Monday 23 December 2019

GGI2020 Belfast - speakers & topics

By way of an early Christmas present, here is something to whet your appetite for 2020. The speakers and topics for GGI2020 in Belfast have been drafted. And once again we have a very exciting line-up for our third year in Belfast.

There are 12 presentations in total, 6 from new speakers who have never spoken at GGI previously. We have an international range of speakers representing Ireland, the UK and the US, including Mike Sager who works for our sponsors, FamilyTreeDNA. Mike oversees the results of the Big Y test and probably has the greatest overview of the Tree of Mankind of anyone on the planet. His talk will be one of the high points of the conference.

We have beginners covered with introductory talks by Andy Hochreiter and Donna Rutherford. There is a focus on local projects and local success stories from the North of Ireland with talks from Martin McDowell, Andrew Kane and Ken & Alison Tait. Guidance on the management and interpretation of your DNA results are provided by Jonny Perl and Debbie Kennett, while Martin Hayden reveals how to harness the power of X-DNA (our first ever lecture on the topic). And to round off the selection, we have Peter McWilliam, Paddy Waldron & Cathal McElgunn presenting fascinating case studies on how DNA combined with paper records can break down long-standing Brick Walls in your family tree.

So there is something for everyone and this all promises to make GGI2020 another must-see event. The complete schedule (together with talk descriptions) will be published in January.

See you in Belfast!

Maurice Gleeson
Dec 2019

Tuesday 17 December 2019

GGI2020 Belfast - back for a third year!

Genetic Genealogy Ireland returns to Belfast in February 2020 - Friday 14th & Saturday 15th, so come along as a Valentine's Day present to yourself!

GGI2020 Belfast consists of two days of top-notch DNA Lectures from experts in the field, with a particular focus on the North of Ireland and how genetic genealogy is making such a difference to family history research in the region. Many of the speakers are from the North of Ireland Family History Society (NIFHS) who have a joint stand with the conference sponsors, FamilyTreeDNA.

The NIFHS also runs the North of Ireland DNA Project. This has the largest local DNA database of people with ancestry from the North of Ireland and boasts over 4400 members. The NIFHS hold regular introductory courses and classes on DNA and how it can help you with your family history research, as well as several ongoing DNA Interest Groups. Anyone who has ancestry from the North of Ireland needs to be in this DNA project!

This is the third year of the event and we are once more in the International Convention Centre at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. This award-winning multi-purpose venue was built in 1997 and has been voted Best Event Space 2017 and (in 2002) the Second Best Conference Centre in the World. As well as conferences, conventions and exhibitions, it hosts concerts by the Ulster orchestra; plays, operas & musicals; and the ever-popular TV show Britain's Got Talent. If you're lucky, you might get an audition while you're there!

Waterfront Hall, Belfast- the second best Conference Centre in the world 

The venue itself is located in the heart of Belfast City, minutes walk from Belfast City Hall. Nearby hotels include the Hilton Belfast, the Malmaison Belfast, and the oh-so-affordable Premier Inn. The Titanic Belfast museum is a mere 20 minutes walk north & slightly east. The address of the Belfast Waterfront is 2 Lanyon Place, Belfast, BT1 3WH, Northern Ireland.

Here are some rates for nearby hotels (as of 18 Dec 2019 for a 5 night stay from Wed 12th to Mon 17th Feb 2020 for 2 adults):

Ideally located near ... well, everything!
(click to enlarge)

The DNA Lectures will take place in the same lecture theatre as last year (Hall 2B). There will also be a stream of parallel lectures organised by Martin McDowell of the NIFHS. The facilities are impeccable and the staff are very friendly and efficient, which made for a very smooth conference last February. No doubt we will have the same again next year. Hall 2B has a capacity for 100 people - so plenty of room for everyone! You can go on a virtual tour here.

The DNA Lectures of GGI2019 Belfast are upstairs in Hall 2B (top left)

GGI2020 is run as part of the larger Back to Our Past exhibition, is kindly sponsored by FamilyTreeDNA, and is organised by volunteers from ISOGG and the North of Ireland Family History Society.

See you in Belfast next February!

Maurice Gleeson
Dec 2019