In Their Words: Working with DNA

Wonder how DNA evidence helps your genealogical research? With registration for the six July 16-21 courses opening on Wednesday, March 8 at Noon Eastern, you won’t want to miss out on this hands-on course that will walk you through working with DNA tests.

Join the well-respected Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D., as he and his teaching team (Patti Hobbs, CG; Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, CeCe Moore, and Karen Stanbary, CG) explain what DNA is and how to work with it, along with concerns for privacy and ethics in “Practical Genetic Genealogy.” Examining the three types of genetic tests (Y-DNA, mtDNA, and autosomal DNA) and their practical uses, you will walk away from this course understanding genetic genealogy to a greater level.

Or as Blaine puts it: “For many years, DNA was just a buzzword at genealogy conferences. In the last few years, however, millions of genealogists (and non-genealogists) have taken DNA tests from 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA, pushing “DNA” and “genetic genealogy” into the mainstream. Today, it is essential that genealogists understand how DNA evidence might help identify, support, or reject genealogical hypotheses. Without DNA, we risk missing out on incredibly powerful evidence.

If DNA is so essential, it is imperative that genealogists understand the basics of DNA. You do not need to be a scientist to use DNA. If you’re last science class was in high school, you will be just fine! Together we will learn about the basics of mitochondrial DNA, Y-DNA, and autosomal DNA, and how to use them to confirm family lines and break through brick walls.

But DNA is NOT a perfect solution! It is full of probabilities and maybes. It potentially raises serious ethical issues and can have devastating effects on families if it is not used correctly (and sometimes even when it is used correctly!). In this course, we will examine some of these important ethical issues and find ways to navigate the DNA minefield.

I hope you will join us in this fun and exciting course!”

Consider taking this course when making your selection for the July GRIP week, held at La Roche College in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For a detailed description of the 18 sessions in this course, see This is bound to be a popular course. Be sure to read “Tips and Tricks for Getting the Course You Want.”

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