Sunday, September 20, 2015

New York State Family History Conference - 17-19 Sep 2015

We have been away most of September although I have actually blogged quite a bit compared to this past year. The beginning part we were down to Stratford for the Stratford Shakespearian Theatre and it did not disappoint. We saw three great plays; something my husband has always wanted to do through the years and we just never got to it but now this is the third year that we have done that. An absolutely unforgettable experience as the stage at Stratford is phenomenal allowing for the feeling of being right there with the players. I especially enjoyed our last play - The Physicists. It was a most interesting look at nuclear power and how it corrupts but yet it has been a life saver for others in health implications. Harnessing the atom has both its dark side and its extremely bright side.

Then we had our annual Schultz Family Reunion and talking about the Family Tree and testing DNA which was a theme which carried itself on into the next couple of days as we visited several groups of cousins trying to interest them in DNA testing. My husband has had good luck with his mother's side in terms of finding matches and proving lines but wanted to do the same for his father's side of the family. Matches are slowly growing there now and hopefully more. But one side of his mother's family, my husband's maternal grandfather is still lacking any coherent knowledge of the genetic accumulation and so we hope that this visit will result in several people testing and letting us learn more about the Link family which Ed has traced back to Tuningen, Schwarzwaldkreis, Wurttenberg in the late 1600s.

Then we were off to the New York State Family History Conference at Syracuse New York. An excellent conference and of course Ed is still searching for his elusive connection between Isaac Kipp born in 1764 in New York area and Hendrick Hendrickson Kip an emigrant to New Amsterdam/New York in the latter part of the 1630s. Other interests as well but principally solving the Kip line is high on  his agenda. He attended a lot of lectures on searching the early records and what might be there to help you in your quest.

For the most part I attended lectures on DNA and these were given by Blaine Bettinger and Judy Russell, two not to be missed giants in the field of DNA. I attended four of their lectures in total. Two others that I particularly found interesting were given by Matthew Knutzen. He provided two tantalizing lectures on the map collection at the New York Public Library and a crowdsourcing project that has produced interesting results. We have spent many hours at the New York Public Library and their collection of genealogical material is incredible. The map collection completes this textual collection in amazing ways. I also attended a lecture on the records of the DAR as I think they might help to solve the dilemma of Isaac Kipp. One day we must get to their library in Washington although things are coming online rapidly there as well.

The DNA lectures on autosomal DNA by both Blaine Bettinger and Judy Russell were most interesting. I am into autosomal DNA these days and I think that is the direction that family history research will move to for the most part although yDNA is still the leader in strictly surname research. I want to do more with all the autosomal DNA matches that I have been accumulating and I am slowly working through that process. My matches with the Lywood family have proven to be quite interesting even though I already knew that line back into the 1500s. Revealing the matches helps with the sidelines that feed into this family line and that, to me, is the great benefit of autosomal testing. For males I think testing their yDNA and autosomal is an absolute necessity to have it available to pass on to future generations. The mitochondrial is interesting but the other two are imperative. For women the autosomal testing is essential and the mitochondrial again interesting especially if you are brickwalled with your female line back.

The biggest most important item that came out of these talks was the absolute necessity of testing all of your siblings if that is possible and trying to phase your parent's/grandparent's DNA. Blocking them into familial lines is my aim ultimately and I did not see a lot of that discussed but I think it too is the future. No better gift to give to one's parents even though deceased that the ability of their descendants to have at hand all these tools to do as complete family research as possible. One doesn't know who will pick up the threads of one's research in the future so providing them with as many tools as possible is the best way forward.

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