Course #2: Applied Genetic Genealogy (Fall)

Instructor: Leah Larkin
Dates offered: Mondays: October 3, 10, 24, and 31
Time: 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm PT, 4:00 to 7:00 pm ET
Cost: $300

This course is designed for intermediate to advanced genealogists who want a consistent, efficient approach to problem-solving with DNA as well as guidance for writing about their DNA-based conclusions.  In-class lectures, scripted assignments, and discussions set the stage for students to work on their own DNA-based research questions as homework.  The end goal is a researcher who can evaluate a problem, design a DNA testing plan to solve it, and explain the conclusions in clear language.

Students who have a specific research question that can be addressed primarily with autosomal DNA will get the most out of this class.  An appropriate question might be the identity of an unknown parent or grandparent.  If a student doesn’t have an appropriate research question, they will be paired with someone outside the class that needs help.  Other types of DNA may be used to supplement the autosomal DNA evidence.

The course will be closed captioned.

Skill-based pre-requisites:

  • A working knowledge of two or more autosomal DNA databases.
  • Understand how Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA, autosomal DNA, and X-DNA can each be used in genealogy.
  • Know basic terminology, like centimorgan, genetic distance, segment, predicted relationship, cluster analysis, and quick-and-dirty trees.

Required subscriptions

  • One or more genealogical databases, like Ancestry.com or MyHeritage.com
  • DNAGedcom Client (preferred) or Genetic Affairs
  • DNAPainter (free account is fine)

Class Agenda

The pre-assignment is due 48 hours before class starts. The instructor will provide feedback on the pre-assignment and all other homework assignments if submitted 48 hours before class starts.  Class schedule is subject to change.

Session 1:

  • Overview of class objectives, introduction of class members
  • Lecture: “Asking the Right Question”
  • In-class exercise
  • Discussion of exercise
  • Introduction to Homework #1

Session 2:

  • Class Discussion based on Homework #1
  • Lecture: “Madness to Method”
  • Breakout groups for in-class assignment
  • Discussion of exercise
  • Introduction to Homework #2

Session 3:

  • Class Discussion based on Homework #3
  • Lecture: “What are the Odds?”
  • Breakout groups for in-class assignment
  • Discussion of exercise
  • Introduction to Homework #4

Session 4:

  • Class Discussion based on Homework #4
  • Lecture/Discussion: “Writing DNA”
  • Breakout groups for in-class assignment
  • Discussion of exercise
  • Wrap up

Within two weeks of the end of the course, student may submit the DNA component of a written report for feedback (up to 15 pages).

Please see the FAQ page for information about taking a course a second time.