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

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