Monday, November 12, 2007

SDGS Program on 11/10 - John Carpenter on DNA Research

The San Diego Genealogical Society program on Saturday, 10 November, featured John R. Carpenter who gave two presentations on DNA Research. The program description and John's CV were posted here.

John's first talk, on "DNA Research: Haplogroups, Y-DNA and mtDNA" covered the past history of DNA research for genealogy purposes. He showed how the number of haplogroups have increased as more people are analyzed and how the different haplogroups relate to each other. He discussed how the Y-DNA analysis can tell you how other people may be related to a person. He also discussed mitochondrial DNA tests and that they only define a haplogroup, not relationships to a particular person. Unfortunately, he didn't make the necessary point that if you can find living male descendants of all of your great-great-grandparents that you can obtain the Y-DNA haplogroup of the great-great-grandfathers, and mtDNA haplogroups of the great-great-grandmothers. John showed several slides from the International Society of Genetic Genealogists (ISOGG). This is an excellent resource for learning about DNA Research. The 2007 Y-DNA Haplogroup tree is shown on

In his second talk, John discussed "Famous and Other DNA." Most of this information can be found on the ISOGG pages at the "Famous DNA" link on the page. He covered Neanderthal DNA, Ancient Human DNA, Founding Father DNA, and Famous People DNA.

All in all, it was an interesting presentation, but I really didn't learn anything new to apply to my research. I could have learned all of it on the ISOGG web site or from books about Genealogy and DNA. I'm sure that many of the attendees learned quite a bit. John is knowledgeable about this subject, and answered most of the technical questions with good scientific information.

SDGS held elections at this meeting. Marna Clemons was elected President, succeeding Peter Steelquist who has held the position for several years. I congratulate Marna on her election and wish her great success as she leads SDGS. The society is in good hands.

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