Thursday, April 10, 2014

RootsTech 2014 What I Learned about DNA Testing and Family History Research

The second class that I attended on Thursday February 6, 2014 was RT1374 Advanced Techniques for Use of Autosomal DNA Tests to Break through Genealogical Brick Walls presented by Tim Janzen, M.D. Tim Janzen is a family practice doctor in Portland, Oregon. He has been interested in genealogy for many years. He is the co-administrator of the Mennonite DNA project and an advisor to the company 23andMe.

This was a very technical class. Dr. Janzen prepared a detailed syllabus for both of his presentations at RootsTech. (I only attended this one.) He gave urls to more online information including a link to the Power Point presentation that he used. The Power Point presentation covered a lot more information than he was able to present in the hour class.

I had not intended going to any of the presentations about DNA testing, but then my sister got her results from her testing at 23andMe just one week before RootsTech and she shared her results with me.
I was fascinated! I knew that genetics is a rather complicated discipline and had decided to focus on RootsTech classes that would be immediately helpful in my research. But after seeing her results I wanted to learn more. This is a subject that I could really delve into. It would be fun to go to the Institute for Genetic Genealogy First Annual Conference  next August 16 and 17 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Washington D.C. This is going to be one geeky conference! If I were a younger person I might consider making a career of being a genetic genealogy researcher and learning how to do chromosome mapping and triangulation. I think there is a great future for DNA testing in genealogy.

I did not attend any of the other DNA classes, but I did visit all the related booths in the exhibit hall.
At the very last minute I purchased an Ancestry DNA test kit for the conference special price of $89. I collected a saliva sample from my mother and submitted it. Her genealogy paper trail has been completed for 5-6 generations back, so we did not find any new information yet. But there are at least a dozen family trees in that relate to her family tree. There are connections on the Rollins, Whitaker, Robinson and Bybee lines.

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