“Here Rests in Honored Glory…”

It’s Sunday, April 25th, a day that those of us in the United States have dubbed DNA Day, especially in the genealogical community. We celebrate the 25th because J. D. Watson and F. H. C. Crick published an article in Nature on this day in 1953. Its title is, “A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid.”

In honor of the 50th anniversary of this discovery the United States Congress pass a resolution. It said,

S. CON. RES. 10

“Whereas April 25, 2003, will mark the 50th anniversary of the description of the double-helix structure of DNA by James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick, considered by many to be one of the most significant scientific discoveries of the 20th Century;

Whereas, in April 2003, the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium will place the essentially completed sequence of the human genome in public databases, and thereby complete all of the original goals of the Human Genome Project;

Whereas, in April 2003, the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health in the Department of Health and Human Services will unveil a new plan for the future of genomics research;

Whereas, April 2003 marks 50 years of DNA discovery during which scientists in the United States and many other countries, fueled by curiosity and armed with ingenuity, have unraveled the mysteries of human heredity and deciphered the genetic code linking one generation to the next;

Whereas, an understanding of DNA and the human genome has already fueled remarkable scientific, medical, and economic advances; and

Whereas, an understanding of DNA and the human genome hold great promise to improve the health and well being of all Americans: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That the Congress—

  1. designates April 2003 as ‘‘Human Genome Month’’ in order to recognize and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the outstanding accomplishment of describing the structure of DNA, the essential completion of the sequence of the human genome, and the development of a plan for the future of genomics;
  2. designates April 25 as ‘‘DNA Day’’ in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of the description of the structure of DNA on April 25, 1953; and
  3. recommends that schools, museums, cultural organizations, and other educational institutions across the nation recognize Human Genome Month and DNA Day and carry out appropriate activities centered on human genomics, using information and materials provided through the National Human Genome Research Institute and through other entities.”

Fast forward to 2013 when the 113th Congress passed H. Res. 180 in honor of the 60th anniversary:

H. RES. 180

Recognizing the sequencing of the human genome as one of the most significant scientific accomplishments of the past 100 years and expressing support for the designation of April 25, 2013, as “DNA Day”.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

April 25, 2013

Ms. Slaughter (for herself, Mr. Burgess, Ms. Schakowsky, and Ms. Speier) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce

RESOLUTION

Recognizing the sequencing of the human genome as one of the most significant scientific accomplishments of the past 100 years and expressing support for the designation of April 25, 2013, as “DNA Day”.

  • Whereas April 25, 2013, is the 60th anniversary of the publication of the description of the double-helical structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in the scientific journal Nature by James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick, which is considered by many to be one of the most significant scientific discoveries of the 20th century;
  • Whereas their discovery launched a field of inquiry that explained how DNA encoded biological information and how this information is duplicated and passed from generation to generation, forming the stream of life that connects us all to our ancestors and to our descendants;
  • Whereas this field of inquiry in turn was crucial to the founding and continued growth of the field of biotechnology and of genomics, which have led to historic scientific advances for the world, advances in which the people of the United States have played a leading role and from which they have realized significant benefits;
  • Whereas from 1990 to 2003, genomic research centers in the United States and around the world worked together on the Human Genome Project, which elucidated the sequence of the human genome, the genetic blueprint of the human body, and made that data available publicly;
  • Whereas April 14, 2013, marked the 10th anniversary of the Human Genome Project’s completion;
  • Whereas the sequencing of the human genome has already fostered research discoveries that have led to advances in medicine, and as genome sequencing becomes faster and less expensive, will enable researchers to further improve human health and medical care;
  • Whereas the cost and time needed to sequence a human genome has decreased rapidly, from $1,000,000,000 and 6 to 8 years during the Human Genome Project to less than $5,000 and 2 to 3 days in 2013;
  • Whereas in 1990, when the Human Genome Project began, there were only 4 FDA-approved drugs with pharmacogenomic information on their labels, and then by 2013, this number had increased to over 100;
  • Whereas a study conducted by the Battelle Institute found that for every dollar of United States Federal investment in the Human Genome Project, there was $141 in economic activity generated in return;
  • Whereas the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health has provided an exemplary model for social responsibility in scientific research, by devoting significant resources and leadership to studying the ethical, legal, and social implications of genomics research;
  • Whereas genomic medicine will be enhanced by increasing the public’s awareness and understanding of genomics; and
  • Whereas April 25, 2013, is an appropriate day to designate as “DNA Day” in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the publication describing the structure of DNA on April 25, 1953: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) recognizes the sequencing of the human genome as one of the most significant scientific accomplishments of the past 100 years;

(2) honors the 60th anniversary of the outstanding accomplishment of describing the structure of DNA and the 10th anniversary of completing the Human Genome Project;

(3) supports the designation of “DNA Day”; and

(4) encourages schools, museums, cultural organizations, and other educational institutions in the United States to recognize “DNA Day” with appropriate programs and activities centered on human genomics.

As I mentioned in my presentation for RootsTech Connect, the world of genetic genealogy has collided with both medicine and law enforcement, although both of these fields have been using DNA longer than genealogists. It is the way we, as genealogists, analyze and correlate the genetic information that has become useful to these other disciplines.

But DNA’s impact continues to expand. A recent article in the New York Times (NYT) discusses the benefit to using genetic genealogy to identify fallen soldiers and bring them home. It is in line with the United States Army’s values espoused in “The Soldier’s Creed,”

“I will never leave a fallen comrade.”

Since World War II the Defense Department has sought to recover and identify America’s soldiers. From the Tomb of the Unknown Solider at Arlington National Cemetery to the graves labeled “Known But to God” in the 26 permanent American military cemeteries through the world, we now have a new way that these soldiers can be identified.

Currently the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) outlines the procedure as follows:

“Scientists use a variety of techniques to establish the identification of unaccounted-for individuals, including analysis of skeletal remains and sampling mitochondrial DNA. They also analyze material evidence, personal effects and life support equipment. The agency medical examiner evaluates these overlapping lines of evidence in an effort to identify the remains…”

“The lab uses mtDNA in about three-quarters of its cases…This sequence is compared with sequences from family reference samples provided by living individuals who are maternally related to the unidentified American…Generally, all persons of the same maternal line have the same mtDNA sequences. Since these sequences are rare but not unique within the general population, they cannot stand alone as evidence for identification. In addition to the factors previously mentioned, each separate line of evidence must be examined at the lab and correlated with all historical evidence. All reports undergo a thorough peer review process that includes an external review by independent experts.”

But, is there a better way? According to the NYT article, Timothy McMahon thinks so. He oversees DNA identification of the remains for the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System. He is quoted as saying, “The technology is there—we just have to develop the policy to use it.”

Ed Huffine, who headed testing of remains from past wars for the Armed Forces DNA Identification Lab in the 1990s added, “Right now they are doing it backward, so you have policy getting in the way of science…”

“Switching to DNA-first will be faster, cheaper and produce better results,” he said. “It just makes sense.”

Given that in 2013 Congress lauded the savings provided by the “United States Federal investment in the Human Genome Project” and that, according to Battelle Institute’s study, “there was $141 in economic activity generated in return” for every dollar invested, isn’t it time to re-evaluate methods, update procedures, and return identity to our fallen soldiers?

The NYT article highlighted a 16-year-old soldier named Private Melton Futch of the 92nd Infantry Division. His grave is marked similar to the photograph I took posted above; it might even be his grave. I’ve been to the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery multiple times and it’s a place of solemn education for me. There are 490 unidentified soldiers in 488 graves in this one cemetery. Then there is Normandy American Cemetery, where the average age of a soldier was 24 years. The age of my son when we visited. It was a poignant moment for this mother.

Each unidentified soldier that lay in these graves or elsewhere made the ultimate sacrifice. Can we not expedite their identification by authorizing the use of investigative genetic genealogy (IGG)?

What do you think?

© 2021 Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved

Finding Your Roots, Season 7, Premieres Tonight on PBS

Henry the Sleuth meets Henry Louis Gates, Jr., host of Finding Your Roots

Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. premieres its seventh season tonight on PBS. This critically-acclaimed series will feature 20 guests in 10 episodes. These guests hail from a variety of fields, many well-known, whose family histories will be revealed in the context of historical events. PBS says, “that [the stories] illustrate the power and diversity of the human experience.”

The Finding Your Roots team uses traditional research coupled with DNA testing to structure the stories and compile them into a book of life.

The season’s schedule is as follows:

Episode 1: “To the Manor Born” with Glenn Close and John Waters

Episode 2: “Against All Odds” with Andy Cohen and Nina Totenberg

Episode 3: “No Irish Need Apply” with Jim Gaffigan and Jane Lynch

Episode 4: “The Shirts on Their Backs” with Tony Shalhoub and Christopher Meloni

Episode 5: “Write My Name in the Book of Life” with Kasi Lemmons and Pharrell Williams

Episode 6: “Country Roots” with Clint Black and Rosanne Cash

Episode 7: “The New World” with John Lithgow and Maria Hinojosa

Episode 8: “Laughing on the Inside” with Lewis Black and Roy Wood, Jr.

Episode 9: “On Broadway” with Audra McDonald and Mandy Patinkin

Episode 10: “Anchored to the Past” with Grethen Carlson and Don Lemon

This season promises to be the best one yet, so check your local listings and tune in to Finding Your Roots!

 

Copyright ©2021 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Secrets in Our DNA airing on NOVA

Tonight on PBS stations in the United States, Secrets in Our DNA will be airing on NOVA. The show’s promotion says,

Some 30 million people have sent their DNA to be analyzed by companies like 23andMe and AncestryDNA. But what happens once the sample is in the hands of testing companies, and how accurate are their results? NOVA explores the power of genetic data to reveal family connections, ancestry, and health risks—and even solve criminal cold cases. But alongside the benefits of these rapidly growing genetic databases are serious unintended consequences.

DNA has been such a benefit to so many in genealogy. It has also challenged families as secrets are revealed. However you view DNA, whether as a tool in your genealogy tool box, or not, I invite you to join with me in watching this episode.

 

Copyright ©2021 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

It’s National DNA Day!

It’s National DNA Day! Eight weeks have passed since the RootsTech family said goodbye for another year. We hailed from 49 states and 55 countries, almost all of which have now been locked down or citizens asked to stay home due to the novel coronavirus, commonly referred to as COVID-19. It’s historic.

Here at the Single Leaf, I’ve been reflecting on the past, the present, and the possibilities for our future. There have been revolutionary changes in the genealogy industry. From the many digital images now readily available to us, with more to come, and DNA results creating another accessible record set, we have the greatest opportunity to accurately record the history of our people and some of us have been given this time to contribute more than we would be able to otherwise.

At RootsTech I gave a presentation titled, “Ethical Considerations Using DNA Results.” In summary I stated, “As a community, we will determine whether genetic genealogy is a treasure chest or Pandora’s box.” Later that day, Scott R. Woodward, Ph.D.,  former president of Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF), gave his presentation titled, “Practical and Ethical Issues Associated with Genetic Testing.” Without consultation, we landed on the same page, which is confirming since we come from backgrounds of different disciplines.

“As a community, we will determine whether genetic genealogy is a treasure chest or Pandora’s box.”

DNA results have contributed to solving, resolving, and revealing many mysteries from the past and in the present. I wrote a post about considerations before testing that I won’t replicate here, but there is information I would like to pass on to you in a timely manner.

What is National DNA Day?

National DNA Day “celebrates the completion of the Human Genome Project in April of 2003 and the discovery of DNA’s double helix in 1953.” There are some fun activities you can do to learn more about the genome, especially if you find yourself homeschooling at this time.

DNA Testing Discounts for DNA Day!

(NO AFFILIATE LINKS IN THIS POST OR ON THIS BLOG)

Yesterday 23andMe posted a DNA deal we’ve come to love and appreciate. The Ancestry + Health service is now $149, regularly $199. It is the only company approved by the FDA to provide health information. The company has also revised its Neanderthal Report based on the latest science. The Ancestry + Traits service is regularly $99, but is on sale for $79. Both provide access to cousin matching. This offer ends April 26th. If you have already tested with 23andMe, you might also consider participating in the on-going COVID-19 study. “The major goal of 23andMe’s COVID-19 study is to uncover genetic risks associated with severe outcomes of infections by SARS-CoV-2,” as stated on their website.

AncestryDNA is not providing a direct discount this year but is providing three months’ access to family history record collections for $1 with kit purchase. They also have an on-going Ancestry COVID-19 study. If you have tested with AncestryDNA, please consider participating.

Family Tree DNA is the only company of the genealogical five that provides comprehensive testing for y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA. The company also has Family Finder that provides autosomal (atDNA) results. Y-DNA testing starts at $99, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) full sequence testing is $139, and the Family Finder test is $49 until April 26th.

LivingDNA has its test on sale for $69, regularly $99. I missed having David and Hannah at RootsTech this year to learn of any updates, but the test offered is based on the People of the British Isles project and more. If you want to know specifics of where in the British Isles your people hail from, this is a test I recommend that you investigate.

MyHeritage is offering its DNA test for $39, regularly $79. This is another autosomal test that helps to determine ethnicity and provides cousin matching. The company’s sale ends April 30th.

I cannot forget Wisdom Panel! This company is for the dogs in your life! The essential kit is regularly $99, and the premium kit is $149, but the company is offering a $10 discount code, “DNADAY2020,” on either kit. If you have a mutt, if you’ve rescued a puppy, this test provides clarity to your dog’s breed and their family tree for four generations in addition to other information. Let me just say I found my dog’s results fascinating, informative, and helpful!

National DNA Day is a time to celebrate the advancement of our knowledge about life. We face unprecedented times, and with this type of knowledge, we can address our present global concern, and more, for an unparalleled future.

It is my prayer that you and yours are healthy, safe, and happy! Some people are busier than ever; some are not. Some have had their income reduced or lost employment. Some are struggling with separation from loved ones. Others have lost the ones they love. My deepest concern and sympathies to each and every one who finds themselves in these situations. It’s not an easy time; it’s been devastating.

I’ve read online that some who have been given additional time at home are overwhelmed with the opportunities currently available. I *do* appreciate all that is being offered gratuitously, but to keep from being overwhelmed, don’t look outward, look inward. Ask yourself, “What do I want to focus on? What do I want to learn? What skill do I want to develop?” If one subject you want to focus on is DNA and genealogy, today is your day! There is a lot to consider going forward. Make this time count!

Note: This post is written for your information only. Always read terms and conditions of any website you access or in preparation for any DNA test you take. Understand by what laws, beyond the terms and conditions, each test is governed. 

© 2020 Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

It’s the Relative Race Season Finale!

Relative Race has become tradition at our house. When I learned at RootsTech 2019 that the season 5 premiere was going to conflict with our own family’s 10-day journey to Italy, I had to think about it…lol :-) You probably guessed that, hands down, the plans for our Italian journey won. Nothing compares to meeting new found family or returning to see family members that have been recently discovered.

In contrast to the premiere, the Relative Race finale will air TONIGHT at 9pm ET/7pm MT on this rainy evening and our family will gather here at home. This year my son requested that the theme for dinner reflect our heritage—Zuppa Tuscano. The recipe is found at the end of this post.

Season 5 was filled with so many choice moments. From Team Red’s (Maria and Elizabeth) gratitude tour on a quest to find their biological parents to Team Blue’s (Chonta and Demetrius) desire to meet and greet Demetrius’s biological father, a box of tissues was required in large supply at times when viewing these episodes. A good cry, especially happy tears, is good for the soul. 

“Ultimately it’s all about family.” —Dan J. Debenham, host of Relative Race

Tonight Team Red and Team Blue face off in western challenges to compete for the $50,000 prize. Team Red is competitive and athletic. They came in first a number of times during the past 9 Relative Race days. Team Blue are former Marines. To say they are competitive would be an understatement. They too have come in first a couple of times. Both teams have received mystery boxes whose worth will be revealed at the end of the competition. I think the winner will come down to who had the best night’s sleep the day before the finale. Every team I have ever interviewed mentioned the demand of the 10-day schedule. [Although this season travel to the teams’ first destinations were given 2 days. Team Black had over a 17-hour allotted time to reach Davie, Florida. Exhausting!]  

Relative Race is fun and engaging. It changes lives on and off the screen. I was recently among a group of parents. When Relative Race was mentioned, I was not surprised by the show’s popularity. One set of parents shared the joy Relative Race brings into their son’s life. One Sunday night the family was visiting grandparents and returned too late to watch the show when it aired live on BYUtv. This son has autism. If you understand autism, you understand the importance of routine. Because BYUtv makes the show readily available online once it airs, the family watched the show and the boy didn’t have to miss a thing!  

Michael and Austen, Team Red, were the winners of the $50,000 prize on Season 4 of Relative Race.

Relative Race is about families and friends watching families find and connect with one another. There is something magical and meaningful about the shared experiences of Relative Race. I hope that you’ll take time to watch the season finale with your family tonight at 9pm ET/7pm MT on BYUtv or at byutv.org. If you’re reading this at a later time, no problem. BYUtv.org has you covered. You may watch all episodes from seasons 2-5 on demand. Relative Race is a great show to binge-watch on a rainy day or if you need an afternoon break from the heat of the day or any time you have a reason to chill. 

While in Italy, our family took the time to watch the Relative Race premiere, but not live TV at 2 a.m. With a cousin that asked to take a selfie, I have a feeling that he too may have seen the show. Maybe it’s time for Relative Race to go global. It’s a thought.

As summer approaches, if you’re planning such a journey, take the advice of Michael of Team Red from Season 4. He told me at RootsTech to make sure that I “pack my patience.” I did. Fortunately, I didn’t need it—at least this time around.

P.S. Here’s our recipe just in case you, too, are experiencing colder than normal and/or wet, cloudy days.) :

Zuppa Toscano

1/2 lb. Italian sausage (hot or sweet)

4 cups chicken broth

2 large potatoes washed and diced

3 cloves or 1 tsp. minced garlic

1 bunch of scallions, chopped

1-2 cups kale, chopped

1 cup of half & half or milk of any percent or just leave it out (that’s Italian!)

salt and pepper to taste

a sprinkle of red chili flakes (if you like it spicy)

  1. Fry the sausage until brown and drain off excess grease.
  2. Add chicken broth and potatoes and bring to a boil.
  3. Add garlic and scallions, boil until potatoes are soft (about 10 minutes).
  4. Add kale and boil for 5 more minutes.
  5. Add half & half, or milk, on low for another few minutes (or skip this step).
  6. Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add red chili flakes, if you like it spicy.

Makes about 6 cups of soup. One cup is approximately 280 calories.

 

© 2019 Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

RootsTech 2019 Is Almost Here! Are You Ready?

The RootsTech team announced today that the conference will be receiving attendees from all 50 of the United States and from 37 different countries! It truly is an international event and there are plenty of ways to participate!

Each year RootsTech improves on its direct communication to its vast audience. Whether you subscribe by email, follow on social media—like Twitter—and/or register for its blog, you are already in the know about this international conference. But, in case you haven’t heard, the RootsTech team has secured some great keynote speakers this year, over 300 sessions to attend, an amazing Expo Hall—the genealogy-technology Mecca, with a few additional opportunities and services.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

First, the keynote speakers this year are FamilySearch’s own Steve Rockwood, Patricia Heaton, Saroo Brierley, and Jake Shimabukuro. I remember Steve Rockwood’s first keynote address as CEO of FamilySearch at RootsTech 2016. I wrote about it for the FamilySearch blog. Maybe you remember it, too. He suggested that family historians are heart specialists that can bring deep and meaningful experiences to our families. This year’s theme is still a mystery, at least for me.

On Thursday Patricia Heaton will be the RootsTech guest keynote. Also known as Debra Barone from the hit television series, Everybody Loves Raymond, Patricia carved out her place as a star when, in 2000, she was the first to win a Primetime Emmy among the cast with an encore win the following year as the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. In 2002 she published her book, Motherhood and Hollywood: How to Get A Job Like Mine. As her career advanced she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2012! She followed this with a series on the Food Network, Patricia Heaton Parties, that won her the 2016 Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Culinary Program. Recently she published a cookbook, Patricia Heaton’s Food for Family and Friends: 100 Favorite Recipes for a Busy, Happy Life.

Saroo Brierley will join the stage on Friday. If his name is unfamiliar to you, check out Netflix, or another source, and watch the movie Lion before Friday. Based on his 2014 book, A Long Way Home: A Memoir, this is an amazing story that has touch so many hearts. It depicts the longing for family, even when among loved ones, and how technology played a part to unite him with family over the miles and through the years. Nominated for 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, some have suggested that a person watch this movie with a box of tissues, some have wished that they invested in Kleenex, but I find this movie heartwarming and endearing.

On Saturday Jake Shimabukuro will be on stage. While I do not know if he’ll play “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” a song posted to YouTube that went viral before he knew of YouTube, I’m sure that the RootsTech audience, both onsite and virtual, will be in for a real musical treat. His latest recording is The Greatest Day. A ukulele sensation, who knew?

I’ve said it before, the RootsTech team brings together individuals whose life experiences and successes are varied. RootsTech has brought in speakers from the tech industry, the science community, the writer’s circle, the political realm, the entertainment industry, the sports arena, the bloggers’ sphere and, of course, the field of family history and genealogy. I have never been disappointed!

MATERIAL AVAILABLE FOR OVER 300 SESSIONS, SO DOWNLOAD THE APP!

Whether you’re onsite, participating virtually, or just plan to catch the recorded sessions as time allows, this app is for YOU! Available for iOS and Android, the ratings do not seem to reflect my experience. It’s been a great resource!

There are handouts for many sessions that you can download to your device or email to yourself. If you need a printed copy, you can do that, too! The app is updated about every hour so if there is a discrepancy between the website and the app, go with the information on the app.

The full conference schedule is available with the ability to star each session that you’re inclined to attend and this will add the session to your personal schedule. (Even with the live-streamed sessions, the recorded sessions, and the virtual pass, I have one hour with five possible sessions to attend.🤫) You can share this information with friends, take notes for the session and, finally, rate the session once you attend it. Not sure which session would be ideal for you? Sometimes it’s a challenge, but consider your personal family history goals, check out the speakers’ bios, and review the handouts. This should help you make an informed decision.

With all of the session information transferred to “My Schedule,” you can then set up reminders so that you can stay on track. Tyler Stahle shows you how in this Road to RootsTech video. You can also added to your schedule meetups from various organizations and groups with whom you associate.

There are other interesting aspects to the RootsTech app so take the time to explore it. Just a hint for those who identify themselves with more than one first and/or last name—when filling out your profile, your name will be alphabetized by the first name you place in the surname field. Two-surname individuals may be difficult to find if they place both surnames in the surname field, but go by their last name, such as Elizabeth Garrett Anderson.  If Elizabeth goes by the surname “Anderson,” Elizabeth would place “Elizabeth Garrett” in the first field and “Anderson” in the surname field. But, if Elizabeth goes by the surname “Garrett Anderson,” she would place “Elizabeth” in the first field and “Garrett Anderson” in the surname, or last name, field. Then, under the “Attendees” section of the app, your friends can find you where they expect to find you. There’s been some confusion about the “Attendees” and “Speakers” alphabetical listings in the app, so check both places if you can’t find someone.

EXPO HALL: IT’S A GENEALOGY-TECHNOLOGY MECCA!

If you haven’t been to the Salt Palace, this Road to RootsTech video will give you an idea of the expansive area that houses the latest in genealogy and technology products to assist you in your research. In all of my years attending this conference and its predecessor, I can offer this advice: be prepared to buy, but don’t be sold! There are many useful products and subscriptions to purchase, but know what will best suit your research plan and budget. With that said, RootsTech is one of the best places to purchase genealogy software, subscriptions, DNA kits, and a few crafty items to decorate your home.

NEW: DNA CLASSES FOR BEGINNERS AVAILABLE IN THE EXPO HALL

This year RootsTech is offering basic classes to inform those new to genetic genealogy about what DNA can do to assist them in their research. From what I understand, these classes are independent of the vendors in the Expo Hall. RootsTech was seeking licensed science educators to provide this portion of a RootsTech education. I regret that my only contribution is that I updated my article in preparation for RootsTech, which I titled, “RootsTech 2019 Playbook for the Hail Mary of Genealogy—DNA.” It may be helpful to you as well. Here is the schedule:

FOR THOSE #NOTATROOTSTECH, HERE’S THE LIVE-STREAM-AT-A-GLANCE CHART:These live-streamed sessions will be recorded and available after the conference.

ADDITIONAL RECORDED SESSIONS FOR VIEWING

There are also other sessions that will be recorded, so if you are at the Salt Palace Convention Center and deciding between 2 or more sessions, scroll down and check this list at RootsTech.org. It may help you in making your decision onsite. These sessions are being recorded, but not live streamed, and will be available to everyone shortly after the last day of the conference. I have placed them in a table to view at a glance for your convenience: This table is accurate at the time of publishing, but the RootsTech app is updated hourly so confirm any information that is important to you.

THE VIRTUAL PASS

There is so much more that is being offered at RootsTech this year, but let me mention one last option for participation. If you cannot make it to Salt Lake City to be onsite, if the live streaming and recorded sessions leave you wanting more, there is the virtual pass. It is a stand alone pass for those not attending the conference and a discounted add-on if you are attending onsite. This pass can be purchased up to 2 months after the conference. These sessions will be posted 10-15 days after the conference. Those registered will receive notice of availability by email. The individual may view any of the 18 sessions up to one year from RootsTech 2019.

However you will be participating in RootsTech 2019, enjoy this opportunity to further your education in the pursuit of your family tree! I’ll do my best to keep you posted!

About RootsTech

RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch, is a global conference celebrating families across generations, where people of all ages are inspired to discover and share their memories and connections. This annual event has become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants worldwide.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am designated as an official ambassador to the RootsTech Conference and, as such, I am provided complimentary admission and other services to accomplish my duties. Nevertheless, I have been with RootsTech since its inception and with its predecessor for many years as a paid participant. As always, my coverage and opinions are my own and are not affected by my current status. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

© 2019 Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Ease into the New Year with #FindingYourRoots

It’s been a hectic and joyful holiday season. As many rush to fulfill New Year resolutions, I prefer to ease into the month of January. This year I’ve been looking forward to easing into the new year with Finding Your Roots hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. He’s back with Season 5 of his award-winning PBS show to introduce 25 notable guests and their genealogies over a 10-week period. Each episode has a theme and Dr. Gates will introduce each guest to their “Book of Life.” If you like stories, you’ll love this show. The reveal through the “Book of Life” demonstrates the possibilities of what a person may find when they pursue their family history. Each episode is worth watching!

The show is scheduled to air tonight at 8 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. Central and Mountain Time, but check local listings. I learned this morning that KUED, the PBS station originating from Salt Lake City, will push back its scheduled airing of this episode from 7 p.m. to approximately 7:30 p.m. to allow for the U.S. President’s prime-time address and the U.S. Democratic response, which will be covered by the PBS NewsHour.  

Episode 1 is titled, “Grandparents and Other Strangers—The Stories Encoded in Our DNA.”  It features Andy Samberg, a member of the comedy music group, Lonely Island (@thelonelyisland), and a former cast member of Saturday Night Live. It also features George R. R. Martin. Mr. Martin, (@GRRMspeaking), tweeted about this episode saying, “…I’m not the man I thought I was …” You might know his work The Game of Thrones, which was awarded the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series in 2018.

The remaining episodes are themed as follows with their featured guests listed:

  • Episode 2: Mystery Men with Felicity Huffman and Michael K. Williams.
  • Episode 3: Reporting on Reporters—Truth Tellers with Christiane Amnapour, Ann Curry, and Lisa Ling.
  • Episode 4: Dreaming of a New Land (Between Worlds) with Marisa Tomei (Italian roots), Sheryl Sandberg (Russian roots), and Kal Penn (Indian roots).
  • Episode 5: Freedom Tales with S.Epatha Merkerson and Michael Strahan.
  • Episode 6: Roots in Politics with Paul Ryan, Tulsi Gabbard, and Marco Rubio.
  • Episode 7: No Laughing Matter with Seth Meyers, Tig Notaro, and Sarah Silverman.
  • Episode 8: Hard Times with Michael Moore, Laura Linney, and Chlöe Sevigny.
  • Episode 9: Eye of the Beholder with director Alejandro G. Iñárritu, artist Marina Abramović, and painter Kehinde Wiley.
  • Episode 10: All in the Family with Ty Burrel and Joe Madison.

The final episode will feature a summer camp for children that uses genetic genealogy. Check out Finding Your Roots: The Seedlings,filmed at Penn State University, and follow 13 youth explore their family histories. A curriculum for teachers is available to download and customize for their classrooms.

Additionally, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. gave the keynote address at RootsTech 2018. It is still available to view at your leisure.

Until next time … All the best in the New Year!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am designated as an official ambassador for RootsTech and, as such, I am provided complimentary admission and other services to accomplish my duties. Nevertheless, I have been with RootsTech since its inception and with its predecessor for many years as a paid participant. As always, my coverage and opinions are my own and are not affected by my current status. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Copyright ©2019 Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

RootsTech 2019 Playbook for the Hail Mary of Genealogy—DNA

RootsTech is coming to the Salt Lake Convention Center February 27 through March 2, 2019 and preparation is a key to success. Now is the time to take advantage of early registration discounts!

When it comes to RootsTech, the largest genealogy conference in the world, consider the specific goals you want to achieve at the conference. If one of your goals is to learn more about DNA testing and genetic genealogy, this playbook is for you!

RootsTech offers sessions targeted to those who are rookies and those with a little more experience. DNA testing and genetic genealogy can be the “Hail Mary” that wins your Family History and Genealogy Bowl!

Why DNA?

There are three reasons individuals test their DNA for genetic genealogy: 1) to learn ethnicity estimates, 2) to connect with genetic cousins for reunions or for information about their common heritage paper trail, and 3) to discover personal health information. In the past at RootsTech, there have been opportunities to learn all you need to make informed decisions for each of these scenarios.

This year RootsTech is scheduled to offer about 35 sessions covering genetic genealogy, with a few pre-registration lab classes, to inform and educate participants on this timely topic. Although it has not yet been announced, the Expo Hall has hosted five genetic genealogy companies in the past. If they return, representatives will be available to answer your questions: 23andMe, AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA, LivingDNA, and MyHeritage DNA.

To MAXIMIZE TIME at RootsTech, PREPARE NOW!

1. Create a list of your questions. First, write down any DNA questions you have at this point. When you have finished reading this post and its associated links, review your questions to see if you have discovered your answers. If not, organize them and bring them to RootsTech. You will then be prepared to ask these questions in any session where the presenter offers a time for Q&A, or you can bring your questions to the Expo Hall to have your questions answered by representatives of the different DNA companies. Clear, concise, and thoughtful questions are always easier for the experts to answer.

2. Define your goals. Ideally, your first question is “why.” Why do you want to take a DNA test? What do you hope to learn? What genealogical problem do you want to solve? Who might hold the genetic key(s) to solving your proverbial brick wall? Remember that DNA is only one type of evidence. It does not stand alone to prove your lineage. Knowing why you are testing and who you want to test will help you determine what type of tests (see below) to purchase and the quantity of kits, too! Vendors at RootsTech have the reputation of offering the lowest prices on DNA kits at the conference, although the actual prices have varied from year to year.

Be aware that pre-registration for DNA lab sessions is required.

3. Become familiar with the 5 DNA companies typically represented in the Expo Hall. This is the most time-consuming part in preparing for RootsTech. If you are planning to test your DNA as a result of what you learn at this conference, become familiar with the 5 DNA companies and what DNA tests are offered by each. Also understand the legal notices for each company, such as their terms of service and privacy policies. Each company’s legal notices are different. Presenters have their own vested interests as employees, affiliates, and business owners and may only cover a portion of relevant material in any given session. Time is limited. Not all companies may be represented in each session you attend. Understanding the legal notices before coming to RootsTech frees you to make informed decisions at the conference. Most, if not all, companies will offer special pricing on their kits at the conference. Many individuals test with more than one company.

A Note About Terms and Conditions

As individuals learn more about genetic genealogy, questions arise. Some of them are legal and are best answered by an attorney without a vested interest in the business of genetic genealogy or even within the genealogy community. Opinions vary throughout the genealogy community and beyond. Each company has its own terms of service and opportunities to opt in or opt out of research studies and to allow degrees for sharing your genetic information. One common question is, Who obtains the rights to my genetic information? It is a good question to ask each company you consider testing with because you must be comfortable with their answer.

4. Create a DNA testing game plan. Creating a DNA testing plan will provide focus, save you money, and give you the best chance of answering your research questions. Be familiar with each of the 3 DNA tests used for genealogical purposes, and be confident that the kit you order will answer the family history question you want answered.

There are 3 tests offered for genealogical purposes:

  • Autosomal DNA, atDNA, is the collaborative DNA from all of your ancestors, male and female, that recombined to define you. It is the DNA from which your ethnic origin estimates are derived as far as scientists and others in related fields can currently determine. These estimates are subject to modification as the reference panels on which the results are based are modified. All 5 companies offer this test. Some companies identify matches to the X chromosome. One good question to ask each company is, How many SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) are tested by your company? [1] The more SNPs, the more comprehensive the results. This is the DNA test that assists you in finding living cousin matches with others who have tested.
  • Y-chromosome DNA, Y-DNA, is the DNA that defines paternal lineage and is inherited only by males; it is passed down from father to son. It provides positive identification of the biological paternal family and outlines the migration pattern of direct paternal ancestors (from son to father, to father, etc.) as far as science can currently identify. Testing for yourself, it is defined by the top line of your traditional pedigree chart. It is a male-only test, so females must find a male descendant of that particular lineage, such as a brother, father, paternal uncle, or paternal nephew, to test for this information. Family Tree DNA is the only major company to offer this as an independent test for genealogical purposes. There are also many surname projects administered through Family Tree DNA.
  • Mitochondrial DNA, mtDNA, is the DNA inherited by all of a mother’s children, but passed on only to the next generation by females. It identifies the maternal migration pattern (from son or daughter to mother, etc.) as far as science can currently determine. Testing for yourself, it is defined by the bottom line of your traditional pedigree chart. Family Tree DNA is the only major company to offer full sequencing of the mitochondrial genome for genealogical purposes.

DNA results are just another source like vital records, censuses, probate or land records. They can assist in extracting one’s biological heritage. It is important to note that a DNA test may or may not provide the answer to your question, or it may provide an answer that leaves you or others in your family uncomfortable. Expectations of extending your lineage must be managed. Not all individuals who take a DNA test find generations of ancestors. Many online trees contain misinformation, and DNA testing is not a short cut to obtain a verified pedigree. In addition, an individual must be prepared to accept that an identified living cousin through DNA may not want to have contact or establish a relationship with the one tested.

Not all individuals need DNA testing to answer their family history questions. But, DNA testing offers those who have unanswered questions, such as adoptees, amazing results in extending their biological pedigree. It is a source that relies on the permission of family members to obtain. All people who test must agree to the legal notices, such as terms of service and privacy policy, of the company they select for testing. These policies are different for each company and are best read in an environment conducive to understanding the terms so read these documents in the coming months.

Genetic genealogy is an exciting and developing field. It can provide answers to family mysteries. It has brought joy to many and sorrow to a few. It is a topic worth learning about so you can make an educated decision about how DNA testing can potentially help you strengthen your family relationships among the living and add to your family tree. One book that I recommend to you for foundational information is The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy by Blaine T. Bettinger. It is available on Amazon. Although you pay no additional fee, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Not registered for RootsTech? There are ongoing 4-day pass giveaways through November. If you register now and win, RootsTech will reimburse you at your rate of purchase. Find a list of current giveaways at Conference Keepers. For information about The Single Leaf RootsTech 2019 Giveaway, subscribe to this blog. :-)

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is for information only. The final decision to act upon this information is your own and you take sole responsibility for all outcomes.

Note: People ask me why I do not use the term “Super Bowl” in genealogy football. For the record, “Super Bowl” is a registered trademark of the NFL and, for the love of the game, I wouldn’t want to infringe upon it. :-)

[1]“A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP, pronounced snip) is a DNA sequence variation occurring when a single nucleotide adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C), or guanine (G]) in the genome (or other shared sequence) differs between members of a species or paired chromosomes in an individual.” International Society of Genetic Genealogy. “Single-nucleotide polymorphism”. (http://isogg.org/wiki/Single-nucleotide_polymorphism: accessed September 30, 2018).

About RootsTech

RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch, is a global conference celebrating families across generations, where people of all ages are inspired to discover and share their memories and connections. This annual event has become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants worldwide.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am designated as an official ambassador to the RootsTech Conference and, as such, I am provided complimentary admission and other services to accomplish my duties. Nevertheless, I have been with RootsTech since its inception and with its predecessor for many years as a paid participant. As always, my coverage and opinions are my own and are not affected by my current status. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Copyright © 2018. Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Relative Race in Pursuit of the Genetic Family Tree

It’s a new season for Relative Race! The show premieres tonight, Sunday, September 16th at 7pm MT on BYUtv. Four new teams, new challenges, and new family connections will be discovered as teams enter a 10-day race for a $50,000 winner-takes-all prize.

As I have watched the show evolve through the seasons, I’ve considered the difference between the genealogical family tree and the genetic family tree. Relative Race addresses the latter. Your genealogy family tree encompasses all of your biological, legal, and/or adopted lineages. Your genetic family tree is a subset of your genealogical family tree. Not every cousin can be identified through genetic genealogy. After about 4-5 generations, a person may not receive a DNA inheritance from those back in time. This, of course, leads to a loss in connecting with those descendants through DNA testing results. Relative Race focuses on the most recent generations so autosomal DNA (atDNA) should catch them all. The paper trail, traditional genealogy, ultimately determines the actual relationship among the possibilities.

Relative Race uses AncestryDNA to identify family members found throughout the race. Unlike Season 1, genealogists are retained to verify the relationships discovered through DNA results by pursuing the paper trail.

As in the past, this season consists of 4 teams. The names have changed, but the colors remain the same:

  • Team Red consists of Mike Brown and Austen Williams, a father/daughter team whose goal is to find out more about Mike’s biological father for Austen’s children. In other words, one of the purposes of this journey is to connect Mike’s grandchildren to a paternal great grandfather. In this case, Mike’s the autosomal DNA test results will contain more of the information needed for Team Red to find that great grandfather they seek.
  • Team Green consists of Paris and Preshious Anderson, a married couple with 2 children ages 7 and 3 years. Their goal is to find the biological parents of Preshious, and any unknown relatives of Paris to make connections and win the $50,000 prize. Obviously, Preshious’ atDNA results will be key to finding her biological parents and Paris’ atDNA results will be crucial to finding any unknown genetic relatives on his side of the family. Depending on the disclosure agreement that may list known relatives, Team Green will be taking a journey of a lifetime! I don’t want to downplay the cash prize, but the legacy they discover for their children will be priceless.
  • Team Blue consists of Josh and Tiffany Lewis, a married couple of 4 years, who is on a quest to find Josh’s biological father with the focus on winning the $50,000. (They say that they can return to visit the newly discovered family after receiving the prize money.) Since each person receives approximately 50% of their DNA from their father, this is not necessarily a problem with a direct match. However, familial searching can be used to narrow down possible candidates. This team’s goal relies totally on the results of Josh’s DNA test results and the ability to master the challenges.
  • Team Black consists of Jerica and Joe Henline, siblings from Ohio, who are in this race for the fun of it! What did they get themselves into? Interestingly, the genetic family tree expands the possibilities of connecting with more cousins because Jerica and Joe have received a different DNA inheritance from each of their parents.

DNA is a valuable, even indispensable, type of evidence in discovering one’s family tree. But, on the eve of the premiere of season 4 of Relative Race, I like to remind myself that DNA inheritance is not the whole story, just a part of the amazing journey called LIFE!

Copyright © 2018. Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

The Relative Race Continues … On BYUtv

Have you heard? Relative Race continues on BYUtv one week from tonight, March 4th at 7 p.m. MST, with a 90-minute premiere and our family could not be more excited!

What is Relative Race?
Once compared to the award-winning television show Amazing Race, Relative Race has become popular in its own right. The show uses DNA to identify and connect each team to a trail of 10 of their living relatives discovered through this process. Each new relative has something to share as the teams race to a final destination for the $50,000 prize. Of course, each team wins by gaining the knowledge and relationships of these new found or confirmed relationships.

Relative Race previewed their show at RootsTech 2016. I had the opportunity at that time to sit down with the Relative Race team and discuss the premise of the show. As Dan J. Debenham outlined the specifics, I was surprised to learn that each couple would stay the night at the home of the new found relative. What Dan did not reveal was that one couple in particular would have a difficult time having Season 1’s Team Red stay the night. When that particular episode debuted, viewers were left asking, what? As an audience we had the opportunity to get to know Team Red through a number of episodes. Our omniscient view left us wondering why. Since I don’t want to spoil it if you haven’t seen Relative Race Season 1, I’ll refrain from expounding. Relative Race is a great show to binge-watch!

On February 8, 2017, Relative Race won the award for Best New Reality Show at the National Cynopsis TV Awards. As Lenzworks, the video company that produces the show, explains on their website, “The Cynopsis Awards is a national competition and is judged by industry professionals including programming executives and media developers.”

By the time Relative Race received this award, Season 2 was set to debut and Relative Race returned to RootsTech to preview the show and meet two of the teams. One of those teams was Team Blue, the couple who had difficulty having their Team Red Season 1 cousins stay in their home. I had the opportunity to talk with Team Blue about that defining moment of Season 1. I met their adorable children. I completely understood why they would prefer to not have strangers stay in their home, but I asked the brazen question—Would Season 2 “redeem” this husband and father?

Relative Race Season 2 also introduced us to Joe of Team Black. His story is compelling and demonstrates the power of DNA to answer questions about family and bring situations to resolution.

Relative Race Season 3 continues the race.  This time Joe from Season 2 was one of the photographers who accompanied a team on their personal journey. This season the teams will begin in Washington D.C. and introduces a new dynamic—different combinations of family members! In the past the teams have always been married couples but this type of race can accommodate other family situations. Seeing such potential, I even tweeted a request during Season 1 to include such family dynamics as parent-child. My request has been granted! Although Season 3 consists two married couples, it also hosts two sisters representing Team Green and a father and son representing Team Blue.

Additionally there have been changes in the direction of the race. Season 1 led teams through 10 stops from San Francisco to New York. Season 2 led teams from Miami to Boston. No one but Relative Race  knows where Season 3 will lead! Nevertheless, here are the teams and their assigned colors:

Team Red—Troy & Nicole Hitt, a married couple from Humble, Texas
Team Green—Jaime Grace Harper & Morgan Harper Nichols, sisters from Los Angles, California
Team Blue—Michael & Dylan Anderson, a father and son team from Concord, North Carolina
Team Black—Rebecca & Johnathon Hoyt, a married couple from McAllen, Texas

One week from tonight Season 3 will debut on BYUtv, but if you want a sneak peek, come to RootsTech on Friday, March 2nd at the Salt Palace Convention Center. Dan J. Debenham will keynote along with 1984 Olympic champion, Scott Hamilton. Later on Friday, at 1:30 p.m., Relative Race will highlight Season 3 in Room 254A with a panel consisting of Dan J. Debenham and Teams Red and Green.

Have a conflict in your schedule? Relative Race will be at booth 734 in the Expo Hall each day and display an interactive Relative Race screen that will be located in the North Foyer from Thursday, March 1st through Saturday, March 3rd.

Whether you find yourself at RootsTech or Not-At-RootsTech, join in watching Season 3 of Relative Race beginning March 4, 2018 at 7 p.m. MST! There are multiple ways to access the show, including the BYUtv app. When you download the app, you’ll always have an episode at your fingertips. You may also “like” Relative Race on Facebook, follow Relative Race on Instagram, and/or follow @RelativeRace on Twitter and when you tweet use the hashtag #RelativeRace. During the Sunday night broadcast of each episode there are a number of us on Twitter. I invite you to follow us, join the conversation, and have some fun! This year’s RootsTech theme is “Connect. Belong.” and I know of no better team to connect with or belong to on television than Relative Race!

About RootsTech

RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch, is a global conference celebrating families across generations, where people of all ages are inspired to discover and share their memories and connections. This annual event has become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants worldwide.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I am designated as an official ambassador to the RootsTech Conference and, as such, I am provided complimentary admission and other services to accomplish my duties. Nevertheless, I have been with RootsTech since its inception and with its predecessor for many years as a paid participant. As always, my coverage and opinions are my own and are not affected by my current status. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Copyright © 2018. Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.