2018 July – Advanced Genetic Genealogy


Course Coordinator: CeCe Moore
Additional Course Instructors: Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D., Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG and Brianne Kirkpatrick, MS, LGC

Held July 22-27, 2018, at La Roche College, Pittsburgh, PA. Registration Information.

If you believe that you are ready to graduate to the next level of genetic genealogy and take the next step in genetic genealogy education, then this is the course for you. Be prepared for a fast-paced, intermediate to advanced learning experience intended for the genealogist who has experience applying DNA testing to family history research and has a strong foundational understanding of genetic genealogy concepts.

We will discuss and demonstrate the most up-to-date methods used by expert genetic genealogists to get the most out of DNA results, utilizing all four types of DNA, in conjunction with documentary evidence to advance knowledge of an individual’s family tree. Genetic genealogy’s application to unknown parentage search will also be examined and resources explored for when unexpected results are encountered.  We will end each day with a discussion session to enhance and reinforce the day’s coursework.

Upon completion of this course, students will have gained insight into how to take their own genetic genealogy research to the next level and what it takes to assist others in this pursuit.


Attendees must have an excellent understanding of genetic genealogy foundational concepts and extensive experience with applying DNA to genealogical research. The following will meet the prerequisites of this course IF, in addition to taking these courses, you have applied what you learned in your research since attending the courses. Simply taking one of these courses will not be enough to be prepared for the course.

  1. Completion of a Genetic Genealogy course offered through GRIP in 2014 to 2017
  2. Completion of a Genetic Genealogy course offered through SLIG in 2014 to 2017
  3. Completion of the Unknown Parentage and DNA Course through FGI in 2015 or 2016
  4. Completion of Excelsior College Genetic Genealogy course with Blaine Bettinger


If you do not meet one of these prerequisites or are not sure if you are ready, you have the option of composing a case study to submit to the course coordinator demonstrating your knowledge. If you have any questions regarding your qualifications for this course, please email the course coordinator at CeCe at TheDNADetectives.com



8:15 – 8:30 – Introductions and Welcome, CeCe Moore

8:30 – 9:45 — The Field of Genetic Genealogy, CeCe Moore
We will begin the class by reflecting on the history, the growth and the present state of the field of genetic genealogy.  What does it mean to be an “advanced genetic genealogist” today? What skills are essential? What do you hope to learn in this class?

10:15 – 11:30 — The Science of Genetic Genealogy, Blaine Bettinger
Advanced genetic genealogy requires a more fundamental understanding of genetics. Together we will examine some essential concepts including recombination, IBD v. IBS, heteroplasmies and others, including how these concepts inescapably define the results of genetic genealogy testing.

1:00 – 2:15 — Y-DNA and X-DNA: Beyond the Basics, Blaine Bettinger
Y-STRs were just the beginning. Y-DNA is finally coming into its own as the timeframe of STRs and the timeframe SNPs finally converge to provide a more complete picture of the human family tree than ever imagined. In addition, we’ll learn about some advanced concepts such as the dueling theories of convergence and lack-of-divergence, and more! X-DNA is another powerful tool. We will demonstrate how to effectively incorporate it into your research.

2:45 – 4:00 — mtDNA: Practical Applications, CeCe Moore
Genetic genealogists tend to downplay the potential of mitochondrial DNA to help us learn more about our genealogy. This session will explore how this type of DNA analysis can enhance our research and reveal, sometimes, unexpected things about our roots.

4:00 – 4:30 — Q&A/Discussion Session, CeCe Moore


8:30 – 9:45 — Autosomal DNA Theory, CeCe Moore
Understanding key concepts necessary to go to the next level with autosomal DNA research, including the scope of atDNA, realistic expectations of the depth of coverage, randomness of inheritance, expected percentages versus observed ranges, company algorithms, what constitutes genetic evidence and the pros and cons of segment triangulation.

10:15 – 11:30 — Digging Deeper with Autosomal DNA, CeCe Moore
Seven years of utilizing autosomal DNA for family history research while working with a vast amount of data has given us a deeper understanding of autosomal DNA’s best uses, limitations and potential. We will examine what we have learned in the context of applying atDNA results to genealogy.

1:00 – 2:15 — Deep Dive into AncestryDNA: Datamining, CeCe Moore
AncestryDNA may not have a chromosome browser, however their tools and features can be incredibly useful to the genealogist seeking to harness the power of atDNA to confirm the paper trail and discover new avenues of research. Learn how to get the most from AncestryDNA results and features by efficiently digging into the data and creating genetic networks to address genealogical brick walls.

2:45 – 4:00 — Utilizing DNA for Unknown Parentage Research, CeCe Moore
This session will explore the application of genetic genealogy to unknown parentage searches, examining the most up-to-date and successful methodologies and techniques.

4:00 – 4:30 — Q&A/Discussion Session, CeCe Moore


8:30 – 9:45 — Triangulation and Tree Building for Success in Genetic Genealogy, CeCe Moore
Pedigree triangulation, “mirror trees” and speculative trees are valuable tools in both traditional genetic genealogy and unknown parentage research. This session will explore successful techniques and examples of each.

10:15 – 11:30 — Advanced Applications for Third Party Tools, Blaine Bettinger
We will explore some of the advanced third-party tools that are commonly skipped over in beginning genetic genealogy courses, including Phasing, Matching Segment Search, Lazarus, and Triangulation tools. How can you utilize those tools to enhance your genetic genealogy research?

1:00 – 2:15 – The Intersection between Genetic Genealogy and Genetic Counseling, Brianne Kirkpatrick
Genetic counselors are health professionals with specialized graduate degrees and experience in the areas of medical genetics, psychosocial counseling and education in genetic principles and inheritance. In this session, we will explore the intersection of genetic counseling and genetic genealogy and provide resources for genetic genealogists who encounter issues that may invoke the skills of a genetic counselor.

2:45 – 4:00 — Applying Ethnicity and Admixture to Genealogy Research, CeCe Moore
In this session we will look beyond the percentages and explore what these predictions are really telling us. We will discuss the potential of ancestral origin predictions from atDNA and haplogroup data from Y-DNA and mtDNA to address genealogical questions. Becoming more educated on the strengths and weaknesses of this aspect of genetic genealogy will enable students to better understand when and how to apply it to genealogical research.

4:00 – 4:30 — Q&A/Discussion Session, Ethnicity Hands-On Exercises, CeCe Moore


8:30 – 9:45 — Evaluating a Genealogical Conclusion including DNA (for Advanced Students), Blaine Bettinger
Someone tells you that they’ve proven their connection to a genealogical ancestor using DNA, but have they really proven it? Is the conclusion based on anecdote or science? Did they avoid the known pitfalls? It is our duty as genealogists to review evidence and conclusions carefully and cautiously, rather than accepting them at face value. Genealogical “proof” is a difficult concept to define, even when using only traditional genealogical records. The community has just begun to explore the effect of adding DNA results to genealogical proof. Together we will discuss the most common pitfalls when using DNA evidence, and propose the minimum requirements for a genealogical proof comprising DNA.

10:15 – 11:30 — Ethical and Legal Considerations, Blaine Bettinger
Similar to other types of genealogical records, such as adoption and vital records, DNA testing can raise ethical concerns. We will examine some of these ethical concerns and discuss ways to ensure that direct-to-consumer DNA testing remains unregulated.

1:00 – 2:15 — Writing and Documenting Conclusions Incorporating DNA Test Results, Thomas Jones
This session will dissect scholarly case studies to show how they meet DNA and genealogy standards for presenting genealogical conclusions.  Students will learn strategies for presenting and defending their conclusions clearly and persuasively.

2:45 – 4:00 — Case Studies, CeCe Moore
Complex genetic genealogy and unknown parentage case studies utilizing multiple types of DNA and companies will be presented

4:00 – 4:30 — Q&A/Discussion Session, CeCe Moore


8:30 – 9:45 — The Future of Genetic Genealogy, Blaine Bettinger
Although the first modern autosomal DNA tests launched just eight years ago, nearly 2.5 million people have purchased these tests. Where will the field of genetic genealogy be in another 10 years? When will you purchase your first epigenetic test? Your first whole genome sequence?

10:15 – 11:30 — The Genetic Genealogy Professional, FAQs, Discussion and Wrap-Up, CeCe Moore
With the increasing interest in genetic genealogy from both the public and the media, the demand for professionals who can effectively address genealogical questions with DNA as well as work with the media is exploding. We will wrap-up with addressing any outstanding questions and relevant discussions from the week.

11:30 — Presentation of course completion certificates, CeCe Moore