Getting Home-Schooled in Y-DNA

Getting Home-Schooled in Y-DNA

As I wait patiently for the results of my recent Y test from FTDNA, I’ve carved out some time from my schedule over the past week to attend two webinars on the subject of understanding Y DNA and its application to family history research.  Each of these were free live webinar sessions, and each have an additional session coming up soon for which I will include registration links.  I’ll give you my brief take on the webinars, and why I would recommend attending both.

First Lesson

The first class I attended was given by Vivs Laliberte, who I had the pleasure of briefly meeting last summer at a genealogy conference held in Burbank.  You may know Vivs as one of the admins of the popular Genetic Genealogy Tips and Techniques group on Facebook.  His webinar was hosted by the Utah Genealogical Association.  In a session that lasted just over an hour and a half, Vivs walked us through the basics of Y-DNA inheritance, all the way through understanding how genetic distance is calculated, and how we can use Y-DNA data in a surname study to make predictions about which branches of our paternal trees split off earlier than others.  Vivs’ content was detailed enough to capture the imagination of a fellow physics major (and made me even more impatient to get my results), while his delivery and skilled use of analogies made even the science-dense portions of the training completely accessible to beginners.  Regardless of level or background, I feel like everyone in attendance came out learning quite a bit more than when they came in!  Vivs’ next webinar is entitled “How to Choose a Y-DNA Test or Choose Not to Do” and will be held live, Tuesday, June 23, at 6:00 PM (Mountain Daylight Time; GMT-6).  Advanced registration is required, and you can do so via this link.

Second Lesson

I attended a second webinar last night, Diahan Southard’s “Using Y-DNA and mtDNA in Your Family History.”  Diahan is the founder of Your DNA Guide, which provides DNA consulting services, and has recently published a book by the same name.  This is the second time I’ve attended one of Diahan’s courses, the first being a live course at RootsTech 2019 where she introduced attendees to all the latest DNA analytical tools.  Diahan’s webinar took a different approach from Vivs’, as her focus was on strategic application of Y-DNA as a tool to solve genealogy problems.  She explained the importance of techniques like targeted testing, and gave some valuable pointers on interpreting genetic distance, and how to use Y-DNA results in conjunction with autosomal results to accomplish specific goals.  My favorite part of the session was her conversation on why one may have few or many matches, and why those matches may or may not share my surname.  If you’re looking for some practical and creative ways to apply Y-DNA techniques to your family research, this is absolutely the course for you.  Fortunately, she is giving a second live webinar on this same topic tomorrow afternoon, June 4, at 2:00 PM (Eastern Daylight Time; GMT-4).  This course also requires advanced registration, and you can follow the registration link below.

I recommend going for the two-punch knockout and attending both seminars, as you’ll be schooled in how the science works, what your results mean, which test is right for you, and how to strategically apply your results to solving specific genealogy problems.