Monday, August 8, 2016

IAJGS2016, Day 1

I'll be blogging all week--you'll be able to see all my posts on IAJGS2016 here.

My IAJGS conference started on an exhausted note, as I had a 5:30AM flight from Baltimore--and I couldn't fall asleep the night before.  I did manage to get on an earlier flight for the Houston-Seattle leg, but boy was I tired (still am).
Are We There Yet?

Thanks to Facebook, I learned that my friend Miriam from our Johns Hopkins days was in Seattle, so we met for lunch at the one downtown kosher restaurant.  The food was yummy and the company great.  Hopefully we won't go 17 years without seeing one another again.
Yum.  I was really, really hungry

Me (L) with Miriam

And then to the conference.  I went to the Share Fair, where tons of different organizations and companies had set up tables to market their wares and make people aware of their services.  I ran into lots of old friends, which was very nice.
Share Fair

And then my one talk of Day 1, where Israel Pickholtz spoke about GedMatch's Lazarus tool, as it applies to two kinds of endogamy.
Israel Pickholtz Talking Endogamy & Lazarus

Lazarus allows you to try to recreate an ancestor's genome based on living relatives who have tested.
You need to give it a list of descendants of the target genome as well as relatives of the target who are not descendants, all of whom have done autosomal DNA testing.  The more relatives you can use, the larger the created genome will be.

However, as Jews, we don't know if some of these people are related in other ways.  This can misattribute shared segments to the ancestor of interest when they actually belong on another branch.  You need to think about people who are related in several ways and potentially remove them from the analysis.

He drew a distinction between pedigree collapse and endogamy.

He defined two kinds of endogamy--structural endogamy and personal endogamy.  Structural endogamy is where all Jews are related to one another multiple times, so it looks like people are more closely related than they are.  Personal endogamy is were grandparents/great-grandparents entered into cousin marriages, which was quite common until very recently.

He concluded that structural endogamy issues disappear within the personal endogamy.  Once you get to more macro DNA analysis, some of the issues dealing with Jewish DNA disappear.

He gave many examples from his own family to demonstrate various points.

Then I went to the Presidents' reception (I'm president of JGS Maryland--if you're local, come join!)
IAJGS Presidents' Reception

And then I just couldn't take it any more, and I went to sleep.  Hopefully day 2 will be more filled with genealogy now that I'm a bit more rested!

I'm speaking Wednesday at 4:30.  If you're at the conference, come by and listen and then say hi!

Note:  I'm on Twitter.  Follow me (@larasgenealogy).

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  1. Miriam was so cute. The food did look yummy! Can't wait to read the rest of this week's adventures. Please take time to Enjoy! I'm enjoying this already! Miss Seattle! Have Fun!

  2. The DNA lecture sounds fascinating! (Husband is Jewish - many DNA "relatives" that are probably not closely related; I have plenty of colonial New England ancestry - so is that structural endogamy or not?) I plan to enjoy the conference vicariously through blog reading. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I heard CeCe Moore speak at OGS a few months back. I think she mentioned that New England isn't nearly as endogamous as Ashkenazim, but they're moreso than the general public.

    2. I heard Cece Moore speak at NERGC in April (she's great). I think that's about right - colonial New England isn't quite as endogamous as Ashkenazim, but I'm definitely sharing more DNA than I would expect with 4th-5th-6th cousins with New England roots.