Grandma’s Genes is giving away a Boutique DNA Package

You heard it right,

Grandma’s Genes is giving away a Grandma’s Genes Boutique DNA Package, Plus A Free DNA Test. This includes a FTDNA Family
Finder test, upload of Raw Data to GEDmatch and a walk through of the winners results – live with – you guessed it, Mags! It’s all part of the upcoming Source-A-Thon at WikiTree:

WikiTree Hosts Second Annual Source-a-Thon

Enjoy Genealogy

Genealogy community donates $4,600 in prizes


September 1, 2017: Today WikiTree is opening registration for the second annual “Source-a-Thon,” a three-day genealogical sourcing marathon. The event starts on the morning of September 30 and ends at midnight on Monday, October 2. It is timed to coincide with the start of Family History Month in October.

Sourcing is a Priority

The Source-a-Thon highlights the importance of citing sources for good genealogy. Inexperienced genealogists don’t always record their sources, or their tree has been handed down to them. Second-hand family history deserves to be preserved and shared, but it needs to be verified. Currently, 220,000 person profiles on WikiTree’s 15-million person tree have been identified as needing independent verification.

Collaborative Sourcing

In the Source-a-Thon, hundreds of genealogists will be working side-by-side — in teams such as the Kiwi Crew, Team Australia, GB Gen, and the Southern Sourcers — to add sources to as many profiles as possible.

Of last year’s Source-a-Thon, high-scoring participant Charlotte Shockey wrote: “Despite little sleep in 72-hours I had a lot of fun working towards a common goal with my fellow WikiTreers in a competitive spirit! The cherries on top were the real sense of community with loads of laughs and friends that were made.”


To encourage participants, individuals and organizations from around the genealogy community are donating prizes to be awarded at random. Over $4,600 in prizes have been donated, including DNA tests and full memberships from MyHeritage and Ancestry, as well as valuable prizes from FindMyPast, Fold3,, Legacy Family Tree, RootsTech, National Institute of Genealogical Studies, Grandma’s Genes and more. Prizes are still being added. If you would like to donate a prize, contact


To be eligible for the random prize drawings, participants must register in advance and get a “race number.” Registration is now open. See for further details.

WikiTree: The Free Family Tree has been growing since 2008. Community members privately collaborate with close family members on modern family history and publicly collaborate with other genealogists on deep ancestry. Since all the private and public profiles are connected on the same system this process is helping to grow a single, worldwide family tree that will eventually connect us all and thereby make it free and easy for anyone to discover their roots. See


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

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 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 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.

Roots Tech 2016 Take Away

My Travel? Good, despite a rough start of sitting through prolonged de-icing and a missed connection (and lunch with an old friend) to Los Angeles. Re-routed through San Francisco, I eventually arrived 16 hours after I started.

The start was great at breakfast on Thursday morning with the WikiTree Gang and bonus guests in Randy Seavers ( and his delightful wife. There, that’s it – the conference surely can’t top having breakfast with genea-guru and WikiTreer Randy Seavers, right?!

Au contraire! I visited the Genealogy Bloggers Mosh Pit with all of it’s various, colorful bloggers, hermetically connected to the net by Wire. “WE ARE BLOG you WILL be educated”. Oh they are individuals, but you can’t help but imagine they might be sharing thought through that umbilical. Took in a presentation at Find My Past ( and chatted with the folks at HP who were touting the ability to scan images from your home HP printer straight to a Family History Center.

The Venders/Exhibiters were numerous – more numerous than last year. You could print a gigantic Fan Chart (the largest Family Tree Wall Chart was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records before our eyes!), scan your books and precious files, listen to vender centric lectures, buy tree jewelry, tree sculptures, and even find a place to stay for next year.

The Classes were full. Too full for some who were turned away after arriving late. I missed a class as I was flying around the United States. I did get in to see Kitty Munson Copper’s ( and yes she is a WikiTreer) class on DNA triangulation which was packed with eager genealogists hoping to learn how to prove their paper trails. Aside from some technical difficulties, the class was well presented, with WikiTree’s Kitty Cooper Smith offering a helping hand.

I met too many people to count and gave too many hugs to remember. I joined the Surname Society ( and Ancestor Cloud ( I ate Mexican. I watched presentations. I got my picture taken in Orange.

Phtograph of Mags and AJ Jacobs
Mags (Grandmas Genes) and AJ Jacobs

I was attacked by an over-sized stuffed bear.

Bear Attack!
Bear Attack!

I Created a McElmoyle DNA Project on FamilyTree DNA (thanks Jim – I met new friends/cousins. I ran into old friends/cousins that I met last year, who came by the WikiTree booth to see me (always fun) again. AND? I went to my hotel room exhausted after dinner every night.

It was only right that I would finish my time at Roots Tech the way I had begun it – Breakfast with Randy Seavers and his wife.

My Take away? It was fun, informative and exhausting. I have a year to rest – can’t wait til next year!

Photo’s courtesy of Michelle Hartley and Julie Ricketts.