Counting Down to DNA!

I know I’ve been rather quiet on the blogging front for a while now, but for a good reason.

As part of the organising team behind the DNA Down Under roadshow, that has taken up a lot of time (day and evening). But the beginning of the event is almost here, so my organising part is almost done.

Starting next week, Australia is having it’s biggest ever DNA specific genealogy conference. Held over 2 1/2 weeks, this roadshow features the guru of everything genealogy DNA, Blaine Bettinger, also known as “The Genetic Genealogist“. While he is the keynote speaker, he is joined by a whole host of Australia’s top genetic genealogists such as Louise Coakley, Helen Smith, Michelle Patient, Kerry Farmer and a stack more!!

It’s truly the ultimate DNA fest … and it’s for total beginners through to advanced level, so there’s something for everyone.

I saw a comment on Facebook saying “where else can you get 8 hours of DNA learning from the so many of the best in the world at one event!”, and another comment saying this is her “once in a lifetime event”. It’s so exciting to hear that others are just as excited.

The roadshow kicks off in Brisbane on Wednesday 14 August, and heads around the country to Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and finishes in Sydney with 3-day in-depth conference.

To give you an idea of what you’re in for (excluding Sydney), here’s some of talk titles:
– Introduction to DNA
– Using Autosomal DNA for 18th & 19th century mysteries
– Genetic genealogy: standards, ethics, risks, limitations
– Using GEDmatch & DNA Painter to analyse your DNA
– Myth Busting Ancestry
– Finding Australian matches
– Limitations of cousin matching
– Getting the most from your FTDNA results
– Getting the most from your MyHeritage results

In Sydney there’s 10 speakers over 3 days, with over 40 talks, so there’s too many to list, but check the program here. But in general thre’s everything from beginners, to ethics, to adoption, to ethnicity, to GEDmatch, to visual phasing, to DNA research plans, to a project using DNA to identify soldiers, as well as how to get the most out of your results with the different DNA companies, and a whole heap more.

So if you’ve not taken a test yet, but have been considering it come along and see how DNA can help with your research. Find out about the different DNA testing companies, as well as the different types of tests.

If you have taken a test but are at the “What now?” stage, come along and find out just that. What you can do with those results. How you interpret them. How you can find and contact matches. [This is totally where I’m at. I’ve done 3 different tests and just haven’t taken to time to do anything with them, so I’m expecting to be mindblown by what DNA can actually tell me once I understand it.]

And for those who have already done those steps, find out about a number of third party tools that can help you take your results even further.

The DNA Down Under roadshow runs from 14-31 August, so be sure to check the website for details of where and when for each city, along with the speakers and program.

Pre-bookings for tickets at Brisbane and Perth have closed, but tickets are still available at the door. The other states have a few more days to pre-book. And in case the event wasn’t incentive enough, everyone who pre-books automatically goes into the draw for over $17,000 in prizes!! You can see the full listing of prizes here.

So come along and learn a heap about genealogy and DNA, and meet and make new friends who love family history as much as you do. And if you’re heading to DNA Down Under in Brisbane, Adelaide or Sydney, please come up to the Gould Genealogy/Unlock the Past stand and say a big hello to me.

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.

DNA Down Under is Coming!!

Have you taken a DNA test, and apart from seeing your ethnicity estimates, you wonder what’s next? Have you tried to get in contact with a ‘DNA match’ and not got a response? Have you found ‘surprise matches’ and are unsure what to do about that. Or maybe you haven’t even taken a test, and wonder what all the fuss is about? Or you’ve heard about DNA tests being used by authorities to catch criminals and it’s made you wary. All of these aspects and plenty more will covered at Unlock the Past’s upcoming event “DNA Down Under“.

Blaine Bettinger, author of the best selling book “The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy”, heads a lineup of world-class genetic genealogists, who are touring Australia during August 2019, holding 1-day seminars in most cities, and culminating in a 3-day DNA-fest in Sydney.

The dates:
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

The speakers:
These speakers will take your understanding of DNA to the next level, no matter what level you’re currently at. The team brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in family history and in particular DNA and its usefulness as yet another tool to help you in your research:
– Brad Argent
– Blaine Bettinger
– Fiona Brooker
– Louise Coakley
– Gail Edwards
– Kerry Farmer
– Mike Murray
– Michelle Patient
– Jason Reeve
– Helen Smith
For more on the speakers, click here.

The options:
Book for a 1-day event in your own city, or head to Sydney for a 3-day DNA-fest. … OR do ‘DNA to the MAX and book for your city AND Sydney and save. Note: Sydney’s 3 -day program is different to the other cities, so you won’t be overlapping in the talks offered.

Early Bird Prices End Soon
Whatever you choose, be sure to book before 30 April 2019 to take advantage of their early bird rates, and save. Save $30 for a one day event, $60 for Sydney (3 days), or $80 on DNA to the MAX (Sydney+1 other city).

DNA Down Under Ambassador
I’ve been chosen to be one of the DNA Down Under Ambassadors, and I will be attending both the Adelaide and Sydney events, so I hope to see some of you there.

I’ll admit I’m almost a ‘total newbie’ to DNA. I’ve done the tests, but am really still working on the papertrail of genealogy, rather than focusing on the DNA side of things at present, so no doubt there will be plenty for me to learn. Anyway I shall be reporting on the events, and what I’ve learned from them in due course.

More information:
For more information and booking head on over to their website, and follow the event on Facebook

Just a Little Bit Irish

The 17th of March is St Patrick’s Day. A day for all things Irish. A day to remember your Irish heritage, and that’s what I’m doing today.

On checking my DNA results from Ancestry, it says that I’m 15% Irish/Scottish/Welsh. My guess is that it’s mostly Irish – but as always, that is still to be proven.


And my Living DNA results they say 9.4% South West Scotland and Northern Ireland ….

So while the stats vary (all DNA tests do as they use different algorithms), they do show that I do have some Irish (and/or) Scottish blood in me.

But I’ll be honest, the Irish lines of my family aren’t ones that I’ve done much research on yet … (one day!!). However I do know that McCullough family comes from Randalstown, in Country Antrim, so that’s a start.

Beyond that, I do believe that my 4x great grandma Anne/Hannah McGrath who married William Cosgrove in South Australia in 1856 came from Ireland but that’s yet to be proven.

And I wouldn’t be surprised to find another line or two that end up being Irish. But time (and research of course) will tell.

So on St Patrick’s Day, be sure to take a moment to remember those from the homeland. Those who left their country for various reasons (some willing, others not), and then made a new life in their adopted country. Each of them playing a part in making you the person you are today.