National Family History Month

Here are the details for DNA talks being given around Australia for National Family History Month


Family Jewels or Pandora’s Box? Discovering Family Through AncestryDNA
Presented by Ralph Sanderson
Aug 23, 2-3pm
National Library of Australia, Parkes Place, Parkes
More details from National Library of Australia


DNA Testing and Ancestry
Presented by Michelle Patient
120 Kent St, Sydney
Aug 31, 10.30am-12.30pm
More details from Society of Australian Genealogists


DNA Testing and Genealogy: The Basics
Presented by Ann Swain
Aug 11, 10-11:30am
58 Bellevue Ave, Gaythorne
More details from Queensland Family History Society

Introduction to DNA Testing
Presented by Louise Coakley
Aug 26, 10am-12pm
Followed by DNA Clinic 1pm-4pm
271 Gatton St, Westcourt
More details from Cairns & District Family History Society

Family History and DNA: Let’s Sit Down and Talk About the Basics
Presented by Cheryl Rickard
Aug 18 & 19, 9:30-11am
Fitzroy Room, Rockhampton Southside Library
Call 4936-8043 for details

DNA and Family History
Part of “Genealogy Sunshine Coast Discovery Weekend”
Aug 26 & 27, 10am-4pm
More details from Genealogy Sunshine Coast

Benefits of DNA
Part of the “Family Discovery Day” program
Aug 5, 10am-4pm
Latter Day Saints Chapel, 41 Stark Lane, Forest Glen, Sunshine Coast
Call 0407-146-754 for details


DNA in Family History
Part of the “Find Your Family with Genealogy SA” program
Aug 15, 10-11am
Noarlunga Library

DNA??? Q&A
Presented by Richard Merry
Aug 19, 9am-4pm
Part of the “A Mixed Bag” program
Uniting Church Hall, Williams Rd, Christies Beach
More details from Fleurieu Family History


Introduction to using DNA for family history research
Presented by Ros Escott
Sept 2, 10-11:30am
Hobart Branch Library, 19 Cambridge Rd, Bellerive
More details from Tasmanian Family History Society

Ancient Family History – Human Evolution, Migration & DNA Testing
Presented by Susanna van Essen
Aug 22, 11am-12pm
State Library of Tasmania, 91 Murray St, Hobart

VICTORIA – where are you, Victoria? Any DNA events to advertise??


Introduction to DNA
Presented by Cate Pearce
Aug 8, 11:45am-12:30pm
Part of Grow Your Family Tree program at the State Library of WA
Brochure click here


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Changes to AncestryDNA kit management

This is the link to the news about changes in the way AncestryDNA are managing their kits and how it affects those who manage more than one kit. Please read it carefully.

Enhancing Collaboration and Roles on DNA Results

Here are some observations made by Blaine T. Bettinger, on his Facebook page, about some of the misinformation being spread on various forums about the implications of these changes:

Whew, take a deep breath and don’t panic!! There is a LOT of misinformation out there right now! MOST comments I’ve read so far are incorrect because people haven’t thoroughly read the post and don’t understand the new Manager role. Messages will NOT go unanswered now, there will NOT be more paid subscriptions now, people will NOT stop testing now. One test per kit is NOT some weird new thing (FTDNA has always done it!). It’s mostly hype. If you feel strongly about this, PLEASE actually READ the post and checklist!!

**As long as a new kit makes you Manager, you will still be able to do everything you were able to do before (link to YOUR tree, download their data, and so on).**

**If you are a Manager, the kit’s messages are sent to YOUR account! Messaging won’t be any different, you won’t need to log into each account.**

AncestryDNA has announced that as of July 18th, there will be just one DNA kit activation per account (other than for minors). New kits will have to be associated with a new Ancestry account, which can be either a free or paid account. Existing accounts with multiple kits won’t be affected. There is now a new step during the activation process in which the activator can invite you as a manager (able to download raw data and send messages), which I hope will help the process.If you are a Manager, the kit’s messages are sent to your account.

It will be a challenge to ensure that people that I buy kits for and that create a new account give me Manager status, but it isn’t insurmountable and isn’t the end of the world.

[Please feel free to share this to combat all the misinformation out there!!]

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Tip for Gedmatch: User Lookup

When I get a new match show up on my One-to-Many list on Gedmatch, which shows up highlighted in green, I always check the new match using the User Lookup function. User Lookup is a very useful function, but many people don’t know about this handy tool. You can find User Lookup on your Gedmatch homepage under the “Learn More” heading on the left side of the page. When you click on the User Lookup link, you will open a new page showing choices of filling in the Gedmatch kit number, the Gedcom ID number or the email address. Instead of putting in the Gedmatch kit number of my new match, I cut and paste the email address on the new match instead. Using the email address will give you a list of all the kits that are attached to that email and also provide a link to any family tree (gedcom) that has been uploaded. It is a quick and handy way of finding more information about your new match.

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Chinese adoptions

This is an interesting article that discusses how one Chinese adoptee, Jenna Cook, who was born and abandoned in China and subsequently adopted by an American couple, has been trying to find her birth parents in China using media notices and DNA. This story is also relevant for many Australians who were adopted from other countries and I think we will be seeing more use of DNA testing for these kinds of adoption cases.

The Search for a Past

Jenna Cook put up 800 posters in Wuhan, China, in her efforts to find her birth family. Behind her, a passerby is reading the poster.

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Australian Success Story

Here is a great outcome for the tenacious efforts of Kerri Favarato who worked so hard at locating her biological father. Kerri successfully utilised the technique of using ‘mirror trees’ on to narrow down her paternal lineage.

‘You May Have 300 Kids’

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Misinformed review

It is most unfortunate to read a review of Family Tree DNA by a popular young American genealogy blogger, Heather Collins, that is full of misunderstandings about how to use DNA and how to use Family Tree DNA itself. The review criticises the absence of features that are actually available; for example, it is possible to download a spreadsheet of all segments from the chromosome browser. The reviewer criticises the functionality of the chromosome browser as a tool, but does not understand how to use it. It would seem that Heather also has very little understanding of the value of Y-DNA and mtDNA testing as important specialised tests, which she incorrectly suggests are ‘niche’, ‘nostalgic’ and ‘from back in the day when these tests were all the rage’. The comments on the admixture also show a considerable lack of understanding about the limitations of ethnicity results at any of the testing companies. Finally, the comment about using AncestryDNA simply because of the larger database ignores the motivations of the people who have tested with each of those two companies: quantity does not equate with quality.

Whilst I think that DNA has been a wonderful catalyst for encouraging younger people to become actively engaged in genealogy and family history, this kind of misinformation spread by a popular young blogger is very disappointing.

Family Tree DNA: My Review by Heather Collins, Young & Savvy Genealogists

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Father’s Day Sales

There is a Father’s Day sale now on at Family Tree DNA, with all kits and bundles on sale. The basic Family Finder is now US$69, which is a saving of US$20. The sale ends on 18th June.

Family Tree DNA Father’s Day Sale

There is also a sale on at My Heritage, with their autosomal test available for US$69. However, please note that the My Heritage DNA database is still very small and I would not recommend it for first time test takers. I would suggest you test first with Family Tree DNA or AncestryDNA and then transfer your results over to My Heritage.

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