Friday, June 3, 2016

Southern California Jamboree 2016 ~ Day One ~ My first time at Jamboree!

This is my very first time at Jamboree and here’s how day one went.

My friend and fellow blogger Debby Warner Anderson who writes Debby's Family Genealogy Blog and I live within 5 miles of one another in Ramona.  I got to her house at 5 a.m. (thank you to my husband who got up early to drive me to her house).  Debby has been to Jamboree before and offered to drive.  She also made hotel reservations and guided me through the registration process and picking classes.

The drive through L.A. traffic was mostly uneventful, I’m happy to say and we got to the Marriott here in Burbank about 9 a.m.
I’m already seeing people I know from the San Diego Genealogical Society and various Facebook groups.

Day One is DNA day at the Jamboree.  I picked four classes to attend.  I really need to expand my knowledge about DNA and how it can work to connect with ancestors and their descendants.  I’ve tested with Ancestry and the following members of my family have been tested with one or more companies: My Mom (thankfully, since she just passed in March), my brother, my half brother, my husband and several cousins.

Here are some of the highlights from all four classes.  Certainly not a complete synopsis of what was covered in an hour long class.

10 a.m. – Autosomal DNA-Specific Steps to Insure Success – Speaker: James Vincent Bartlett
  • Develop a robust tree going back many generations.  Even if you have not yet proven for sure that they are your ancestors, add them to the DNA tree.  Note:  I have a completely separate tree on Ancestry that is connected to my DNA test.
  • Make an alphabetical list of about 50 of your surnames to send to people who contact you via the DNA testing
  • Create a standard email that you use to respond.  Don’t make it long, but be very upbeat in your response.
  • Send an email to every match.
12:30 – DNA forGenealogists – Breaking Brick Walls – Speaker: Kitty Cooper
  • R1B is the most common haplogroup
  • 1 marker equals about 100 years.  So if you are 4 markers from another person, that would be approximately 400 years
  • Y DNA won’t break all your brick walls until more people test
2:30 – Why Y? Case Studies for Y-DNA Solutions – Speaker: Katherine Hope Borges
  • Test as many family members and cousins as you can afford to or who will offer to be tested.  Maybe some of them will pay for their own tests.  Offer to give them family trees or information on their ancestors in return. (you have probably already done the research any way)
  • The Mayflower Society has a YDNA project. 
  • At you can upload your results
  • Test at the larger YDNA companies like FtDNA. Several smaller companies have gone out of business over the years.
  • Notes to myself from this class – have my first cousins tested and see if I can upload my brother’s YDNA to the Mayflower site
3:30 – Using Autosomal DNA to Solve a Family Mystery – Speaker: Thomas Wright Jones

Thomas presented an excellent case study from his own ancestor and took us through all the steps used to solve the mystery of “Who was Calista’s Father?”
  • When we put together a puzzle picture of our ancestor, remember that not all the pieces will be completed.  But, if the pieces you have fit, and you have enough of them, you can complete the picture.
  • When pieces don’t fit – set them aside.
  • Missing pieces can augment what we already know.
  • If our hypothesis has only one conclusion and we can explain that conclusion, then we have an answer.
  • 6 generations is at the very edge of the ability of DNA to be helpful to us. 
  • Focused questions, like the one about Calista, make our research more efficient.
  • Target people to test, rather than just randomly testing.
  • Use GEDMatch to compare your tests to others
Those are just some of the tips I took away from the classes yesterday.

Were they helpful to me?  Absolutely!  Will this allow me to make better use of the DNA tests I currently have and future tests?  Yes!

Stay tuned for Day Two of my Jamboree experience.


Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl
Copyright ©  2010-2016   Diane Gould Hall



  1. Thank you so much for sharing with us who are sitting at home feeling like we are really missing out, because we are! You've given me some ideas with your notes. Thank you!

    1. You're welcome Michelle. I'm a novice with DNA and I'm trying to become more educated. I honestly believe it can answer a few of my family mysteries, but I need to figure it out first.

  2. Oh my gosh! I saw you there on Sunday, in my wanderings! Would you be upset if I said your pictures don't do you justice?? My husband and I couldn't go on Th or Fri, darnitall, we were there Sat & Sun. It was our 3rd time; we were there back in 2010 & 2011 (I think). It is a fantastic event, and I'm blown away that it is run by volunteers!

    1. Thank you for the kind compliment. I agree that it was a fantastic event and I can't wait to go next year. The fact that it is run by volunteers is even more surprising. What a huge undertaking it must be and what a great job they all did.
      Thanks for you comment.


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.