Wednesday, 2 September 2015

The Delights of Day 2 of GGI2015

In the previous post we looked at the schedule for Day 1 of the DNA Lectures at GGI2015. Now let’s take a look at Day 2 (Sat 10th Oct).

click to enlarge

The genetic genealogy community has been eagerly awaiting the results of the Irish DNA Atlas Project, which began recruiting to their study at Back to Our Past 2011. Four years later and the first results are now ready to be revealed. Dr Ed Gilbert (RCSI) will be presenting the initial results from the project (based on 173 participants) and will discuss how they compare to those of the People of the British Isles project and other European studies. It is great to see the project starting to bear fruit, but these are just initial results and recruitment to the project is ongoing. You must have 8 great grandparents from the same general area (e.g. 30km radius), so if you think you meet the criteria be sure to contact Seamus O'Reilly at It is hoped that up to 600 people will be enrolled. Currently they are looking for a lot more recruits from the following Irish counties: Laois, Offaly, Longford, Roscommon, Leitrim, Meath, & Limerick.

Current coverage of the Irish DNA Atlas
from the Genealogical Society of Ireland Facebook Page

It is a great pleasure to welcome back Dr Cathy Swift to GGI2015. Cathy is Director of Irish Studies at the University of Limerick and gave an excellent presentation last year on the surnames of Munster and the genetic associations with the clan of Brian Boru - a fitting tribute to the High King seeing as how last year was the millennium of the Battle of Clontarf. Cathy will be speaking on the topic of Irish Clans and Irish identity, a topic that she finds fascinating, and one that is completely in keeping with this year’s conference theme: Who are the Irish? Cathy is an eminent Irish academic and her spirited presentations are not be missed.

The McSweeney clan having an outdoor feast
from Wikipedia

We are privileged this year to have several members of the Maine Irish Heritage Centre presenting the incredible work they do, in close collaboration with the Carna Emigrants Centre, on the Maine Gaeltacht DNA Project. This is a fine example of how an autosomal DNA project can be used to reconnect people with ancestry from a specific localised area, and in this instance the area is the southern part of County Galway, stretching from Spiddal in the east to Carna in the west. This particular part of Connemara saw entire villages leaving for the US in the latter part of the 1800’s and the early part of the 1900’s and settling in a relatively small area of Maine. The project has collected hundreds of pedigrees from people with ancestry from this area and has over 130,000 individuals within their database as well as 400 people tested for autosomal DNA. This project could well serve as a template for other similar “Geographic Autosomal Projects”, not just in Ireland, but anywhere in the world.

The Maine Gaeltacht DNA Project

For the "first-timers” and those who are new to DNA for genealogy, we are lucky to have one of the most knowledgable and most experienced genetic genealogists in the world giving a talk on DNA for Beginners. Debbie Kennett is a popular blogger, author of several books, Project Administrator for several DNA Projects, editor of the ISOG wiki, and an Honorary Research Associate at the University of London. Where does she find the time! Debbie’s clear and concise explanation of the basics of DNA testing and how it can help your genealogy is essential listening for any newbies (and for quite a few of us seasoned genetic genealogists too).

Debbie's books are available from Amazon

Another wonderful speaker is John Cleary, who will be gracing us with two presentations on the Saturday. His first talk will give some very practical advice and guidance on how to get the most out of your Y-DNA results. John has an excellent presentation style and has the ability to reduce complex topics into language that is understandable by all. He will discuss how to interpret your Y-DNA results, why you should join both a surname project and a haplogroup project, and the particular benefits of joining a geographic project or a special interest project, such as the fascinating one he runs for the descendants of the Scottish Prisoners (a group of captive soldiers sent by Cromwell to the New World in the mid-1600’s).

The different kinds of Y-DNA Project - Surname, Haplogroup, Geographic, Special Interest

John will also be discussing SNP testing and the Big Y test in particular. It is now 2 years since this test was introduced and we have now been hit by the first wave of the SNP tsunami. But where has this left us? What new discoveries has it allowed? What new challenges has it presented? And what does the future hold for SNP testing? These and more fascinating questions will be addressed by John in the final talk of the day.

The SNP markers that define the major branches of Haplogroup R1b *
(click to enlarge)

And last but not least, we have the Mystery Guest. I am not at liberty to reveal who this person is, but you can be guaranteed that this particular presentation will challenge your concept of what it means to be Irish ...  you may be more Irish than you ever imagined!

Who is it? Time will tell.

All will be revealed ...

... in due course.

* The descendant chart is courtesy of Michael W. Walsh, whose ancestors come from Ballyhale, Co. Kilkenny, and were known as "Walsh of the Mountain"

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The "first look" DNA Lecture Schedule for GGI2015

Here it is folks. We promised you a wonderful lineup for this year's Genetic Genealogy Ireland and here it is - well, at least a close to final draft. The final line-up will be available in about 2 weeks time.  

The DNA Lecture Schedule

This provisional schedule will change only in so much as the lecture timings may be slightly rearranged, the lecture titles (which are abbreviated for now) will be given their full title, and the Mystery Guest will be revealed.

click to enlarge

So what can we expect on Day 1?

The theme this year is: Who are the Irish? And we have several learned colleagues addressing this specific subject. We are very lucky to have Professor James Mallory (Queens University Belfast) join us for the first time. His 2013 book "The Origins of the Irish" was an instant bestseller and is a must-read for everyone with an interest in the archaeological, linguistic, and genetic evidence that underlies current theories regarding the first peoples of Ireland. If we are lucky he will be signing a few copies of his book at the FTDNA stand. 

Available at

We also see the welcome return of Prof Dan Bradley from Trinity College Dublin who will discuss some of the recent findings from ancient DNA research. One of Prof Bradley's research interests is the origins and spread of modern humans during the Late Pleistocene period and he is part of a large Europe-wide project which investigates the evolution and nature of major prehistoric processes which are key to our understanding of what happened in European prehistory. The advent of new genetic technologies has revolutionised the study of ancient DNA, shedding new light on the spread of peoples across Europe and into Ireland.

From Phys.Org 
The Munster Irish Project has been running for more than 3 years now and has amassed over 400 participants. Much has changed since the early days of the project, when the Men of Munster could be roughly subdivided into three large groups - the Irish Type II, the Irish type III, and the Munster I, defined by the respective terminal SNPs CTS4466, L226 and L362. Today, as NGS and SNP testing advances, the project has many more branches, some moving forward into the second millennium (1000-2000 AD). Thus first millennium tribal entities are gradually being associated with specific second millennium surname groups.

Munster Irish Project
DNA is increasingly in the news these days and the media don't always get the stories completely right. Furthermore, there is a tendency to only report the more sensational items, perchance giving the public a biased view on what DNA can and cannot do, and hence the pros and cons of DNA testing. Brad Larkin discusses some of the conundrums thrown up by this type of media coverage and raises the question: how do we deal with this? 


And of course, each day at Genetic Genealogy Ireland we have a few lectures devoted entirely to Beginners and people who have recently tested and want to know what to do next. Maurice Gleeson will start the conference with an introductory talk on the basics of DNA testing and how each of the 3 main DNA tests can help answer your specific genealogical questions. This will be followed by  Emily Aulicino, accomplished blogger and author of "Genetic Genealogy: the Basics and Beyond", who will guide us through our autosomal DNA results (from the Family Finder test) and will provide hints and tips on how to interpret them and use them most effectively.

Available from Amazon 

So the first day will have a wonderful mix of topics and will be a great start to what will no doubt prove to be a fabulous weekend. This is what makes Genetic Genealogy Ireland one of the highpoints of the international genealogical calendar.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

GGI2015 - Genetic Genealogy Ireland is back!

It's that time of the year again!

Preparations are well in hand for the return of Genetic Genealogy Ireland for a third year, once again kindly sponsored by FamilyTreeDNA and organised by volunteers from ISOGG.

This 3-day series of DNA Lectures is held at the annual Back to Our Past event in Dublin. This is Ireland's annual national genealogy exhibition and attracts an audience of over 18,000 people. Full details of GGI2015 at BTOP are included below.

Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2015 – the DNA Lectures 

The lectures will appeal to genealogists of all ages and experience. As well as covering the basics of DNA testing, we will have specific presentations on how to get the most out of your Y-DNA and autosomal DNA results (John Cleary, Linda Kerr, Emily Aulicino, Debbie Kennett, Maurice Gleeson). We will also be addressing topical issues such as recent advances in SNP testing (John Cleary) and "Understanding DNA in the News" (Brad Larkin).

However, this year a major theme emerging from the lecture schedule is: Who are the Irish? Where do we come from? ... and even Where are we going?

And this raises fascinating questions of identity, all the more relevant as we prepare for a wave of commemorations over the coming years - the Easter Rising of 1916, the War of Independence that followed, and the emergence of Ireland as a nation state in 1922. 

But the Irish are a mixed bunch. Various waves of migration into Ireland have resulted in a population with a medley of genetic influences. The lectures will cover ancient DNA (Prof Dan Bradley), Irish Clans & Irish Identity (Cathy Swift), the genetic influence of the Vikings (Cathy Swift), Welsh-Norman DNA (Brian Swann), and the legacy of the Scots-Irish (James Irvine). We will also have an update on the fabulous Munster Irish Project (Elizabeth O'Donoghue Ross, Finbar O Mahony) and the first results of the exciting Irish DNA Atlas Project (Ed Gilbert) which is an academic study akin to the People of the British Isles Project. It will be interesting to see how the results from the various projects are similar ... and different.

We also have a very special group of people presenting this year and they are the folk from the Maine Irish Heritage Center. They run the Maine Gaeltacht DNA Project and work in close collaboration with the Carna Emigrants Centre in Galway. This is one of the most mature autosomal DNA projects in the world and has had an incredible amount of success reconnecting people in Maine (USA) with their genetic cousins who still live in their ancestral homelands of south Galway. This project is a wonderful example of the power of autosomal DNA combined with local knowledge and pedigrees.

The conference will end with a look into the crystal ball and the "Future of Genetic Genealogy".

The final lecture schedule should be available in August and will be posted on this GGI website. The lectures will run from 11.30 to 18.30 each day (12.30 to 18.30 on Friday). The last lecture of the day starts at 17.30. Thus there will be 7 lectures each day (6 on Friday), 20 lectures in total.

And as in previous years, we will get as many of the presentations as possible up on our GGI YouTube Channel for those of you who cannot make the conference itself.

In a nutshell … 

Location: the RDS (Royal Dublin Society), Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

Event: Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2015 – a series of DNA Lectures, held in conjunction with Back to Our Past, Ireland’s annual national genealogical exhibition.

Date: 9th – 11th October 2015 (Friday to Sunday)

Times: 11.30 – 19.00 each day (12.30-19.00 on Friday; last lecture starts at 17.30)

Admission Fee: 10 euro (about £8, $13.50) per day, but 30% discount if booked in advance at the BTOP website here, so 21 euro (£17, $28) for all three days. This gives you access to EVERYTHING including the DNA Lectures. No other genealogical exhibition offers you so much for so little. The only real costs involved are getting there and staying there.

The Venue 

The RDS (Royal Dublin Society) is Ireland's premier exhibition venue. Founded in 1731, the RDS hosts the famous Dublin Horse Show each year and its Exhibition Centre is equivalent to London's Olympia (where Who Do You Think You Are? Live is hosted each year). It is surrounded by parks, restaurants and affordable accommodation, from Bed & Breakfasts to reasonably-priced hotels. The venue is 15 minutes from Dublin's historic city centre, 5 minutes from Lansdowne Road Football Stadium, and is easily accessible by public transport (both bus and DART). Click here for a link to the RDS on Google Maps.

Back to Our Past – general info 

This is the sixth year of Back to Our Past. It is run in association with the Over-50’s Show and the Coin & Stamp Fair. Attendance was 18,000 people in 2014. The exhibition consists of a multitude of stands/booths publicising the activities of organisations and businesses associated with genealogy and family tree research. The BTOP website is at

There is also a series of lectures, dealing with both traditional genealogy and genetic genealogy. Last years lecture schedule is still available on the website and will give you an idea of both the traditional genealogical programme and the DNA Lectures.

This year’s traditional genealogy programme should be available 4-6 weeks prior to the event and we will notify you of this in due course.

Accomodation & Travel

A variety of Bed & Breakfast and hotel accomodation is close by. Click the links below to explore further. In previous years, several US colleagues stayed in the Glenogra Bed & Breakfast which is a 4 minute walk to the venue. Two deluxe hotels are almost opposite the Glenogra, namely the Four Seasons Hotel and Bewley’s Hotel, both of which have undergone recent name changes! The more reasonably priced Sandymount Hotel (formerly the Mount Herbert Hotel) is also quite close.

-  Bed & Breakfasts

Reasonably-Priced Hotels

There is plenty to do and see in and around Dublin, and many things are very centrally located so you can see a lot of things on foot. A list of the most popular tourist attractions can be found by clicking the links below:

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Who Do You Think You Are - Live 2015

This past weekend saw an excellent array of speakers delivering some fabulous DNA Lectures in Birmingham (UK) at Who Do You Think You Are - Live 2015. The schedule of the lectures is in the table below.

The lectures were sponsored by FTDNA and organised by Maurice Gleeson and Debbie Kennett on behalf of ISOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogy). The topics ranged from DNA for Beginners to the latest update on the DNA analysis of Richard III.

You can watch a brief introduction to the videos of the DNA Lectures in the short video below.

Monday, 15 December 2014

The Top Ten Most Viewed Presentations of GGI2014 ... so far

We had a fine line-up of speaker’s at GGI2014 this year, and the viewing figures for the presentations on our YouTube channel reflect this. But which presentations proved the most popular with the viewing public? Read on ... all will be revealed.

But first, a look back on the organisation for this year's DNA Lectures, and the endeavours we undertook to raise the profile of genetic genealogy in Ireland and encourage more people to have their DNA tested. 

The Back to Our Past website and this GGI website both advertised the DNA Lecture schedule well in advance of the event so that people were able to choose what they wanted to see before arriving at the show. In addition, the Show Guide gave the DNA Lectures equal billing to the general genealogy lectures (organised by APGI, Association of Professional Genealogists of Ireland), which certainly raised the profile of DNA testing in the minds of the general public at this year’s event.

It was a very pleasant surprise to see that the speaker’s area had been given a lick of paint. As a result there was no need for a projection screen and we simply projected the image onto the wall, giving us a larger (and higher) picture and making it easier to see for the audience. The sound system and roving microphone worked fine and everyone was able to hear the speakers at the back, as well as questions and comments from the highly engaged audience. There were a few teething problems but these were easily sorted out. Now that I think of it, the door to the Speaker’s Area was a bit squeaky so I must remember to bring a can of oil next year!

Attendance at the lectures was up from 2013 – about 40 people per lecture, fairly consistently. Spencer Wells keynote address packed the Speakers Area to capacity (about 80 people). Some particularly eager audience members attended all three days of the lectures and did not move from their seats. In fact, several people told us they had only came to BTOP to attend the DNA Lectures and nothing else, including several from the US. If we'd known that in advance, we would have got them armchairs. The significant American presence was also reflected in the number of people who paid for their DNA tests in US dollars!

the GGI YouTube channel
All but two of the DNA Lectures were recorded and these were drip-fed onto the GGI YouTube channel over the four weeks following the conference, ensuring ongoing publicity for the event and FTDNA’s sponsorship of it.

Since the event, there have been over 8000 thousand hits on the YouTube channel and lots of complimentary comments on Facebook. Making the DNA Lectures available to view for free is seen as a wonderful service to the global genetic genealogy community, and the generosity of the speakers in making their talks publicly available is highly appreciated.

But which presentations have received the most hits so far? The Top Ten most watched videos (currently) of the presentations at GGI2014 are listed below. These viewing figures will change over time but already they give a very good indication of what is attracting popular attention, and this in turn helps the planning of future events. 

Brad Larkin’s excellent presentation on the Clans of Ireland and how DNA confirms or refutes the genealogies described in the Ancient Annals has proved particularly popular and reflects the interest that people have in connecting with their ancient Irish roots. The fact that DNA is beginning to identify clusters of people with surnames that correspond with those found in the ancient genealogies has rejuvenated interest in the Ancient Annals and presents new avenues of research. This can only help efforts to have the ancient genealogies digitised and made available online.

The tragic loss of all the 19th century Irish censuses in the fire at the Public Record Office in 1922 has meant that many people with Irish ancestry (in particular Americans, Canadians and Australians) hit a massive Brick Wall when trying to reconnect with their Irish ancestral homeland. Thus any methodology that can assist in finding out where one's Irish ancestors came from in Ireland has tremendous popular appeal. Tyrone's presentation from last year is still one of the most watched videos on our YouTube channel. There is a huge need to help the Irish diaspora trace their Irish roots. The increased uptake of DNA testing by an Irish audience, at events like Back to Our Past, will hopefully help break down some of these Brick Walls.

In third place, my own presentation on choosing the right DNA test to answer your specific genealogical conundrums shows that there will always be an audience of newbies who want to learn about the very basics. The first lecture each day at GGI2014 specifically addressed this need and myself, Debbie Kennett, and Katherine Borges discussed the three basic DNA tests and what they can do for you.

Daniel Crouch gave a fabulous talk about the People of the British Isles project. The fact that the genetic map of the UK can be subdivided into (at least) 17 distinct genetic clusters based on autosomal DNA analysis bodes well for the future of biogeographical analysis. It should be possible to compare our autosomal DNA against the POBI database within the next year or so and this will certainly help people identify likely areas where their ancestors once lived in the UK. In time, this will also be possible for those of Irish ancestry when the Irish DNA Atlas project completes its recruitment and joins the POBI database.

Emily Aulicino’s presentation on autosomal DNA comes in at fourth place. Over 50% of the DNA kits bought at this year's and last year's events were FTDNA’s Family Finder test. No wonder then that there is a great interest in autosomal DNA and how to interpret it. This is no mean feat (and we need more speakers on this subject) but Emily covered the topic well, nicely illustrating her talk with success stories from her own experience. This is the newest part of genetic genealogy and we still have a lot to learn, but as more people from Ireland take the test, the more Brick Walls will start to fall - on both sides of the Atlantic.

Cathy Swift (Director of Irish Studies at the University of Limerick) gave an excellent talk about Irish surnames, especially in relation to Limerick, the Dál gCais and Brian Boru, "the man who invented surnames in Ireland". There are lots of gems in Cathy's presentation - her overview of the multicultural influences on the development of surnames in and around Limerick is very illuminating. This was the first time Cathy was at the conference and she found it so engaging that she wants to forge closer links with the Irish genetic genealogy community. This is great news for everyone, and a fine example of the bridges that GGI is building between academia and citizen science.

Gerard Corcoran spoke about using DNA to map migrations of people into and out of Ireland. His talk ranged from ancient times right up to the present and took in all of the major comings and goings along the way. As SNP testing advances, the Y-DNA Haplotree will tells us a lot about these ancient migrations and the next 10 years should be a very exciting time in this regard.

Both myself and Rob Warthen gave talks on how to use DNA testing to help adoptees find their birth families. My presentation was followed by a very powerful 15 minute talk by Stephen Forrest, a Canadian adoptee, who used DNA in combination with traditional documentary research to successfully trace his birth family. Rob and his wife Sue gave us a very personal account of how they used DNA to trace Sue's birth family. Theirs was a journey with many ups and downs and the emotional impact on the audience was very palpable. Many adoptees are turning to DNA testing to help them in their quest to discover their birth family as, for many of them, it is the only means they have of finding out who they are and where they came from.

Lastly, John Cleary gave one of the best presentations I have ever had the pleasure of listening to on how to make the most out of your Y-DNA results. John’s succinct and erudite presentation fully captured the advantages of joining not only surname projects but haplogroup projects, geographic projects and heritage projects. I highly recommend that you give it a look.

Thank you, FTDNA, for sponsoring Genetic Genealogy Ireland yet again. And hearty congratulations to all the speakers who took part in this year’s event. You have enriched the field of genetic genealogy and raised the bar even higher for next year’s event. 

Roll on GGI2015 !

And a very Merry Christmas to all.

Maurice Gleeson
15th Dec 2014

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The GGI2014 Lectures ... on YouTube

After the Party is over … it still goes on!

Following the GGI2014 conference, 18 of the 20 presentations were posted on the GGI YouTube channel. The first presentation went up on Oct 20th, the day after the end of the conference, and videos of the other presentations were posted each weekday over the subsequent 3 weeks (ending on Nov 12th). One of the presentations (Lecture 18, Cynthia’s video on Reconstructing Irish-Caribbean Ancestry) was delayed due to technical difficulties and was posted on Nov 25th.

It is now 7 weeks since the first video was posted and the viewing figures are really quite incredible. In this relatively short space of time, they have been “viewed” over 8500 times for a total of 113,454 minutes - that’s 78 days and 18 hours. This is 3 times the viewing figures for the same period last year indicating that the second year of the conference appears to have been even more popular than the first.

Click to enlarge

Over 60% of the audience is US-based. This probably reflects the huge Irish diaspora in the States and the fact that so many Americans have Irish ancestry. However many of the topics have general appeal to a wide audience and this will also account for their popularity. The fact that we are able to bring these presentations to a much larger audience than just those who attended the 3-day event in Dublin is a fine example of how modern technology is making a huge impact on the practice of genealogy. Ten years ago this sort of thing would not have been possible.

Exactly 80% of the audience are over 45 years old (no surprise there) but the majority of viewers are male (56%). This in contrast to figures from last year where most viewers were female, which is what you would expect given that most genealogists are women. So what’s causing the men to come out of the woodwork all of a sudden? Was it this year's focus on the Irish clans (Brad Larkin)? Or Brian Boru (Cathy Swift)? Or the excellent presentation by Michelle Leonard on World War One?

Click to enlarge
Most of the Traffic Sources to the videos come from websites external to YouTube (24%), with 16% from the GGI YouTube channel page, and a surprising 11% as a “video suggestion” from YouTube itself - Thank You YouTube! It’s nice to see that the videos were deemed worthy of such a suggestion (with which, of course, I whole-heartedly agree).

Click to enlarge
The vast majority of videos were watched on the YouTube channel itself but 11% of the time they were viewed on other websites in which they had been “embedded” (such as this website).

Click to enlarge
Most of the time, the videos were watched on a computer (77%) but the popularity of tablets (such as the iPad) is clearly evident as 12% of views were on these devices. Even the humble mobile phone was a popular choice for viewing the videos (7.7%) … but some viewers went to the other extreme and chose to enjoy the presentations in the relative luxury of their living rooms watching it on TV (1.5%) … it's well for some!

Click to enlarge
Another interesting piece of information was the data relating to audience retention. This was the average length of time that people viewed each of the presentations and averaged just over 13 minutes (or 24%) per presentation, which I find relatively high. To me this suggests that most viewers were not just people who happened to come across these videos in their web browsing, but were people who targeted these videos for viewing and persisted in their attention for a considerable amount of time. Two of the presentations that held people’s attention the longest were Cathy Swift’s presentation (Emerging dynasties in a maritime world: hunting for Brian Boru’s genetic legacy) and Daniel Crouch (Genetic analysis of the People of the British Isles project). This is not at all surprising as both were excellent presentations.

Click to enlarge
The impact of these presentations has been much greater than the conference itself and reaches an audience that would otherwise be unable to attend the lectures and listen to the speakers. The YouTube channel has attracted 130 new subscribers over the past 7 weeks alone, so the customer base for these videos is growing, and hopefully will continue to do so. Posting videos is a very good way to engage audiences and spread the word about genetic genealogy. It would be great if more conference organisers would do this as it is an invaluable resource that serves to educate people long after the conference is over.

But what were the Top Ten videos? You’ll have to tune in next week for another exciting installment …

Maurice Gleeson
8th Dec 2014

Friday, 14 November 2014

Another successful year at Back to Our Past

This second year of Genetic Genealogy Ireland proved even more successful than the first, and a huge thank you has to go to FamilyTreeDNA for sponsoring the event yet again. Long may it continue! 

Due to the foundations that we laid down last year, publicity & promotion around the event was both easier and more effective this year. The Facebook campaign advertising the regular blog posts on this website resulted in 12,000 hits in the 4 weeks prior to the event. Ireland was the country with the most traffic after the US, indicating that the target audience was being reached. 

Back to Our Past is organised in conjunction with the Over 50’s Show and the Irish Coin & Stamp Fair – as a result BTOP benefits from people interested in attending all three shows in one. Although overall attendance at the show appeared to be down on last year, traffic to the FTDNA stand increased. 

Full credit goes to the ISOGG volunteers who helped out at the FTDNA stand including Derrell Oakley Teat, Katherine Borges, Linda Magellan, Nora Probasco, George Valko, Joss Ar Gall, Brian Swann, Debbie Kennett, and many more. 

The triage system worked very well indeed. ISOGG volunteers would mill around the stand and engage people in conversation, educating them about DNA, and answering any questions. This kept customers at the stand, created a buzz around the area, and attracted more people. It also meant that by the time the customers sat down at the table to be swabbed, they knew exactly what they wanted and could be processed quickly - this streamlined system improved efficiency and turnover. 

The stand was much improved on last year thanks to the addition of several posters on the basic aspects of DNA. These posters were well worth the investment - they attracted people to the stand, helped engage people in conversation, and generated discussion. They will remain in Dublin and can be used again for subsequent events. 

Once again there was two-way traffic between the stand and the lectures with the lectures driving people to buy DNA kits and volunteers on the stand directing interested people to find out more about DNA at the lectures. 

In total, 136 kits were sold over the 3 days of the event (approximately 40, 55, and 40 on Days 1, 2, and 3 respectively). This is up from 99 kits last year, an increase of 36%. The number of tests ordered also went up, from 113 to 148 (an increase of 32%). These figures are very similar to those from London when FTDNA first started attending Who Do You Think You Are back in 2009. Hopefully the number of customers testing in Dublin will continue to increase as they did in London (earlier this year 485 kits were sold at the WDYTYA event). 

The choice of tests bought by customers was very similar to last year. The Family Finder test was again the most popular, accounting for just over half of all tests. Y-DNA came in second place accounting for 40%, with mtDNA accounting for 9%. 

The Free DNA tests sponsored by Project Admins proved very popular and several customers availed of these. These Free DNA tests resulted in additional project members for the following surname projects: Cassidy, Dalton, Fitzgerald, Gough, Kennedy, Lloyd, Lyons (2) and Taylor. 

Both Debbie Kennett and Emily Aulicino had copies of their books for sale at the event and they all sold out – a further indication of the interest among the Irish in the use of DNA testing as an additional tool for Family Tree Research. Both Debbie and Emily have written excellent blog reports on the event and these can be seen by clicking on the links below. 

Debbie’s blog –

Emily’s blog –

Thanks again to FamilyTreeDNA for supporting the genetic genealogy community - without you, none of this would have happened!