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Interview Series III – Terry Barton

imageTerry Barton is co-founder of WorldFamilies.net (along with Richard Barton), a website devoted to helping genealogists host Surname, Geographic, or Haplogroup Projects and learn more about genetic genealogy. When I began the Bettinger Surname DNA Project, Terry helped me through the entire process of setting up the site. From the WorldFamilies website:

“Terry is co-founder of WorldFamilies.net, President of the Barton Historical Society (BHS) and Co-Leader of the 193 member Barton DNA Project. He is the “Line Leader” for the Thomas (1,2,3) Barton family of Stafford Co VA and for the David Barton married Ruth Oldham family. He has made a number of presentations about using DNA in Genealogy, the Barton DNA project and his great-grandparent’s “Barton House” and has written many articles for the BHS Newsletters and website.”

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Interview Series II – Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak

image If you’ve ever even thought about testing your own DNA for genealogical purposes, then you are almost guaranteed to have heard of Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak. Megan is the Chief Family Historian and North American spokesperson for Ancestry.com, as well as the co-founder of Roots Television, an online channel of genealogy and history-oriented programming. Additionally, Megan is the co-author of “Trace Your Roots With DNA”, the premiere book on genetic genealogy (the other co-author, Ann Turner, will be featured later in this series).

Megan blogs about genetic genealogy and other genealogical topics at Megan’s Roots World (which I highly recommend adding to your feed reader or daily reading list). In the following interview, Megan talks about her introduction to genetic genealogy, about the field as it stands today, and about some of the possible future directions of DNA testing.

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5

The 2010 Census

At 12:01 on April 1, 2082, millions of genealogists around the solar system will be able to instantaneously download every image from the 2010 census into their neural storage chip, and within minutes these images will be linked to the ancestors in their 3D holographic family trees. Almost all of these genealogists will be able to find themselves in these census images and index.

Okay, maybe it’s a little premature to guess about the use of a census that hasn’t even been enumerated yet, but as most genealogists know, census results are the backbone of the genealogical world. Only one census has been released since the advent of the internet. In 2002 the 1930 census was released, and the countdown to the April 2, 2012 release of the 1940 census has already begun.

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5

Bryan Sykes Interviewed By The UK’s Telegraph

Anyone who is interested in genetic genealogy has likely heard of Professor Bryan Sykes. Sykes is the founder of the genetic genealogy testing company Oxford Ancestors and author of very influential books such as Blood of the Isles, Adam’s Curse, and The Seven Daughters of Eve.

Sykes was recently interviewed by The Telegraph in an article entitled “Curiosity Drives the Gene Genie to a £1m Turnover.The article mentions that Oxford Ancestors, created in 2000, is currently bringing in £ 1m year (USD $1.96million), which is an increase of 10 times its initial year! There is discussion of Sykes’ upbringing, and the difficulty in commercializing scientific research.

Lastly, Sykes discusses some future directions, including using genetic research to help solve crimes:

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5

The Genealogists

image Many people do not realize that the genetics of the future will rely heavily on the work done by previous, current, and future generations of genealogists. Researchers hoping to uncover links between a disease and a particular gene or mutation often recruit entire families or use compiled genealogical databases for information. Just a few of the recent examples of researchers benefiting from the work of genealogists include:

  1. Genizon BioSciences will examine genetic diseases using DNA from descendants of the Quebec Founder Population;
  2. A mutation believed to increase the risk of colon cancer was traced to a single family in the early 1600’s;
  3. A recent study pinpointing the mutation responsible for blue eyes used data from the Copenhagen Family Bank, and;
  4. Numerous studies published by deCODE, a company that uses an exclusive database of Icelandic genealogy (80% of all Icelandic people who have ever lived can be traced on family trees).

In honor of the contributions that genealogists have and will make to scientist’s understanding of the genetic basis of disease, and in honor of the many unique and well-written genealogy blogs, I created The Genealogists, a Feedburner network (subscribe via RSS here). The network, which helps unite genealogy bloggers and introduce new blogs to readers, currently has 18 members:

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11

Where Was My Y-DNA and mtDNA in 1808?

A few days ago I wrote about John Reid’s “Where Has Your DNA Been” post at Anglo-Connections a few days ago. This is similar to another meme which has been circulating the genealogy blogosphere for a few weeks now, including “Where was your family in 1908?” at 100 Years in America and “Where was your family 200 years ago?” at What’s Past is Prologue. Steve at Steve’s Genealogy Blog has also given the ‘Map Your DNA’ meme a try. I thought it was a fun idea, and had a number of potentially interesting applications, if I were a programmer and if I had any free time. Absent that, I thought I would at least try to replicate John’s idea by mapping my location in 2008 versus the locations of my Y-DNA and mtDNA in 1808, 200 years ago.

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3

About.com:Genealogy – 10 Genealogy Blogs Worth Reading

Kimberly Powell of About.com:Genealogy recently posted “10 Genealogy Blogs Worth Reading.” I was honored to see that I was included as one of those blogs, along with some outstanding company. The others are:

1. Genea-Musings – “Randy’s musings bring out the genealogist in all of us…”

2. The Genealogue – “His unique brand of genealogy humor puts a special spin on just about everything genealogy…” I was saddened to hear that The Genealogue is on temporary hiatus as the author deals with a family situation. I wish Chris and his family all the best and look forward to his return.

3. Ancestry Insider – “…provides the “insider” point of view you won’t easily find elsewhere.”

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Win A FREE Genetic Genealogy Test From The Genetic Genealogist!

DNA HeritageI started The Genetic Genealogist nearly a year ago, in February of 2007. To celebrate the approaching one-year anniversary of the blog, I am announcing a contest to give away a FREE genetic genealogy test from one of my sponsors, DNA Heritage.

Why offer a free genetic genealogy test? I know that there are many genealogists out there who are interested in genetic genealogy, but are reticent to spend the money for a test or think they know too little about genetic genealogy to buy a test. Hopefully, readers of The Genetic Genealogist know a lot more about the technology than they did before they were readers, and now one of you will win a free test! The winner may choose from the following tests offered by the company:

  1. The Y-chromosome STR (23 marker) Test valued at over $135
  2. The Y-chromosome SNP Test valued at $129 (sample report)
  3. The mtDNA Test (HVR-I, HVR-II, and HVR-III for a total of 1145 bases) valued at $219 (sample report).

The contest rules are below, but I wanted to point out that DNA Heritage has an FAQ section, as well as a Tutorial section and a Glossary. I would highly recommend that anyone who is not familiar with DNA testing or genetic genealogy read these sections carefully and completely to understand all the benefits and limitations of genetic genealogy. It is important that anyone who is interested in any form of genetic testing understand all the implications of that testing. Note also that genetic genealogy does NOT instantly reveal the names and dates of ancestors – this can only be accomplished by comparing your results to others (using free public DNA databases) in conjunction with traditional genealogical techniques!

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Me? A GeneaAngel?

The footnote Maven created an ‘angelic’ collage of genealogy bloggers at “A Choice of GeneaAngels.” I was graciously included in the collage. Can you find me without looking at the list? Sure would be fun to hear us all sing together, wouldn’t it?

On a related note, the footnote Maven also started a Blog Caroling meme where we post the lyrics from our favorite Christmas carol. Since my favorite song was already taken, I thought I’d go with my second favorite. In high school my French teacher would have us sing Christmas carols in French and one of my favorites was the following:

Bring A Torch, Jeannette, Isabella:

English Bring a torch, Jeanette, Isabella! Bring a torch, to Bethlehem come! Christ is born. Tell the folk of the village Mary has laid him in a manger. Ah!* Ah! beautiful is the Mother! Ah! Ah! beautiful is her child! It is wrong when the Baby is sleeping, It is wrong to speak so loud. Silence, now as you gather around, Lest your noise should waken Jesus. Hush! Hush! see how the Baby slumbers; Hush! Hush! see how the Baby sleeps! Softly now unto the stable, Softly for a moment come! Look and see how charming is Jesus, Look at him there, His cheeks are rosy! Hush! Hush! see how the Child is sleeping; Hush! Hush! see how he smiles in dreams! French Un flambeau, Jeanette, Isabelle – Un flambeau! Courons au berceau! C’est Jésus, bons gens du hameau. Le Christ est né; Marie appelle! Ah! Ah! Ah! Que la Mère est belle, Ah! Ah! Ah! Que l’Enfant est beau! C’est un tort, quand l’Enfant sommeille, C’est un tort de crier si fort. Taisez-vous, l’un et l’autre, d’abord! Au moindre bruit, Jésus s’éveille. Chut! chut! chut! Il dort à merveille, Chut! chut! chut! Voyez comme il dort! Doucement, dans l’étable close, Doucement, venez un moment! Approchez! Que Jésus est charmant! Comme il est blanc! Comme il est rose!

According to Wikipedia, the song was first published in 1553 in France and is unique among Christmas carols in that it is in 3/8 time (the fast pace is one reason I enjoy the song so much).

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