Bridging the Past & Future is the title of this year’s big genealogy Congress in Sydney from 9th to 12th March and there are a number of DNA related presentations. Given the high profile of DNA testing as becoming an essential tool for family history research, it is good to see a solid inclusion of DNA-related topics for all levels of DNA experience and understanding:

Sat 10th Mar: 12-12.45pm
Introduction to DNA
AncestryDNA will be giving an introduction to DNA, promoting their product, as part of their presentation on the Ancestry company.

Sat 10th Mar: 4.45-5.30pm
DNA: A modern tool to solve historical puzzles
Presented by Kerry Farmer
“This session will demonstrate cases where DNA tests and traditional genealogical research were both necessary to solve family history puzzles. In one case an adoptee was connected to a well-researched family tree by selective autosomal testing of several relatives. In another example DNA testing provided the clue for linking two family trees – and with this guidance eventually a Scottish Kirk session record was found that confirmed the link. Attendees will not need a strong previous DNA knowledge, although familiarity with some of the terms would be helpful.”
Level: Intermediate to advanced knowledge of DNA

Sun 11th Mar: 11-11.45am
Using MyHeritage’s unique technologies to record the family history of tribal peoples
Presented by Golan Levi
“As the leading global destination for family history and DNA, we at MyHeritage believe that every story counts. In this session, you will hear fascinating stories and learn more about MyHeritage’s unique technologies and how we used them to document the family histories of tribal peoples in Namibia, Siberia and Papua New Guinea.”

Sun 11th Mar: 12-12.45pm
Mapping chromosomes to identify ancestral lines
Presented by Kerry Farmer
“We inherit half of our autosomal DNA from each of our parents. Chromosome mapping is an advanced technique that involves analysing segments we share with genetic relatives to identify the particular DNA we inherited from specific ancestral lines. We compile a spreadsheet of matching segments then use an online tool to build a visual representation (or ‘chromosome map’) of our DNA, coloured according to the ancestor who passed that particular DNA segment to us. This allows us to draw conclusions about where new DNA test ‘matches’ are likely to fit within the family tree.”
Level: Advanced knowledge of DNA

Sun 11th Mar: 3.30-4.30pm
Genealogical DNA testing: Ethical concerns?
Presented by Helen Smith
“DNA testing is the new tool in the genealogist’s toolbox. We enthusiastically embrace this tool asking our relatives for their DNA but, as with the traditional genealogy paper trail, there can be unexpected results. We have to be mindful of our ethical and moral obligations. What do we need to tell them when requesting their DNA? How many times can we ask? What happens when they say no? What can we do with the results if they say yes? What if they change their mind? What can the company do with the results? What are our responsibilities?”

Sun 11th Mar: 4.45-5.30pm
Visualising DNA matches using network graphs
Presented by Shelley Crawford
“You’ve taken an autosomal DNA test. You hope that among your DNA matches you find evidence to confirm your research, or maybe even break through a brick wall. But working your way through pages of matches and shared matches is like walking through a maze. This session will introduce free visualisation tools that can map the maze. Learn how network graphs can be used to visualise connections between your matches, and how graphs can be enhanced to assist with your research goals. While focussing on AncestryDNA shared match information, the ideas discussed can be applied to any list of shared DNA matches.”

For more information, go to the Sydney Congress 2018 website.