Conference Update on Technology & DNA

Dear JewishGen Community,

JewishGen had a very successful and productive experience at the 37th annual IAJGS Conference (which was held July 23-28 in Orlando, FL), offering an outstanding variety of sessions, workshops, and luncheons throughout its duration. During the weeks following the conference, we are posting highlights of our activity, including a review of some of the major announcements which were first unveiled at the conference.

Today I would like to focus on technology. As previously announced, this past February, JewishGen began implementing a comprehensive, system-wide, technological modernization plan, which will propel us into a new growth phase, grant us the ability to leverage new technologies, and dramatically improve the user interface and how we present information.

As part of this plan, we are seeking an additional software developer/engineer. This position was first announced at the IAJGS conference, and will be based in NY at JewishGen headquarters (at the Museum of Jewish Heritage). More information about this job can be found here: http://www.jewishgen.org/jewishgen/jobs.html.

On the topic of technology and DNA
In recent years, much progress and many success stories have occurred due to a combination of technological advancements in the field of genetic genealogy, coupled with a dramatic reduction in cost to access such services. For this reason, genetic genealogy has become a powerful tool in the arsenal of dedicated family historians, and JewishGen has taken steps to assist JewishGenners take a deeper dive in this area. As a result, we have amplified our agreement with FamilyTreeDNA to more easily and effectively connect JewishGen users with the information from genetic genealogical research.

As many long-time members of the JewishGen family are aware, FamilyTreeDNA and JewishGen have a long history together. So we are very pleased to continue our relationship. Here is how it will work.

  1. We have created a new page at www.JewishGen.org/DNA.
  2. Visitors to this page will be able to learn a little about DNA research and purchase a test.
  3. We will be adding additional explanatory InfoFiles about DNA testing in the coming months. 

While this is exciting and just the beginning of what we expect will be further opportunities for JewishGen and FamilyTreeDNA to work together, it is important to stress that genetic genealogy is still most effectively employed in conjunction with traditional research. Genetic similarities can often lead to confusing and/or misleading results. This is a particularly acute challenge when taking into consideration the fact that Jews traditionally marry other Jews, thus creating multiple family connections between individuals, and thousands of possible matches when performing DNA testing.

We therefore encourage JewishGen users who wish to explore DNA research to take full advantage of this new opportunity with FamilyTreeDNA, but to do so in conjunction with traditional research on JewishGen.

I would like to thank Bennett Greenspan (President of Family Tree DNA) and his team for their incredible cooperation – we look forward to announcing further integrated initiatives with them in the months ahead.

Please stay tuned for more updates!

Sincerely,
The JewishGen Team

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For the latest news and announcements, please visit facebook.com/JewishGen.org.

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