Schooled by DNA: September Genealogy Blog Party

I was wondering how (not if!)  Elizabeth O’Neal would tie the September 2018 Genealogy Blog Party theme into the traditional Back to School month. No, I didn’t have any inside info, but Elizabeth is a teacher and that’s what every teacher (including retired me) thinks about when September rolls around.

Genetic genealogy has been a hot topic for a while and I can’t say I was the first to jump on the bandwagon. Actually, I was probably one of the last because my only reason for doing DNA testing was idle curiosity.

However, I did finally take the plunge. My husband and I have both taken autosomal and mitochondrial DNA tests through Family Tree DNA. Neither of us has had any huge discoveries or breakthroughs because of the results.  He found a first cousin twice removed and I have a 0 distance mtDNA match with a young lady, but haven’t been able to find out common ancestor in spite of tracing both lines back 9 generations.

Although I haven’t experienced any real genealogical progress through DNA testing, I am still a strong supporter of its use in genealogy. I have a friend who finally discovered the name of her father (who unfortunately is long deceased), adoptees have been reunited with biological parents and family and many researchers have made huge breakthroughs proving and disproving connections that the paper trail hasn’t been able to do.

My personal educational strengths have never leaned towards math and science. I am very much a language and history person, but I did need to get some quick learning done when it came time to seriously consider DNA testing.

Old-School Learning Style
#10 School, Passaic, New Jersey – My Elementary School

I couldn’t resist sneaking in a picture of Roosevelt #10 School, which I loved, but I really like that today we can often learn virtually at home.

The teacher in me decided that I needed to share some of the resources from which I’ve benefited as I’ve learned more about DNA testing and genealogy.

Here are a few that I would recommend to others:

  1. Textbook: My choice for DNA textbook would be Genetic Genealogy in Practice, published in 2016, by Blaine Bettinger and Debbie Parker Wayne and available on Amazon for $36 and/or The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy, also by Blaine Bettinger, and available on Amazon for about $20.
  2. Websites:
    Top 10 Best DNA Testing and Ancestry Websites – Consumer Affairs’ guide to DNA testing and genealogy with consumer reviews
    Beginners Guide to Genetic Genealogy
    DNA Adoption – a great website even if adoption isn’t your focus
    Top 50 DNA Blogs and Websites for Genetic Genealogists
  3. Blogs:
    DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy – Roberta Estes’s site is packed with informational resources
    Genetic Genealogy – Kitty Cooper’s blog
    The Genetic Genealogist – Blaine Bettinger’s site
    The Legal Genealogist – Judy G. Russell frequently writes about DNA topics
    Your Genetic Genealogist – CeCe Moore
  4. Professional Organization:
    International Society of Genetic Genealogy
  5. Tools for Analyzing DNA Test Results:
  6. Online Learning:
    YouTube – 9,200+ hits came up for “genetic genealogy”
    International Society of Genetic Genealogy Wiki
    Legacy Family Tree Webinars – by subscription, but there are currently 7 Genetic Genealogy webinars in their library and a one month subscription is under $10.

There are also a number of other Genetic Genealogy online learning webinars available. Thomas MacEntee offers DNA Boot Camps with access to digital downloads. The Family History Fanatics offers eConferences and webinars.  These are both low cost – high educational return resources. I’ve attended virtual presentations from both.

I’d also recommend checking with your local genealogy societies, as they might also present a DNA workshop.

There are many, many options out there – this list is just a handful of choices from which I’ve learned just about everything I know (which is far from everything!) about Genetic Genealogy.

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