Thursday, May 28, 2015

Class Highlight: Beginning Genetic Genealogy with Dr. Blaine Bettinger

DNA is the hot topic in genealogy right now. The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) understands the need for genealogists to obtain the knowledge needed to correctly incorporate DNA results into their family history. That is why SLIG is offering Beginning Genetic Genealogy in 2016 with coordinator Dr. Blaine Bettinger.

This course will provide beginners with the foundational knowledge in the basics needed to understand the application of genetics to genealogical research. Those with prior knowledge of DNA will be able to fill in holes in understanding and be introduced to tools and techniques with practical hands-on exercises and homework.

Throughout the course, real-life genetic results and family histories will be used to demonstrate DNA inheritance patterns, how to analyze DNA test results, and how to correlate that analysis with traditional documentary research to arrive at soundly reasoned genealogical conclusions. Students will be able to use the most current tools to analyze Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), autosomal DNA (atDNA), and X-DNA test results, and incorporate those results into their family narrative. 

Susan Bankhead attended in 2015 and said the class "filled our heads with thoughts of Y-DNA, X-DNA, mitochondrial DNA, autosomal DNA, haplogroups, and A’s, and T’s, and C’s, and G’s, and SNP’s, and STR’s, dancing in our heads. I learned that A’s go with T’s, and C’s go with G’s. It’s definitely a new way of spelling and a new language...I learned a lot!"

Dr. Bettinger has a Ph.D. (Biochemistry) and a J.D. and is an intellectual property attorney in Syracuse, New York. In 2007, he started The Genetic Genealogist blog, which is one of the longest-running and most respected blogs on this topic. He has been interviewed on genealogical and personal genomics topics and quoted in Newsweek, New Scientist, Wired magazine, and others. He authored I Have the Results of My Genetic Genealogy Test, Now What? in 2008. An updated version is distributed by Family Tree DNA to their customers. Blaine is the administrator of the Bettinger Surname Project and co-administrator for the R1b-L1/S26 Y-DNA Haplogroup Project. 

Blaine frequently authors articles and gives presentations to educate others about the use of DNA to explore their ancestry. He is an instructor for genetic genealogy courses at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR), Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research, and Family Tree University. Blaine was also recently elected to the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society’s Board of Trustees, and graduated from ProGen Study Group 21 in 2015.

You can access his blog at 

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