The Good of DNA and genealogy.

The good of DNA and genealogy. DNA and Genealogy set me up for a very interesting , humbling and fulfilling weekend in Hamilton, Ontario

Hamilton Ontario and Union Station Platform 9 3/4

As a fan of Hamilton, Ontario, where I have had the pleasure of speaking, twice, in a month, or so I am happy to say, I now know how to get there. I’ll be back in Hamilton in June at the Ontario Ancestors (OGS) 2020 Conference. I am very much looking forward to it and I have solved a HUGE transportation issue.

Taking the train to Toronto, one must change at Union Station to the Go Transit Bus system. It’s a bit awkward in union station, but I have nailed it. Go to the York Concourse, and take the elevator, very near the entrance from the great hall, up to level 3, to the GO Train platform. Take a left out of the elevator then walk to the very end of the platform.

Push yourself and your luggage cart through the wall, taking care to not hurt your owl. Wait…

At the end of the platform you can take the stairs or go around the corner to the left and take the elevator down to the bus platform. Got it? Good, so far, so now your travel to Hamilton from Union Station Toronto will be less stressful (no there are no trains to Hamilton).

BUT…there’s more! Once you get into Hamilton you can take your bus all the way down to the Bus Station, about a half km walk, to the hotel across from the convention centre entrance (The Sheraton Hamilton Central). Or you can get off on Main St. in front of the cool Hamilton sign, near King St. West, walk across the street, down and around the corner to the entrance of the convention centre/hotel. Google Maps, Pshaw.

Leaving is so hard to do! Not really. The bus stop to get back to Toronto’s Union Station is right outside the entrance to the Honest Lawyer (it’s a bar/adult arcade not a real honest lawyer) across from the entrance to the convention centre and next to the hotel. Or if you are into health in June, in Canada, then walk yourself back the half km to the bus station.

Thank you, and shout out, to the Hamilton Public Library for throwing such a great Genealogy Fair. What a great turnout! What a great space! What friendly volunteers/event staff. Loved being so well cared for, throughout!

Ontario Ancestors! Thank you for sponsoring my contribution to the day. I can’t imagine having more fun at work than I do, you made my weekend.

My lecture? The audience was full, attentive, and engaged. We had fun learning about DNA!

Here are some Photo’s.

Big Thing #1

The two biggest things that happened during the day? As soon as I arrived, I was helped with my booth/table setup by my neighbors, the Hamilton Branch of the UEL, thanks Martha and Pat. No, that isn’t a big thing, to you. Martha is the big thing (sorry Pat). I didn’t remember her name on the first go. She and Pat immediately created nametags for themselves. Upon reading Martha’s name? I really shouldn’t give her privacy away, but suffice it to say that her nametag included one of my surnames. One that I have not researched (I don’t have time to work on my own family!!!) Now I have started a name/place study to figure out how we are connected. Bad Martha!

Big Thing #2


The other big thing? This is a really big thing. It’s about how the power of DNA can give us a sense of self, of identity.

A Lady who has attended my lectures in the past came by my booth before lunch. She was with a “friend” and they started confusing the heck out of me trying to get me to help them with the last nudge their research needed to tell them who their Earliest Known Shared Ancestor is.

I finally had to get them to spoon feed me the names dates and places so I could start drawing out a chart I create for all of my clients (for me). It is based on the Maguire Method of looking at diagraming shared matches. The chart let’s me see how close family members are related and their level of relatedness. I referenced Blaine Bettinger’s Shared cM tool at DNA Painter, to help with the cousin/familial relationships and added those relationships to my McGuire Method chart.

After getting all the data down in a rough sketch we all three (more me than them) could easily visualize the familial connections and immediately we saw something was wrong in the family story. These were first cousins, these two ladies, but the amount of shared cM’s pointed to something dark and sinister about the birth of one of the lady’s Mothers.

This mother had been adopted. The other lady, who was a part of the first lady’s birth family, had accessed a family journal entry from a cousin, which stated that an aunt had gone away to Michigan and became pregnant while she was there. Once she was home and nine months later? A baby girl was born. The baby girl was shuffled off to live with an Aunt out west and all was good and a happy ending for the baby was guaranteed.

But the numbers were off. We talked of endogamy and could endogamy have anything to do with how things were lining up? It certainly looked like it, especially after looking at the high number of high cM matches that turned up in the match list.

The ladies, cousins, were throwing out three different father names from my sketch. How could this fella be, or this fella? It was all wrong and nothing really pointed to any of the men. Then, I ran David Pike’s ‘Runs of Homozygosity (ROH)’ utility at GEDmatch (click on “Are Your Parents Related” in the right hand column of your GEDmatch home page) on the adoptee’s kit at GEDmatch.

“Since you inherit half of your DNA from each of your parents, it stands to reason that large blocks of SNPs where both alleles are the same would be an indication that your parents each inherited that block from the same ancestor. These are called ‘Runs of Homozygosity’ (ROH). There are other utilities available that look for ROH for other purposes, but this analysis is specifically aimed at determining how closely related your parents might be.” – David Pike’s ‘Runs of Homozygosity (ROH)’ utility GEDmatch.

Running the analysis took a second, which seemed like and hour…

David’s utility pointed us to the right man. Still a member of the family, but not a possible 1st cousin to the mother. The ladies were a bit worried that, that would be the case. It was still not a nice story for them, though. It appears that they share a common grandfather. That this man had had an affair with his wife’s sister, a baby was born, though not shipped off to the far away sister, but put up for adoption close by. It certainly isn’t the happy ending from the journal. But a happy ending none the less. Two cousins discovered together, who they were; one morning at their local library’s genealogy fair.

Oh, the power of DNA and the tools our community has put together for us to use, free of charge to make these kinds of discoveries. This is the kind of story I like to see about DNA databases and the genealogy community.

 

Working WikiTree as a Pro Genealogist

For years I have been an ardent WikiTreer (a person who is a member of WikiTree). But many people don’t realize how I use WikiTree in my work as a Professional Genealogist, which I do, almost every single day.

Time Tracking

This is the comment that usually causes eyebrows to raise, their pupils to dilate and their genea-senses to prick. Time tracking is what we do while we work for every single client. For me it’s a way to show the client the bang for their buck.

Every single change I make to WikiTree is shown in my contributions feed. Every single change I make to a WikiTree profile is shown in the changes tab for the profile. Every single minute of time I take to input data and sources (correct typo’s and be OCD about the presentation of the work on the profile – the ultimate genealogy report) is shown. So any one of my clients can look at their family profiles on wikiTree and see what work I am doing and the time I have spent on that work – the entering it into WikiTree part and the research part.

Research Notes

While I work I post information about current theories or research angles to the profile. I discuss why I am looking in a certain direction and can post images on why I have a certain theory.

For example:

An adoptee has her birth record. It list the names of her parents. Great, job done! But in reviewing all of the information surrounding the birth and in looking for information on those names, there don’t appear to be people who ever lived with those names in those places. 

In the city directories for the year of her birth, where she was born, I found a page with the supposed surname. The surname was in the column furthest to the right. Scanning across the other two columns on the same page, on the same line, are the rest of the fathers names – names for other people, for other families. If you take the first name from this column for Robert Smelzter, the middle name in the second column Michael Smith and in the last column (none with either of the Robert or Michael) but the surname listed in the birth record? It is very apparent that the fathers name was made-up from someone opening that city directory and creating it from the names in the three columns (the actual names were very unique which made this easy to spot). 

This theory, with images, is posted on the profile page for the adoptee (having found the father and knowing his real name is not the one on the birth record, bears out the way in which the names were chosen for the birth record).

Free Space Pages

I could have posted my research into the way the fathers name was created and posted all of this to a free space page. Creating a free space page for long and thoughtful research, like The Origins of The Hunt 14, is a great way to make a profile less wordy, less cluttered. Free Space Pages also provide an easy way to convert your research into great blog posts too! Here is information on creating a Free Space Page on WikiTree.

Real Time Conversations and Collaboration

My clients can join WikiTree or not. If they do they create their own account, and I work the tree back for them from what ever point they chose. If they don’t join WikiTree, I work the tree back from what ever point they chose. Sounds like it’s the same and it is. As long as I am not working with living individuals my clients can see all of my work in real time, as it happens.

As I work, if something comes up wonky and I need the client to clarify things, I don’t spend time with lengthy email chains trying to explain the wonky. I point them to the wonky, they see the wonky, and a real time conversation takes place. Oh! The time I have saved with this ability, this real time client collaboration.

Community Collaboration

There are great WikiTreers who are very specialized in their genealogy knowledge. These WikiTreers answer questions in the Genealogist to Genealogist forum and also work in projects to create resources and information on sources and resources for research specific to an area, a time, a name or an event. Like the Templeton Name Study or any of the other projects on WikiTree. Projects are chock full of resources and information and volunteers ready to help.

And the community involvement runs deeper with being able to ask a question about a source or reference or place or…in G2G (Genealogist to Genealogist Forum).

Database Capabilities

Well, that is what WikiTree is in reality. A humongous Global Family Tree that is a workable database. The possibilities are endless. From identifying names or groups in geographic locations or cemeteries or businesses or by mt  full sequence haplogroups…

You can create your own database categories to suit your research needs. I have. One example is mapping the migration of Templeton’s from Ireland and Scotland to Pennsylvania and South Carolina, to points west by haplogroups. If you contact me to tell me you are a Templeton in Arkansas, with haplogroup R-M222, I can tell you which of the six Templeton families you originated from, off the top of my head. As a researcher you can find that data on the Templeton Name Study Free Space Page.

Report Writing

As I work each and every profile, every free space page, I create a series of mini-reports which can be included in any written report to a client. I have all of my sources, all the biographical information, images and information posted in a clear concise manner for each individual. I can in insert them into a larger report as is, or provide those as singular reports to clients. It’s an “as I work I create the final report” as a I go way of working.  It’s a way to be on top of my reports with little effort. Because if you don’t do that, coming back to write a report after the fact makes the report and arduous task.

And More

These are only a few of the ways to use WikiTree as a Professional Genealogist. There are so many more, like setting up a profile so when you send out queries to people about a person they can find ALL of the information they need to connect them to your client – like this Surname List with a link to all of the individuals EKA’s for each surname. The Compact Pedigree Chart or A DNA Page showing all of a persons DNA information – mtDNA inheritance Ancestor Trail, and X and Y and…How about a once click button on an Ancestors profile to show you the relationship between the profile manager and the ancestor or between a DNA tester and the ancestors or…

There is so much that WikiTree can do to help a pro Genealogist be smart about how they work.

FGS 2019 Conference Takeaways

I spent the last 6 days in sweltering, melting, sauna like, Washington DC in the comfort of the luxurious Omni Shorham at the FGS Conference 2019. Here are my takeaways…

The Venue

The Luxurious Omni Shoreham, was spectacular in architeture, hospitality and location at Woodley park. The proximity to Woodley Park was a must have since the hotels restaurants and bars (under new management?) seemed woefully unprepared for this flock of genealogists.

Since I spent the majority of my time in the exhibit hall talking about mitoYDNA, WikiTree, DNAGedcom and Genetic.Family, I can only speak first hand about how well the exhibit hall worked. Second hand I can say that everyone I talked to who attended sessions mentioned they learned a great deal and were being spurred on by the sessions to dig deeper and work smarter on thier genealogy.

The Exhibit Hall itself presented challenges for the organizers, yet those challenges did not translate to anything but a great experience for our booth. Our biggest challenge was very poor lighting which was over come by the generosity of the exhibitors close to us – Thank you Mary Kay from Our Fun Tree and Angie and Louise from The National Institute For Genealogical Studies.

mitoYDNA booth
Rob and Mags attempting to illuminate the booth.

Randy Whited worked tirelessly to make sure the exhibitors had what they needed and was in the hall, I think, for the entire conference. Thank You to Randy for being very present.

The volunteers and conference organizers were also very presnt. Thank you to the FGS board, Pat Richley-Erickson, Steve Fulton, Jen Baldwin and the rest for  your hard work to make things work for all attendees.

Support for mitoYDNA.org

Rob at the Booth
Rob talking Genetic.Family to booth visitors.

Rob Warthen and DNAGedcom hosted mitoYDNA at the DNAGedcom booth and at the conference. Which is a pretty big deal. Really a big deal to have that kind of support for a brand new, non-profit (run totally on contributions and support from the genealogy community) organization. Thank You!

mitoYDNA took the opportunity afforded us to introduce the Genealogy Community to this new, free, accessible YDNA and mtDNA database. It was our first public appearance since swinging open our doors for uploads, matching and analysis.

Mags and Rob
Rob and Mags being shown how to get integration with Family Search rolling.

We had great conversations about privacy and our philosphy of making this database availabe to everyone while still being able to provide privacy to our users as well. We talked about how Y and mtDNA can be used to smash brickwalls. We talked about how acedemic researchers can use the data to show how we are all connected.

We geeked out with people who came to us with ideas for tools and analysis for the database. I am talking serious Geeking going on at all hours.

FGS Conference 2019 was a great first public appearance for mitoYDNA and the support and good words we got from so many was incredible!

WikiTree In The House (or I am home where ever I am)

The very first person I saw upon arriving at the conference was WikiTreer Star Kline! We both screamed each other’s names when we saw each other and hugged it out – it was our first time seeing each other in the real world (as opposed to the virtual world of WikiTree). What a great welcome!

WikiTreers stopped to say hello everywhere. Even in the ladies room! Some made multiple trips by the booth to ask questions or just to be “WikiTree” at the conference.

mitoYDNA presentation
Mags talking mitoYDNA at the FTDNA booth venue.

FTDNA graciously asked me to do a booth session/talk and WikiTreer’s came out in force to see my WikiTree infused presentation on mitoYDNA.

As I was getting into my uber to leave for home, WikiTreer Glenn York came over to see me off (and to tell me we are double cousins!). WikiTree is always home where ever I go!

Some Statistics

Here are some interesting numbers from FGS 2019:

mitoYDNA had 25 to 30 new site visitors each day of the conference.

We added approximately 240+/- kits to the mitoYDNA Database.

I talked to every single society who were exhibitors at the conference and to quite a few who were not official exhibitors, which was the goal of mitoYDNA being at the conference. Societies who have promised to mention the mitoYDNA is open and avialable? 100+/-

There is no hard number for the number of WikiTreer’s who are re-engergied about working our great big ole shared tree at Wikitree, nor are there numbers on new WikiTreers, but there certainly are (I know this because I had people coming by to ask me questions about their first profile work).

People who were sent to the FTDNA booth for Y and mtDNA upgrades? 10 – 12 (million, he he).

People who were sent to YSEQ for Y and mtDNA tests? No numbers on that but a few at least.

South Carolina Peeps in attendance? I think half the conference were my fellow Carolinians! Loved getting to meet new friends and to see old friends from “down home” – especially the contingent from SCGS who were like light for this Carolinian-Canadian moth. Can’t wait to see you again next July for the 2020 SCGS 48th Annual Summer Workshop, July 10-11.

Granma’s Genes Hugs given away? Way too many to count!

 

The Genealogy Show – Takeaways

I always have a list of takeaways when I attend Genealogy Shows/Conferences and THE Genealogy Show 2019 is no different.

Disclaimer – I am on the board for THEGenShow and have a slightly rosie view on how things went down. No Canadian GG’s lost appendages (arms, fingers, pounds) from attending this event.

The Gen Show Crew
Stolen from Kirsty Grays FB Post.

THE Take Away? THE Peoples Show

From the very beginning, in the very informal conversations for THE Genealogy Show, in its acorn stage, the show director, Kirsty Gray, used the words “a peoples show”.  How do you make a recipe for The Peoples Show?

The Team

You start by building a team who are known to each other but in most cases, don’t “know” each other. Throw them together for a year and let them bounce international, accessible, open, teaching and researching ideas off of each other. Then, with a light, guiding hand, morph those ideas into the Show Directors vision and you come out with a show that is for “every genealogist”.

Plenty of Seating
Spacious Floor Plan
Accessible Speakers
Great Stands
Large, enclosed Wizard Consults Stand
Engaging and Friendly Volunteers (some of which were the Accessible Speakers)
Engaging and interactive Tags Station
A Coffee/Tea Stand in the Hall
….mix, stir with…
Thousands of wonderful attendees

TGS Volunteers Mags Gaulden and Dear Myrtle
Mags Gaulden and Dear Myrtle working the door – Stolen from the TGS FB Page

Takeaway – THE People

As a personal note, it was my first time for more than a stopover in England. I got to try some local brew, foods I have only heard of my whole life, attempt to be competent in British currency, meet more than a few incredible brits, experience british weather and enlarge my ever-growing circle close friends – thousands of you.

Then there was this amazing wall of ORANGE…My WikiTree family was out in full force as well.Just…Amazing!

 

Roots Tech 2019 and Flying With a Cello

Roots Tech 2019 was an absolute blast this year. It had a whole different vibe with fewer complaints about lines and how to find things and well, just about anything I heard complaints about from last year was fixed. The Roots Tech folk must have done some good listening to their visitors from last year. Good job all the way around!

Frenetic Pace

At the start of my adventure I was amped-up for an incredibly busy long weekend in Salt Lake City. The Expo Hall was open on Wednesday night from 6-8 and I flew in at 5. Swooosh to the hotel to change into some WikiTree Orange and off to endure the carpet covered concrete floors of the Salt Palace – wait, I just complained. Apologies to Roots Tech because there is absolutely nothing they can do about the floors in the Salt Palace. Of course we could have purchased an upgrade in the floor covering of our booth (this is a discussion between we WikiTree Volunteers EVERY year at Roots Tech).

WikiTreer’s at the booth!!

The Booth was really an intensive “how to connect” to our great big ole shared tree with people this year. We had life-sized cardboard cut-outs of King Henry VIII and Elvis pelvis himselvis. People were all GaGa over both

WikiTree Team Member Sarah Rojas, the King and a Dino.

of them! I got to do a demo-stage presentation on WikiTree and connections. W etook the cut-outs over for the stage but kept Elvis turned so he couldn’t be seen until a big reveal. We had connection issues – note to self, order a macro HDMI connector – The Big Reveal of Elvis caused a few screams from the crowd. Of course, the MC for the Demo Stage had to say, “Elvis has left the building”.Love doing the Demo Stage presentations for WikiTree at Roots Tech.

Networking

We all networked, which makes Roots Tech a frenetic place for Professional Genealogists. Different breakfasts, lunches, coffee hours, cocktail hours and dinners were planned every single day. Every single minute was a meeting of some kind, whether it be with a booth visitor or with another Professional Genealogist or Freind.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and closeup
Roberta Estes and me showing off my new Helix necklace. Thanks Roberta!

WikiTree’s total membership grew by 343 since Wednesday. WikiTree Volunteers who never see each other or have never met got a chance to collaborate at the WikiTree booth. It was great fun AND exhausting. I heard that some of our Volunteers stayed up chatting to the wee hours of the morning. Me? My roommate and I were both east coasters and were asleep by the wee hours of the evening – every evening!

Grandma’s Genes

I spent a lot of time not promoting Grandma’s Genes, but just being Grandma’s Genes because that is who I am. Many of you came by the booth or stopped me in my wanderings to get selfie’s or a quick question or a wee chat or a hug. I also got some inspiration for a couple of future Grandma’s Genes Blogs. Thanks very much to everyone who suggested blogs or reminded me that I wanted to write about something. Loved seeing you!

mitoYDNA

I spent a lot of time not promoting mitoYDNA. But we did have a presence at Roots Tech. DNAGedcom and Genetic Family graciously let us have cards and information at their booth. Rob, Gale, Peter, Jamie and I suggested mitoYDNA to people who had questions about our work to provide a crowdsourced, free and accessible mitochondrial and YDNA database. Gale was a great promoter all weekend and had an opportunity to mentioned mitoYDNA in his lectures. Gale created a bit of a buzz as well as being a walking billboard.

If you missed the announcement, we have added two superstars to our team: Jonny Perl (DNA Painter) and Kevin Borland (Borland Genetics).

Keven Borland, Gale French, Rob Warthen, Mags Gaulden and Jonny Perl

It’s exciting to see interest in mitoYDNA increase. We are just as excited as you are to move on to matching and beta testing. If you are interested in keeping up with mitoYDNA check out our mitoYDNA Facebook Users Group.

Doing DNA Right!

Flying with a Cello

On one of the flights home we had a delay in our flight by 30 minutes because of weather and another delay in forty minutes for a Cello. Yes a Cello. What?! You’ve never flown with your Cello?

Well, you can’t put your Cello into the baggage hold of an aircraft. You must purchase a seat for your Cello. You can’t just buckle your cello to the seat, the airline must cargo net your cello to your seat. The cargo netting is installed by removing all surrounding passengers, then an airline baggage specialist crawls all over all the area seats to get the cargo net applied correctly. Fascinating.

I would have taken a picture, but I didn’t want to get mobbed for being insensitive. Not sure I would have gotten away with the, “but I need this for my blog” excuse.

Roots Tech London

Apparently, I will be hoping the pond again in October of this year to be at Roots Tech London! How about that! Can’t wait.

Merrickville and District Historical Society AGM

Mags will be presenting, The Power of DNA, to the Merrickville and District Historical Society Annual General Meeting. She will discuss the nuts and bolts of how DNA and genealogy can move family histories forward. The DNA of one of Merrickville’s founders may make a special appearance during the talk.

Please contact the Merrickville and District Historical Society for more on the Annual General Meeting.

Genealogy with a Canadian Twist – Mags Gaulden and her work as a member of the Canadian Casualty Identification Team.

Genealogy with a Canadian Twist, hosted by Looking 4 Ancestors Genealogist, Kathryn Lake Hogan, U.E,  is a weekly chat about all things Canadian Genealogy. On this particular episode Kathryn will be chatting with Mags Gaulden, a member of the Canadian Casualty Identification Team. The Program identifies newly found remains of missing Canadian war dead prior to 1970 and gives them proper burials. The work Mags is doing is working the identifiable information from the graves, including DNA, to identifying living family members.

For more information on the CCIT and it’s mandate please visit the History and Heritage, Casualty Identification Website.

Influencers

If you have ever asked me how I got interested in Genealogy, you know that I claim my grandmother caught me as I was being born and started telling me, “Your Grandfather is…”. If you have ever read my bio, you know that in addition to and in a much more stick to my brain sorta way, another cousin, an influencer, gave my some Hunt Family Papers when I was in High School,

As a Child, my mother, grandmothers, and grandfather would often tell me about my family. Who we were, where we came from and how our family came to be. As a teen I was given some unpublished papers by a Hunt cousin. I scanned them, as teens do, but I kept them. Years later I went back to them and entered the information into Family Tree Maker. Soon after I started my hunt, pardon the pun, in earnest for the rest of my family. – WikiTree Profile Page

This Influencer, Helen “Honey” Hunt, is a distant cousin. I could, in A. J. Jacobesque style, roll – out of our connection,  “she is my mothers fathers grandfathers brothers great grand daughter…

More than that and in spite of being a distant cousin she was always in my life because she is also a very good family friend. Always around at parties and gatherings. Although I talk about Honey’s influence on me often I haven’t really had it sink in – the depth of that influence –  until I heard  of Honey’s passing this morning.

Really, if I think about it, if I had not been given those family papers my interest in Genealogy and in Genetic Genealogy would not have been piqued. Today I have a growing Genetic Genealogy Business, I am an international Genetic Genealogy Lecturer and a leader at WikiTree. My second career is because of something Honey did for me when I was young. To say I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for Honey is an understatement.

This passion I have for genealogy was introduced to me by my Grandmother.  My cousin Honey gave me the tinder upon which to start a lifelong passion and a second career. Honey is one of the greatest influencers in my life and will continue to be one of the greatest influencers of my life.

Thank you.

 

Not One But Two DNA Workshops!

Your favorite Blueberry loving Genetic Genealogist will be presenting Workshops on Friday June 1st at the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in Guelph, Ontario.

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy giving lectures, presentations and Workshops? I do. I do! On June 1st, 2018, at the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in Guelph, ON, I will be doing a double Whammy! Two DNA Workshops!

The first one, which already has it’s own post will be in the afternoon, DNA and the Global Family Tree. Then, Just when I thought I could sleep in after the fabulous Sleeman Brewery Tour on Thursday (list of all the Thursday OGS Conference 2018 Tours), I hear I have to get up early to present a workshop on DNA Matching, Working with your living limbs.

Here is the description: “DNA is the newest tool to the Genealogists tool box. In this workshop we’ll take the DNA matching tools out and work with them. How do I find my DNA matches? How do I figure out how they are connected to me? We will work the matches to find your living limbs. From tests to third part matching sites. You’ll have all the latest developments on matching in the Genetic Genealogy Community at your finger tips and in your Genealogy tool box by the time we are finished.”

You can register for this Workshop here.

Visit Your Grandma!

Genetic Genealogy is the Ultimate Crowd Source Project

It’s nothing near a stretch to say that Genetic Genealogy is the Ultimate Crowd Source Project. Genetic Genealogists are often called citizen scientists. To say someone is a citizen scientist means, in my book, that they, them, you and me, us are not associated with multi million dollar corporations in any financial way.

We work to share our work. It’s the new paradigm in Genealogy – collaboration.

Since we are working to share our work and further our research together, we have worked out ways to do that. Many of us have our own blogs. Many of us have Facebook pages or even Facebook groups to share. One great case in point is Blaine Bettinger’s Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques group which has over 40,000 members. 40 thousand people sharing and posting and discussing Genetic Genealogy – crowd sourcing.

GEDmatch stands out as one of the greatest crowd sourced tools in the Genealogy community, offering a database of autosomal and X DNA test results and tools to do analysis and matching. It’s growing rapidly. This growth in new members has occurred since the release of information that the GEDmatch database was used to help identify a man who turned out to be California’s most prolific and elusive serial rapist and murderer. The case has caused an uproar in the Genealogy community with people publicly stating that they will remove their data from this important database because of it’s use in a criminal investigation. But still there is that growth. I certainly have noticed it in the higher count of people on GEDmatch when I login. Good.

Family Search is crowd sourced. Geni is, for the most part, crowd sourced- if you can work around the the many annoying paywalls. We Relate is Crowd sourced.  Then there is the ultimate crowd sourced Global Family Tree, WikiTree, with it’s…well with it’s everything.

Recent Crowd Source Losses

Three significant crowd sourced projects closed their shutters this week. Which speaks to growing concerns for privacy and the GDPR (if you have been under the proverbial rock – it’s the General Data Protection Regulations for the EU and UK. Google it. I am so disgusted with it’s fall out I don’t even want to link to it). I know this new regulation will eventually make crowd sourcing better, but it’s a huge hit to lose Y-Search, mitoSearch and World Families. 

Thank you and goodbye to you three. I have often been in your data working to solve adoption cases or help a family find their true surname or build a clients sense of family or connect my family to the rest of my family tree through DNA.

Moving “onward and upward”

The “onward and upward” quote is something I see often in Chris Whitten’s (WikiTree’s, WikiTreer-In-Chief) emails and posts to WikiTree. We as a community will move on. Moving on means that we need to do some things to protect our databases from extinction. And we will.

Crowd Sourcing

Crowd sourcing will be better with tighter controls on privacy and a mind to even more openness. Yes I said it, privacy and openness. I will say it again and I will follow that advice as I work on my family and friends and clients families on my favorite crowd sourced project (which has taken incredible steps to protect itself and it’s community of crowd sourcing and enthusiastic genealogists) WikiTree.

I will also continue to use and support and lecture about other crowd sourced ventures like GEDmatch.

I love being in this incredible crowd sourced community.