around in every bag and drawer you have? Well, they have a little leather case designed just for this and more! Tech Gear and Gadgets specifically designed for Genealogy, can’t beat it.

Now I have to run do another WikiTree Source-A-Thon. Exhausted but still working!

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.