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HOW DO I USE DNA IN FAMILY HISTORY?


Curious about DNA? Thinking of Testing?

There are a number of sources of information about DNA testing on the web, including Facebook and YouTube. Major testing companies such as FamilyTree DNA, Ancestry DNA and 23andMe etc have useful resources, including webinars.

The Federation of Family History Societies in the UK has released a paper to help family historians understand more about DNA testing. While Australian laws may operate differently it contains some worthwhile advice and is included here courtesy of the Federation. 

The SAG hosts lectures and group meetings focussed on practical applications using DNA sites and third party tools.  If you would prefer a live event where you can interact with the presenter and ask questions we also run a quarterly online session called Beginners Introduction to DNA where attendees can learn all about the different types of tests, which companies sell them and what to consider before testing. Please check the Events Calendar for details of upcoming activities.

Tested and want to know what to do next?

To be effective in DNA research you firstly need to be familiar with the evaluation tools provided by your testing company, and secondly be aware of some of the key concepts that underpin the analysis process. Testing companies such as Family Tree DNA, AncestryDNA, 23andMe, My Heritage etc all provide a range of educational items to assist with their product and all new users should gain familiarity with the relevant testing company's site.

If you would like to start your DNA journey visit our DNA Research Group - Tools in Practice webpage for links to some great introductory websites and blogs belonging to SAG members.

The below image shows the recommended learning pathway for those attending courses at the SAG.


Diagram prepared by Andrew Redfern based on earlier versions by Veronica Williams & Christine Woodlands, 2023

Want to dig deeper into your DNA results, expand your tree or break down a brick wall?

The SAG has two DNA Research Groups which you can attend to learn more about DNA.

Here is a list of upcoming DNA sessions 

Upcoming events

    • 09 July 2024
    • 9:00 AM
    • 31 December 2024
    • 5:00 PM
    Register

    This is an expression of interest only to assist us to gauge the level of demand for this course. We will contact you with further information when the next course dates are available. 

    Need help with starting to solve your DNA dilemmas? Have you tested with Ancestry DNA and want to understand how to work with your results?

    Join Christine Woodlands and other members of the SAG DNA Discussion Group for a 7 part course designed to assist you to understand the information you can glean from your Ancestry DNA matches.

    The program is delivered in four modules. We’ll see how brick walls can come crashing down by using a three prong approach to solving DNA dilemmas at AncestryDNA - grouping your matches, building research trees at Ancestry and using the 'What are the odds?’ tool at DNA Painter.  When participants are comfortable with the approach, they can apply it to the other testing sites and GEDmatch.

    This program is limited to 20 participants per course as this allows everyone to get the most out of the program.


    • 09 July 2024
    • 9:00 AM
    • 31 March 2025
    • 5:00 PM
    Register

    This is an expression of interest only to assist us to gauge the level of demand for this course.

    We will contact you with further information about the registration process once we have a better idea of how many people wish to undertake the course. 

    Due to the advanced nature of this course a survey will need to be completed by prospective attendees to demonstrate their proficiency in the pre-requisites listed below. We will contact you about this when the EOI process has closed.

    Are you ready to take your DNA results to the next level using chromosome analysis? Do you have your DNA data at a site with a chromosome browser and want to understand how to work with your results?

    Join Veronica Williams and other SAG DNA Discussion Group members for a 10 part course designed to build on your existing knowledge of working with your DNA and develop your skills in chromosome analysis.

    The series is not suitable for beginners, it suits intermediate DNA researchers interested in learning more complex DNA techniques.

    The course consists of twelve sessions, made up of four lectures and eight workshops that will include case studies and opportunities for discussion. Whilst foundation concepts will be discussed in Module 1, later sessions will assume knowledge of those DNA concepts and tools.

    Sessions will likely be scheduled for Saturdays, over a three-four month period.

    To provide an indication of how the program is structured the 2024 course outline can downloaded and viewed by clicking here.

    Pre-requisites for participants: 

    • Competence in basic DNA analysis techniques as outlined in the section Starting to work with your DNA results - the basics
    • Have been working with their DNA results for over 12 months
    • Ability to work with spreadsheets, including basic formatting and data manipulation;
    • Priority will be given to those who have completed the SAG AncestryDNA Course

    The course will be presented online using the Zoom platform.

    This course will NOT be recorded.


    • 21 September 2024
    • 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Via Zoom
    • 490
    Register

     Topic: TBA

    The DNA Research Group - Tools in Practice is a collaborative group designed to assist researchers with the analysis and interpretation of genetic genealogy results. 

    The group is designed to meet the needs of attendees with an intermediate level of knowledge of  genetic genealogy.

    Group Leads: Veronica Williams and Danielle Lautrec


    This session will be held online via the Zoom platform.

    • 21 September 2024
    • 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
    • Via Zoom
    • 494
    Register

    Topic: TBA

    This session will be a facilitated discussion session. It requires pre-work by participants and information and discussion questions will be distributed before the meeting. All participants are expected to contribute to the discussion.

    Skill level: Advanced

     Facilitator: Sharon Watson

    Group Leads: Veronica Williams and Danielle Lautrec

    Please note: The topics and tools discussed at this group are pitched at an advanced level and the Research Discussion Group meetings are not recommended for those just beginning their DNA journey.

    This is an online session. It will NOT be recorded due to privacy reasons, so you should only book if you can attend live.

    • 28 September 2024
    • 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Via Zoom
    • 25
    Register

    This session is ideal for people who are starting to work with their AncestryDNA test results. We’ll cover the reporting features for testers who don’t have an Ancestry subscription and then the additional features that come with subscriptions. Christine will share her "Top 10" techniques for working with AncestryDNA.

    Demonstrations and case studies will be featured in the session. There'll be plenty of time for questions. Reference material will be available after the session.

    Participants should have an understanding of the different types of DNA tests and how they can be used. This is covered in Beginners’ Introduction to DNA. When you register, we’ll send you a link to a pre-recorded webinar if you’d like a refresh.


    Skill level: Beginner

    Presenter: Christine Woodlands 

    • 02 November 2024
    • 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Via Zoom
    • 496
    Register

    Genealogical DNA Analysis Tool (GDAT) User Group

    If you already have DNA chromosome analysis skills and are using the GDAT database tool to manage your DNA information, you might wish to join our new user group.  SAG user groups are aimed at ‘members helping members’ so this is a collaborative working group aimed at sharing information and knowledge.  You must be a SAG member to join this group.

    Sessions will include a short presentation on a specified topic identified by the group, followed by discussion between group members, then round table Q&A regarding the product.  We will meet on Saturdays at 10.00-12.00 using the Zoom platform.  We won’t be recording the sessions, so you must attend live.

    Important things to note:

    1. Discussion will be focussed on utilising the GDAT software for DNA analysis;
    2. Members must have an understanding of the principles of chromosome analysis before joining the group;
    3. Chromosome analysis questions WILL NOT be discussed, except in the context of using the GDAT product.

    Pre-requisite Knowledge for using GDAT:

    1. Be computer literate;
    2. Have the ability to work with spreadsheets and large data sets;
    3. Have been working with DNA results at GEDmatch, FamilyTree DNA, My Heritage, or 23andMe for over 12 months;
    4. Understand the concepts of chromosome analysis and can apply them in practice, in particular:
      1. Be able to differentiate between shared matches and shared segments;
      2. Be able to interpret when matches are ICW on a segment;
      3. Understand triangulation concepts and how to identify Triangulated Groups at each DNA site.

    Before joining our user group, it is best if you have already:

    * Watched the video and undertaken all the tasks in the Quick Start Guide (Setting up) - https://sites.google.com/view/genealogical-dna-analysis-tool/home/video-tutorials#h.t5ehfiqzxea3

    * Read how the developer (Becky) approaches her DNA analysis, recognising the tool allows for multiple variations - https://drive.google.com/file/d/1iO5BceetmtucroYUJeyWsMSjslV4IQYH/view

    * Set up at least one profile, added a pedigree for that profile and have uploaded segment data from at least one DNA company, such as GEDmatch, FTDNA, 23&Me or My Heritage.  GEDmatch is probably the easiest to start with, utilising Tier 1 tools is recommended for the triangulation report  (but not essential).

    Any issues arising consult the user guide

    https://www.getgdat.com/home

    If it's not covered in the user guide submit the question for discussion at the next meeting by posting in the SAG GDAT User Group, or if the enquiry is more urgent utilise the Facebook GDAT User group https://www.facebook.com/groups/dnatool


    Skill level: Advanced DNA knowledge    

    Group Lead: Veronica Williams

     This session will not be recorded. Please only register if you are able to attend at the advertised time.

    • 02 November 2024
    • 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Via Zoom
    • 499
    Register

    Receiving your DNA test results is an exciting time but it can quickly become confusing. This session will look at the different types of tests available, which one is right for you and which companies do these tests. We will look at some basics to help you understand and interpret your matches and there will be plenty of time for questions so you can start finding those new cousins!

    This is an online session using the ZOOM platform.


    Skill level: Beginners

         Presenter: Melissa Hulbert    

    Note: Members need to be logged in to the site to make an event booking.

    • 07 December 2024
    • 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Via Zoom
    • 496
    Register

     Topic: TBA

    The DNA Research Group - Tools in Practice is a collaborative group designed to assist researchers with the analysis and interpretation of genetic genealogy results. 

    The group is designed to meet the needs of attendees with an intermediate level of knowledge of  genetic genealogy.

    Group Leads: Veronica Williams and Danielle Lautrec


    This session will be held online via the Zoom platform.

    • 07 December 2024
    • 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
    • Via Zoom
    • 496
    Register

    Topic: TBA

    This session will be a facilitated discussion session. It requires pre-work by participants and information and discussion questions will be distributed before the meeting. All participants are expected to contribute to the discussion.

    Skill level: Advanced

     Facilitator: Sharon Watson

    Group Leads: Veronica Williams and Danielle Lautrec

    Please note: The topics and tools discussed at this group are pitched at an advanced level and the Research Discussion Group meetings are not recommended for those just beginning their DNA journey.

    This is an online session. It will NOT be recorded due to privacy reasons, so you should only book if you can attend live.

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