Unlock The Past Expo Victoria

The last of the four Unlock The Past Expos was held this weekend in Geelong, and it was the biggest and best ever. It was held at the Geelong Arena, the home of the Geelong Supercats (a basketball team, I believe). The Exhibition Hall was a transformed basketball court, with carpet laid over the shiny wooden floor, and was swarming with visitors and exhibitors.

Exhibition Hall in Geelong

There were two streams of talks and my biggest regret was that I didn’t get to see any of them. I was kept very busy, helping out with registrations at the beginning of both days, and helping people with their research the rest of the time. There were lots of interesting questions and even though I couldn’t always find answers immediately for them we always managed to find somewhere else they could look. It’s important to remember that not everything is available online!

Gould genealogy table

For more photos go to my photo album in Facebook, and for a full rundown of all the talks see Shauna’s blog.

Social Media for Family Historians

Social Media for Family HistoriansMy first book, Social Media for Family Historians, was published in late 2010 by Unlock The Past. It explains what social media is; what use it is; and introduces you to more than 25 social media sites that can help family historians to communicate, share and collaborate with other family historians and with their own families.

It covers new ways to communicate such as Sykpe and SecondLife; social networking sites such as Facebook and GenealogyWise; blogs and microblogs such as Twitter; sites for sharing family trees such as Ancestry and MyHeritage; sites for sharing photos and videos such as Flickr and YouTube; and community information sites such as wikis and social bookmarking.It explains in some detail how to get started with Facebook and blogging.

Contents:
Preface
1. Introduction
2. What is Social Media?
– The Internet
– Self-publishing
– Social media
3. Why use it?
– Advantages
– Disadvantages
4. Communication
– Chat
– Mailing Lists and Forums
– Social Networking
– Blogs
– Microblogging
– Virtual Worlds
5. Sharing
– Family Trees
– Photographs
– Videos
– Social Cataloguing
6. Collaboration
– Wikis
– Social Bookmarking
– Documents
– Questions and Answers
7. Dangers
– Risks
– Some Simple Rules
8. What Are You Waiting For?
Appendix 1. How to Get Started with Facebook
– Sign Up For Faebook
– Using Facebook
Appendix 2. How to Get Started with Blogging
– Find a Host
– Create an Account
– Name Your Blog
– Set Security
– Create your Profile
– Select a Design
– Start Writing!
– More Advanced Blogging
Glossary
Index

You can buy it from Gould Genealogy, and I hope you do!

My DNA results have arrived!

I have previously written about beginning my DNA adventures with a test with 23andMe, a company that focuses more on the health aspects of genetics than the genealogical aspects. They had an offer I couldn’t refuse, and I didn’t!

When I got up this morning there was an email to say that my genetic profile was ready. I had to go out and so couldn’t give this interesting news the attention that it deserved, until now. I’d like to write down my impressions as I go through the results.

The menu is split into three headings:

  • My Health
  • My Ancestry
  • Sharing and Community

The first thing I did before I left the house this morning was look for my mtDNA haplotype under My Ancestry. This is the one that sorts  you into migration groups from 10-50,000 years ago. Mine is X2b:

According to 23andMe haplogroup X2 is mostly found in southern Europe, Central Asia, and North America, with a few scattered populations in places like the Orkney Islands in Scotland. It is relatively rare in most of the populations in which it is found.

It’s nice to think that my haplogroup is relatively rare. We all like to think of ourselves as a bit special! I can trace my direct female line back five generations to Agnes Allan, who married William Stewart in Paisley, Scotland, in 1827, and died before William remarried and took his family to Auckland, New Zealand in 1842. So perhaps she was descended from the people who ended up in Orkney.

Other headings under My Ancestry are:

  • Relative Finder, which won’t have results for another week or so. Disappointing!
  • Paternal Line which is no good to me since I am not male and the paternal line can only be traced by the Y chromosome, which women do not have.
  • Ancestry Painting, which makes no sense to me at the moment. It has a diagram of some chromosomes and a key that shows different colours meaning different things if the chromosomes show those colours. My chromosomes show no colours, only grey bits, and apparently “Gray segments indicate regions where 23andMe’s genotyping chip has no markers.”
  • Global Similarity shows your similarity to groups of people from around the world. Check it out:

Global similarity map

Global similarity graphI am slightly more similar to the people of Oceania than to any of the Europeans. Apparently Oceania includes the people of Australia (ie, Aboriginals), New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, including New Zealand, but the sample only includes those from New Guinea. The sample dates from January 2008, which is a bit disappointing.

There is the opportunity to see the graph for others who have shared their profile with you, and those I can see have predominantly Northern Europeans and very little Oceania. That makes sense. Most of us in Australia, aside from the Aboriginal people, come from Europe.

My father, however, is a part-European Fijian. The Fijians are Melanesian, with some Polynesian where they associated with people from Tonga and other islands. So this result makes some sense.

When I have some time I will delve into these results in more detail to work out how they arrive at the conclusions they have.

Under the heading Sharing and Community are the tools for comparing your genes with those of relatives. So far I have shared my profile with two people, and I have no similarities with either of them. I will look at this category in more detail when it has something to show me.

The first heading, which I have left until last, is My Health. First up is Disease Risk.

The results for Parkinson’s Disease are locked, so that they can explain what the results mean, and don’t mean, before you see them. I think that’s a good idea. I have a scientific background and know that the percentages they are talking about are very small, but others may be unnecessarily concerned.

The other results are displayed in a long list, with the increased risk first, followed by decreased risk and then typical risk. The ones on the top of my list are no more than double the very low average incidence, which is heartening. I can then click on each one to find out more. Here are some of my ‘typical risks':

Health typical risk

Where the results show a red and green arrow there are multiple markers associated with the condition, and I may have one or more of them.

It would be easy, I imagine, to use these results as an excuse to do nothing. If I see a graph that shows my risk of heart attack is greater than average I might resign myself to the fact and keep living on fatty foods and no exercise (which I don’t – it’s hypothetical). Or I could make some changes to counteract the predisposition in my genes.

Each item on the list also gives a ‘confidence rating’, the stars, based on the number of studies that have been done and the number of participants in the studies.

I have a slightly higher risk of developing asthma, based on one of three markers for which studies have been done. The studies are listed and described, with the type of population and numbers of subjects described. I actually do suffer from asthma.

Carrier status to certain conditions has a similar layout. I’ll have a good look at that later.

Drug response will also take some time to digest. I am likely to be a fast metaboliser of caffeine, which I gave up some years ago, and I have typical results for most other items on the list.

Traits looks interesting. I don’t have the muscle performance of a world-class sprinter, nor am I resistant to malaria or HIV/AIDS. I am likely to have brown eyes (correct) and to have straighter hair (correct, despite my father having frizzy black hair).

That’s enough for now. It will take some time to go into this more thoroughly. My initial reaction is positive, and I’m glad I spent the $99.

Image courtesy of Chris Harvey at Dreamstime.