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.

Roots Tech 2019 – WikiTree in the House!

I’ll be one of many WikiTree splashes of orange at Roots Tech 2019. Stop by the WikiTree booth to meet some of the people you have only met Virtually – Chris Whitten, Eowyn Langholf, Jaime Nelson, Me (Mags), Michael Stills, Peter Roberts, Karen Tobo, Susie McCleod, Sarah Rojas, Barbara Shoff, and more!

I will be the one in Orange with the biggest smile and hugs to boot!

Come by the WikiTree Booth at 11:00AM on Friday for our WikiTree Photo! Don’t forget to wear your WikiTree T, or Sweatshirt or…

 

Quick and Clean Relationship Trail

I often have the need to do a quick search of the exact relationship between myself and someone else – a relationship finder. How do we connect? What ancestral pair begot our parts of our family tree?

Had an interesting question come up today about one of my Ancestors, John Stoney. The Gentleman who contacted me said his Stoneys were also from Knockshegowna, Tipperary, Ireland but he had no idea how we might connect.

WikiTree’s Relationship finder

Immediately my mind went to, “well have you (the Gentleman with the question) done an auDNA test? I have and so has my dad. Using our auDNA information we might be able to define the possibility that my John Stoney of Knockshegowna is related to his Stoney’s of Knockshegowna.

My first stop? WikiTree’s Relationship finder. It’s “‘WikiTree’s cousin calculator.’ It enables you to find out how two people are related. This can help you sort out the confusing ‘third cousin twice removed’-type relationships.”

Here is my Relation trip trail to John Stoney:

Notice that I do have some DNA confirmed status marked? It’s because I have been able to confirm those genealogical paper trail relationships via the DNA of some close shared cousins with my great grandfather Christopher Lee Templeton. But all the way back to John Stoney? No confirmed status indicators…yet.

So I know that I am genetically distant from John Stoney by 7. this is a genetic distance of 7, starting with 1 at my father. 7 is a long way genetically from me for auDNA since auDNA has a range back to our 64, 4th great- grandparents. But to my Dad? This might just be doable!

Within seconds I know that trying to find a genetic connection between my Stoney’s and the gentleman’s Stoneys of Knockshegowna using auDNA is a possibility. And that if we find some male line Stoney’s of our two family’s to YDNA test, would be a great idea too. There is no Stoney DNA project at FTDNA and no Stoney’s listed in the Stone DNA Project. Sounds like a project needs to get started, doesn’t it?

i4gg – San Diego

WikiTree In The House!

I will be attending the 2018 International Genetic Genealogy Conference in San Diego and will be sporting the latest in WikiTree Orange. See if you can find me – it will be like where’s waldo, but with an orange twist!

This event is sponsored by the Institute for Genetic Genealogy and happens December 7th to 9th at the Sheraton Mission Valley.

I4GG

WikiTree Source-A-thon Hangouts

Source-a-What?

This is our third 72-hour sourcing marathon. The first one in 2016 was lots of fun and together we added sources to over 22,000 profiles. Last year we had almost 500 participants and added sources to over 53,000 profiles!

Our goal is to clear out the Unsourced Profiles category on WikiTree. Although including sources is in our community’s Honor Code, inexperienced genealogists don’t always record them. Sometimes the source is “Aunt Mabel,” as Mags put it. This doesn’t mean the information isn’t worth preserving or sharing. It’s a starting point — information waiting to be confirmed.

Like a marathon, this is a competition, but most participants won’t be serious competitors. Most of us will be doing it for the challenge of sourcing as many profiles as they can, for the mission, and for the fun of it.

We will be hosting live Google Hangouts throughout the weekend to cheer each other on. During every chat we will draw a winner for a door prize. Every participant who is online and adding sources during that time will be eligible.

Schedule

The party starts Friday morning, September 28, at 8 AM (ET) and runs until Monday, October 1, at 8 AM (ET). (Eastern Daylight Time is GMT -4.) Genealogists from all over the world will be participating at the same time.

Distracted by DNA Painter

After working with DNA Painter and GEDmatch matches I discovered that 15% of my DNA matches are actively collaborating in genealogy.

Yesterday Roberta Estes wrote a blog about DNA Painter (she Actually has a series on DNA Painter – see below). Reading her latest sent me into a distracted by DNA Painter Day. Thank you Roberta.

I like DNA Painter and have used it to help my with working out information for my work, but today I decided to paint a bit of my own lines:

I opened GEDmatch and went to my one-to-many matches list. Over on the left hand side of my matches is a column with links to GEDCOM’s uploaded to GEDmatch or a WikiTree 8 Generation pedigree.

GEDCOM/ WikiTree Links

I have used these links many times when doing quick look-ups on how a DNA match might be related to me or clients, are there common surnames? or are there common ancestors? It’s a great way to use what other people have shared to see who you are.

I followed the information in the GEDCOM File or WikiTree Pedigree and connected 12 new DNA matches to 5 of my ancestor couples using DNA Painter. Nice!

I made some obversations

Of the first 222 matches on my list 37 had GEDCOM’s or WikiTree links, three of the GEDCOM’s listed actually had no GEDCOM’s. That leaves a total of 34 total shared family files to go along with the DNA.

From this we can estimate that 15% of the people in my lines are sharing their genealogy. It’s a rough estimate for sure. Is this a good rough estimate for the amount of people who are willing to share their genealogy? It is a very low number.

Email Tennis Example

I have been working with a client to help identify her mother’s birth family. It’s a hard one because her mother was born in 1916. It’s a hard one because the information on the original birth certificate appears to be “made-up”. The first clue here was that the delivery doctor’s surname was given as the child’s middle name.

I have sent out many runs of emails to groups who match this lady (there is a second cousin match with no identifying information who has not answered many attempts to contact them via the testing companies messaging system – oh if they would!). Yesterday I sent another run to 10 matches asking if they would share a tree or pedigree with me. One person answered with asking me to give him her parents names.

I gave him the adoptees story and why I don’t have that information. I sent him to the research for this adoptee listed on her WikiTree profile. He said he would do his own research into her parents, if I could only give him that then he could see if she matched anyone in his tree.

We sent several volleys of emails in this vein and his suggestion I upload the DNA to other sites might help me find an aunt or uncle…no, no aunt or uncle would be alive… Frustration would be a good word to use to describe the volley. The last email I sent was very polite and specific about how sharing genealogy with someone, literally, can help that person find out who they are.

The Little Exercise

I walked through 10% of my total matches on GEDmatch to find shared genealogies and found how many were collaborative Genealogists. The percentage I got was 15%. Is this indicative of Genealogy as a whole?

WikiTree boasts 554,626 collaborative Genealogists. What percentage of all Genealogist’s (from Hobbyists to professionals) is this number?

How do we get the word out to all the DNA testers that there is more to their DNA test than just “What geographic region do their ancestors come from”?

Roberta’s DNA Painter Series

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.

 

DNA Workshops at OGS Conference 2018

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

Friday Afternoon

DNA and the Global Family Tree

DNA and adding your DNA connections to a Global family tree. Attempting to breakdown brickwalls using DNA can be daunting. Which “Global” family Trees are truly capable of connecting you to your DNA matches? Which is best for the kind of DNA test taken? How do each of the Global Family Tree’s propagate DNA results? How do you find matches and make connections on these Trees? Working across all DNA testing Companies and all Global Family Tree Sites we will look at which “Global” family trees work best for DNA. Via hands on work, participants will work through the process of making DNA connections and help to get their DNA Global Family Tree connections working for them. – Computer Skills are essential to this workshop.

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.

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).