05 June 2016

SCGS Jamboree 2016: DNA Day

I hadn't expected to attend Jamboree this year, but when the schedule first came out with a full day of excellent speakers on intermediate/advanced sessions for DNA Day and an extra Friday workshop, I was hooked for the whole conference. Unfortunately for my blogging, the daily commute precluded my posting each day...more on that later. Here's a summary of my impressions.  A blog post on the rest ofJamboree to follow.

Even though I allowed 90 minutes for a commute that can be done in an hour-ish, I was 30 minutes late and arrived to find myself “locked-out” of Kitty Cooper's session on triangulation. Fortunately, her blog posts are thorough so I think I can tough it out and fill in the gaps myself. I spent the time left that session in with Katherine Borges & Linda Magellan on Recruiting DNA in Europe. Those few minutes were enjoyable and informative while I let myself unwind from the drive.  On to the rest of my day:

10am with James V. Bartlett on Intermediate DNA: Autosomal DNA – Specific Steps to Insure Success
An excellent presentation and syllabus: lots of detail yet very easy to follow. I need to follow his suggestion of having a few “standard messages” ready to use for cousin contacts. Duh..no wonder I was never happy with my attempted messages...I was trying to make one fit them all. Also, I need to keep trying: Jim cited much improved response rates by the third inquiry he sends out to an individual. His tips on spreadsheet management are useful, too.

11:30an with Tim Janzen on Organizing All of Your DNA Match List Data
Another excellent presentation in every regard. He provided very detailed info on how he structures his spreadsheets. Maybe I can make this work...I really like the idea of giving a new cell to each individual email to/from a cousin contact. In general, he works his analysis more at the segment level than by total size of a match.

2:00pm back with James V. Bartlett on Segment-ology: Learning about Autosomal DNA
Still very good and by this point I didn't need to take as many notes. I choose to think that's because of all my new knowledge and synthesis skills rather than from info overload! I think I've really got a good grasp now on analyzing matches that could be on either one of a chromosome pair.

3:30pm with Diahan Southard on Circles or Triangles? What Shape is your DNA?
Another excellent presentation as always from Diahan! I went into this expecting to still be strongly favoring triangulation. However now, I must admit that I see there is indeed some logic & science behind Genetic Networking (seems to be the generic term for “DNA Circles"). I still count myself in the triangulation camp, but I will be less overtly critical of a certain company's circles. I really liked Diahan's emphasis that while you may have DNA matches in circles, you MUST then “do the genealogy.”

5:00pm with Blaine Bettinger for Genetic Genealogy: Year in Review 2016
Good presentation, well organized. Yes, a lot really did happen in just the last year. Key quote: “We need to expect our match lists to change over time.” It's clear that more updates and more changes are going to be a fact of life.

Overall, a great day and it's going to take me hours and hours of work to start implementing all that I learned and/or am now more motivated to actually do.

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