02 April 2014

TSLAC Genealogy After Dark - 25 April 2014

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is hosting another Genealogy After Dark program on 25 April 2014. Contact them at geninfo@tsl.state.tx.us or 512-463-5455 for more information or to register. Registration is limited to 30 and you must register by 18 April 2014.

The schedule is:
  • 6:00 - Sign-in (Note: You must enter before 6:45 p.m. when the building will be locked.)
  • 6:15 - Presentation by John Anderson, TSLAC Preservation Officer and Photo Archivist: “Researching Prints and Photographs in the Texas State Archives…and Beyond”
  • 7:15 - Genealogy and Reference rooms open for research
    Orientation: Requesting and Using Materials in the Texas State Archives (required for anyone planning to use archival materials during the event)
    Texas State Archives open for research, immediately following the orientation
  • 7:45 - Light refreshments in the lobby
  • 9:45 - Microfilm and photocopy rooms close
  • 10:00 - Building secured

Park on the street or at the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage at 1201 San Jacinto, one block east of the Zavala Building. There is no charge for visitors who arrive after 5:00 p.m.



To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "TSLAC Genealogy After Dark - 25 April 2014," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 2 April 2014 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2014, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

28 March 2014

mtDNA Test Sale at Family Tree DNA

For the next four days Family Tree DNA is offering reduced prices for mtDNA full sequence test orders and upgrades. Orders must be placed and paid for before 11:59 p.m. Central Time on 1 April 2014.

Sale Prices Are

mtDNAFullSequence Addon and New Kits - Now $139 US (Save $60)

mtHVR1toMEGA Upgrade - Now $99 US (Save $50)

mtHVR2toMEGA Upgrade - Now $89 US (Save $70)

The Full Sequence mtDNA test is the most comprehensive mtDNA test available and is only offered by Family Tree DNA. Order Now from Family Tree DNA.

We made the announcement this morning at the Forensic Genealogy Institute and several attendees immediately ordered the test after learning how to use the test results yesterday in the sessions I taught on "Forensic Techniques for Genetic Genealogy." I can't wait to hear what they learn from this test.



To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "mtDNA Test Sale at Family Tree DNA," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 28 March 2014 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2014, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

09 February 2014

Registration Feb. 12th for Practical Genetic Genealogy at GRIP

Ten or so years ago I wished for an in-depth training class on using DNA for genealogy.

Genetic genealogists were mostly self-taught. Around that time Family Tree DNA started offering a two-day conference for project administrators. I wasn’t an admin at that time so I couldn’t attend. Megan Smolenyak and Ann Turner published their book on using DNA to Trace Your Roots.1 Colleen Fitzpatrick had a DNA section in Forensic Genealogy.2 Ann Turner had started the genealogy-dna mail list on RootsWeb.3 Other educational opportunities were mostly non-existent other than one-hour introductory presentations at conferences and seminars. You can’t do in-depth in one hour when you have to start with the basics.

Five or so years ago a group of professional and aspiring professional genealogists discussed whether or not there was enough a genealogist needs to learn about DNA to fill a week-long institute course. My response was a resounding YES even as I got some very skeptical looks from others. I had already started a list of things I thought should be included. And this was before I knew much about autosomal DNA.

I refined my list of potential topics. I sat in on sessions looking for good speakers who were knowledgeable about the topic. In my opinion, a good genetic genealogy speaker doesn’t just teach the scientific facts. The good genetic genealogy speaker, when speaking to a newbie or general audience, has to be able to choose the part of the science a genealogist must understand and eliminate the part only the scientist or DNA nerd needs. The good genetic genealogy speaker has to be able to relate the required scientific knowledge to what a genealogist already knows about research. The good genetic genealogy speaker has experience using the latest DNA analysis techniques and can demonstrate those techniques so any motivated genealogist can learn them. The good genetic genealogy speaker keeps up with the latest developments in the community.


In 2012 I met and became friends with a group I felt I would enjoy working with and who I knew would present a course I would want to attend myself. In 2013 our course proposal was accepted.

This year all of that planning becomes a reality as CeCe Moore, Blaine Bettinger, and I offer the first week-long genetic genealogy course at a genealogy institute in the U.S. – Practical Genetic Genealogy.


Registration starts February 12th at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) for the Practical Genetic Genealogycourse offered on July 20-25, 2014.

The course outline is available at http://www.gripitt.org/?page_id=1147.

The course is expected to fill up quickly if everyone who has told us they want to attend really tries to register. Tips for Quickly Getting Through Registration is available at http://www.gripitt.org/?p=1296

I am looking forward to this so much as I hope we can help others learn what I wish someone had been around to teach me ten years ago.


1. Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak and Ann Turner, Trace Your Roots with DNA (Emmaus, Penn., Rodale Press, 2004).
2. Colleen Fitzpatrick, Forensic Genealogy (Fountain Valley, Cal., Rice Book Press, 2005).
3. Ann Turner, founder, Genealogy-DNA List on RootsWeb ( http://lists.rootsweb.com/index/other/DNA/GENEALOGY-DNA.html).


To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Registration Feb. 12th for Practical Genetic Genealogy at GRIP," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 9 February 2014 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2014, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

19 November 2013

History: JFK Assassination Memories

With red eyes brimming with tears, my fourth grade teacher at John Quincy Adams Elementary told us our parents were being called. Even a nine-year-old could sense this wasn't a time to cheer because we were getting out of school early. It was a simpler time when most middle-class kids still had someone at home who could pick them up early when the school called. When we could still play anywhere in the neighborhood and surrounding community without fear. Then she told us. The president had been shot. In our city. The city where we had been safe. Until now. November 1963, when shots were fired from the sixth floor window of the school book depository building, marked the beginning of a changing world.



Hobbes747, "The sixth floor window, blocked off by a glass box from the inside, is the second from the top on the far right."1

After my aunt picked up me, my brother, and our cousins who had "working Moms" we went home and watched television. No one felt like playing hide-and-seek or tag or running through the nearby park pretending dinosaurs were chasing us or any of the outdoor games kids played before video games. I still remember seeing Walter Cronkite tearfully announce that President Kennedy had died. There was a new president, a Texan, Lyndon B. Johnson, sworn in with the sad, beautiful widow at his side, still wearing her pink, blood-stained suit.



Stoughton, "Lyndon B. Johnson taking the oath of office, November 1963."2

The aunts had red eyes as they came by to get my cousins at the end of the day. The whole city seemed to be crying. Even the men had red eyes and sniffles. Then two days later there was the television coverage of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald in the police station basement. It was a confusing time for kids and adults. Our world was changing before our eyes, seen in black and white on a 19 inch television with rabbit ears and vertical and horizontal hold knobs we had to constantly adjust to keep the picture stable.

In 1963 all of the Texans I knew were Democrats. And proud of it. I remember my grandmother telling me she always "votes the straight Democratic ticket just like my Daddy" had done. Texas is different now. The world is different now. I remember for years afterward feeling ashamed of saying I was from Dallas when I introduced myself to someone.3 Looking back, the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, seems to have heralded in some of the worst years in American history.4 Riots in American streets, snipers in university towers, more assassinations.5 While I am thankful for many of the advances we have made in our society in the last fifty years, there are some of those kinder, gentler, simpler ways that I miss.

This day, 22 November 1963, is my first memory of a political event. During the sixties and seventies we worried about how our world was changing and becoming more violent. Knowing that things eventually got better gives me hope that the current political problems will someday be resolved, too.

It is so important for all of us to write about our life memories and pass this to our descendants. Genealogists spend our time studying the history of individual lives, micro-history. We know how thrilling it would be to find a journal or diary written by one of our ancestors. Give that thrill to your descendants. Write once a day or once a week about some memory from your early life and collect those writings. Don't let your stories be lost while you concentrate on finding the stories from an earlier time. What would you like to know about your ancestors' lives? Write about those same things in your life. Someday you will be an ancestor and your story should not be forgotten.



Journal, photo taken by author, 19 November 2013.

For help finding ways to write and things to write about see:

Barrington, Judith. Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art. 2nd ed. Eighth Mountain Press, 2002; http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Memoir-Truth-Second-Edit/dp/0933377509/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384866741&sr=1-1&keywords=writing+a+memoir.

Croom, Emily. Unpuzzling Your Past: A Basic Guide to Genealogy, 4th ed. revised. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 2010; (http://www.amazon.com/Unpuzzling-Best-Selling-Genealogy-Expanded-Updated/dp/0806318546/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384866570&sr=1-2&keywords=croom+Unpuzzling+Your+Past.



All URLs accessed 18 November 2013.
1. Hobbes747, "The sixth floor window, blocked off by a glass box from the inside, is the second from the top on the far right," (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:6th_floor_window.jpg); image released into the public domain.
Cropped by Debbie Parker Wayne, 18 November 2013.
2. Cecil W. Stoughton, "Lyndon B. Johnson taking the oath of office, November 1963," White House Press Office (WHPO), (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lyndon_B._Johnson_taking_the_oath_of_office,_November_1963.jpg). As the work of an employee of the Executive Office of the President of the United States taken as part of that person's official duties this image is in the public domain.
3. Memories of the author, Debbie Parker Wayne, who lived in Dallas from 1954 until many years after the assassination of Kennedy.
4. "Assassination of John F. Kennedy," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_John_F._Kennedy).
5. All at Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia: "Counterculture of the 1960s," (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counterculture_of_the_1960s). "Charles Whitman," Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Whitman). "Martin Luther King Jr.," (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_luther_king). "Robert F. Kennedy," (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Kennedy).

© 2013, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

13 November 2013

Family Tree DNA 2013 Holiday Sale

I'm way behind in posting about what I learned at the Family Tree DNA Project Administrator's Conference and the Texas State Genealogical Society Annual Conference. But I had to get the word out about the DNA sale going on right now.

Check out Family Tree DNA's list on their Facebook page (no login to facebook is needed to view the page) or visit the Family Tree DNA website or their products page.

Save up to $79 on Y-DNA tests.

Save up to $109 on mtDNA tests in combination with Y-DNA tests. It only costs $169 for the mtFullSequence which is the most likely mtDNA test to be useful for genealogical purposes. Only a few years ago this test cost more than $800. Now it is available at a price many of us can afford.

Save up to $109 on Family Finder tests in combination with Y-DNA or mtDNA tests.

For many of these orders, including a Family Finder test at the price of $99.99, you will also receive a $100 gift card for restaurant.com (no s after restaurant). This basically makes the test kit free. Believe it or not, even my small town restaurant offers a discount through restaurant.com. If you live in an urban area you may have more choices. If this isn't useful to you it could be given to others as a gift.

Take advantage of this great offer to order kits as holiday presents for those family members who have agreed to test. After seeing some of the presentations at the Family Tree DNA Project Administrator's Conference I really want to test more close family members and now can save money doing so.

Note added 13 Nov 2013 after initial post: The restaurant.com offer only applies to U.S. customers. It is not offered in other countries.

© 2013, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

29 October 2013

Learning About Autosomal DNA for Genealogy

CeCe Moore and Shannon Christmas discussed strategies for using autosomal DNA to resolve your genealogical problems on BlogTalk Radio. Part One of this discussion took place on 28 June 2013 and is archived at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bernicebennett/2013/06/28/strategies-for-using-autosomal-dna. Part Two took place on 28 October 2013 and is archived at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bernicebennett/2013/10/28/strategies-for-using-autosomal-dna-part-ii.

Some key points made (and paraphrased by me) include:
  • How much time do you have to invest in analysis of distant matches? If time is limited focus first on closer matches (those with the largest shared DNA segments).
  • Don't ignore "low-hanging fruit" such as matches with a common surname or geographic region or shared haplogroup that may match a line you are interested in.
  • If more time is available the more distant matches should also be analyzed. Some of these may not prove fruitful, but some will.
  • AncestryDNA matches through trees can be very useful [DPW comment: assuming the trees are accurate.] AncestryDNA uses mega-base pairs, not centimorgans, as the unit of measurement. See CeCe's blog post, "Ken Chahine Answers My Questions and Reveals Behind-the-Scenes Information about AncestryDNA" for more information.
  • Family Tree DNA requires a total shared number of centimorgans (all segments added together) and at least one segment over the 7.7 centimorgan threshold to be considered a match. Smaller segments must also be indicative of being a part of the same population; this affects African American testers who may have DNA from multiple populations.
  • 23andMe requires 7.0 centimorgans and 500 SNPs to be considered a match. Ancestry Finder reduces the threshold to 5.0 centimorgan segment sizes.
  • Capturing all of your analysis in a spreadsheet is essential. [DPW NOTE: DNA analysis takes time. Be sure you log your findings in some electronic file you find easy to use - spreadsheet, database, word processor file, or whatever. And be ready to invest time if you want to really use the results as evidence.]
  • DNAgedcom.com offers some very useful tools for DNA analysis.
  • DNAadoption.com offers a documented methodology and online classes for atDNA analysis. The same techniques that work for adoptees work for other genealogical brick walls.
  • Any atDNA match sharing more than .40 percent (that is point four percent, which is over 30 centimorgans) is considered a close match.

Many other educational opportunities are also available.

CeCe Moore presented an advanced autosomal DNA analysis webinar for the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) on 21 September 2013. It hasn't been archived yet, but presumably will be available in the APG Members Only area at some time in the future. The handout for this session is extremely useful.

Roberta Estes presented two DNA webinars for APG that have been archived in the Members Only area. They are:
Part 1: "Intro to DNA" recorded 30 October 2012, and
Part 2: "Yikes, My DNA Results are Back! Now What?" recorded 29 November 2012.

My own sessions available online include:

Khan Academy, Udacity, and Coursera offer online classes in biology and genetics, some free and some with a fee.

Many other educational opportunities are coming soon like a week-long Practical Genetic Genealogy course at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) in July 2014, more DNA sessions at the Forensic Genealogy Institute, and many more all-day genetic genealogy offerings which will be highlighted in the future.


To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Learning About Autosomal DNA for Genealogy," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 29 October 2013 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2013, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

Percentage Shared atDNA Chart

Last year in the Forensic Genealogy Institute session on DNA I used a chart showing the statistical percentage of shared DNA between two people. There are several versions of this chart that can be found online. I like this colored, tabular version better than some of the others I have seen. I told the institute attendees I would post the chart. I guess a year later is better than never. I updated the chart and added some links to additional information that were not on the document a year ago. I hope this is useful to some genetic genealogists. This image shows only a small portion of the chart.


A PDF version of the document is available here. On the referenced ISOGG Wiki page at http://www.isogg.org/wiki/Autosomal_DNA_statistics#DNA_percentages follow the link to Tim Janzen's website as there are some very useful examples and explanations of autosomal DNA test analysis.


To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Percentage Shared atDNA Chart," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 29 October 2013 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2013, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved