Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Value of Always Learning

Spending the week at an in-depth genealogical institute reminds me of the value of continued learning. There is always something new to learn—especially considering life never stays put in the same stodgy status quo.

When it comes to genetic genealogy, that is even more so. There are so many developments occurring that it pays to keep close watch on how those evolving applications benefit our research goals.

It's been a treat to learn from people who have attained a level of expertise not only in genealogical research but have combined that with their professional standing in their respective field of science. Think about it: you may have attended a session at a conference with the likes of Blaine Bettinger, Angie Bush or CeCe Moore, but what is one hour of their time in a conference session for a generic audience compared to a week's luxury of focusing on just these three in a combined total of nearly thirty hours hours of class time?

Yesterday, our lead lecturer was Blaine Bettinger, and the primary focus was on the Y-DNA test. Yes, once you get the idea of the basics behind examining the patrilineal line, it seems a straightforward exercise to utilize this test. During this session, however, I picked up some valuable pointers on how to manipulate the test results, and how recent research developments may impact my approach to certain brick wall research struggles. I'm enthused to get back to the data where I've been stuck and check out these details gleaned from class.

You may have noticed, if you've been reading along at A Family Tapestry for a while, that my main struggle is with my paternal line—a stubborn Polish immigrant, likely, who came to this country with an aim to never be identified by his true name. Whatever the reason, he left one son and one daughter, and that son had only one son, himself. That last male descendant, thankfully, was gracious enough to grant me my request, so I've already had him tested. But there are precious few test matches, and prior to this point, I had no idea what to do with them. I actually had thought, based on the genetic distance extrapolated from the Y-DNA test, that the results were virtually useless to me.

Not so. Well, maybe. I'm going to pick back up on that trail and hope I can tease out some other clues, now that I know what else to do with the results. That alone will be worth the price of the week's registration, in my mind. But we still have three more days of instruction to load on top of that little bonus. Who knows what else may come my way.

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