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

Mags will be lending her bit of Canadian/Carolinian spin to this Birmingham, England based Genealogy show!

She will be  talking about:

Forensic Genealogy and Adoption – Betty Jean’s Story

Finding Genealogy for your family can become a seriously daunting task if you are adopted. Betty Jean is a 90-year-old Adoptee with no paperwork or information to go on, other than her adopted birth certificate and small hints from her adoptive parents. Walk through the steps needed to find her father.

Friday June 7th, 2019, 11:30 to 12:30 PM in Arena 2.

The Genealogy Show, June 2019, Birmingham, England

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!

And In My Spare Time?

Incredibly honored and pleased to announce that I will be a part of, the Genetic Genealogist for, the Canadian Casualty Identification Team for the Directorate of History and Heritage within the Department of National Defense Canada. The Team will be working to recover, identify and reunite the remains of formerly missing Canadian Service men prior to 1970 with their families for burial.

Here is a link to a Video about this important work: 

Video about the CCIT

If you would prefer to read about it here is a link to an article:

DND looking to contract DNA and burial experts to help ID Canada’s missing war dead

Off to Kitchener

I am off to Kitchener in the morning and I have been looking forward to this trip for so many reasons that I thought you might like me to outline a few of them.

  1. The Kitchener Public Library Fair isn’t your regular old run of the mill Library Genealogy thing. This library system serves a densely populated part of Ontario and their Genealogy Fair garners crowds with varying degrees of Genealogy knowledge, from beginner to expert and top-notch speakers from the Genealogy field. I get to be a part of it and that is just so cool!
  2. Sharing my passion, Genetic Genealogy, as the Keynote speaker.  The Power of DNA is the message. This message will wrap itself nicely around the DNA theme of this years fair. There will be a small guest appearance by my Grandfather during the presentation too. All the way from the hills and foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of South Carolina. I kid you not.
  3. Riding a train for the first time in my life to Kitchener. Yes. I know. Of course I have ridden the subway in major cities and yes I have ridden the Monorail at Disney, but never a train. My poor spousal unit is getting peppered with all sorts of questions from me, “How will I know which car is car #4?”, What do I do with my luggage?”, “Where are the bathrooms?”, “How do I find lunch?” and “Do they have footrests?” I will be a wide-eyed Harry Potter on his first ride to Hogwarts (thanks to Sheila at KPL for making my travel arrangements!).

Everything always happens at the same time for me!

If traveling by train for the first time in my life and speaking at such a great event weren’t enough? The WikiTree Clean-A-Thon is this weekend. Not only do I get to speak, share my granddad and ride a train, I get to help clean-up Wikitree Profiles and do Video Hangouts with fellow WikiTreers  while traveling and when I get home.

Another amazingly busy Weekend in the offing! Come see me, or watch for me hanging my head out the train window like a very happy puppy, tongue flapping, ears blowing back and wearing the biggest grin on earth. You can also see me hanging out with other WikiTreers every four hours starting at midnight on Friday and running through Midnight on Tuesday morning during the Clean-A-Thon (NO! Not at 4am and not during the KPL Genealogy Fair).