Win Your Way to DNA Down Under

By now you’ve probably already heard that the legend of genetic genealogy, Blaine Bettinger (yes THE one and only, the one who is the author of the insanely popular “The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy’), is coming down under to Australia in August 2019, to teach us all about DNA and genealogy, and everything relating to it.

In fact he is one of a team of genetic genealogists that will be touring Australia to give everyone from the “I’ve not even tested yet, why should I?” through to the advanced users who already understand what ‘haplotype’ and ‘phasing’ mean.

The presenters will not only be explaining just how useful DNA is for genealogy, but also how to understand and make the most of the results. There’s also talks on ethics, using DNA to solve 18th/19th Century secrets, and using third party DNA tools, and how to get the most from your results from the various DNA testing companies.

If that sounds like your cup of tea (or coffee), then keep on reading ….

The tour covers day-long seminars in 5 Australian cities (Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra), and ends with a 3-day DNA-fest in Sydney. As the Sydney topics are largely different to the other states, quite a number are doing “DNA to the Max”  which is 1 day in your own state + 3 days in Sydney, which really is the UL-TI-MATE!!! This is actually what I’m doing (Adelaide + Sydney), and while I reckon my head will be swimming after day 2  (let alone day 4), I know I’ll learn a lot.

The whole tour goes for 2 1/2 weeks, starting in Brisbane on 14th August 2019, and ends in Sydney, so here’s the dates of what’s on when:

Brisbane – Wed 14 Aug
Perth – Sat 17 Aug
Adelaide – Tue 20 Aug
Melbourne – Fri 23 Aug
Canberra – Mon 26 Aug
Sydney – Thu-Sat 29-31 Aug

If you haven’t yet booked, but are super keen to go – you’re in luck because as a DNA Down Under Ambassador I’ve been given a 1-day pass to giveaway (value $155). This can be used at any of the states, including Sydney (but just for a single day). The value is $155, and you’re getting to hear not only Blaine who is known as one to the best genetic genealogy speakers in the world, you’re going to hear the best from Australia and New Zealand as well. The speakers do vary from state to state, but Louise Coakley, Kerry Farmer. Mike Murray, Michelle Patient, Helen Smith, Mike Murray, Claire Forster, Shelley Crawford, Fiona Brooker, Gail Edwards, Brad Argent and Jason Reeve who along with Blaine, are going to teach you SO MUCH about DNA, you’ll be a pro by the end of the day!

To enter you need to answer 4 questions, and email me your answers.
1. If you’ve already tested, have you had any surprises with DNA? If you haven’t tested, do you think you’ll find any?
2. What do you hope that DNA will help you discover?
3. Have you made new family connections through DNA? If so, tell me a little about it.
4. If you win, which city do you intend to go to?

Send your responses to me at:, and be sure to get your entry in by Friday 12th July. The winner will be announced on social media that weekend (and emailed with details on how to get your free ticket).

THE Ts&Cs:
Sorry guys, but there does have to be a just few Ts&Cs.
1. You can only enter if you haven’t already booked
2. The winning ticket is not transferable
3. The ticket covers your entry to a day-long event at the the city of your choice, and includes lunch as well. But sorry, but airfares and accommodation are not covered.

More information on the event can be found at


UPDATE: Entries have closed. And the winner has been drawn, and CONGRATULATIONS goes to Helen Dell.

… and DNA Proved It!

DNA is without a doubt the latest BIG thing to hit genealogy. So big, that it is changing (or should I say supplementing) the way people research.

Genealogical DNA testing has been in Australia now for a couple of years, but I’m never one to be first in line for new things. In saying that I have tested with both AncestryDNA and Living DNA, and I have interesting results from both. However it’s not exactly those results that I’m writing about here.

Before continuing let me just state that I’m no expert in any form of the word on genetic genealogy. But I wouldn’t consider myself a “complete total newbie” either.

Even so I wanted to share an interesting result with you.

My family has some illegitimate births (as does every family I’m sure), but one particular family story was one that questioned the legitimacy of my great great grandfather’s last child. For privacy reasons I’ve chosen not to name names here.

The story goes that after the death of his wife, my great great grandpa married the lady who had been his housekeeper for many, many years. She was 38, he was 77. Sadly due to ill health he died just a few months after they married, and her baby boy was born six months after that.

Certainly among some people, there has been speculation as to if the baby boy really my great great grandpa’s child.

Well, as they say “DNA doesn’t lie”.

I’ve tested, and my mum has tested, and we’ve had matches with people who are connected to that particular line. So, yes we do indeed have his blood in us! And that puts paid to those rumours.

So you see, it can be useful.

Next up, I’m hoping it’ll help us find the fathers of some of our illegitimates.

DNA Testing and Bullying

While genealogy DNA testing has been around for a few years now, DNA testing in Australia only became a big thing last year when AncestryDNA hit our shores.

I, along with numerous family members, and many others I know have done the “spit test” to see “where we came from”. So far all good and easy. Right?

For many this is enough. That’s all they wanted. Do the test, and see their ethnicity. But for the rest of the testers, they want more. They want to find the long lost cousins and branches of their family. They want to find matches, and this is where you can find issues arise.

I have heard it so many times “they don’t have a tree online” or if they do, “they haven’t replied to my message about a match”.

Personally I’m not a ‘tree online’ person. I am happy to work on my own tree, on my own computer, but due to public pressure, I did put a mini-tree online, and am now having people contact me saying that they match, and wanting more information.

Can you see the issue here?

Not everyone tests for the same reasons.

So my suggestion to those who have tested, and have sent queries to those who are possible matchers, don’t be a bully about it. If you find that someone doesn’t have a tree online, don’t pressure them. And if they don’t respond to your request for more info, don’t hassle them. The more you do, the less likely they’ll want to share their info with you.

Maybe in time they’ll look into the whole matching thing for themselves, but at present they’re happy with the ethnicity report, and seeing the match of a close relative or two who have tested as well.

…. and my Results are in!!

It was only a few months ago that AncestryDNA hit Australian shores. FINALLY Aussies would be able to take the test … myself included.

Let me mention straight up that I am a total genealogy DNA newbie. I know incredibly little about the whole DNA side of genealogy, simply because it is something that I haven’t explored yet, as I’m still busy on the paper-trail. However when the opportunity came for me to take an AncestryDNA test, which is an ethnicity test, I thought this should be an easy enough one to start off with. One that I could get my head around.

it arrived!

it arrived!

So the box arrived, and the instructions seemed simple enough: activate an account on the AncestryDNA website, spit in the tube, seal it, and post it off to Ancestry … then sit back and wait for the results, this can take anything from 6-8 weeks, so be patient.

what comes in the kit

what comes in the kit

Then the email arrived. “Your AncestryDNA results are in, see my results”.

the results are in ...

the results are in …


So the moment of truth. What does my DNA say about my ethic origins?

and my results ...

and my results …

Actually, no big surprises.

I’m made up of mostly English origins, with a bit of Irish and Scandinavian thrown in. Though why the list Finland separate from Scandinavia I don’t know.

Great Britain 58%
Ireland 15%
Scandinavia 14%
Finland/Northwest Russia 7%
Trace Regions 6%
– Europe East 3%
– European Jewish 1%
– Iberian Peninsula < 1%
– Europe West < 1%

Have you thought about doing a DNA test to check your origins? If you’re interested you, can find out more about AncestryDNA and buying a kit here.