From DNA to methodology

The National Genealogical Society conference will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, just about a month from now — the dates are May 2-5, 2018 — and as always it’s going to be a terrific opportunity to learn more about genealogical techniques and methodology.

For those of us who, like The Legal Genealogist, are lucky enough to be there to pick and choose among the more than 175 lectures to be presented during the four days of the conference.

But what about the many folks who can’t be there? Whose work or school or personal schedules are keeping them elsewhere in the country — or in the world?

Fear not: there is an option.

NGS will be livestreaming 10 lectures over two days, ranging from working with DNA to methodology — including one by yours truly.

Here’s the line-up:

Thursday, 3 May 2018, starting at 9 a.m. EDT:

Reasonably Exhaustive Research of African American Ancestors who came out of Slavery — presented by LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG: The universal application of the “reasonably exhaustive research” component of the GPS is explained in the context of sources and strategies relevant to enslaved African-American ancestors.

The Price of Loyalism: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary War — presented by Terry Koch-Bostic: Americans loyal to the British suffered material losses, displacement, and even death. Records that help track their journey of war, loss, expulsion, compensation, and resettlement.

The Y-DNA Test Should be Your Favorite — presented by Diahan Southard: Learn basic and intermediate principles of using YDNA, verify and extend your pedigree chart, and make the most of your YDNA family project.

Your Cousins are Your Secret Weapon — presented by Angie Bush: Do you have a brick wall? Is there a skeleton in the family closet? Discover how to use cousins’ DNA to answer these questions.

Native American DNA: Separating Fact from Fiction — presented by Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD: What if your family narrative mentions Native American ancestry yet there is little or none reported in your DNA? What are the possible explanations?

Friday, 4 May 2018, starting at 9 a.m. EDT:

History, Records, and Context: Researching the Locations Your Ancestors Lived — presented by Angela Packer McGhie, CG: Learning about the places where our ancestors lived helps us put them in social and historical context, as well as locate relevant records.

Samuel Witter vs. Samuel Witter: Separating Same-Name Soldiers, War of 1812 — presented by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA: Samuel Witter, miller, Pennsylvania-born soldier, died in Illinois. Samuel Witter, miller, Pennsylvania-born soldier, died in Illinois. Two men. Same age. How do we separate them?

Using Indirect and Negative Evidence to Prove Unrecorded Events — presented by Thomas Wright Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA: Information hidden below the surface or totally absent helps researchers reconstruct events, identities, and relationships for which no record exists.

A Matter of Standards: DNA and the GPS — presented by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL: As genealogical evidence, DNA is both unique and mainstream. Despite the differences, DNA results must be tested by traditional genealogical standards to meet the GPS.

Deeper Analysis: Techniques for Successful Problem Solving — presented by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL: The Genealogical Proof Standard states that analysis and correlation of data is necessary, but what techniques are best? Spreadsheets, timelines, maps, charts are just a few.

You can register for a one-day pass for $95, or for both days for $149, and that will give you not just the chance to watch the presentations via livestream in real time but also the ability to access the videos for one year through 5 May 2019. This pre-conference price is available only until May 5th, when the price goes up to $279 for both days of livestreaming. Other info on conference recording prices can be found at the website of Playback NGS.

No, it’s not as good as being in Grand Rapids.

But it’s the next best thing for those who can’t be there.

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