Thursday, February 20, 2014

Forensic Genealogy Institute Guest Presenter

I was excited to hear that the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy has added a special guest presenter at the 2014 Forensic Genealogy Institute. Here is their announcement:

Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy is pleased to announce a special guest presenter at the 2014 Forensic Genealogy Institute. James J. Canik, Deputy Director, Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL), Armed Forces Medical Examiner System, will present two sessions during the Advanced Track, immediately following Forensic Techniques for Genetic Genealogy by Debbie Parker Wayne, CG (sm).

1. The Central Identification Laboratory-JPAC: The Recovery and Identification Process
This session will provide an overview of the forensic processes used by the Department of Defense from archival research and field operations to the scientific methodologies employed by the Central Identification Laboratory in establishing the identifications of missing service members from Vietnam, Korea, and World War II.

2. The Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory: DNA In the Identification Process
This session will provide an overview of the use of Deoxyribonucleic Acid in the identification of human remains. This will include discussions on current death case identifications to the identification of missing personnel from prior conflicts. It will present information on typing methods, current capabilities as well as the relevance of family reference specimens in the identification process.

Mr. Canik's sessions offer an extremely rare opportunity for genealogists to see detailed operations of our country's military repatriation program. These presentations are generally reserved for the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) Family Updates. The Family Updates are only open to family members of unaccounted-for service personnel and invited guests. The general public is unable to attend. This presentation may well be a once in a life time opportunity for most professional genealogists. These presentations are not offered at other forensic genealogy educational events.

James J. Canik, Deputy Director, Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL), Armed Forces Medical Examiner System, Dover AFB, DE. Since 1990, Mr. Canik has served as AFDIL’s Deputy Director for Administration and Support Services. Previously, he was a career Army Medical Service Corps officer responsible for a wide variety of command and staff assignments. A Master Aviator in both fixed and rotary wing aircraft, he has logged more than 500 combat hours as a medical evacuation pilot in Vietnam. For the past 23 years, he has overseen the development of the AFDIL and its 140+ scientific and support staff responsible for conducting DNA testing of not only current death cases under the jurisdiction of the AFME but also in the identification of remains returned from the battlefields of Southeast Asia, Korea, and World War II. In addition to coordinating with the Service Casualty Offices for Family Reference Specimen collections from past conflict missing personnel, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Armed Forces Repository of Specimen Samples for the Identification of Remains mandated by the Department of Defense for developing the largest DNA Repository in the world, currently storing over 6.8 million DNA specimens of United States Active and Reserve component military service members.

A limited number of seats remain for the Advanced Track. Attendees of the Advanced Track must have completed at least one of the Foundations in Forensic Genealogy tracks. Special week-long packages are available for this year's Foundations and Advanced. Registration is available at

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

International Genetic Genealogy Conference Announced

I was excited to hear today about a new option for those interested in the growing field of DNA and genetic genealogy. Dr. Tim Janzen and CeCe Moore have formed an Institute for Genetic Genealogy which will be sponsoring an International Genetic Genealogy Conference. The conference will be held August 16 and 17, 2014 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Washington, D. C. 

Many of the most knowledgeable genetic genealogists from around the world will be presenting sessions at this conference. The speakers and their topics include:
  • Larry Vick – Interpreting Y chromosome data and managing a Y chromosome project
  • Debbie Parker Wayne – Mitochondrial DNA
  • CeCe Moore – Autosomal DNA
  • Terry Barton – Managing a Y chromosome project
  • Joanna Mountain Ph.D. – 23andMe
  • Shannon Christmas – African American DNA research
  • representative – AncestryDNA product
  • Kenneth Nordtvedt Ph.D. – Y chromosome haplogroup I
  • Family Tree DNA representative – FTDNA products
  • Bill Hurst – Mitochondrial DNA haplogroup K
  • Jim Wilson Ph.D. – Chromo 2 test and Y chromosome research
  • Kathy Johnston Ph.D. – X chromosome research
  • Blaine Bettinger J.D. – Third party tools for DNA analysis
  • Bonnie Schrack – Y chromosome haplogroups A and B
  • Rebekah Canada – Mitochondrial DNA
  • Rob Warthen, Karin Corbeil, and Diane Harman-Hoog – Adoption DNA
  • Tim Janzen M.D. – Chromosome mapping
  • Katherine Hope-Borges – ISOGG
  • Thomas Krahn B.S. – Y chromosome research
  • Maurice Gleeson M.D. – Irish DNA and autosomal DNA
  • David Pike – Phasing utilities
  • Ugo Perego Ph.D. – Native American DNA
  • Jim Bartlett – Autosomal DNA matches and triangulation
  • Doug McDonald Ph.D. – Admixture analysis
  • Angie Bush M.S. – DNA case studies
You can find all the details on the conference, the speakers and the schedule on the website

You will not want to miss this opportunity to learn more about genetic genealogy.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Genealogy Research Institute of Pittsburgh - Registration Opens Wednesday

Get ready to watch the clock for Noon on Wednesday as registration for the Genealogy Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) will begin. There are courses that will be very popular, so you may have to be fast to get a seat. GRIP registration will open on Wednesday, February 12th at Noon Eastern for the six courses in Pittsburgh from Sunday July 20 – Friday July 25. There will be a second registration on Tuesday, February 25th at Noon Eastern for the four August courses in Orchard Lake, Michigan.

You may want to look at the Tips for Quickly Getting Through Registration prepared by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL and Deborah Litchner Deal, the directors of GRIP. With the lineup of new course and excellent instructors, the institute is sure to sell out.

Here are the courses you have to choose from:

Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper
Coordinator: Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA
Instructors Debbie Mieszala, CG, and D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS
Are you beyond the beginning stages of researching your family history? You probably have checked the basic records and done online searches but still have blanks to fill in. Maybe you need to gain more leads and judge the records but need some analytical skills for that. We will delve deeper into a variety of records, some that you may have never heard about, and where they may be accessed. During the week there will be some hands-on projects, small group discussions, and full class interaction as we develop research plans, delve into the records, and learn what may get those blanks filled in. The camaraderie of solving problems as a group leads us to great insight and also some fun.

The class covers 19th through 21st century U.S. records and includes online resources. Prior to the course students will be able to send the coordinator a brief research issue of their own along with a listing of the U.S. places where their ancestors resided and what has already been researched. The course includes some “homework” that is optional but highly suggested. Students often find they like those learning exercises. An extensive syllabus including online resources is provided.

Finding and Documenting African-American Families
Coordinators: J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA and Debbie A. Abbott, Ph.D.
Discovering evidence of African American families can be difficult and sometimes impossible. Learn to follow proven strategies to gather and analyze a variety of record types while building upon strong foundations. We will use a framework of five cases to illustrate how to apply the evidence in each particular case. Records will require hands-on project discovery time.

Determining Kinship Reliably with the Genealogical Proof Standard
Coordinator: Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS
Instructor Karen Mauer Green, CG
Through lecture, discussions, and many hands-on activities, students will learn how to achieve genealogical proof by planning and executing focused research, citing the resulting sources, testing the evidence they contain, assembling that evidence into a conclusion, and explaining it clearly. This course is based on the content of Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Va.: National Genealogical Society, 2013) and uses exercises from that textbook. Family historians of various skill levels may find this course helpful.

Instructors Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA and Debra Mieszala, CG
Explore the online world of records and repositories by efficiently being able to search for them. Learn the methods and tools to overcome database index challenges and find information on your family that is hidden in layers of webpages. Mornings feature “Expert Insider Tricks,” featuring a professional genealogist’s personal tricks for making the most from a subscription website, while afternoons include in-depth discussions and hands-on learning.

Practical Genetic Genealogy
Coordinator: Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL
Instructors CeCe Moore and Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D.
From the basics of genetic genealogy to advanced autosomal analysis to the integration of DNA into projects meeting the Genealogical Proof Standard, this course covers all aspects of DNA testing and the use of DNA in genealogical research.
Law School for Genealogists
Coordinators: Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG, CGL and Richard “Rick” G. Sayre, CG, CGL Instructor Marian L. Smith
From Freshman Orientation to Graduation, Law School for Genealogists covers the waterfront as to the elements of the law that directly impact genealogical research: the legal systems underlying the records; the court systems; record series resulting from the legislative and judicial process; and topical treatments of the law of wills and estates, property, marriage, divorce, military service, immigration and naturalization and more.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

NGS Announces New Course: Guide to Documentation and Source Citation

There is a new course announced by the National Genealogical Society on documentation and source citation. It is reasonably priced at $30 for three modules. Here are the details from the NGS press release:

ARLINGTON, VA, 5 FEBRUARY 2014: The National Genealogical Society proudly announces the release of its newest American Genealogical Studies course, Guide to Documentation and Source Citation.

This course joins The Basics in the series of online courses developed by NGS to help those interested in finding their family. In this three-module self-paced course, Michael Grant Hait Jr., CG, helps genealogists with one of the most confusing areas of genealogy research, “how do I cite my family information?” Knowing where we located our family information and keeping accurate notes, or citations, is the backbone of reliable genealogy. The course modules consist of lessons, examples, citations, and graded quizzes and cover topics on “Introduction to Documentation,” “Basic Citation Principles,” and “Applying Citation Principles.”

This NGS American Genealogical Studies course, Guide to Documentation and Source Citation, is available for $30.00 for members and $45.00 for non-members. For further information, to view the syllabus, or to purchase the course, visit the NGS website at

Guide to Documentation and Source Citation joins The Basics in the NGS’s online cloud-based learning management system. To take advantage of this system, you will need either a computer or tablet with an Internet connection.

NGS also offers several courses available in downloadable PDF files compatible for a PC or MAC. The courses are designed for both the beginner and the established genealogist to help busy individuals learn about a specific topic and to put the ensuing knowledge to work quickly. These courses include:
  • Using Federal Population Census Schedules in Genealogical Research
  • Introduction to Civil War Research
  • Genetic Genealogy, The Basics
  • Introduction to Religious Records
  • Working with Deeds
Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Arlington, Virginia, based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian, seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists. Please visit the NGS Pressroom for further information.