07 March 2010

Who Do You Think You Are 2010 in London


Who Do You Think You Are (WDYTYA) 2010, the world’s largest genealogy conference, was a wonderful success. Like last year, the line at the door started early and stretched for several blocks. But the crowds were definitely larger every day, and the traffic was much heavier on Sunday than in the previous year. Most of the same booths appeared with a few noticeably missing, however.

Early Friday Morning at WDYTYA

The Society of Genealogists (SoG) has posted the handouts from the various lectures at: http://www.sog.org.uk/events/2010show.shtml

Family Tree DNA

Family Tree DNA has attended WDYTYA for the last two years due to the foresight of Geoff Swinfield, a geneticist, well-known at SoG (Society of Genealogists) and Brian Swann, ISOGG's European Coordinator for England and Wales. In a pub conversation two years ago, Geoff suggested the idea of bringing Family Tree DNA to London’s Who Do You Think You Are conference. Brian put this idea into action and last year was Family Tree DNA’s debut in London. Their success was met with an offer to attend The Gathering in Scotland in July 2009 and a desire to return to WDYTYA this year. This year, Family Tree DNA doubled
the size of its stall as well as its presentation area.

I had no time to explore as I helped at the Family Tree DNA booth all three days, and I was only able to attend two presentations, one by Bennett Greenspan on Family Finder and one by Geoff Swinfield entitled DNA for Family Historians, regarding his discovery of not being a Swinfield. I was busy explaining the various DNA tests and swabbing what seemed a continuous stream of customers. The hall was so busy and noisy that I felt as if we were shouting to hear each other. By Saturday afternoon I was beginning to lose my voice!

F-B: Kenny, Bennett, Emily, Katherine, Chris
(Photo courtesy of Kenny Hedgepath)

FTDNA Announces New Family Finder Test

This year FTDNA President Bennett Greenspan introduced the company’s new Family Finder test for the first time to the public. This tests the autosomal sections of all the chromosomes to determine matches by cousins on any line of the pedigree chart. FTDNA will not be releasing this test to the US public for another three weeks, and several Brits with whom I spoke were pleased to see they were first.

Learn more about this test at: http://www.familytreedna.com/landing/family-finder.aspx
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) provides more details: http://www.familytreedna.com/faq/answers/17.aspx

The various types of DNA tests (Y-chromosome, mitochondria, and Family Finder tests) proved to be very helpful to WDYTYA participants. Each potential customer explained their goals for testing while the FTDNA volunteers help them determine which test best solves their problem. People who were adopted, those wishing to learn if their cousin was really their cousin, those wishing to break through their genealogical brick walls, and even those who were just curious received all the answers to their questions and a recommendation as to which test would help them.


For the first time at this convention, the International Society of Genetic Genealogists (ISOGG) acquired a booth, thanks to Brian Swann. Members from both the UK and USA manned the booth, signing up new ISOGG members as well as giving away free DNA tests to those who qualified. ISOGG members who wished to gain testers for their particular Surname projects offered free tests for males who would qualify with the proper surname. The first test given away was on Friday for Cynthia Wells’ Wells Y-DNA Project. That was followed by someone qualifying for the Doug Miller’s Land Project. He has a second possibility as well. Then others were found for Cynthia’s for Lay Project and for Katherine Borges’McCallum-Macolm Project. A test was taken by a Graves for Kenneth Graves’ Ydna Project. People picked up flyers for Robert Sterry’s Sterry Project and Nancy Kiser’s Phillips Project as they who knew people with that surname. Katherine is pleased that two Fullers who are do not carry the Fullers’ surname are being tested with Family Finder. Much to Katherine’s pleasure, one also has a Lyon connection. The odds of finding attendees with the correct names visiting the booth are remarkable. The offer was deemed a success and will continue next year so be sure to stop by the ISOGG booth and see if your surname is among those the project managers need for their groups.

Debbie, Katherine, and Jill
(photo courtesy of Kenny Hedgepath)

Fun in the Pub

And there there was sight-seeing and great times in the pubs visiting with all the helpers and genetic genealogy speakers. We sure missed our local pub, however. The Crown and Sceptre, Kensington (now closed) was in the next block from the B & B and had wonderful food! But, this is London and we found a few others!

Kenny, Katherine, Bennett, Debbie

Ann, Emily, Katherine, Johanna (standing), Linda and John

The Players

Last year, four ISOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogy) members attended from the US, but this year nine went. For the British, last year four attended that all of us knew, but this year there were eight. Doubling these numbers was wonderful and helped greatly with assisting both the FTDNA booth and the ISOGG booth. It was wonderful seeing all the friends from England again.

From the US:

Back: Kenny, Katherine, Terry, Marilyn, Linda

Front: Emily, Derrell, Cynthia, Johnna

From Britain:



Ann and John Blair





Everyone is already looking forward to WDYTYA 2011. Plans are already being made for a return and ISOGG members are even more committed to providing free tests to help their projects. Be sure to stop by the booth to see if your name qualities.

In the US we are excited about the American Version of Who Do You Think You Are on NBC each Friday night in hopes it will renew interest in genealogy. Check your local listings for the time in your area.

See you next year London!

March 2010

No comments: