DNA Genealogy Courses



Genetic Genealogy Overview – July 2, 2015 

Class 1 will provide an overview of the 3 main types of DNA tests that are useful for genetic genealogy, including Y DNA, mitochondrial DNA and autosomal DNA. Discussion will include cost of testing as well as ideas for motivating family members to test. A foundation in ethical and legal issues will be provided, including Genetic Genealogy Standards. How DNA testing fits into the Genealogical Proof Standard will be discussed, including the difference between the genetic vs. genealogical family tree.

Y DNA and Mitochondrial DNA – August 6, 2015 

Class 2 will provide an in-depth discussion of Y DNA and mitochondrial DNA:

  • How does each test work?
  • What research questions can each test answer?
  • How do I decide who to test?

The class will provide an overview of haplogroups and the phylogenic tree. Discussion will include the benefits of joining a surname or haplogroup project. Concepts such as SNP testing will be covered in brief.

Autosomal DNA and X DNA – September 10, 2015 

Class 3 will provide an in-depth discussion of Autosomal and X DNA:

  • How does the test work?
  • What research questions can the test answer?
  • What inheritance patterns are followed?
  • How do I decide who to test?

The majority of class time will focus on the two main components of an autosomal test: ethnicity estimate and “cousin” matches to others in the testing company’s database. How to make sense of these matches using triangulation and chromosome mapping will be demonstrated.

An introduction to advanced or scientific concepts will be covered in brief:

  • How DNA is measured (Centimorgans or Megabases)
  • Identical by Descent (IBD) vs. Identical by State (IBS)
  • Phasing matches (maternal vs. paternal)
  • Fully Identical Regions (FIR) vs. Half Identical Regions (HIR)
  • The effect of endogamy on relationship prediction.

Overview of Major Testing Company Websites – October 1, 2015 

Class 4 will provide an overview of the major testing company websites:

  • Family Tree DNA
  • AncestryDNA
  • 23andMe

Demonstration of the various tools and features will highlight the most important information for genealogists on each site. Discussion on National Geographic’s Genographic 2.0 Project will also be covered.

Third-Party Tools and Databases – November 5, 2015 

Class 5 will provide an overview of numerous third-party tools and databases that can be used for functions beyond what is provided by the testing company websites:

  • GedMatch
  • Snavely Tool
  • DNA Gedcom
  • Kitty Cooper’s Chromosome Mapper
  • Genome Mate
  • Haplogroup Prediction Calculators
  • Promethease
  • Spreadsheets
  • Ysearch
  • Mitosearch
  • GenBank

Special Cases and Resources – December 3, 2015 

Class 6 will contain a discussion on special cases such as adoption or unknown parentage, possibly including a case study. General resources for further study will be provided:

  • Blogs
  • Books
  • Classes

The series will conclude with a discussion about the future of genetic genealogy.