Notes: Maine Genealogical DNA Interest Group Meeting
Saturday, July 9, 2016
Gray Public Library
Nancy Mason called the meeting to order a little after 10 AM; there were between twenty and thirty people in attendance. In thanks for the Library’s giving us the use of their meeting room she presented the Librarian with a book on the role of the basics of DNA in genealogy, and it was gratefully accepted.
Lorraine Johnson reported on the finances of the group. Last month’s contributions were $34, giving a total of $146 in the treasury from which $20 was used to buy the book for the Gray Public Library, leaving a total of $126.
Pursuant to a question from last month’s meeting, Nancy Mason, Peter Smith, and Gerald Gower led a discussion regarding the DIG’s possible relationship with the Maine Genealogical Society. It seems that there are two possible options:
- To be incorporated with the Maine Genealogical Society, becoming a formal chapter of that entity. Our group would have to have in it 10 MGS members (which it seems we might well have). This would grant us status as a non-profit organization that could be useful. However, this action would require a fairly simple change to the MGS rules. That discussion and vote could take place at the MGS meeting in September.
- To continue as we have been informally under Nancy Mason’s direction.
Discussion of this issue raised questions about other DNA Interest Groups now forming and how they would be affected. MGS has suggested that these groups should be associated with a local MGS sub-chapter. Most of those participating in the discussion felt that we should continue with our informal organization. There was the suggestion that information about newly formed DNA Interest Groups could appear on the Maine Genealogical DNA page.
The meeting continued with Nancy Mason’s presentation on the Maine Genealogical Project on FTDNA. She showed various pages from the website and encouraged people to upload their DNA results to Gedmatch.com as well as to join projects of interest at FTDNA. Nancy showed us how to navigate the projects at FTDNA. She indicated that FTDNA has changed some of its setup recently and that we will need some time to figure out the new system. She showed us how to find advanced matches and to how to check the Activity Feed. Nancy gave us a brief, fascinating presentation on a recent DNA problem associated with a granddaughter’s DNA information. She had been contacted by a young German woman who was trying to learn the identity of her biological father. Her parents had used a sperm donor for her conception. This sperm donor was likely a member of the American military stationed in Germany. FTDNA showed connections (2nd-4th cousins) to Nancy’s granddaughter as well as the granddaughter’s great grandmother. The young woman in Germany is hoping that Nancy will be able to help her with her research.
Next, Roland Rhodes spoke about a situation he has encountered with his family’s DNA research. He finds almost no connections with other members of the Rhodes family. There is some indication that his great-grandmother may have had a child (from whom he is descended) by someone other than her husband. A member of the group suggested that he check geographical areas for concentrations of family names as a means to shedding light here.
After a break for refreshments, socializing, and networking, there was a discussion of how to proceed with the meetings dedicated to group work sessions. Many feel confused and need a knowledgeable leader to help them progress. It was agreed that the August meeting would be a group work session. A couple of people volunteered to be group leaders. Those participating will need to bring their laptops, Ipads, notebooks, etc.
Nancy answered questions on how to go about downloading DNA results from Ancestry and transferring them to FTDNA as well as to Gedmatch.com. She also demonstrated how to find matches with the Maine Genealogical DNA group.
The final discussion centered on the MGS meeting 17 September 2017 in Bangor. It was felt that our DIG should have a presence there. To that end, a sign or poster and informational sheet need to be prepared. One group at the August meeting will work on this.
Margaret Perkins, Recorder