Honoring Passover and Easter

How is this night different from all other nights?  One of the four questions of the Passover Seder …. While I’m not Jewish, I am reflecting on this weekend beginning with Passover tonight and its story, and what I have learned about the Seder from dear friends who have shared some of the traditions and foods of this important event.  As a genealogist, I’m recognizing that in the long history of my ancestors over thousands of years, I have Jewish ancestors.  My AncestryDNA results also indicate that I have Ashkenazi Jewish heritage – a low percentage (<5%) indicating a distant connection – but nonetheless, it doesn’t surprise me as early Christians were Jewish.  And, because of my Eastern European DNA, it is likely that it comes from there.

So I’m celebrating the beginning of an ancient commemoration.

Earlier this month, we celebrated the spring Equinox, honoring our relationship to the Earth, the changing of seasons and our Native heritage, family and friends.  AND I will be celebrating Easter in my faith community and with mom on Sunday.  

Whatever your beliefs, faith tradition or thoughts about all things spiritual or religious, wishing you the beauty and freshness of the spring growth, earth awakening and return of green grass, baseball and flowers.  May you have love, peace and beauty in your life!

MyHeritage announces new tools – DNA Browser!

MyHeritage made some great announcements about new features in their DNA work!  One, the DNAQuest.org is an effort by the company to help adoptees – using this site address, MyHeritage is offering FREE testing for those experiencing hardships (you have to apply for the free testing) but they have dedicated money to this effort and it should help many.  Just before coming to #RootsTech, I had a great conversation with a woman who used DNA to find three sisters (two half-sisters, one full) and, within a year, they all met and are expanding their family relationships in a loving way!

The other great update from MyHeritage included their new tool – DNA Chromosome Browser.

MyHeritage announced #RootsTech in Salt Lake City a major upgrade of its chromosome browser that makes it easier for users to analyze their DNA matches!  If you’ve taken a MyHeritage DNA test or those who have uploaded their raw data from other DNA companies, you can check out this feature in the MyHeritage DNA drop-down menu.  I’ve checked it out on my own DNA and it is fun, and I’ve been spending alot of time playing with it.

I have to say that the advances in DNA research and the opportunities it provides to family historians and genealogists was SO on display at #RootsTech … the power we all have to break through brick walls and discover relatives, history, migration patterns, and family stories is phenomenal!!!  If you aren’t on board with these tools (AncestryDNA, FindMyPast, FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritageDNA and more), you are truly missing an opportunity!

Arrived at RootsTech … wow!

OMG …. this is AMAZING!!  RootsTech 2018 … I made it and I’m so excited!!!

While it is just Tuesday night, I’m attending the Media Dinner, sponsored by FamilySearch, and an opportunity to get an advance look at what will be happening during the week.  In addition to being an Ambassador ( you post stuff on social media), as a Speaker and participant, I want to be “in the know” about it all as a First-Timer!!!

Meeting up with friends is a big, fun part of the conference and having some time to settle in was great.  The lines, while long, at registration moved fast AND I got to go to the really short (no one ahead of me!) VIP line to check in.

Then the Media Dinner!!  Some tools here at the conference are the overall conference app – guides you to the workshops, helps with what is in Expo Hall, and more!  You can see a list of attendees and connect with them if you are tracking someone down …. and who the keynote speakers are, where there is food, the day’s happenings, alerts and more!!!

A REALLY fun thing this year – using your family tree from FamilySearch to link to all of the attendees at the conference who have linked their trees – and you get a list of everyone attending who is your COUSIN!!!!!  OMG!!  I have over 200 people here who are related to me (mostly through my French-Canadians!) and I’ve reached out to see if we can meet …. stay tuned for possible pictures of “Cousin Connections”!!

We saw a teaser film of Relative Race too!!!  It’s from BYU TV … while you can get it easily here in Utah, the rest of us can view it on Google TV and other programs that pull from around the country.  The show is based on four teams of two family members.  They provide their DNA which is tested.  Family members from around the country then are found and the teams are given clues and maps (NO GPS allowed!!) to find the locations of relatives in the United States and must drive there the fastest to win.  When they knock on the door at the address provided, the person that opens the door is a previously-unknown relative!  It kinda got me choked up watching it as some of the meetings were very impactful.  I’m looking for this when I get home!

Well, that’s it for day one at RootsTech 2018!!!  Watch for more!