Genealogy Standards, a book by the Board for Certification of Genealogists, identifies dozens of standards, i.e. best practices, for anyone serious about genealogy. The last standard is “Regular Engagement” described thus: “Formal development activities include attending conference, seminar, and workshop presentations in person or via electronic media….” [etc.]
Here in the U.S. Midwest, we have some terrific options for in-person DNA classes. Of course, not everyone can take advantage of them: health issues, budgets, scheduling conflicts, or travel limitations may rule them out for now. But if you can attend one of these opportunities, you’ll find it an enriching experience.
To begin with, you’ll get to hear one or more of the top experts in the field, in-person. A webinar is a useful alternative, but unless it’s a live presentation, it may not have been updated to reflect all the latest genetic genealogy news. At a conference session, you can ask questions too.
Also, there may be a vendors’ room where you can examine the most current books and decide if you want to buy them.
There may even be booths for products or services pertaining to DNA. Want to know if your genealogy database software allows you to input DNA information, or is planning related enhancements? Check out the dealers’ room—if they have a table, they have someone who wants to answer your questions. Want to ask a DAR representative if you can use DNA in a lineage society application? Ditto. (Bigger conferences will have more booths/vendors than smaller conferences.)
Some conferences even have DNA coupons, discounts, or giveaways.
One of my favorite things about conferences is the opportunity to chat with other folks—even total strangers—who have the same passions I do. I’ve made good friends at such events. When you want to sanity check a DNA hypothesis or ask questions about new tools or similar topics, it’s really helpful to have a DNA buddy (local or long-distance) to reach out to.
Genetic genealogy is a constantly evolving field. If you can find a way to attend some DNA educational sessions in-person, you’ll be complying with one of the best practices for genealogists— to “continually improve their knowledge and skill.”
And of course, who among us wouldn’t benefit from more education on traditional genealogy topics too!
Here are some upcoming events near Indiana to consider:
- April 13 2019 in Fort Wayne, Indiana: Indiana Genealogical Society annual conference. See http://www.indgensoc.org/conference.php. A Saturday-only event, Blaine Bettinger will be conducting four sessions!
- May 1-4 2019 in Mason, Ohio: Ohio Genealogical Society annual conference. See https://www.ogsconference.org/. Tons of DNA programming!
- May 8-11 2019 in St. Charles, Missouri: National Genealogical Society annual conference. See https://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/tag/2019-ngs-conference/. Tons of DNA programming!
- July 18-20 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana: the biennial Midwestern Roots conference. Several of the Central Indiana DNA Interest Group team leaders will be presenting on Thursday and Friday; Juliana Szucs is giving a DNA session on Friday, and Blaine Bettinger is the featured guest on Saturday. See https://indianahistory.org/research/family-history/midwestern-roots/.
- Oct 25-26 2019 in Naperville, Illinois: the Illinois State Genealogical Society fall conference has not finalized their schedule, but the conference title is “Connecting the Dots… Research, DNA & Ethnicity”, so I imagine there will be plenty of interest for us DNA enthusiasts. The ISGS is promoting Michael Lacopo and Paul Woodbury as featured speakers, each of whom is an experienced genetic genealogist. See https://ilgensoc.org/cpage.php?pt=546.
Not in the Midwest? Ask your local genealogical society if they’re aware of any upcoming programming events. Check the ISOGGWiki to see if there are any DNA Special Interest Groups in your area. See https://isogg.org/wiki/DNA_Interest_Groups.
And if you’re a Hoosier, I hope you’ll drop by one of our Central Indiana DNA Interest Group events. You’ll find our schedule here on DNAsleuth.wordpress.com and on our group’s website at CIDIG.org. See you there!
(c) April 2019 Ann Raymont, CG®