Final day of New York State Family History Conference in Tarrytown

There were two morning conference sessions and I attended a second presentation by Blaine Bettinger on the topic of “Shared Matches and Genetic Networks.” Blaine discussed how you can use shared DNA matches and shared DNA segment matches to help you locate more family members. He pointed out that Ancestry DNA will only show you shared matches that are fourth cousin or closer in their results list. Other testing companies do not have this type of cut-off. You will received many more matches when you look at your shared matches as opposed to those with shared DNA segments. He mentioned two third-party tools to help analyze your results. One program called NodeXL works with Excel and can only use Ancestry DNA shared matches data. The second program, Rootsfinder, can only be used with DNA data from GEDmatch and only works with shared segment DNA data.

A very interesting presentation was given on “Underutilized New York Records: Towns, Taxes and Much More” by Eric G. Grundset, former Library Director of the DAR Library in Washington, D.C. Eric discussed the importance of locating and using town records and tax records in New York State even if they may be hard to find for some locations. He also talked about the New York Daughters of the American Revolution Genealogical Records Committee Reports. These documents are not limited to the American Revolution time period. The actual books can be found in Washington, D.C., Albany and Manhattan. Some of the information you can find are family bible records, cemetery and church records. There is a free online index for these reports on the DAR national website.

There were also two conference sessions in the afternoon. The final program I attended was “Writing Your Family History” presented by Kyle Hurst with the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Kyle went over the different parts of the writing process from planning, adding narrative, writing and revising and putting it together. Examples were given from published family histories to show the different ways you can incorporate family trees with narrative text. The NEHGS offers free templates and a sample stylesheet to help with family history writing and as well as a free subject guide on writing a family history.

I learned something new from all of the lectures I attended. I look forward to the next conference that is scheduled for Sept. 10-12, 2020 in Albany.

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