DNA Samples Without All the Spit

Last week at our DNA SIG, I was asked about how to get a DNA saliva sample from someone who cannot make that much saliva. If you are testing your elderly relatives, this can definitely be a problem.

I remembered a colleague discussing a process (thank you Randy Whited!) and so I went looking for the full instructions. I found an amateur-created YouTube video that gives good, quick instructions.

Check out this YouTube video describing the process.1

Good Luck!


1. Reviews @ Another Teen Mom, “Short & Sweet: AncestryDNA & 23andme WITHOUT Spit!” video, uploaded 1 January 2018; YouTube (https://youtu.be/3PBGxDjqUxU : viewed 30 October 2018).

Board for Certification of Genealogists Adopts Standards for DNA Evidence

The use of DNA in our genealogical research is becoming more and more prevalent. As the use of DNA has grown, the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) has been assessing how it has affected the field. As a result, BCG has adopted new standards for the use of DNA in genealogical work.

The following news release was received from BCG making the announcement:

For immediate release 27 October 2018
News Release, Board for Certification of Genealogists

Board for Certification of Genealogists Adopts Standards for DNA Evidence

On 21 October 2018, the Board for the Certification of Genealogists (BCG) approved five modified and seven new standards relating to the use of DNA evidence in genealogical work. BCG also updated the Genealogist’s Code to address the protection of people who provide DNA samples.

The new measures are intended to assist the millions of family historians who now turn to genetic sources to establish kinships. The action followed a public comment period on proposed standards released by BCG earlier this year.

“BCG firmly believes the standards must evolve to incorporate this new type of evidence,” according to BCG President Richard G. Sayre. “Associates, applicants, and the public should know BCG respects DNA evidence. It respects the complexity of the evidence and the corresponding need for professional standards. BCG does not expect use of DNA to be demonstrated in every application for certification. However, all genealogists, including applicants, need to make sound decisions about when DNA can or should be used, and any work products that incorporate it should meet the new standards and ethical provisions.”

“Standards for Using DNA Evidence,” a new chapter to be incorporated in Genealogy Standards, introduces the issues this way:

“Meeting the Genealogical Proof Standard requires using all available and relevant types of evidence. DNA evidence both differs from and shares commonalities with documentary evidence. Like other types of evidence, DNA evidence is not always available, relevant, or usable for a specific problem, is not used alone, and involves planning, analyzing, drawing conclusions, and reporting. Unlike other types of evidence, DNA evidence usually comes from people now living.”

In brief1, the new standards address seven areas:

  • Planning DNA tests. The first genetic standard describes the qualities of an effective plan for DNA testing including types of tests, testing companies, and analytical tools. It also calls for selecting the individuals based on their DNA’s potential to answer a research question.
  • Analyzing DNA test results. The second genetic standard covers factors that might impact a genetic relationship conclusion, including analysis of pedigrees, documentary research, chromosomal segments, and mutations, markers or regions; also, composition of selected comparative test takers and genetic groups.
  • Extent of DNA evidence. The third genetic standard describes the qualities needed for sufficiently extensive DNA data.
  • Sufficient verifiable data. The fourth genetic standard addresses the verifiability of data used to support conclusions.
  • Integrating DNA and documentary evidence. The fifth genetic standard calls for a combination of DNA and documentary evidence to support a conclusion about a genetic relationship. It also calls for analysis of all types of evidence.
  • Conclusions about genetic relationships. The sixth genetic standard defines the parameters of a genetic relationship and the need for accurate representation of genealogical conclusions.
  • Respect for privacy rights. The seventh genetic standard describes the parameters of informed consent.
  • The modifications made to several existing standards call for:
  • Documentation of sources for each parent-child link.
  • Where appropriate, distinction among adoptive, foster, genetic, step, and other kinds of familial relationships.
  • Use of graphics as aids, for example: genealogical charts and diagrams to depict proved or hypothesized relationships; or lists and tables to facilitate correlation of data and demonstrate patterns or conflicts in evidence.
  • Explanations of deficiencies when research is insufficient to reach a conclusion.

A new edition of Genealogy Standards is expected to be ready by next March. A new application guide and judging rubrics incorporating the new standards will be released at about the same time. In the interim, portfolios submitted for consideration for certification will be evaluated using the existing Genealogy Standards.

1. The Board for Certification of Genealogists® (BCG) contractually granted the publisher of Genealogy Standards the exclusive right to copy, publish and distribute the standards including amendments. However, BCG-certified associates have the contractual right to include reasonable portions of the standards in presentations, articles, blog posts, social media, and the like. In no case may BCG or its associates allow the standards to be published in their entirety because the publisher deems that competitive to its publication rights.

The words Certified Genealogist and the designation CG are registered certification marks and the designations Certified Genealogical Lecturer and CGL are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by board-certified associates after periodic competency evaluations, and the board name is registered in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Busy Fall and Preparing for SLIG Tech Day

Fall always seems to bring on a fresh new season of busy-ness. I’m usually quite busy around the holidays, busy around spring, busy in the summer, and then fall hits and things are busy again…but the feeling of fall is one of starting. Which is weird because seasonally we are getting ready for winter and hibernation. This is likely a product of the school year, fall through winter and so autumn brings on the feeling of beginning again.

I have been working on filling in my schedule of speaking engagements for the foreseeable future. I am teaching some local classes here and there. You can always see my upcoming lecture schedule on my Speaking Calendar page.

I am excited to be presenting two three-hour workshops for SLIG’s Tech Day on January 19, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. First I will teach “Using Evernote to Create an Effective Research Plan and Log System” followed by “Using Google’s MyMaps as a Research and Analysis Tool.”

I taught the Google’s MyMaps class last year. It went really well and sold out quickly, and they even added a few extra seats that sold out too so they agreed that we should see about teaching it again. Google’s MyMaps is a really cool tool and I enjoy showing people what it can do and then seeing what they come up with.

The Evernote presentation is a new one for me. I use Evernote everyday. I love it. It is so versatile, handy, easily accessible, user-friendly, and more. I find it quite easy to use both for research planning and logging, or “plogging” as I like to call it.

Both workshops will be interactive with in-class exercises that will ensure the students practice what I am demonstrating, and get them to a place that they can begin right away with the tools.

For more information on SLIG Tech Day, visit this website: https://ugagenealogy.org/cpage.php?pt=526

New AncestryDNA Ethnicity Update

If you haven’t logged in to your Ancestry DNA account today, you might want to go take a peek. They released an update to the ethnicity estimates, making some adjustments and refining some regions to be a little more specific.

Here is mine:

DNA ethnicity update1

Compared to my previous numbers:

PreviousDNA

You can see that they’ve refined some of the regions such as “Great Britain” to “England, Wales, & Northwestern Europe.” And they’ve split out Wales from the previous category of “Ireland/Scotland/Wales.” “Europe West” has been refined to “Germanic Europe.”

This refinement makes more sense from what I know from documentary research and it is good to see updates to the data.

APG Seeks Nominations

As a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, a board member, and a member of the Nominating Committee, I want to highlight the fact that the APG is seeking recommendations for eligible persons to serve on the board for 2019-2020 terms. I have served 1 1/2 terms and have learned so much, not just about APG or about serving on a national board, but also about being a professional genealogist and networking with others.

I believe that if you have ideas, opinions, and generally want to enact change in or support this community that we all interact in and benefit from, then perhaps serving a term (or more) is a great idea. (This applies beyond genealogy, of course!) And I can’t stress enough about the relationships I’ve formed and colleagues I’ve gained, as well as the work I’ve supported that the APG does to serve and make better the professionalism of our trade.

For recommendations please contact admin@apgen.org and read the details below.

The official release reads thusly:

Call for Recommendations for APG Board of Directors. Deadline: 31 Aug 2018

WHO WILL HELP RUN APG, THE WORLD’S LARGEST ORGANIZATION FOR PROFESSIONAL GENEALOGISTS? The APG Nominations Committee invites members to recommend candidates for the APG Board of Directors, and the Nominations Committee. Deadline for nominations to any of these positions is 31 August 2018.

Under our bylaws six persons will be elected to serve at-large to a two year term on the Board of Directors beginning on 1 January 2019. Two of the three-person Nominations Committee are elected to nominate candidates for the 2019 election.

Send your recommendations (they can include yourself) to the Nominations Committee at admin@apgen.org. Please include each recommended person’s contact information and their consent to be recommended. A statement of qualifications would help but is not required. Deadline: 31 August 2018.

Board members must be APG members in good standing who joined before 1 August 2017. Board members should have some knowledge of the association’s goals and procedures and a strong interest in the welfare of APG and professional genealogists worldwide.

See https://www.apgen.org/contacts/index.html for a list of current board members. The Nominations Committee will prepare a list of candidates by September 15. The election will be held in late October. Board members should:

* be familiar with bylaws, policies, and procedures;
* make an effort to attend at least one of the two annual in-person board meetings plus the two or three virtual board meetings;
* come prepared to board meetings, having read all minutes and communications;
* respond in a timely fashion to email votes;
* serve in at least one capacity besides that of board member;
* when in attendance at a conference, volunteer at the APG booth; and
* communicate with the membership in some of the following ways: talk to members seeking out opinions, concerns, ideas; contribute to the APGQ or the APG eNews; participate in APG List discussions; join a chapter or Special Interest Group.

2018 Nominations Committee:
Cari Taplin, CG
Melanie Holtz, CG
Elizabeth O’Neal

Laura G. Prescott SLIG Scholarship Announced

One of the best, brightest, kindest, and most selfless genealogists in the genealogy community, Laura Prescott, has decided to enter hospice care after years of fighting a tough battle with cancer.

The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) has announced a scholarship in her honor. As if the writing of this post, the fund has reached over $14,000!

What a wonderful gift to remember and honor such a kind and generous person whose smile would just light up a room!

You can read the full details and how to donate here: https://ugagenealogy.blogspot.com/2018/07/new-laura-g-prescott-slig-scholarship.html?m=1

Please consider a donation, no matter how small, to help honor this lovely person and gift the community with a wonderful legacy in her memory for years to come.

Interested in Certification? Try a Discussion Group!

2018-06-12_14-31-22I recently completed my first time as discussion group leader (ring leader?) with Jill Morelli’s “Certification Discussion Groups” (CDG for short). These groups were created to demystify the process of preparing and submitting your portfolio for the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). It was a fun time. I got to meet with old friends and make new ones. And they got to ask questions about the process, be each others’ cheerleaders, and have the opportunity to study and process portfolios and judges’ comments.

The discussion groups are seven weeks and are divided up as follows:

  • Week 1: Intros, Application, Resources & Strategy I
  • Week 2: Ethics, Dev Activities & Strategy II

  • Week 3: Transcriptions

  • Week 4: Research Report (Client Report)

  • Week 5: Case Study

  • Week 6: Kinship Determination Project (KDP)

  • Week 7: Evaluation & Process

We go over each part of the application as well as the rubrics and standards for each piece. We also discuss some of the confusing items such as the differences between a narrative lineage, genealogy, and pedigree, and the differences between a proof statement, proof summary, and proof argument, and more. Questions arise as to what a particular standard or rubric means and this group allows for discussion of those questions.

The groups take place via video conferencing either via GoTo Meeting or Zoom. There are homework assignments that are meant to enhance the discussion, but they are optional. The course is not meant to be intensive, rather to answer specific questions about the process, dispel any myths that are floating around, give participants a chance to hear from people who have been through the process and passed, but aren’t PERFECT! We share our mistakes, the things we learned, and tips for avoiding overwhelm.

If you are interested in the process, are considering becoming certified, are already on the clock, or just wondering if it is even for you, I encourage you to participate in one of the groups. Current discussion group leaders are Jill Morelli, Angela McGhie, and myself. For more information and to be added to the waiting list, contact Jill jkmorellli@gmail.com.

Genetic Genealogy Standards Deadline Looming

If you haven’t yet had a chance to read and comment on the proposed genetic genealogy set forth by a committee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, you only have a few days left.

The proposed standards can be viewed at https://bcgcertification.org/DNA/Proposed_Standards.pdf.

The public comment period ends on 23 July 2018. Fill out the survey at this link (https://goo.gl/forms/57ahXLqkAYOBWDop2) by 23 July 2018.

GRIP 2019 Courses Announced

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It is hard to believe that the year is half over and I’m already looking ahead to my continuing education plans for 2019. In a little over a month, I will be attending the July week of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) in Pittsburgh (as opposed to the July week in Amherst, NY) coming up soon, taking the course “Women and Children First” with Judy Russell.

Looking ahead to future educational opportunities, I want to point out that GRIP’s 2019 courses have been announced and you can read about them on their blog.

Two weeks will be held in Pittsburgh at La Roche College, which is a lovely and inviting setting for a week of study. The weeks are June 23-28 and July 14-19, 2019. Mark your calendars!

GRIP is one of my favorites. I hope to see you there!

Our Field is Full of Worthy People: APG Award Nominations Sought

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It is so important to recognize people who are working quietly behind the scenes, in the forefront of the genealogical field, or somewhere in-between, while they are still active and alive and able to appreciate being appreciated!

Several calls for nominations were sent out from the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG). Awards will be presented at the APG Professional Management Conference being held October 4-6 in Kansas City, Missouri. The nominations are due by 10 July 2017 and should be emailed in PDF format to Kathleen W. Hinckley, Executive Director, at admin@apgen.org. Please put the name of the award in the subject line of the email.

Two awards are described below as received from APG.

Laura G. Prescott Award for Exemplary Service to Professional Genealogy

The Laura G. Prescott Award for Exemplary Service to Professional Genealogy was unveiled at the 2017 Professional Management Conference. APG President Billie Fogarty presented the award to Laura G. Prescott, a past APG President and longtime active member. We are now accepting nominations for the award to be presented at the 2018 Professional Management Conference to be held October 4-6 in Kansas City, Missouri.

This award is in recognition of exemplary professionalism and continuing encouragement to other professional genealogists. It acknowledges those with a career devoted to uplifting fellow genealogists and improving their career circumstances and opportunities, and dedicated service to the field of professional genealogy. The award is open to any member or organization in the genealogical community.

Nominations should include a written statement describing the nominee’s contributions to professional genealogy. The Awards Committee will recommend a winner to the Executive Committee.

APG Professional Achievement Award

The award honors an APG member with a record of exceptional professional achievement and contributions to the field of genealogy through individual excellence and ethical behavior in published research, public presentations, innovative organization leadership, writing or editing, or successful business achievement by creating valuable products or services. The winner will be a professional who has demonstrated a commitment to advance and promote the highest standards in the field.

The nominee must have been an APG member in good standing for at least one year prior to the nomination and twenty years of professional advancement in the field of genealogy. Nominees cannot be current members of the APG Board of Directors or APG contractors. Nominees not selected in a previous year remain eligible for nomination. Past recipients are:

2007 – Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
2008 – Sandra Luebking
2009 – Lou Szucs
2010 – Christine Rose, CG, CGL, FASG
2011 – Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG
2012 – Janet Robyn Worthington, JP, NZRN, Dip. FHS, FSAG
2013 – Helen F. M. Leary, CG (Emeritus), CGL, FASG, FNGS
2014 – Claire Mire Bettag, CG
2015 – David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA
2016 – Eileen M. O’Duill, CG
2017 – Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL

Nominations should include a written statement describing the nominee’s contributions to genealogy and APG. The Awards Committee will recommend a winner to the Executive Committee.