Can it assist my family history research?
Having been researching my families from Germany, the former German eastern territories (now in Poland), and England and Wales for over thirty years, I had located the villages from which they departed in the 1860s, 1870s and 1880s for the long voyage by ship to their new homes in Australia. This was done by reading and studying paper documents or copies of these on microfilm or microfiche.
In recent years DNA testing has been widely advertised in a way that seems to imply that your genetic makeup will identify the places from which your ancestors came. Having identified my ancestral places of origin I saw that aspect of DNA research as a sideline only. In fact the estimates of ethnic origin were only broadly in accord with the known places of origin.
I thought that the greatest benefit would be through the ability of the programs to compare my DNA samples with the millions of other samples and so to find other people who might be (distantly) related to me. The number of people who share matching DNA with me has increased over time as more and more people take DNA tests, and I have been able to identify the way in which many of these are related to me. Some smaller matches belonged to distant cousins from branches of the families who had migrated from Germany to America. However some matches belong to people for whom I cannot identify the relationship.
Although my DNA matches have allowed me to discover some previously unknown branches of my family, I realise that I need to learn more about some of the advanced aspects of DNA. Fortunately a series of seminars will be held in the Australian mainland state capital cities and Canberra 14–31 August that will give me new insights into the use of my DNA test results. World renowned DNA expert Blaine Bettinger will be the key speaker, backed up by Australian experts. I'll be there!