In keeping with my goal to watch all of the presentations from this past RootsTech conference I decided to watch GeneTech: YDNA Solutions to Common Genealogical Problems by Nathan Murphy. The presentation was originally given at RootsTech but was re-recorded somewhere else (presumably at Family Search).
Because of my genetic history, I have a substancial interest in YDNA and using it as a tool for research.
Overall, the presentation had good material and was worth watching. He provided good information about various tests and potential reasons to select between Family Tree, Ancestry DNA, and GeneTree.
He also talked about places that allow for free uploads of your data, YSearch, GeneTree and Ancestry.
Nathan’s presentation style was quite stiff. He failed to engage the audience, and was quite apparently reading his material.
That said, most importantly his talk and discussion really made me want to document my DNA experiences. I think they are interesting, so, I plan to document my findings and experiences with both my Y-DNA and my autosomal DNA tests and their results. You will see the story of My DNA interspersed with my other posts.
As I progress in my Genealogy practices, I’ve realized that I need to use a system to determine data validity in my plans. I’m not happy with the one that comes with my software and was looking for a definitive methodology to grade sources. For example, I find that death certificates are generally poor in assuring the year someone was born—Census records when a person is typically better. Draft registrations are probably the most accurate.
When I saw one of the videos from the 2012 RootsTech Conference that dealt with “Reputations Systems for Genealogy, “I was excited. Hopefully, the video will give me some great ideas about how to quantify the reputation of various sites and sources.
As you can probably tell from my tone so far, I was disappointed. For nearly the first 20 minutes, he points out the reputation features of Amazon eBay and StackOverflow.com. Then he launches into a walk-through of the Yahoo Design Pattern Library. Finally, 51 minutes into the 62-minute talk, he starts to talk about the reputation characteristics of genealogy sites. It was a lot of background for little substance.
At that point, he shows new.familysearch.org, which is a bummer because it isn’t available to the general public. He shows how little the site has on the reputation of data and provides his recommendations on what it should have. I think it is in bad taste for a Family Search employee to present things he’d like to see in a Family Search product (even though it isn’t available to the general public). The sad thing is that the development director for that product also presented at the conference. Anyway, he does talk briefly about the reputation elements shown on Geni, Fold3, and Ancestry.
The presenter sounded like he was reading from a script; he had little energy and was not entertaining. All-in-all it was one of the worst presentations I’ve seen from the RootsTech Videos. I’d pass on this video.
[ Updated 31 July 2022 – All links removed because none of them still worked. I also gently edited for typos. ]
I have been waiting for several months for the results of my autosomal DNA testing from Ancestry and finally received them. The critical component they report is your Genetic Ethnicity. No surprise, the results show I am 75% from the British Isles (Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales); it also indicated that for 5%, my ethnicity is uncertain. They also mention that as their genetic signatures improve over time it may provide details. We have long thought that my 3rd great grandmother was Cherokee and the test didn’t prove or disprove it as the 2-3% DNA I received from her is within that 5% uncertain.
Of particular interest further the test results give interesting links to “cousins.” I didn’t have any close cousins but there are 8 genetic 4th – 6th cousins. That is fairly distant but does provide a starting point for some additional research. A quick first look didn’t illuminate any common ancestors but there were several who didn’t have shared trees that I’ll have to contact.
Besides just the contacts the results on Ancestry it provides a common name list. Wherein it displays last names which are common between our trees. It also has a location tab which shows locations that are common between our trees. That may prove even more interesting for research possibilities For example one of my cousins didn’t appear to have any names in common with me, but we both have ancestors born in Carter County, Kentucky. The individual may have additional details and research that I may find relevant.
Of course, I’m looking forward to many more people taking the test which should, hopefully, provide a link to someone a bit closer than 4th cousin. Anyway, it is a great new tool. For those who are Ancestry members the test is only $99.
More on the Roots Tech videos:
The Roots Tech 2012 video presentations are, for the most part, excellent and the presentation by Ron Tanner was among the best. It was very informative, and Ron is highly entertaining and engaging. He says he’s “crazy,” but from what I saw, he isn’t “crazy” but is excited about his work and what FamilySearch is doing in the future. FamilySearch Family Tree has some amazing things planned, ways in which collaboration in the family tree can be much easier and still maintain accountability if/when someone changes something in a tree. The changes planned have the potential to revolutionize collaboration. Some changes may not be implemented until the end of the year, but the new family tree capabilities appear very desirable.
I’m looking forward to the new features.
Family Search is one of my top sites, and their improvements might move it to the top.
Ron Tanner’s presentation is no longer available, however, you can see RootsTech by Family Search for currently available videos and presentations.
[I updated the link and did some minor editing 31 Aug 2022]
I ran into a great site, Roots Tech. It has videos from their
latest convention, which is the largest genealogy Tech
convention in the country. It is held yearly in Salt Lake City. I wish it were a lot closer so I could attend. Anyway, the videos seem to run about an hour each. I watched one from a guy from Google and using Google for genealogical research. It had lots of really great tips. Probably the best one was using the tilde parameter. For example, searching for “Arthur Brown ~genealogy” will yield results that only relate to genealogical research, vital records,
etc. Really cool. Also, you can use the double dot parameter in dates.
Such as “Arthur Brown 1868..1928 will return results for the date
range and will ignore an Arthur Brown born in 1929. Really helpful. So often, Google searches are like drinking water from a fire hose. These two parameters can reduce the flow to a manageable level.The video I watched also talked about Google Image Search, wherein you can
upload a picture and have Google look for similar views. Subsequently, I have not had much success with it, but I think it could lead to a breakthrough on that rare photo that you know is of someone that is related, but you don’t have a name for them, and I have a bunch of them. (I have about 20 photos from 1890 plus/minus 20 years, which are “Hubers from Switzerland.”)There was a bit about searching Google News but only searching the archives and leaving out the current events, which we don’t typically care about in genealogical research. The same thing with using Google Books. They also mentioned using Google + to link with others doing research.Just the Google presentation will revolutionize my research methods. I can’t wait to see the other videos.As you can tell, I was impressed and will use their google tips a lot.