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Using DNA to Get at Root of Genealogy Mysteries

Mary Hall, a local genealogy DNA expert, will speak about Using DNA to Chip Away at Brick Wall Mysteries at the Santa Barbara Genealogical Society’s (SBCGS) monthly meeting, Saturday, Nov. 18, at First Presbyterian Church, 21 E. Constance St.

The monthly meeting starts at 10:30 a.m. with featured speaker at 11 a.m.

All family historians have an ancestor who is a mystery. Though records have been scoured, only small pieces of evidence have been uncovered by which to put together who that person was.

He or she doesn’t appear in census records when or where they should. Nothing in their marriage records, obituary or family letters indicates where they were from or who their parents were.

Enter genetic genealogy, or DNA testing, which is offering new and, in many cases, useful clues to uncover these mystery ancestors, SBCGS reports.

Since 2009, well over 6 million people have provided DNA samples — each representing unique and powerful ancestral clues — to the rapidly growing databases of genetic test companies, SBCGS said.

New genetic information is being made available daily via our computers and internet connections. The new challenge is how to use this new data to begin to unmask the origin of our recalcitrant ancestors.

Hall will profile stories of four individuals, all long-standing mysteries, and show how DNA test results opened windows to reveal new information into who they were, and where they came from.

She will review who should be tested to help solve such mysteries, the techniques and tools available to analyze DNA results, and look into the future of DNA testing for genealogists.

A genealogist for some 15 years, Hall co-leads the monthly DNA Interest Group for the SBCGS, where she is a member and past president. Hall also belongs to national and regional genealogical societies, and lineage organizations including:

National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, National Society US Daughters 1812, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, and Daughters of American Colonists.

SBCGS Special Interest Groups meet at 9:30 a.m. for Beginning Genealogy, Civil War Genealogy, Writers' Support Group, German Ancestry, Italian Genealogy, French Canadian Genealogy, Computer Genealogy, DNA, and Jewish Genealogy.

For a calendar of genealogical events, visit http://sbgen.org/eventListings.php?nm=216.

— Glenn Avolio for Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society.


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