After a long, cold, winter, and many weeks of cloudy skies and rain, the warm sunshine arrived, just in time, for the May meeting of the Lanark County Genealogical Society.
It’s always a pleasure to exchange ideas with fellow LCGS members, learn about new genealogy projects, and ongoing efforts to preserve our history and heritage, and helping distant families around the world, reconnect with their pioneer roots.
(l to r – long-time LCGS member, and member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, Arlene Stafford-Wilson, center- Shirley Somerville, Librarian and Director of Genealogical Resources, and Jayne Munro-Ouimet, LCGS President, and recipient of 2018 Award of Excellence for her outstanding contributions to Lanark County)
Also present, Helen Gillan, historian, tireless volunteer, and one of the founding members of the LCGS.
My presentation included a brief overview of the stories included in “Lanark County Calling: All Roads Lead Home:
The main topic of the afternoon was a presentation and discussion of “Genealogy and DNA”.
In the presentation, I compared three of the most popular DNA Home Test Kits: ‘My Heritage’, ’23 and Me’, and ‘Ancestry’.
A contrast of the many varying price ranges for the DNA test kits was discussed, how each test is done, which tests are easier to use, and how soon the DNA results will be returned to the consumer.
Next, we examined some of the main features of each kit. Some DNA kit companies provide maps of the world, with a numerical breakdown of where your DNA match ‘cousins’ may be found, and how many are in each country.
Other kits focus more on the medical aspects of DNA, and will provide the consumer with specific information on whether they are a carrier for a variety of diseases, like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, blood-sugar disorders, cancers, macular degeneration, gluten-related disorders, nerve, heart, and blood disorders.
Some of the DNA test kits provide more comprehensive information on family connections, and will show how many cousins/DNA matches are in a particular part of the world, displayed on a map, and if you choose to build a family tree, these DNA tests will provide you with matches to the people in your tree, so that you may expand your family history through cousin connections.
The presentation included the different types of family-tree building software that comes as part of the kit, the ease of use of each of these, and also the ability to upload or download your DNA results into genetic ‘pools’, like those in GEDmatch, to provide you with an even wider search capability.
I also discussed some of the issues with privacy and DNA, how some DNA test providers share our DNA results with insurance companies, drug companies, and law enforcement. We also examined many of the newest features available to the consumer.
The presentation concluded with a question and answer session, and many interesting points of discussion took place, among those attending. Some had already taken one or more home tests, and they shared their personal views on the pros and cons of each type of test.
Following the presentation, the book table was busy, and many stopped by to discuss the stories in ‘Lanark County Calling’, and have a copy or two signed for themselves, and signed as gifts for others.
Karen Prytula, LCGS Director of Communications and Marketing, was busy throughout the day, coordinating the audio-visuals, and sharing updates with members. Karen very kindly presented me with a jar of Polk Honey, as thanks for the presentation.
Arlene Stafford-Wilson with Karen Prytula, LCGS Director of Communications and Marketing.
Polk Honey is produced in Pakenham, by Arnold Polk, and is one of the county’s most sought-after treats. If you’d like to try some yourself, it is available at the Pakenham General Store, 2524 County Rd 29, Pakenham, Ontario.
Following the presentation, a delicious lunch was provided, and one of the highlights of the afternoon was a lovely display of some of Lanark County’s Heritage Quilts:
Many thanks to the Lanark County Genealogical Society for inviting me to be with you, and present ‘Genealogy and DNA‘. It was a wonderful afternoon, a chance to catch up with old friends, and to learn about ongoing projects, as the LCGS continues their work to preserve our heritage and history.
For more information on the Lanark County heritage quilts, please contact the LCGS: Lanark County Genealogical Society
If you missed the talk on ‘Genealogy and DNA’, I will be presenting this to the Smiths Falls Historical Society, September 19th, 2019, at 7:00 p.m. All are welcome. For details, call 613-283-6311.