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DNA testing & genetic genealogy is my specialty.
Select from popular topics listed below, or ask me about customising topics, length, content or style to suit your conference theme, keynote, lectures, webinars or workshops.
How and why DNA testing has transformed family history research, including real stories and anecdotes, unexpected results, ethical concerns, and a glimpse at the future.
A light-hearted look at acronyms used in genealogy and genetic genealogy.
Could your family history research use a bit of a rev-up? How a DNA test will spice things up a bit and get you following up some of those long-unfinished cousins’ lines in your family tree!
Traditional family history groups that are struggling to survive can adapt and thrive by introducing a range of DNA services to stay relevant, and attract and retain members.
The guidelines and considerations that genealogists must consider when utilising DNA testing, especially when they recruit relatives to provide DNA samples.
DNA Tests & Test Types
For beginners to DNA testing – an introduction to using DNA testing as a tool in your research. Learn the basics: the types of tests available, why test, who to test, where to test, how to test, how much it costs, what you get, practical applications, limitations and resources.
Plan your DNA testing strategy to achieve your particular research goals and to suit your family scenario. Learn the types of tests available, who to test, where to test, what the results might show, what to do next and
A detailed comparison of the features, pros & cons of the autosomal DNA tests available for family history. Much more than just price differences, this presentation considers dozens of other aspects of the process, results & useability to help you select the right test.
The inheritance paths of the different types of DNA are often misunderstood. Learn how the inheritance patterns of the four DNA types can be applied to your pedigree to help limit your DNA matches to certain branches, and extend your tree and solve research brick walls.
Learn how to identify your X-DNA matches (in your atDNA results), and understand the unique X-inheritance pattern so you can limit X-matches to the relevant ancestral lines.
Understand mtDNA inheritance, the mtDNA tests available, and how to interpret the results and apply them to your genealogy. Also learn about mtDNA data and analysis tools.
Understand Y-DNA inheritance, the Y-DNA tests available, and how to interpret the results and apply them to your genealogy. Explore surname, haplogroup and geographical projects.
Genealogists recognise the power of testing older generations but often regret not having DNA from their deceased ancestors. DNA can be extracted from objects such as envelope and aerogramme seals, stamps, photo corners, and more. Resulting raw data files are compatible with GEDmatch. Learn what you can test, at which companies, how much it costs, the limitations and risks involved, and important ethical and privacy considerations
Understand the differences between Paternity/Kinship tests and genealogy DNA tests, when and why they are used, and their accuracy/limitations in confirming relationships.
Most DNA testers only test at one company. Ensure you don’t miss important matches elsewhere, by taking advantage of free transfers to other DNA databases.
Exploring Your DNA Results
Practical tools and techniques for exploring your DNA results and incorporating them into your family history. Includes testing company features and some easy third-party tools.
Testing companies categorise DNA matches into broad groups, but you need to know how to explore all possible relationships yourself using the amount of shared DNA.
Techniques to help you identify DNA matches that share no information.
The closest matches of many descendants of First Fleeters, convicts and early settlers are likely to be other Australians and New Zealanders. Sometimes it is difficult to notice them in amongst the thousands of other matches. Learn some useful tips on how to find more cousins.
One of the first things a genealogist does after receiving autosomal DNA results is to confirm existing research. Do your DNA results reflect your known ancestry? The outcome may be apparent immediately, or it may require developing a longer-term targeted testing plan.
What are shared matches (aka In Common With matches) and why are they one of the most important and useful features when working with your DNA matches.
Features, tools, tips & tricks to get the most out of your AncestryDNA results.
Features, tools, tips & tricks to get the most out of your MyHeritage DNA results.
Features, tools, tips & tricks to get the most out of your Family Tree DNA results.
Features, tools, tips & tricks to get the most out of your 23andMe results.
Features and tips to get the most out of your Living DNA results.
DNA Tools & Tips
Getting your DNA test results is just the start! Learn what else you can do with your DNA results and DNA data. An overview of options and opportunities – many of which are free!
What is GEDmatch and what does it do? Learn all the basics you need to know to get started and how to use all the most popular GEDmatch tools and utilities.
Learn how DNA Painter’s What are the odds? (WATO) tool uses shared matches in a known tree to help guide you to where an unknown tester might fit in.
Whether you use paper and coloured pencils, a spreadsheet, custom coloured dots/labels or automated tools, sorting your shared DNA matches into groups can help advance your research.
Before sharing DNA match information with others, you must privatise personal details. Learn how to privatise, blur, obscure, blot, cover or remove sensitive data before sharing.
Unknown Parentage & Investigative Genetic Genealogy
Foundlings, adoptees, donor conceived, war babies, child migrants, orphans – in fact anyone with unknown parents or grandparents for any reason can now learn who they are and where they come from. Learn how it works, where to start, and what to do when you get your results.
Speculative trees are an invaluable and essential tool to help identify shared ancestors of DNA matches, and manage descendancy research in unknown parentage cases. Learn a range of practical tips and tricks to simplify the process and improve your chance of success.
Many DNA matches have no family tree, or a tiny tree, or a private tree, and don’t respond to messages. Use all the clues you can find to build speculative family trees (aka Quick & Dirty) tree to progress your research.
Building a family tree downwards to living people (ie. reverse genealogy) requires exceptional descendancy research skills. You may want to build cousin branches to identify DNA matches, or solve unknown parentage or IGG cases. Learn top tips for researching living people.
Two genealogy DNA databases allow users to upload their DNA data and opt-in to being visible as matches (if related) to DNA profiles uploaded by law enforcement. Learn about IGG & LEM and how to manage your privacy settings.
My grandmother-in-law was 80 when she finally learned about her father’s origins. So far the DNA evidence is supporting what was discovered, but could there be another answer?
A selection of real life case studies, demonstrating typical examples of how DNA testing is solving family history mysteries, including those we didn’t even know we had.
Have you tested your DNA specifically to search for an unknown parent/grandparent? You’ve got your results but just don’t know how to use them? If that sounds like you, bring your laptop and DNA account logins to this workshop, and we’ll get you setup and started, assess your situation, show you what to do next and give you an action list to take away. 3.5 hours.
If you’ve done an atDNA test but have never understood or checked your X-matches before, bring your laptop and DNA account logins and we’ll show you how to find your X-DNA matches and identify which branches of your pedigree that they may descend from.
Beginners: If you have received your autosomal DNA results but have no idea if they reflect your existing research or your known family tree, this workshop will step you through reviewing your results against your known family tree to find out!
Using DNA Painter’s What are the odds? (WATO) tool, we’ll add your shared matches in a known tree to help guide you to where an unknown mystery match might fit into your tree, or if you are the odd one out in another big known tree, we’ll use it to find where you might fit.
Bring your laptop and access to your DNA accounts and we’ll sort your DNA matches – step-by-step – into grandparent groups/clusters using the Leeds Method.
Come prepared with your DNA loaded to GEDmatch, and we’ll step you through all the basic tools, features and most popular utilities using your own DNA kits.
If you have one or more known DNA cousin matches on Family Finder, you’ll learn how to link them to your FTDNA family tree to generate paternal/maternal family matches.
Beginners: Make the most of your DNA by setting up your account to optimise results. Learn how to manage your display, privacy, sharing, downloading, and tree-linking DNA settings.
Two genealogy DNA databases allow users to upload their DNA data and opt-in to being visible as matches (if related) to DNA profiles uploaded by law enforcement. This workshop will teach you IGG & LEM basics and guide you through your own DNA account settings to check they match your personal preferences.