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Louis Kessler's Behold Blog

GCGS 2017 Day 3 - 2 days, 6 hrs ago

#cangensummit2017 – The final day at the Great Canadian Genealogy Summit in Halifax, Nova Scotia was a half-day with 6 talks in 2 tracks.

We all met for a breakfast together, and then I led off repeating my talk from the day before on intro DNA. I had a few less people than the day before since many had already been at my first talk. It was again well received with many good questions. A few people met to talk to me one on one afterwards.

My talk a bit later on using Autosomal DNA to help find relatives was a full room and I enjoyed giving it. I always prepare my presentations as something that I would like to hear. Most of the attendees in this class already administer one or more DNA tests, so I had the right group to talk to. Hopefully they left with a few new ideas. 

At noon, Christine Woodcock and Kathryn Lake Hogan, the organizers of the Summit (great job!) thanked everyone and closed the conference.

Christine Woodcock and Kathryn Lake HoganSome of the attendees

I got a chance to have some good conversations with Mags Gaulden (Grandma’s Genes), Pamela Wile of the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia, Cheryl Levy (whose talk I listened to yesterday), and I also had another nice talk with Derrell Oakley Teat.

Once it was over (I really hate the end of conferences), I had the afternoon available and I headed to Pier 21 where millions of Canadian immigrants arrived.

Pier 21

There at the research centre, I ran into Jim Benedict (who was another speaker at the Summit) and his wife who apparently had the same idea as me, and we had a nice talk.

I learned a few things. Most of my ancestors did not arrive at Pier 21, since it only began operating in 1928. My ancestors mostly arrived at Pier 2, which no longer exists. The research room has people who help you look up the ship’s record on Ancestry.com, which also has the passenger list of immigrants. If I’d have known they do that, I’d have done it myself long ago. There was a long line of people waiting so after I found out what I needed to know, I excused myself to allow others to get their chance. I did come away with several pictures of my ancestors ships from the research.

SS Nieuw Amsterdam

I followed that up with a half hour personalized guided tour of the museum, and then spent another hour visiting the rest of the museum myself. I did not realize that this Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 became a National museum in the same year that the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg opened (about 5 years ago) and the two are the only National museums in Canada that are outside of Ottawa.

Overall, an excellent day for this genealogist.

GCGS Days 1 and 2 - 3 days, 8 hrs ago

#cangensummit2017 – A couple of great days at the Great Canadian Genealogy Summit in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Friday afternoon the started with Jan Raska from Pier 21, of the Canadian Museum of Immigration providing a very interesting keynote for the almost 60 attendees who arrived in time for his talk.

Jan Raska at the Great Canadian Genealogy Summit, Halifax 2017

Saturday was a full slate of talks. There were 12 presentations in two tracks. I’d say attendance was about 100 split fairly evenly between the two rooms. Talking to different people, I think it’s possible we had at least 8 of Canada’s 10 provinces represented here, plus people from a number of States as well.

My talk on intro DNA went well with good response and questions. I had anticipated many of the questions. To my recommendation that adoptees test everywhere was a suggestion that one should test at AncestryDNA because it has the largest number of testers and then transfer to the others to save money. I responded that the viewpoint of CeCe Moore and others was to “fish in all ponds” to ensure full coverage, especially since 23andMe does not accept transfers.

At lunch I went across the street to Your Father’s Moustache with many of our group. It was a full lively pub and eatery with many entertaining stache-objects decorating the place: “I moustache you a question, but will shave it for later.” – “I’d love to stay but I really moustache.”

I had a very nice conversation between sessions with Fred Pafford who came in from Newfoundland. He’s got over 25,000 in his tree which he programmed and put in a FoxPro database two decades ago. Recently he’s added his tree to MyHeritage and has been getting into DNA in a big way to help solve his brick walls. We both chuckled that DNA always seems to add many more puzzles than it solves.

Following the last session of the day, I went into the Exhibition Hall, something you wouldn’t expect to see at a small conference like this one. There were 8 vendors and even a couple of vendor mini-presentations earlier in the day. I went to the FamilyTreeDNA table where Derrell Oakley Teat was representing the company. She flew up from her home in Florida and on Wednesday will be heading off for Dublin, Ireland which is where Derrell told me AncestryDNA sends their Canadian samples for analysis. I didn’t realize that.

One more day for the GCGS 2017.

My DNA Football Team - 6 days, 15 hrs ago

I was thinking about my 1 year old grand-nephew this morning, and how he and I would look to be half-sharing about a quarter of our DNA in a chromosome browser.

Well that would make my grand-nephew the quarterback of my DNA Football team.

His father, my nephew, would be the halfback.

My daughters would be fullbacks.

My sister would be in the 3/4 back position:  the tailback.

My wife, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law would have to be the blockers on the line, since they’re neither here or there. Although you can make a good case for my wife being the coach.

And my 1st, 2nd and 3rd cousins will be my receivers running out for 4, 16 and 64 yard receptions respectively. There’s a 1/4, 1/16 and 1/64 chance the ball will get to them.

There’s my DNA football team.

The snap: Winnipeg Blue bombers at Toronto Argonauts, Oct 19, 2012, by Paul Gorbould
This Photo by Paul Gorbould is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND