Saturday, June 16, 2018

DNA sales, Genies Meeting Monday and NWGC conference

Fathers Day DNA sales! is always the best comprehensive list of sales.  Many sales will be ending May 17 on Fathers Day.  If you have had your eye on a DNA test for yourself or someone close to you, don’t delay!
Genies meeting coming up Monday 6/18 and I can hardly wait to see you.  Doors open at 12:30 and the meeting starts at 1.  Rick is moving and you know what that means.  He’ll have raffle prizes.  Hint:  They are all alike and something we all use.  And fantastic giveaways too.  I hope I haven’t exaggerated.  If you have some giveaways, bring them along too.  If you have questions or challenges, this is the perfect time to pick our brains. 

No Genies meeting in July.  I’ll be off in Kentucky meeting 2nd cousins for the first time.

The August 20 Genies Meeting will be right after we get back from the Northwest Genealogical Conference in Arlington, WA.  We’ll be sharing content from the most interesting sessions.

NWGC August 15-18.  How did we get so lucky!  No airports, no crowds with three days of speakers.  Each day a nationally known genealogist anchors the day with three talks. 

On Thursday it's CeCe Moore, one of the most active DNA researchers.  She’s really making the rounds talking about genetic genealogy crime-solving and the ethical debates underway.  She’s also the banquet speaker on Friday night.

On Friday at the conference is headliner Peggy Lauritzen, Miss Peggy to you Southern ladies.  I had the pleasure of listening to an hour-long interview with her this week over at Genealogy Guys where George and Drew do genealogy news podcasts and Drew does extended interviews with genealogists of note.  Miss Peggy is here:

Don’t forget that the Wednesday afternoon beginners session is free to all.  A fresh new national speaker will be presenting.   A list of classes and registration is here:  and we can answer any questions at our Genies meeting. 

You may think I’m going overboard about this conference but it is one-of-a-kind in its closeness to us and the expert education it offers.  This is how I learned all the different aspects of our genealogy hobby.   I keep coming back and this is my 5th year.

See you Monday at the Ferndale Library, Judith

Sunday, June 10, 2018

WGS meeting reminder: It's Monday 6/11

Whatcom Genealogical Society regular monthly meeting this Monday.  We’ve been talking about immigrants and here’s a timely professional speaker.  Hope to see you there!

Monday, June 11 Monthly Meeting– “Becoming America: A Study of Immigration” with Janice Lovelace. What conditions existed for your ancestors to leave their home countries and make a journey to a new place? What conditions existed to encourage settlement in the Americas, especially the United States?

Always 2nd Monday at 2:00 pm at the Bellingham Elks Lodge, 710 Samish Way, Bellingham, WA. Park around back and enter on the lower level (unless you have a big truck or an RV).  Visitors welcome!  Contact:  360-733-8300

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

WGS Research Group, Golden State Killer, GDPR, Virtual Gen Society, and more

Reminder!!!   Everyone is welcome at the Whatcom Genealogical Society Research Group this Friday, June 1 from 1-3 at the Ferndale Library.  I’m planning to dig into immigration and naturalization records for my 2 great-grandfathers.  What are you going to do?

WGS Research Trip to LDS Library in Salt Lake City:  Hotel reservations closing soon.

WGS has reserved a block of rooms for our trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  The arrival date is 15 July and the departure is 22 July.  You are not obligated to stay for the entire week.   

Please contact Cindy Harris, WGS Education Chair, at with any questions or speak to her at the Research Group meeting on Friday. 
Golden State Killer followup: We talked about so many different topics at our May meeting last week.  Not the least of which was the use of GedMatch leading to the arrest of a suspect in the Golden State Killer case.  My post last week gives basic information and links but the topic is not cooling. 

In a local close-to-home case Snohomish and Skagit detectives used similar techniques with GedMatch to ID a suspect in a 1987 double homicide.  (I think the horse is already out of the barn with law enforcement using GedMatch.)  The detectives used Parabon NanoLabs, a crime lab which has just started offering genetic genealogy services.  Our good friend CeCe Moore is heading up this unit.  This Seattle Times article gives all the details plus an infographic of the steps used in this case.
This week “Extreme Genes” podcast episode 238, includes an interview about the ethical concerns of using services like GedMatch to solve crimes.  Lots of food for thought about the implications for you and your grandchildren.  Well worth a listen.

“Extreme Genes” also has an interview about the brand new Virtual Genealogical Society that I mentioned at the meeting.  Since the first of May they have enrolled over 1000 people from 16 countries with offers of 3 webinars a month, socializing, newsletters, special interest groups, prizes, and, to my mind, many of the well-known professional genealogists as members and speakers.  Originally they thought this would fill a void for people in remote places and young people who don’t want to go to meetings.  I don’t fit into either of these categories but I am on the verge of signing up.  $20 a year could be a very good opportunity.

Where can you find “Extreme Genes”?   On your smart phone, tablet or computer.  Click on the Listen button.   It is great while walking or driving.  Just like a radio show, host Fisher has genealogy news, interviews, commercials and theme music. 
For the past few years, but especially the past few months, genealogy businesses around the globe have been preparing for European General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") which took effect last Friday, May 25, 2018.  I’ll bet you are seeing emails from websites asking you to read privacy policies and confirm that you really want to receive emails from them.  GDPR has the intention to restore the “freedom not to be found”.  That is seen as an individual right.

As customers we weren’t sure what affect it would have on us and the resources that are available to us.  The larger companies have been updating their privacy policies and changing their opt-out features.  Small mom and pop companies are retiring instead of trying to figure this out.  The fines are too great.

Richard Hill, the beloved DNA Advisor, told us that the regulation is particularly “onerous” to one person like him.  He said “I am shutting down this newsletter and destroying the subscriber list.”  The good news is that he can be found on Facebook now.

And the news on the first day of GDPR is that Austrian activist Max Schrems has filed lawsuits against Google and Facebook to the tune of $8.8 billion USD.  I knew the fines were being called “onerous” but who knew they were coming so fast.  This story is not going away.  The scoop is here:

Along the same line Sylvia writes in with her concerns about 23andme anonymous matches:

This looks a bit ominous - as of June 15, 2018 23andme is going to block any dna matches that are 'anonymous.' I'm sure it's another security move, but it might impact us when we look for stronger dna matches. I assume that with an anonymous match, you could still contact them to get the info you need on their family tree. If they aren't visible, you won't even know they exist! They will have to 'opt in.' It might be important for our group to know because members may be 'anonymous' and will have to opt in so that they can share their results with others!”

Judith’s response:  Ancestry did something with similar result.  People can opt out from matching at the beginning.  Same thing there.  We will never know about those matches.  It’s the “freedom not to be found”.

Goodbye for today.  Keep me posted on your interests and challenges so I can send information your way.