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Time on our hands

It’s a strange — even eerie — feeling to be waking up without deadlines.

No handouts that urgently need to be finished and sent.

No PowerPoints to fine tune.

No airports to head towards for this week’s trip to or from a genealogy conference.

All of the events where The Legal Genealogist was to speak have been cancelled into early May, and it’s almost certain that there will be more cancellations ahead.

Which means…

All of a sudden there’s time on my hands.

It’d be easy to sit back and focus on the very very large dollop of bad news we’re all been hit with over the past week.

Easy to keep checking the news sites over and over as if that will make things change.

But I’m going to challenge myself to do something different with the time on my hands.

I’m going to try to see it as opportunity knocking.

Opportunity knocking

It’s time to finally learn all the cool new tools available in DNA Painter: to learn to really use the Cluster Auto Painter1 and to play with the tool to paint traits.2 Maybe I’ll even take the time to play with the ancestral trees there.3

It’s time to finally bring the power of Genetic Affairs to bear on my DNA results: to run the Auto Cluster tool there against the various tests I manage and to learn and play with the Auto Tree tool.

It’s time to sit down with Diahan Southard’s new book Your DNA Guide – the Book4 and see what it can teach me about exploring my DNA matches.

It’s time to go back over the second edition of Blaine Bettinger’s Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy5 and see what I missed the first time around.

It’s time to work my way carefully through every module of Angie Bush’s 14-part course in Understanding and Using DNA Test Results, offered by the National Genealogical Society.

It’s time to stop giving presentations and start absorbing them. There are, as of this morning, 134 webinars in the DNA category at Legacy Family Tree Webinars, ranging from Blaine Bettinger’s Foundations in DNA series to the two most recent presentations, by Roberta Estes (3 Genealogy DNA Case Studies and How I Solved Them) and by Blaine (LucidChart and Other Tools for Genetic Genealogy).

Which reminds me… I’ve been looking for time to learn LucidChart too…

It’s even time to stop sighing every time I see that high-level match to a number of family members and finally sit down and work through the trees to see if I can’t actually figure out just how we’re all related to that person.

Yes, it’d be easy to focus on the bad news.

Let’s all do our best to see the opportunity this time gives us instead.

Stay home.

Flatten the curve.6

Let opportunity knock…

And use the time on our hands to grasp some control over our DNA results.

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Opportunity knocking,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 15 Mar 2020).


  1. See Jonny Perl, “Cluster Auto Painter: unravel your DNA test results,” DNAPainter Blog, posted 30 Dec 2019 ( : accessed 15 Mar 2020).
  2. See ibid., “Use your chromosome map to explore traits in your DNA,” posted 26 Feb 2020.
  3. See ibid., “Eight ways you can use ancestral trees at DNA Painter,” posted 11 Mar 2020.
  4. Diahan Southard, Your DNA Guide – the Book (Coral Springs, Fla. : 2020).
  5. Blaine T. Bettinger, Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy, 2d edition (Cincinnati: Family Tree Books, 2019).
  6. See Judy G. Russell, “Because of what today is,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 13 Mar 2020 ( : accessed 15 Mar 2020).
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