RootsTech Day 2: DNA Again, Photo Clues, Parish Chest, Expo Encore

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by Rebecca Stevens 17 Views

On Day two of my very first-ever RootsTech, a real highlight was catching up with Devon Noel Lee and Randy Seaver just before his guest appearance at her Family History Fanatics booth. I read their blogs all the time for ideas and inspiration.
My first breakout session was Tim Janzen's excellent and timely "Update to 3rd Party Autosomal DNA Analysis Tools." Lots of new news. He recommends that we try Gedmatch Genesis for more detailed matching/analysis tools and compatibility with key testing companies. Also he noted DNA Painter won an innovation here at RootsTech (I haven't used it yet but I liked what he showed as a sample). So many good tips, I haven't got room here. Just know that our genetic genealogy toolkits are expanding every week!

Next, I walked out of a session that I won't name, because the speaker spent loads of time on background and didn't get to the point even after 12 minutes. This is something I really don't like doing, but RootsTech time is valuable and scarce. I did use the feedback tool on the app to express my opinion. Enough said.


After lots of fun in the Expo Hall (buying RootsTech sox, a sparkly gen T-shirt and of course DNA kits), my afternoon began with Maureen Taylor's interactive session, "No Language Barrier: Immigrant Clues in Photos." I always like her talks, and this was enjoyable and motivating. She reminds us to look carefully at fashions and hairstyles, also see what ancestors are holding (a photo or a book for instance), see what clues are in the background, think about why the photo was taken, and research the photographer. We had a good time guessing on many photos, and helped Maureen with a few new interpretations/translations, too.

The final session of the day for me was "Finding Your Way Around the Parish Chest" with not one, not two, but three expert speakers: Kirsty Gray, Sylvia Valentine, and Patricia Whatley. Learned a lot at this talk--starting with how much info is available if ancestors were paupers (yes, I'm talking about hubby's Slatter ancestors). Often the parishes would try to hand paupers off to other parishes rather than bear the expense of keeping them going. Will have to look for more paperwork in the parish chests!

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