Answer your DNA questions at IAJGS 2017 Orlando!

Don't miss out on a golden opportunity to make sense of your DNA results at IAJGS 2017 Orlando with over two dozen lectures, workshops and mentoring sessions on all aspects of DNA research!

Experienced practitioners of autosomal DNA analysis such as Israel Pickholz,  Lara Diamond, and Schelly Dardashti will discuss the particular challenges of endogamy faced by Jewish genealogists.

Representatives of DNA test providers such as FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage, and Ancestry will describe how to understand their results in our Sunday EXPO! and again throughout the week at their booths in the conference Exhibit Hall.

In addition, seasoned DNA project managers will lead participants in a four-part series that lasts all week. In DNA 101: Solving Research Problems with DNA Testing, Rachel Unkefer will discuss why genealogists are disappointed in the outcome when they begin testing without a concrete goal in mind. She will describe how successful testing begins with posing questions, and then selecting the correct DNA tests and family members to answer those questions. Attendees will learn how to set testing goals and how to navigate the testing and analysis processes.

In the next session in the sequence, DNA 201: The Next Steps, Family Tree DNA project managers  Rachel Unkefer, Janet Akaha, Gil Bardige, Adam Brown, Itzhak Epstein, Zach Gordon, Michael Waas, Sidney Sachs, Max Heffler,  and others will work collaboratively with participants to assess the current status of their own research and discuss strategies for moving forward.  This session will be followed all week long with group and one-on-one mentoring sessions to help attendees make the best use of their autosomal, Y-DNA and mitochondrial results.

On the Y chromosome front, DNA 301: What Y-DNA Lineages Can Tell Us About Jewish History and Migration will focus on  “Next Generation Sequencing” (NGS) products like FTDNA’s Big Y and others. The panel of “citizen scientists” will describe how they have begun mapping out genetic trees that are far more accurate than ever before possible.

Lastly, DNA 401: The Key to Successful DNA Projects will feature a panel of DNA project administrators who will describe how to organize geographic, surname, and haplogroup subclade projects; whether to include Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA and/or autosomal DNA testing in proposed projects; techniques for keeping participants engaged; and best practices.

Computer workshops will focus on tools such as GEDMatch, Lazarus, and McKee that are used by genealogists to parse autosomal and Y chromosome results. Family genealogists such as Mark Strauss (both Ashkenazi and Sephardi) who have undertaken DNA projects to complete their family trees will also describe their strategies and successes.  Jeff Paull and his team will describe their rabbinic DNA research, in particular their current work on the well-known Twersky dynasty.

On Monday evening of the conference, Jewish DNA pioneer Dr. Harry Ostrer and linguist Alexandre Beider will deliver a lecture entitled “Setting the Record Straight: DNA and Yiddish as Evidence for the Origins of Ashkenazi Jews”, and at Thursday evening’s banquet, Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, host of PBS’ “Finding Your Roots” will speak on “Genetics and Genealogy in America”.

On Thursday afternoon, Karen Grinzaid from Emory University will address Jewish genetic diseases and options for affordable and accessible genetic screening for Jewish families.

Adam Brown, co-chair of this year’s IAJGS conference is also the Managing Editor of and the Administrator of the 5,000 participant AvotaynuDNA Project.  Adam will provide an update on the Project's Sephardi DNA initiative that is entering its second year of testing Sephardi men all over the world in collaboration with genetic genealogy pioneer Dr. Karl Skorecki of the Technion.

So if making use of your DNA results to illuminate your family history is on your agenda, or you simply want to make sense of the DNA test results you have already obtained,  then Orlando 2017 is the place to be!  Register today at while there are still hotel rooms available!