Saturday, January 17, 2009

CGSSD Meeting Highlights - DNA and DVDs

I attended the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) meeting today at UCSD - the program description was posted here.

In the early session, I attended Corlee Morris's DNA Special Interest Group. This was the first meeting of this SIG, and Corlee made a presentation to summarize DNA as it applies to genealogy research. She provided a three-page handout with a glossary of terms and a list of DNA laboratories for Y-DNA and mtDNA testing. There were about 25 in attendance, and Corlee answered many questions from the audience.

The one new piece of information I got from this session was that FamilyTreeDNA has a link to a Time Predictor on its web site called FTDNATiP - see The site has two tables, for 25 markers and for 37 markers, that calculate the probability that two participants share a common ancestor when matching on "X" number of markers within the last "Y" generations. For example, if a person has 24 out of 25 markers similar to another person, then the probability that they share a common ancestor in 4 generations is about 27%, in 8 generations is about 57%, in 12 generations is about 77%, in 16 generations is about 88%, and in 20 generations is about 95%.

The feature speaker of the day was CGSSD member Del Ritchhart, who spoke on Making a DVD of your Family History Research. There were about 60 in attendance, with 14 guests. During the hour, Del created a DVD presentation featuring photographs, videos and audio of his vacation to Ireland, using the program ProShow GOLD by Photodex ( He went through the steps involved in composing the presentation, including:

1. Selecting photographs, and editing them
2. Selecting your video clips, and inserting them into their places in the presentation.
3. Setting up transitions from slide-to-slide.
4. Setting up the Zoom function on slides.
5. Setting a background on portrait slides

6. Adding captions to your slides.
7. Adding music to your presentation from a file or a CD.
8. Adding voiceover descriptions to the slides using a microphone or audio clips.
9. Play the presentation from the beginning to see where editing or tweaking needs to be done
10. Burn the presentation and associated files to a DVD.

Del made this seem like it was really easy to do. He had "only" 34 photos (5 seconds each, 2 second transition) and two video clips, for a totla of about 5 minutes of presentation. He said that he has done up to 180 photos which played about 40 minutes using this software.

He noted that there are other software manufacturers that do this, but the ProShow GOLD was the best one that he has found. It sells for $69.95. Photodex allows a 15-day free trial of the software - the only restriction is that you cannot burn a DVD until you pay for the software.

I really enjoyed hearing Del's presentation and seeing his pictures from Ireland. The talk gave me some good ideas for how I want to organize my Seaver/Richmond family pictures (someday!!) for my extended family in order to preserve and disseminate them to everyone. Perhaps with the family history books, family movies and videos on the same DVD. This is another item for my long-term "to-do" list...

All in all, this was a good meeting on two interesting subjects.