Course: 2024-13 – Hands-On Genetic Genealogy: Analyzing and Organizing Your DNA

Coordinator: Kelli Jo Bergheimer

Description:

Join us for an in-depth, hands-on learning experience with DNA analysis tools and strategies. This course will have sessions where students work on their own autosomal DNA results at AncestryDNA, MyHeritage DNA, 23andMe, LivingDNA, and/or FamilyTreeDNA to implement strategies they learned.

Other Instructors:

Connie Davis
Dana Leeds
Paula Williams

Student Prerequisites:

  • Students would need a laptop computer (not a tablet) for hands-on sessions.
  • Students need an understanding of their own laptop functionality, operations, file management, troubleshooting skills for their own device, and knowledge of how to join a wi-fi network.
  • Students would need DNA account login information.
  • Students need familiarity and basic skills with word processing, Excel or other spreadsheet software, and how to edit, save, and create these file types.
  • Bring your Leeds charts with you for each DNA kit you plan to use.
  • Students should have DNAGedcom Client* ready to use in class (instructions sent ahead of time to students on how to prepare and a Zoom help session will be available).

This course will not specifically address endogamy. Students from endogamous groups should focus on learning concepts using another set of DNA kits without endogamy or with little endogamy present. Each student should bring two or three unrelated kits. The same is the case with recent immigrant ancestry. Students should use another set of DNA kits for the course in order to learn the concepts.

  • Coursework will not violate Ancestry’s Terms of Service, so the DNAGedcom Client will be taught only using results from other testing companies.

Recommendations: None

Day Session Title Description Instructor
Monday 1 Introduction to Shared Matching and Approaches to Solve DNA Questions Now that you have your autosomal DNA results, how do you use, analyze, and organize it to make the most of the information? Use spreadsheets and tools to get yourself organized and make progress in your DNA understanding. Spend the week looking at the possible approaches to a DNA question. Using the power of shared matching to build genetic networks and crowd-source the available information. Learn about the importance of descendancy research and tree completeness to solving your DNA questions. Bergheimer
2 The Shared cM Project, the Shared cM Tool Layout, SegcM, and the MyHeritage Relationship Predictor Learn about various tools genetic genealogists use to identify possible relationships. Learn about the underlying statistics, standard deviations, and supporting data of these valuable tools. Learn statistics about segment size to aid your research. Use these tools with your own results. Davis
3 The Leeds Method: Advanced Techniques for Interpretation and Utilization The Leeds Method of sorting your DNA match lists will help you focus on a cluster of matches leading back to an ancestral line. Learn to consolidate clusters, identify pedigree collapse and endogamy, and understand the potential impact of tester age on clusters. Leeds
4 Hands-on Practice, Analyze, and Interpret Sorting: Using Your Own DNA Results Hands-on Practice, Analyze, and Interpret Sorting: Using Your Own DNA Results Bergheimer/Leeds
Extra Searching for Living People Williams
Tuesday 5 Learn to Build Speculative Trees Learn to build quick and dirty trees for your DNA matches to hypothesize how you are related. Williams
6 Hands-on Practice Building Speculative Trees: Using Your Own DNA Results Hands-on Practice Building Speculative Trees: Using Your Own DNA Results Bergheimer/Williams
7 Use a Spreadsheet to Organize the Information in ThruLines Organizing the large number of matches and information in ThruLines can be a challenge. Learn to build a spreadsheet to house this valuable information showing proposed genealogical relationships and lineages. Williams
8 Hands-on Practice Organizing the Information in ThruLines: Using Your Own DNA Results Hands-on Practice Organizing the Information in ThruLines: Using Your Own DNA Results Bergheimer
Extra Evaluating Potential ancestors in ThruLines when you have holes in your tree Williams
Wednesday 9 Ancestry Dots and Using the Notes Field Learn how to effectively use Ancestry’s colored dots and the Notes field to cluster and help identify your matches. Williams
10 Hands-on Practice with Ancestry Dots and the Notes Field: Using Your Own DNA Results Hands-on Practice with Ancestry Dots and the Notes Field: Using Your Own DNA Results Williams/Davis
11 Introduction to My Heritage Dots, Clustering Tools, and TOFR. MyHeritage offers unique tools using both genetics and documentary research. Learn how to use the dot system at MyHeritage, the AutoCluster report, and Theories of Family Relativity. Davis
12 Hands-on Practice with Introduction to My Heritage Dots, Clustering Tools, and TOFR. Hands-on Practice with Introduction to My Heritage Dots, Clustering Tools, and TOFR. Bergheimer/Davis
Extra Genealogy Communication using Ask-Tell-Ask and SBAR Davis
Thursday 13 Layer in Other Testing Companies and Layer in a Set of Siblings into Your Leeds Chart Learn to add to your Leeds Chart to include matches from the five testing companies. Learn strategies to identify matches in multiple databases and online trees in different locations. Learn to take advantage of inferred matches of your siblings to add more depth and data to your Leeds Chart. Bergheimer/Davis
14 Ethics of Genetic Genealogy Learn about some of the ethical dilemmas of using genetic genealogy. Williams
15 Chromosome Mapping Learn how to assign segments of our DNA to our ancestors. We’ll cover essential concepts, including chromosome browsers, triangulation, and DNA Painter’s mapping tools. Williams
16 Hands-on Chromosome Mapping Hands-on Practice with Chromosome Mapping: Using Your Own DNA Results Williams/Davis
Extra Maximizing Ethnicities and Communities/Groups Williams
Friday Extra Wikitree tools and apps Davis
17 The ATGCs of DNA Analysis: Assumptions, Thinking Analytically, Guesses, and Conclusions How do you know in DNA analysis if you have proven what you set out to prove? How can you implement the genealogical proof standard into your daily work? Learn how to avoid the assumptions that prevent your progress. And learn to think more analytically about hypotheses and conclusions. Bergheimer
18 What are your next steps? Learn to write the logical next steps to help answer your research question. Learn ways to organize your DNA tests, files, and projects in digital folders. Bergheimer