Category Archives: Genealogy Shows

DNA Down Under, Done Well

I have nothing but praise for the first day of the Unlock the Past 3-day DNA Down Under conference in Sydney at Castle Hill RSL.

I have never met so many exuberant and engrossed genealogists having also travelled from Queensland, Victoria, Canberra, New Zealand and even West Australia. (We eastern Australians all know that it is quicker to fly to NZ than fly to Perth!) It goes to prove that Unlock the Past know what they are doing and they do it extremely well.

I’ll have more to say about this conference later but for now the organisers need to congratulate themselves on putting together not a just an excellent program but also having chosen a terrific conference venue. The staff at Castle Hill RSL have been more than generous and helpful with everything they have undertaken.

And – as for the speakers – I truly feel for Blaine T Bettinger who spoke at 5 of the 6 sessions today and will be following up tomorrow and Saturday with 4 of the 6 sessions planned each day. I expect he won’t have a voice left by Sunday!

Photos need to be downloaded and notes need to typed-up so stay tuned.

DNA and Blaine T. Bettinger

In 2000, the first company offering multi-generational genealogy tests, direct to the consumer, was FamilyTreeDNA when they began commercially testing Y and mitochondrial DNA. They were also the first company to offer an interface for surname research studies.

In 2019, Wikipedia suggests that the major players in genealogical DNA testing [FamilyTreeDNA, 23andMe, Ancestry, My Heritage and Living DNA] have approximately 26 million DNA profiles. A figure that shows the enormity of interest in DNA genealogical research.

One of the major highlights of the recent inaugural THE Genealogy Show (Birmingham, UK) was the presentations made by the “Genetic Genealogist” – Blaine T. Bettinger.

Blaine’s presentation on The Future of [Genetic] Genealogy was amazing – holding us at times in awe, as well as in laughter – as he spoke of his 2029 interpretations to genealogical DNA testing, including:

  • DNA identified ancestors identified “based only on your DNA test results”
  • A large database, assigning segments to ancestors in a universal family tree
  • Reconstructed family trees recreated from portions of our family tree
  • Genealogical applications that will find the source of genes and traits in our ancestral faces
  • DNA test results extracted from artefacts such as stamps, envelopes, hairbrushes etc
  • New types of DNA testing

The inaugural THE Genealogy Show was a major success put together by dedicated organisers who justifiably must be pleased at how well received the show was by visitors, speakers, family history societies, professional genealogists as well as the poor suffering partners accompanying the thousands of hobby genealogists who attended.

For me, my overall highlight of the show was not just hearing Blaine speak but meeting him as well.

I am now looking forward to reacquainting myself with Blaine during 14-31 August 2019 at the DNA Downunder Roadshow being held in Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney (check the website for specific dates).

Other speakers include Louise Coakley, Kerry Farmer, Michelle Patient and Helen Smithall leading Australian DNA genealogists.

Tickets are still available for all venues including the major, in-depth, 3-day event in Sydney which includes material that will only be presented in Sydney.

THE Genealogy Show, Birmingham UK 2019

In the 30+ years I have been attending worldwide genealogical conferences I don’t think I have attended a better conference than the inaugural THE Genealogy Show 2019 this week at the NEC, Birmingham, UK.

As I went from arena to arena, the vibe was constantly on the quality of the speakers and the exceptional layout of the venue.

The talks were fresh, alive, inspiring and precise from some of the most renowned speakers in the world of genealogy.

The superb Daniel Smith Ramos

I must applaud the organizers that they kept a tight and well thought out show covering topics from beginners to the advanced.

However, one of the best features of this show was the availability to approach the international speakers (obviously when not speaking) at any time throughout the event. They were all extremely accommodating to talk to total strangers just beginning their genealogy trip as well as others more advanced. 

I’d like to repeat that at all times, the professional genealogical speakers were seen talking and helping “anyone” who approached them!

Just one of the many knowledgeable stands offering genealogical goodies

The organizers must truly be happy in the knowledge that the overall numbers attending were in the thousands and that future plans can be assured of dedicated attendances by people who want a more casual and relaxed experience attending a genealogical show.