We had a terrific meeting this week starting with tips from the NWGC. Linda and Sylvia reported on the Beginners Class. Instructor Amie Tennant gave her view of what every genealogist should know with an emphasis on being professional, including citing and evaluating your sources. We have a handout and Sylvia’s notes to share if you ask.
Elizabeth attended an afternoon workshop on Family Search. She was encouraged to learn how to use Family Search which started filming records around the world in the 1930’s and has the largest collection. They are constantly adding and indexing new records. I heard they recently opened a new Immigration collection which was fully indexed by 165,000 volunteers. Their indexing process is considered to be the most accurate since two people index separately and any differences are reconciled by a third person.
At NWGC I attended an afternoon workshop by CeCe Moore covering her process for using Ancestry autosomal DNA to find unknown parentage. She described two methods of triangulation, that is,using matching DNA of three people to form networks. There is segment triangulation and pedigree triangulation. CeCe uses pedigree (family trees) triangulation almost exclusively and uses matching DNA segments as needed. To keep track of her “genetic networks” created using Ancestry Shared Matches, she uses the Ancestry Notes feature and a handwritten notebook. I have a handout for this process on request.
CeCe was also the banquet speaker this year. She reminded us that genetic genealogy is a relatively new area of study and she has been in it since the beginning. Around 2008 they had theories about how much DNA was inherited from various ancestors but she wanted to have real-life data. She did a 40-person study with her family to determine how much DNA was shared by different relationshps. After that her brother-in-law asked to be tested even though he wasn’t genetically related. Big surprise! He was a descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings. She works almost exclusively with unknown parentage. She believes that reuniting families and helping to heal the past is her most important work to date.
For the last few years she has been asked to do crime-solving work but she refused, thinking it was not ethical. After the publicity around using genetic genealogy methods to solve the Golden State Killer case and after GedMatch changed their terms of agreement, she decided the time was right to go into crime-solving. GedMatch is the website being used by law enforcement and they recently stated in their terms that the site could be used for solving violent crimes. That was a warning to all participants. CeCe is working for Parabon, a company that services law enforcement investigations.
Genie Loretta reported seeing two 20/20 episodes in which CeCe Moore works with foundlings (those abandoned at birth) to reunite them with birth families. Thomas MacEntee says, “you MUST watch them (and get out your hankies!)”.
Remember Thomas MacEntee with DNA Bargains and Genealogy Bargains websites. You’ve missed a lot of bargains this summer while I have been off vacationing. If you are interested, you better sign up for his emails. They are informative, timely and he sometimes offers free articles that are helpful. It was just announced that Thomas will be one of the keynote speakers at the Northwest Genealogy Conference in August, 2019.
Another fun part of the NWGC was meeting up with members of the new Virtual Genealogical Association. Especially fun was that many of the members were speakers at the conference, people I had just seen from afar before. I joined this group for $20 a year. They offer 3 or so webinars each month by well-known genealogists, a Facebook page for questions, and meetups at conferences. Join over at .
I continue to update our Events page on the Genies blog. In case a national conference is in your dreams, I am adding any info I see about RootsTech, National Genealogical Society Conference, the Southern CA Jamboree in May, etc. as I see them. RootsTech in Feb 2019 opened hotel reservations last month and conference registration open September 20. Let me know if you would like to talk about what it is like. I haven’t picked a conference for 2019 myself.
Lastly, a local interest story. Remember a post just before Pioneer Days when John H sent us photos of his 3rd great-grandfather Nicholas Sheffer and the parade down Main Street. Shortly after that I received an email from a California woman who is also descended from Nicholas Sheffer. She found that blogpost through Google and she was looking for the original picture. Now here’s the eerie part. Coincidentally I was looking at the Whatcom Genealogical Society website and darn if there wasn’t an extensive transcription of an interview with the same Nicolas Sheffer. This is such surprise because there were only a few similar documents there.
We’ll see you, Genies, again in person on September 17 or sooner.
In the meantime, Happy Hunting!