Monday, June 29, 2015

NGS 2015 Conference Lectures at Home: Methodology Techniques

For the past two years, I've bought the video recordings offered by the NGS convention as I haven't been able to attend in person. This year, they offered two tracts: "The Immigration & Naturalization Process" and "Methodology Techniques." Both tracks include five lectures presented by some top genealogy speakers. I believe they are still available for purchase and viewing until August 16th. 

I've now finished watching the 5 "methodology" lectures and wanted to share some things I've learned from each:

The Time of Cholera: A Case Study about Historical Context by Alison Hare

A fascinating story about the lecturer's ancestor who died in the London cholera epidemic of 1854. An amazingly in depth study of the cholera epidemic and its victims in the area of the Broad Street water pump.

Original map by John Snow showing the clusters of cholera cases in the London epidemic of 1854.
The pump is located at the intersection of Broad Street & Cambridge Street. Image in Public Domain.
How will this change my genealogy going forward? I want to concentrate more on uncovering the stories of those ancestors I've already discovered and less on finding more ancestors. Every person and every family has a story. I want to uncover those stories! 

The Problem-Solver's Great Trifecta: GPS + FAN + DNA by Elizabeth Shown Mills

A great example of "reasonably exhaustive" research (which sounded pretty exhausting to me!) and of using GPS, FAN & DNA in combination to solve 4 generations of female ancestors. 

How will this change my genealogy going forward? Her example of using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), the DNA passed from a mother to her children, was the first time I've really understood how mtDNA could help answer genealogical questions. So, I think it's time to do some mtDNA testing so I'll be prepared when I figure out how it might be helpful in my own research.

Forensic Genealogy Meets the Genealogical Proof Standard by Michael S. Ramage

This lecture introduced me to "forensic genealogy" which is fascinating! This kind of genealogy research is used when there are present day legal implications. In this case study, Ramage was searching for the unknown heirs to an estate valued at $22 million. 

How will this change my genealogy going forward? Ramage spent a lot of effort separating the identities of two men with the same name and many similar details. His use of a timeline to help in his research was a great reminder to me of this underused tool!

When Does Newfound Evidence Overturn a Proven Conclusion? by Thomas W. Jones

Jones went over a handful of cases where a previous conclusion was overturned. In each case, a complete use of  the five criteria of GPS would have prevented an erroneous conclusion.

How will this change my genealogy going forward? I need to go back through each of my generations and apply GPS consistently!

Using DNA as a Genealogical Record by Angie Bush

This lecture started with an overview of DNA and its applications to genealogy. Afterwards, several cases where DNA was used as evidence were described.

How will this change my genealogy going forward? DNA is a great tool, but GPS is a 'must!' If you find a DNA match with another person, this doesn't guarantee a specific relationship. Make sure the other person's tree has been researched correctly, too, using GPS!

1 comment:

  1. I've done a DNA through's been interesting and frustrating too. I've gotten many "matches" but only a few that actually connect me to them.


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