Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fridays Face From the Past - Jamboree

)Editor's note: Today's post was written by Sandra Gardner-Benward

              Family History & DNA: Genetic Genealogy 2013
                            Southern California Genealogical Society - Burbank, California

Things really started early today. Up at 5:45am (YES a.m.) shower, dress, down for breakfast, Pick up registration material and bag after 7am, Opening session started at 8am. (have to say I am already dragging and I haven't done anything yet-oh boy!)

Opening Session: "The Genographic Project and the Rise of Citizen Science" with Stephen Wells Ph.D - a leading population  geneticist. The scientist, author, and documentary filmmaker has dedicated much of his career to studying humankind's family tree and closing the gaps in our knowledge of human migration. He authored "The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey, an award winning book and documentary that aired on PBS in the United States and the National Geographic Channel internationally.

Wells says, "The Genographic Project has used the latest genetic tools technology to expand our knowledge of the human story, and its pioneering use of DNA testing to engage and involve the public in the research effort has helped to create a new breed of "citizen scientist." [Citizen Scientists are educated informed citizens that participate in the DNA process and offer help]

First Session for me: "Genetic Tools: What They Are and When to Use Them" with Bennett Greenspan -  he founded FamilyTreeDNA in 2000, an entrepreneur and life-long genealogy euthusiast.

There are 3 ways that DNA can be used to solve a family puzzle. Each tool is on who is available in the family for testing and what you are trying to achieve. The choices are Y-DNA which is only for men and goes from father to father to father,  mtDNA which everyone gets from their mothers, and last Autosomal DNAm which man and women can take. It is a good test for adoptees. It is a short term look.

Next was LUNCH with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Ph.D............ you may remember him from "Finding Your Roots" on TV.  And he announced that it has been picked up for another season, so keep your eyes out for it... probably in the fall. He is a professor, director, author.  He has authored 16 books and is the recipient of fifty-one honorary degrees and numerous awards.
It was a typical chicken luncheon, desert was great. Mr. Gates told us about his life, his love of genealogy and all the experiences he has had. He has a great sense of humor. We watched a quick video of clippings from the last couple of years of Finding Your Roots.

                           I was sure it was time for a nap but can't take time now, maybe later.
Next session: "Using Third-Party Tools to Analyze Your Autosomal DNA Results" with Blaine Bettinger, Ph,D.  During the daytime he is an intellectual property attorney that helps pay for his genealogical addiction.
DNA testing companies provide an analysis of test results, there are many third-party tools that allow test-takers to use those results to learn even more about their genomic heritage. We identified several third party sites for your raw DNA data - GEDmatch, Promethease, David Pike's DNA comparison utilities, Interpretome to name a few. Bettinger gave us the step by step instructions on how to download your raw DNA data from your testing company (FamilyTreeDNA, AncestryDNA, 23 and me). We talked about uploading the raw DNA data to a third party site, and he talked about using third party tools for your DNA. Lots to think about.
Next session: "Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) Tools and Techniques to Go Beyond Basics" with Debbie Parker Wayne CG, CGL is a full time genealogist experienced using laws and DNA analysis.
Wayne used case studies to demonstrate databases and analysis methods using mtDNA for genealogy. She reminds us that you wouldn't use just DNA without the follow up paper work and research. Again, what is it you want to learn? What is the goal? Who is alive to provide a DNA sample in the line of interest?
I think I am going to talk to FamilyTreeDNA and AncestryDNA over this conference time. I would like to get myself tested. Now I know the difference between the different mtDNA tests and I want to only consider the FULL mtDNA test.  

Last session of the day: "An inside Look at AncestryDNA" with Dr Ken Chahine. He has served as Senior Vice President and General Manager for AncestryDNA, LLC since 2011. AncestryDNA has integrated some of the latest DNA technology to the family history resources on A lot of discussion but didn't really understand much of it, I am trying, but it didn't work this time. Sorry.
The very last session of the day was called a Resource Hour. In the Pavilion Tent (large tent outside) there were 22 round 10-seat tables. Each table was assigned a specific topic and an expert. They were there to answer questions on the topics if possible.  
What a great idea. I headed for the General Help with DNA tests table. Talked with a gal about my brothers Y-DNA test results. I got my answers and I feel more comfortable about it now. I tried another table Advanced Y-DNA SNPS. I wanted to discuss what SNPS are. Somehow I don't really remember this term from other DNA sessions in the past. But the leader was too busy.
Caught up with Denise and Scott Richmond for dinner. A lot of comparing of notes about sessions that we took today. After dinner we walked back to the convention center to pick up our JAMBOREE material and new bag. So now we are looking through our syllabus and schedule. Picking classes for the next couple of days, updating the Jamboree App. I love this app, just has everything you would need, except for the syllabus.
Hey, just curious, anyone watch any of the pay-per-view sessions today? I like to know which ones and what you thought of them. Contact Me. 
I think I am ready for tomorrow, so off to bed - I am so tired  NITE!!

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