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.

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