Friday 31 January 2020

Full DNA Lecture schedule (with talk descriptions) - GGI2020 Belfast

Here is the full schedule for the DNA Lectures for Belfast (14-15 Feb 2020). And below you will find descriptions of each talk. Use this page to choose which lectures you want to attend. And bookmark it in your calendar or web browser for easy reference at the conference itself.

Friday 14th Feb 2020

10.30   DNA for Beginners (Andy Hochreiter, ISOGG USA)

Genetic genealogy has emerged as an important tool for genealogists and family historians. This presentation introduces the concept of using DNA as an adjunct tool to discover family history. The types of DNA and their unique inheritance patterns are explained, as well as the application of results in genealogical studies. Examples illustrate successful outcomes for breaking down brick walls and solving ancestral mysteries.

11.30   The Ballycarry DNA Project – Initial Findings (Martin McDowell, NIFHS)

The Ballycarry project is examining a geographic area through DNA and attempting to find connections between people descended from families who lived there in days gone by. By testing people who would never otherwise test we have gathered unique evidence that can be used to build family trees backwards and sideways to recreate family trees long since forgotten.

12.30   The Power of X to unlock Family Mysteries (Martin Hayden, ISOGG IRL)

DNA testing has over the past decade opened up a wonderful way of proving and disproving familial connections and in finding new cousins. While lots of focus has been on autosomal and yDNA testing the "Power of the X Chromosome” is often neglected. For a number of companies the X chromosome results are included as part of the autosomal test. This talk will explain the X chromosome, its inheritance patterns, how it differs from the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA. The talk will conclude with a worked example of how it can be used to confirm a family line. 

13.30   A Tale of Triangulated Segments – DNA & Early Records connect families from Clones & North America (Peter McWilliam, ISOGG IRL)

Irish genealogy becomes increasingly difficult in the period between 1800 and 1830; in this collaborative project a combination of Clones, American and family records are used to identify a DNA test panel to address some genealogical puzzles in this time period. Surviving records from this parish are explored to assess the possibilities for genealogical research in the 18th century.

14.30   The Beauty of DNA – local Success Stories (Andrew Kane, NIFHS)

Getting your DNA results can be daunting for the beginner, but this need not be the case. The talk will guide you through how to use Family Matching on FTDNA and show how impressive successes can be achieved without any previous knowledge of the subject.

15.30 DNA Painter: choose the right tool for the job (Jonny Perl, ISOGG UK)

Many different techniques are available to help you investigate your DNA matches. In this talk, Jonny will show how the tools at DNA Painter can be used to help with a variety of research questions, helping you understand the pros and cons of each approach and make breakthroughs more quickly. 

16.30   Ask the Experts Panel Discussion (20 minutes)

Ask any question you like in this panel discussion on hot topics in genetic genealogy.

Saturday 15th Feb 2020

10.30   Introducing Y-DNA for autosomal DNA testers (Donna Rutherford, ISOGG UK)

Many DNA testers have started with autosomal DNA testing.  For these people Y-DNA is still a mystery. This talk is aimed at those already using genetic genealogy but are curious about Y-DNA testing.  I will explain the Y-DNA test and results in basic terms to help those starting out.

11.30   The Tree of Mankind from FamilyTreeDNA (Mike Sager, FTDNA)

We will explore the Y chromosome haplotree in a variety of ways; from how the tree is built to tips and tricks for understanding and interpreting, and how new samples are incorporated to some of the more notable results FTDNA has produced.

12.30   Family Matters – Distance No Object (Ken & Alison Tait, NIFHS)

This talk will explain the advantages of having other family members, such as cousins, test their DNA and how these differ from the advantages of testing siblings. It will include real examples of how people have been able to find DNA connections around the world despite previously having had no knowledge of each other.

13.30   The Promise & Limitations of autosomal DNA (Debbie Kennett, ISOGG UK)

The first cousin-matching autosomal DNA tests became available in 2009. Sales have exploded in the last few years and over 30 million people have now tested. However, the currently available tests still have many limitations. It is important to consider these uncertainties when incorporating DNA evidence into genealogical research. As the cost of sequencing comes down, the current microarray tests will be replaced by whole genome sequencing. In this talk we look at some of the pitfalls of interpreting matches based on incomplete data and look ahead at some of the exciting developments we can expect to see in the coming years.

14.30   Eugene the Blackguard & the Lynches of Moveen West (Paddy Waldron, ISOGG IRL)

All that the Sacramento Lynches knew of their grandfather until DNA-matching connected them with Paddy Waldron in mid-2016 was that Eugene Lynch was a blackguard who abandoned his wife and children in Sacramento around 1910.  The census of that year revealed merely that Eugene was Irish-born, and he could not be found in any other census. By November 2016, Eugene's grandchildren were meeting their long-lost cousins on a farm in the townland of Moveen West in County Clare, home to Eugene's grandparents and to their descendants for two centuries. The missing link between the Moveen grandparents and Eugene's mysterious appearance in California remained a puzzle until another Lynch visit to Moveen in 2019.  A flash of divine inspiration during that trip, and the use of every trick in the genetic genealogist's toolbox, brought genealogical brick walls tumbling down.  This talk will reveal how re-visiting the evidence produced unexpected breakthroughs, and not for the Californian Lynches alone.

15.30   Never Give Up – Miracles Do Happen (an adoption story) (Cathal McElgunn, ISOGG IRL)

Cathal helped an overseas DNA-connected adoptee find their biological family and explain a mismatch between their DNA ethnicity result and their perceived origins. He will describe a 3-country, 500 km train and 1100 km plane journey, DNA and record search towards finding family and solving the DNA ethnicity conundrum.

16.30   Ask the Experts Panel Discussion (20 minutes)

Ask any question you like in this panel discussion on hot topics in genetic genealogy.

Tuesday 28 January 2020

ISOGG Day Out (GGI2020 Belfast)

Genetic Genealogy Ireland is known for its wild parties and hectic social life, which usually involves an overturned mobility scooter.

This year is no different and after the 2 days of DNA Lectures we will be having a day out where we can all let our hair down (them of us wot have any) and relax. We also have some great restaurants lined up for the evening debrief following each day at the conference. Here is what's in store.

Thursday (13 Feb)
6pm ... The Sonoma Restaurant at the Hilton Hotel, for those that arrive early and aren't sleeping off their jet lag. You can enjoy panoramic views over the River Lagan from the floor to ceiling windows that stretch the length of the restaurant. Menu available here. Booked for 18 people under the name "Maurice".
Address: 4 Lanyon Pl, Belfast BT1 3LP

Friday (14 Feb) - St Valentine's Day
5.30 - 7.30pm ... Dinner at Home ... Cosy, casual dining offering modern European cuisine, alongside the sale of art and second-hand furniture! We will need to preorder so check out the new menu from Feb 5th. Vegetarian & vegan options also available. Booked for 24 people.
As we will finish early (7.30pm), we can make our way to the Europa Hotel for post-dinner drinks - it is just past the Grand Opera House.
Address: 22 Wellington Pl, Belfast BT1 6GE

Saturday (15 Feb)
6pm ... Josper's Restaurant at Ten Square Hotel - Sophisticated, hotel establishment featuring upscale, charcoal-grilled steaks & seafood entrees. Check out vegan and vegetarian options here. We need to pre-order the meals 3 days in advance so check out the menu here. Booked for 22 people.
Address: 10 Donegall Square S, Belfast BT1 5JD

Sunday (16 Feb)
9.30 ... A Tour of Queens University Belfast (QUB) and the Botanic Gardens. The University shows off some stunning architecture with a Tudor-style main building. It is known for its humanities, science and medicine programs. The Botanic Gardens date from 1828 and feature tropical species & an elegant domed conservatory built by Bruce Forsyth's grandfather. The tropical ravine is home to a host of rare tropical plants. 22 people expected.
Cost: £6 per person (payable to our guide Oliver on the day)
Meet in front of the War Memorial on University Rd at 9.30am
Address: University Rd, Belfast BT9 6AY (directions)

11.00 ... There are two alternative options - coffee or trees. Those who wish to can undertake a tour of the Botanic Gardens for only £3, bookable in advance here. This lasts 1.5 hours so you will miss the lecture by Adam Rutherford (see below) unless you cut the tour short and dash over to Whitla Hall.
Click here to book (£3)
... or alternatively ...

11.00 ... coffee in Hope Cafe in the McClay Library, QUB
Address: 6 College Park Ave, Belfast BT7 1PS (directions)

11.30 ... assemble in the lobby of Whitla Hall, Queens University Belfast for lectures by Adam Rutherford & Alice Roberts as part of the Northern Ireland Science Festival 2020.
Address: Queen's University, Belfast BT7 1NN (directions)

Click here to Book (£8)
Click here to Book (£14)

1pm ... quick lunch at nearby restaurants (i.e. in between the two lectures)
1) Conor - 11a Stranmillis Rd, Belfast BT9 5AF (directionsmenu). Booked provisionally for 22 people.
2) Maggie Mays - 2 Malone Rd, Belfast BT9 5BN (directions, menu)
3) Deane's at Queens - 1 College Gardens, Belfast BT9 6BQ (directions, menu)

3.15pm ... coffee at the Ulster Museum
Address: Botanic Ct, Belfast BT9 5AB (directions)

3.45pm ... Tour of the Ulster Museum (free)
The museum boasts a range of permanent exhibitions of interest to the intrepid genetic genealogist including ...

5.30pm ... Dinner at Yum Restaurant. Subtly lit, modern international eatery with colourful hanging lamps, frescos and banquette seating. This trendy restaurant has a host of vegetarian options. You can see the menu here. Booked for 16.
Address: 157 Stranmillis Road, Belfast BT9 5AJ

9.30pm ... "Home, James ... and don't spare the horses"

See you in Belfast!

Maurice Gleeson
Jan 2020

Monday 27 January 2020

Submission re Proposed Legislation regarding the Children at Tuam (and similar mass graves)

On 10th Dec 2019, Minister Kathrine Zappone published some proposed legislation in relation to the excavation, identification and re-interment of the 800 or so children that could be buried in the disused pit on the site of the former Mothers & Babies Home in Tuam. There are several interesting aspects to this proposed legislation:
  1. the identification programme is only open to members of the public who believe that they may be the parent, child, sibling or half-sibling of the deceased children and can prove that they have reasonable grounds to believe so. Thus the project aims to identify a subset of the children rather than all of them.
  2. it does not apply to burial sites where the last burial occurred before 1950
  3. there is no mention of genetic genealogy within the proposed legislation
  4. members of the public were invited to make Submissions regarding the proposed law by Friday 24th Jan 2020.
I explored the proposed legislation further in this previous blog post. And below is the text of the submission I made in regard to the proposals. Unfortunately due to the dissolution of the Dáil (the Irish parliament), the submission process has stalled. The new government may restart it. Here is the text of an email I received in response to my submission:
I wish to advise that the Joint Committee ceased to exist upon the dissolution of the Dáil on 14 January 2020 and, therefore, that the pre-legislative scrutiny process on the general scheme is halted. It is open to the new Administration to restart or not restart the process, or introduce a new scheme, but the current consultation process is closed.


1.     My name is Dr Maurice Gleeson and I am both a medical doctor (psychiatrist, pharmaceutical physician) and a genetic genealogist. This is a personal submission and is not made on behalf of any organization.
2.     I run a variety of DNA projects researching specific surnames, I lecture widely on genetic genealogy, and I am known for my educational YouTube videos on genetic genealogy. I was voted "Genetic Genealogist of the Year 2015” (SurnameDNA Journal) and “Superstar / Rockstar Genealogist, Ireland” in 2016 and 2017 (Canada’s Anglo-Celtic Connections). I am Education Ambassador for the International Society of Genetic Genealogy, a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, and organizer of Genetic Genealogy Ireland, a 2-3 day conference on DNA & genealogy held both in Dublin (since 2013) and more recently in Belfast (since 2018).
3.     I have particular expertise in the use of DNA tests from Direct-to-Consumer DNA companies (e.g. Ancestry, 23andMe, MyHeritage, FamilyTreeDNA) to identify persons with unknown ancestry (specifically adoptees, foundlings and illegitimate individuals). My clients are frequently referred by TUSLA or Barnardos.
4.     Since 2018, the same techniques used with adoptees & foundlings have been used successfully to identify serial killers, rapists and unidentified human remains in the US and elsewhere. They can also potentially be used to identify unidentified human remains in Ireland and specifically those of the children buried in the disused pit on the site of the former Mother & Baby Home at Tuam.
5.     My comments below relate primarily to the situation at Tuam and how the proposed legislation will impact upon it. 6.   


7.     The wording of the current draft legislation implies that only a subset of the children buried in the disused pit at Tuam will be identified, namely those from whom a reasonable DNA Profile can be obtained and who match the DNA Profile of specific family members (parent, child, sibling or half-sibling) who have come forward to ne tested.
8.     However, in many cases immediate family will be dead or non-existent. This significantly restricts the number of identifications that can be made.
9.     Families of those children that can be identified will be informed of the identification and will be offered the opportunity to dispose of the remains of the child in question as they wish. This may involve burial in a family plot or in a specific area of a graveyard reserved for such burials.
10.  Nowhere does the proposed legislation discuss what happens to the children’s remains that cannot be identified (e.g. no DNA Profile obtained). Or what happens to the ones who can potentially be identified (e.g. excellent DNA Profile) but for whom no family has come forward. If these remaining children were to be buried in unmarked graves, then this has significant potential implications under both Common Law and the Irish Constitution.
11.  Under Common Law, all Irish citizens have the right to a decent burial (Shannon p24). Furthermore, the Constitution emphasizes the importance of dignity, and in particular dignity in death. Failure to afford dignity to a deceased person could constitute a breach of the Constitution (Shannon p22).
12.  There is copious evidence of the systematic abuse of children within Ireland’s institutions (e.g. the Ryan Report), including the Tuam Home. The full extent of these abuses will become apparent when the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation publishes its final report. However, the picture that emerges is one where children were effectively abandoned by their families, discarded by society, subjected to physical, sexual & emotional abuse, and (as with Tuam) when they died, they were not given a decent burial. Society tried to hide them away - they were an embarrassment - something to be swept under the carpet.
13.  And therefore, the re-interment of some of the Tuam children in unmarked graves would be seen by many as a continuation of this systematic pattern of abuse that attempts to make the problem disappear and thus robs the child of dignity.
14.  Furthermore, a clear message must be sent to present and future generations, on behalf of the children who died at Tuam, that child abuse will not be tolerated, that the dignity of the child must be respected, that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated. This is not just a message for Ireland, it is a message for the entire World. Child abuse remains a major problem in Ireland and worldwide.
15.  Under these circumstances, each and every child at Tuam must be identified and buried in an individual grave with their name on the gravestone. Anything less than this will be seen as a continuation of the denial of dignity that they experienced in life and will fall short of the necessary redress that the situation demands.
16.  Merely having their names on a memorial plaque would further add to the indignity they have already suffered and could be seen as an attempt to once again hide them away and sweep the problem under the carpet.
17.  The children at Tuam are symbolic of the institutional abuse that plagued Ireland for many years. It is fitting that their names are remembered, not just on a memorial plaque, but on personalized gravestones marking where their remains finally rest in peace. Such individualized gravestones make the symbolic statement “I was here” and allows them to make a stand for dignity in death. And we must be their advocates.
18.  As a result, the wording of the proposed legislation will need to be adapted to reflect the desire to identify all of the children in the mass grave and not just a specific subset.


19.  Standard forensic testing will employ autosomal STR analysis and useful comparisons are limited to parent, child, sibling or half-sibling of the target individual. However, because many such family members will be dead or non-existent, only a small proportion of identifications are likely to be made using these techniques.
20.  In order to optimize the chances of identifying all the children at Tuam, genetic genealogy techniques will have to be used. Standard Genetic Genealogy techniques (e.g. using autosomal SNP tests) have helped adoptees reconnect with their birth families for over 10 years (Gleeson 2019). The success rate with these techniques in the US was surprisingly high, even back in 2017 when the database sizes were much smaller than they are now. At that stage, 50% of adoptees who had tested (n=700) had identified a parent or sibling (Bettinger 2017). 
21.  Since 2018, the methodology has been used to identify cold cases and assist active investigations in the US (Greytak 2019). The marked success of these techniques has made newspaper headlines, most famously in the Golden State Killer case. The FBI has set up a dedicated unit to deal with this new science of Investigative Genetic Genealogy.
22.  The application of these techniques is currently being investigated in other countries, including the UK, Canada, Australia and Sweden. In 2019, I was involved in a study that demonstrated that these techniques can work successfully in a UK setting (Thomson 2019). 
23.  There are currently two databases that allow comparisons of forensic samples – the FamilyTreeDNA database and the Gedmatch database. Each has approximately 2 million participants, a sizeable proportion of which have Irish ancestry. All participants have undertaken an autosomal SNP test. This commercial Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) test assesses over 600,000 DNA markers on the human genome. In comparison, the standard forensic autosomal STR tests only assesses 17 markers. Thus the commercial test has a much greater potential to detect relatives than the standard forensic test.
24.  Consequently, standard Genetic Genealogy techniques can help identify the target individual using much more distant relatives, such as 2nd, 3rd or even 4th cousins. Thus, the range of possible family members permitted to be included in the comparison database will have to be extended to at least 2nd cousins, preferably further, and thus the wording in the legislation will need to be adapted to reflect this.
25.  The use of Genetic Genealogy techniques could be incorporated into a staged approach. In the first instance, standard forensic tests (autosomal STR, Y-STR, mtDNA) could be used as a 1st-line approach (on both the children’s remains and the family members who come forward). This will hopefully identify some of the unidentified human remains.
26.  Subsequently, Genetic Genealogy tests (autosomal SNP) could be performed on any remaining DNA samples from the children’s remains and compared against other autosomal SNP results either in the DNA (Historic Remains) Database or in commercial databases such as FamilyTreeDNA and Gedmatch (almost 4 million people in total).
27.  Alternatively, if there is a limited amount of tissue sample from the children’s remains, standard forensic tests could be put aside and Genetic Genealogy tests could be performed from the start (i.e. as a 1st-line approach).
28.  Or alternatively, the sample could be conserved for future analysis until such time as the technology improves and allows a good chance of a reasonable DNA Profile being obtained from a small sample.
29.  Technology is advancing rapidly, and the Agency appointed to manage a mass grave situation needs to keep abreast of these developments. Whole Genome Sequencing and microarray chip developments may significantly impact the feasibility of obtaining reasonable DNA Profiles for comparison purposes and their suitability for implementation should be continuously assessed.
30.  More people join the commercial databases all the time, and thus the size of these databases will continuously enlarge. This increases the chances of a successful identification. Therefore, any DNA Profiles and associated tissue samples of unidentified children should be retained (and not destroyed) so that future comparisons against the DTC databases can be made. 


1.     Amend the wording of the proposed legislation to emphasise that attempts will be made to identify all children in mass grave situations and not just those of families who come forward.
2.     Amend the proposed legislation to specifically allow the use of Genetic Genealogy techniques where appropriate, including as part of the Pilot Programme.
3.     Expand the range of family members permitted to be included in the DNA (Historic Remains) Database to include at least 2nd cousins.
4.     Any DNA profiles of children that remain unidentified after comparison with the DNA (Historic Remains) Database should be securely compared to the FamilyTreeDNA & Gedmatch databases and standard Genetic Genealogy techniques applied to identify them.
5.     As more people join the commercial databases all the time, any DNA Profiles and associated tissue samples of unidentified children should be retained (and not destroyed) so that future comparisons against the DTC databases can be made.
Maurice Gleeson
24th Jan 2020

Friday 24 January 2020

Andrew Kane - Speaker Profile

Andrew Kane, NIFHS
Talk Title: The Beauty of DNA - local Success Stories

Biographical Background
Andrew is an active member of the North of Ireland Family History Society, representing the Causeway Coast and Glens Branch on the Council of that Society. He is also a member of several other local history groups in the Coleraine area where his family have lived for at least 12 generations. He has published a well-received book on the history of the Town of Coleraine and is currently working on a sequel. He now works as a Research Consultant for the Ulster Historical Foundation in Belfast handling a wide range of, mainly genealogical, commissions and assisting in delivering their courses programme. He has also done private research for individuals and broadcasters.

How did you get into genealogy?
As a child I was always fascinated by my great-aunt’s stories of the family and how she seemed to know how all the families in the area were related to us. This fired my own enthusiasm to find the facts behind the stories. As my ten greats grandfather had lived a couple of hundred yards from the house I grew up in, local history and family history were inextricably entwined and always interested me. My history teacher at school was Alex Blair, well known for his local publications, lectures, radio and TV appearances. He encouraged my interest and helped me develop the healthy scepticism essential to research.

What about genetic genealogy?
I was slow to get on the DNA bandwagon although I had a Y-DNA test done in 2014. This gave me no close matches at all and it was some time before I added the FamilyFinder test and the results started to roll in. My use of matches was initially fairly basic but allowed me to contact family members whose ancestors appeared in my traditional researches. I shied away from the “technical side”, always waiting for that elusive spare time to start reading up and getting the most from the tests. Having recommended DNA testing to so many clients I felt I needed to take the plunge and, having put my toe in the water, encourage others not to be intimidated by the complexity. After all, you can drive a car without being a trained mechanic ... or, more usefully nowadays, an electronics expert!

Ulster Historical Foundation


NIFHS website

Causeway Branch NIFHS

Thursday 23 January 2020

Martin Hayden - Speaker Profile

Martin Hayden
Title of Talk – The Power of X to unlock Family Mysteries

Background - I'm Irish from south Co Kildare on the border of Kildare, Laois and Carlow. I went to university in England when I was 19 and have lived there since. My recorded ancestry back to the end of the 1700s is Irish and very concentrated across Kildare, Laois, Carlow, Wicklow and Kilkenny.

International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG)
The Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS)
The Irish Railway Record Society (IRRS)

Day Job – I work as a Principal Analyst and Modeller for Transport for London (TfL). This involves developing integrated computerised transport models of London and interrogating these models to assess the current and future transport needs of Greater London.

Night Job – With a long commute to the English Midlands I do lots of genealogy research on the train. I administer the “Castledermot DNA Connections” project at Family Tree DNA covering a large part of South Kildare and more recently I have set up a private research project to assist others in their family research. I do of course continue to make time to research my own family.

How did you get into genealogy?

My interest in both genealogy and social history started at an early age. I was lucky to have known all of my grandparents and had three of them survive to my teenage years. My paternal grandfather James Hayden born in 1903 told me of an early news story he remembered (The sinking of the Lusitania in 1915) and my great uncle George told me about life as a child during the First World War. To me at the time this was ancient history and to have gotten information from those that lived through it rather than my school history books was inspirational. 

I often asked them about our family and family history but sadly I didn’t ask all the questions I would have liked at that time. However, I realised the importance of oral history and I managed over the past 5 years to construct an extensive family tree from information provided by extensively interviewing elderly relatives and then proof checking everything against records. No amount of records would have allowed me to make the discoveries I did without talking to relatives.  More recently I have begun a quest for preserving old documents and indexing photos with names as this is so important to preserving the identities of family members for future generations.

What about your involvement with genetic genealogy?

In 2016 my uncle took an Ancestry DNA test and having Irish Leaving Certificate History and Biology I could see how my interest in genealogy and social history could combine with my understanding of Biology and from there I was hooked. I took my first Ancestry Test in January 2017 and then realised how useful it would be to phase my results so I tested both my parents in the spring of 2017. I then proceeded to test siblings my paternal aunt so I had an aunt and uncle on both sides. I also managed to test my great aunt before she passed away, the last surviving member of my grandfather’s family. Her father was born in 1864 and her grandfather in 1825 so the value of this test is huge to me. I then began to test at Family Tree DNA and join some research projects. This then developed into testing YDNA including Big Y and mtDNA. 

I was inspired to start a local geographical project taking my Parish area both Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland as a starting point. I now have 66 members and hoping to grow the project further. From this I am beginning to find unexpected connections (low level endogamy) and also collate and preserve family history information that predates parish records. I migrated my DNA to My Heritage and have recently tested myself at Living DNA and myself and my parents at 23andMe so I have all major DNA companies covered. DNA has so often allowed me to confirm my early tree where I was slightly unsure of some records due to poor quality. I also regularly engage with the DNA testing companies pointing out site issues and requesting improvements.

I think genetic genealogy has a great future and combined with DNA profiles, technological developments, oral histories and families finding and preserving information I believe that we can overcome the lack of 18th Century records and reconstruct Irish family trees further back in time in the coming decade.

So what will you be talking about?

DNA testing has in recent years given lots of focus to autosomal and yDNA testing whilst often neglecting the “Power of the X Chromosome”. This talk will explain the X chromosome, its inheritance patterns, how it differs from the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA. The talk will conclude with a worked example of how it can be used to confirm a family line. 
What DNA tests will be discussed?

The talk will cover X-DNA with some references to Autosomal DNA, yDNA and mtDNA.

Where can people get more information about you or your topic?

For more information on Castledermot DNA Connections please click the link below:

Monday 20 January 2020

Andy Hochreiter - Speaker Profile

Andy Hochreiter
Talk Title:  DNA for Beginners

Brief Biography

Andrew Hochreiter, MEd, MIS, is a genetic genealogist and lecturer who manages multiple DNA surname projects and has successfully applied DNA to trace several related family branches overseas. He instructs continuing education courses in basic and advanced genetic genealogy at two community colleges in Maryland and helped facilitate the genetic genealogy module of the on-line Genealogical Research Course at Boston University. Andy is a frequent speaker in the Mid-Atlantic states and belongs to numerous genealogy organizations including the National Genealogy Society, Association of Professional Genealogists, Guild of One Name Studies, North of Ireland Family History Society, Somerset & Dorset Family History Society and Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society (where he writes a DNA column for their quarterly journal).

What do you do as a Day Job?

Fortunately, Andy is now retired from any Day job shackles and can devote his energies to the pursuit of relatives, ancestors and family history. Previously, he taught in a junior high school before getting drafted into the Army. Despite this imposed career, he found he enjoyed the travels and challenges of military life with overseas tours in Germany, Thailand and Cambodia. After military retirement, he worked as a Defence contractor before becoming fully engaged with genetic genealogy.

What do you do as a Night Job?

Andy’s interest in genetic genealogy has led him into ever-widening activities after retirement, notably in the field of education and lecturing. He enjoys learning new DNA tools and techniques to share this knowledge with both beginners and colleagues. He is involved in multiple genealogical organizations and educational institutions, primarily focused on the use of DNA results to discover matches, define relationships, and uncover new family lines.

How did you get into genealogy?

Andy’s heritage comes from his mother’s British Canadian roots and his paternal grandparents’ immigration from Germany. Although he was fully exposed to his maternal ancestry, his father’s early death left a void in understanding his whole identity. Military travels provided the opportunity to visit his ancestor’s home origins in Germany and England, as well as his wife’s ancestral roots in Slovakia and Hungary. Renewing relationships with overseas cousins added tangible value to discovering family histories along with traditional research. Both Andy’s maternal and paternal ancestors besides his wife’s paternal side immigrants are recent arrivals to the USA. This historical situation propels his research to quickly turn overseas. But his wife’s maternal ancestry has deep colonial roots, which afford an opportunity to explore local sources and repositories. Despite the convenience of on-line resources, Andy values the up-close and hands-on hunt for documentation afforded by visits to archives, court houses and historical societies. There is no better thrill than holding a parchment-thin original record from a family Bible that is the only birth record of an ancestor! Genealogy is an ideal blend of history, culture, language and family chronicles that fosters his curiosity and imagination.

Tell us about your involvement with genetic genealogy 

Andy was attracted to the scientific DNA projects at Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation and National Geographic’s Genographic Project where he took his first DNA tests. The transfer of his results to Family Tree DNA led to establishing personal DNA projects that promoted his increased interest in the value of genetic genealogy. Andy is a great enthusiast and user of genetic genealogy as another valuable means to trace family history. Over the years, he has added DNA tests from all the major test companies including whole genome sequencing in his pursuit of matches, ancestors and DNA revelations. He was a contributor and participant of the Y-DNA Haplogroup E-V13 research group helping to uncover new, private terminal SNPs identified in the Big Y tests. He has recruited project participants worldwide and discovered new branches of his family that included third to seventh cousins. He was featured on two Bavarian TV programs for his genealogical work tracing relatives in Germany using DNA. Upon retirement from full time employment he proposed and developed courses in genetic genealogy at local community colleges, which he continues to teach. He is a frequent lecturer in the Maryland area, where he has addressed numerous genealogical and county historical societies, such as the Southern Maryland Genealogy & History Fair and the Delmarva Genealogy & Heritage Conference. He is a regular contributor to a genetic genealogy column for the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society quarterly journal Der Kurier. He also leads DNA focus groups at the Family History Centers in Washington, DC and Columbia, MD. Andy continually seeks to develop his own knowledge and experience with genetic genealogy by attending national and international educational conferences and institutes.

What will you be talking about?
Genetic genealogy has emerged as an important tool for genealogists and family historians. This presentation introduces the concept of using DNA as an adjunct tool to discover family history. The types of DNA and their unique inheritance patterns are explained, as well as the application of results in genealogical studies. Examples illustrate successful outcomes for breaking down brick walls and solving ancestral mysteries.

Where can people get more information about you and the work you do?
Andy is an active participant in many genealogical organizations.

He is also a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), where his contact information is displayed ...

He also belongs to numerous Facebook genealogy groups where his comments can be read.