Is your group interested in learning more about DNA testing and how it can be used in your genealogical research?  Or are you curious about the intersection of genetics and history?  I have lectured many times all over the United States to groups of all different sizes, and would love to speak to your group.  Below is a sampling of the lectures I provide, organized from the most basic to the most advanced.  Each lecture is a stand-alone talk, but they can be combined together for a full-day workshop.

Basic Courses:

  • Genetic Genealogy Education – You’ve received your DNA test results, but you have no idea what they mean. Where do you go for more information? How do you educate yourself about genetic genealogy?
  • Introduction to DNA – In addition to learning about Y-DNA and mtDNA, we’ll learn about the newest tool available to genealogists, autosomal DNA.  Genealogists can use these tools together with traditional research to explore their ancient ancestry, find genetic relatives, and break through brick walls.
  • Begging for Spit – One of the biggest challenges facing genealogists is asking family members and non-genealogists to undergo DNA testing. Together we’ll examine novel and interactive ways to encourage participation by making these individuals stakeholders in DNA testing.
  • Using Y-DNA and mtDNA to Explore Your Ancestry – Y-DNA and mtDNA testing are the workhorses of genetic genealogy, and have helped genealogists break through thousands of stubborn brick walls.  Learn about the unique inheritance of Y-DNA and mtDNA in your family, how these tests can be used to explore your ancient ancestry, and how the results can identify your relatives both close and distant.
  • Using Autosomal DNA to Explore Your Ancestry – For years, genealogists have focused on Y-DNA and mtDNA, unable to access the wealth of information in the remainder of their DNA.  At long last, new autosomal DNA tests reveal this hidden information.  Genealogists can use autosomal DNA for ethnicity estimates, finding long-lost cousins, and examining specific genealogical problems.
  • DNA & Pop Culture: How Harry Potter & Star Wars Can teach You About Genetic Genealogy – A genealogist can learn about DNA from pop culture! In this lecture we use family trees and DNA from pop culture phenomena like Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and Star Wars to learn about DNA testing.
  • DNA and Your Genealogical Society – DNA is here to stay, and your members are asking about it. It is a unique opportunity to attract new members with much-needed educational programming, yet many genealogical societies are ignoring the valuable opportunity. What can your genealogical society do to encourage and support the membership’s interest in DNA? Is a large-scale DNA project feasible or useful? Let’s review what other genealogical societies are doing to educate members about DNA, and explore ways you can engage your members.

Intermediate/Advanced Courses:

  • Using Autosomal DNA for 18th and 19th Century Mysteries –  Even though our 18th and 19th century ancestors have been dead for decades, their DNA still survives in their descendants. Learn how to use autosomal DNA to attack and potentially solve genealogical mysteries and brick walls for ancestors who were born or lived in the 1800’s, 1700’s, and beyond. Together we’ll also examine some of the ways that leaders in the field have attacked or solved their 18th and 19th century mysteries using autosomal DNA.
  • Using Third-Party Tools to Analyze Your Autosomal DNA –  Although DNA testing companies provide their own analysis of test results, there are third-party tools that allow test-takers to learn even more about their genomic heritage, including admixture calculators and the identification of genetic cousins.  Together we’ll explore some of these tools and learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff.
  • Advanced Third-Party Tools – We will examine tools like Phasing, Matching Segment Search, Lazarus, and Triangulation tools offered by GEDmatch, DNAGedcom, and others. These tools are almost always excluded from typical third-party tool lectures.
  • DNA and the Genealogical Proof Standard – the GPS is a standard used by genealogists to develop and test a hypothesis by identifying and integrating multiple sources of information, particularly when there is no direct evidence or when there are conflicts in the information. Increasingly, DNA test results have become an essential component of many reasonably exhaustive searches. We’ll look at the use of DNA in the GPS, as well as how genealogists have used DNA in recent publications.
  • Genetic Genealogy for Professional Genealogists – Professional genealogists are increasingly offering genetic genealogy analysis and other services to clients. Together we’ll analyze some of the services that professional genealogists can offer, and some of the ethical issues of which you must be aware.
  • Genetic Genealogy Year In Review – New tools, techniques, and tricks for genetic genealogists are always being created and developed. This lecture examines the very latest developments in the field and helps you understand how these new tools can be incorporated into your research.
  • Genealogy as a Science – The field of genealogy has embraced 21st century technology, including the essential everyday use of massive indexed databases, computer software, and DNA testing. These technology areas also enable greater scientific analysis of genealogical conclusions than ever before. For example, if you’re comparing the family trees of three autosomal DNA matches doing triangulation, shouldn’t a completeness factor of the family trees be part of the analysis? Or, if you’ve concluded that the Johann Düssel in the 1870 census of Royaltown, New York is the Johann you’re interested in, shouldn’t your confidence level include the fact that the every-name index of the 1870 census only has 3 Johann Düssels, and that none of them were within 10 years of the same age? Together we will explore how we can use these types of information and statistical analyses to strengthen our genealogical conclusions.
  • The Genetic Genealogist as Citizen Scientist – Crowd-sourced projects like the Shared cM Project use data from thousands of genetic genealogists to shed light on important genealogical questions. Learn how crowdsourcing might help your next project!
  • Phasing and Mapping Your DNA – “Phasing” is the process of identifying what DNA you inherited from your mother, and what DNA you inherited from your father.  Learn how to phase your DNA results, and how you can use that phased DNA to “map” segments of your DNA to specific ancestors.  Genealogists are using this process to map significant portions of their genome to their genealogical family tree.
  • The Science Fiction Future of Genetic Genealogy – Although the future of genetic genealogy is not now, it will be very soon! Learn about how companies are using DNA and genealogies to reconstruct the genomes of ancestors.  We’ll also learn how that information might be used in the future, including to create entire or partial family trees based solely on DNA test results! We will also examine how these recreated genomes might be used to generate the faces and health of ancestors who have been dead for hundreds of years.

Recent and Upcoming Presentations:

  • “Practical Genetic Genealogy” – Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) (August 2014) (with Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL and CeCe Moore)
  • “Begging for Spit.” – Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree, Burbank, CA, June 8, 2014.
  • Panelist, “Ask the Experts about DNA and Genealogy.” Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree, Burbank, CA, June 7, 2014.
  • Panelist, “Blogger Summit.” Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree, Burbank,  CA, June 7, 2014.
  • “DNA and the Genealogical Proof Standard.” Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree, Burbank, CA, June 6, 2014.
  • “Using Autosomal DNA to Explore Your Ancestry.” Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree, Burbank, CA, June 5, 2014.
  • Moderator, “Peering into the Future of Genetic Genealogy.” Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree, Burbank, CA, June 5, 2014.
  • “Introduction to DNA Testing” – Genealogy & Local History at Ogden Farmers’ Library (15 Apr. 2014)
  • “Using Autosomal DNA to Explore Your Ancestry” – Rochester Genealogical Society (13 Mar. 2014)
  • “Begging for Spit” – Rootstech 2014 (Feb. 2014)
  • “Explore your Ancestry Using DNA” – Capital District Genealogical Society (25 Jan. 2014)
  • “Using DNA to Explore Your Ancestry” – Western New York Genealogical Society (16 Nov. 2013)
  • “Using Autosomal DNA to Explore Your Ancestry” – New York Family History Conference (21 Sept. 2013)
  • “Using DNA to Explore Your Ancestry” Second Annual African American Genealogy Conference, Rochester, NY – (2 June 2013)
  • “Intro to DNA Crash Course” – Family Tree University Webinar (25 Apr. 2013)
  • “Using Third-Party Tools to Analyze Your Autosomal DNA Results” – Southern California Genealogy Jamboree DNA Day (6 June 2013)
  • “Explore Your Ancestry Using DNA” – Capital District Genealogical Society (26 Jan. 2013)
  • “Using DNA to Explore Your Genealogy” and “How Autosomal DNA is Changing Genealogy” – Central New York Genealogical Society (15 Sept. 2012)
  • “Using DNA to Explore Your Ancestry”- Rochester Genealogical Society (15 Mar. 2012)
  • “Using Genetic Genealogy to Explore Your Ancestry” – Western New York Genealogical Society (19 May 2012)
  • “Autosomal DNA Testing” – Rochester Genealogical Society (8 Sept. 2011)
  • “How Autosomal DNA Testing is Changing Genealogy” – New England Regional Genealogical Conference (9 Apr. 2011)
  • “Using DNA to Discover Your Roots” – Local History and Genealogy Division of the Rochester Public Library (16 Oct. 2010)
  • “Update on DNA Genealogy” – Rochester Genealogical Society (10 June 2010)
  • “Using DNA to Explore your Ancestry” – Central New York Genealogical Society – (9 May 2009)
  • “Using DNA to Explore Your Ancestry” – Montville Township Public Library, Montville, NJ (14 Mar. 2009)


6 Responses

  1. Lisa 19 September 2014 / 10:12 pm

    I work at a public library and would like to find a specialist on DNA testing and Genealogy. Could you send me a brochure on your lectures along with your fees?

  2. Roberta Fenton 9 July 2017 / 11:44 am

    Im new to this. Someone said i should download my 23&me results to Gedmatch. Can you explain how i can do that?

  3. Elaine Powell 27 September 2017 / 5:41 pm

    Hi Blaine,
    I am interested in finding out if you are available to be a speaker for an all-day conference in Orlando, Florida in the spring of 2018. Can you please send me info on your availability and fees?
    Thanks so much.
    Elaine Powell
    President, Central Florida Genealogical Society

  4. Nancy Hudson 28 November 2017 / 2:25 pm

    Hi Blaine,
    I spoke to you about being a speaker at our next Clan McAlister of America Gathering August 10-12, 2018 in Memphis, TN. I am writing to obtain confirmation that you are available that weekend and will be able to speak.

    Also, you mentioned that you would be available to do one-on-one consultations while at the gathering. From your website, it seems consultations are $25.00/15 minutes and I would like to know if that is the appropriate fee as I would like to let folks know ahead of time so they can plan for a consultation.

    Thanks so much,
    Nancy Hudson
    Treasurer, Clan McAlister of America
    Administrator, FTDNA McAlister Project

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