Monday, April 24, 2006

What I Learned at VGS's Genetealogy Conference

Many thanks to the Virginia Genealogical Society for hosting me this past weekend at their Is Genealogy in Your Genes? conference in Richmond, VA. The event was all about genetic genealogy and was held in the Library of Virginia, a perfect venue (especially loved the hi-tech audio-visual toys!).

I had the chance to deliver a couple of lectures and watch others given by genetealogy guru, Donn Devine, and genogram expert, Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer. A real eye-opener for me. For instance, this is the first I learned about the lack of standardization in genograms -- did you know that that some use "A" to indicate adoption, while others use "A" to indicate alcoholism? Room for confusion, eh?! Be sure to go see Donn or Christine speak if you get a chance!

I also had the opportunity to meet a lot of terrific folks and hear your amazing tales. I think the stand-outs in my mind this time were the woman who announced that she thinks her half-brother might really be her uncle (now that's a close family!) and the fellow who wondered if he should be concerned that there's a mutation separating his results from his brother's.

Fortunately, there's what I refer to as "close kin" testing available for the brother/uncle sitation (check out GeneTree for more information), and I reassured the concerned gentleman that mutations are rare but random -- and that FamilyTreeDNA owner, Bennett Green, and his son are also separated by a single mutation.

Thanks again to the Virginia Genealogical Society! For anyone curious about genetic genealogy who lives in southern Virginia and wishes they had made it to this conference, I'll be back in the neighborhood on May 20th in Newport News at the Tidewater Genealogical Society. See you there!

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