Crook County Genealogical Society presents a four-part series about DNA and genealogy

How does DNA relate to genealogy?

That's the question speakers will answer in a four-part series that the Crook County Genealogical Society presents this summer.

"The presentation series begins with a history of DNA discoveries and ends with a report from a person who has utilized genetic analysis to locate relatives," explained CCGS Treasurer Jim Steeprow, who is helping plan the series.

The Genealogical Society is sponsoring four one-hour presentations to provide a basic understanding of the relationship between genealogy and DNA, the carrier of genetic information.

Presentations are planned for 7 to 8 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of June, July, August and September at the Bowman Museum Community Center, with the first one being June 27.

"A lot of people have asked questions about it, so there's an interest in it," Steeprow said of the DNA and genealogy topic.

He said the intent of this series is twofold.

"First, to provide a basic understanding of DNA, and second, to provide information regarding what aspects of DNA the commercial companies utilize to provide genealogical reports," he said.

He noted that while there are companies that do more in-depth analysis for diseases and genetic mutations, these presentations will focus on genealogical support issues, thereby allowing an individual to choose a company that will provide genealogical information pertaining to them.

Organizers wanted to provide some training on the topic and end the series with a report from an author on how he used DNA.

First up, Dr. Bruce Williams, with Prineville St. Charles Health Systems, will provide an overview of the history of DNA and a description of cell division — mitosis.

Merideth Humphries, an assistant professor of biology at Central Oregon Community College, will present July 25.

She'll share an overview of how a persons' heritage is defined by DNA mutations, including lineage, heredity, environmental impacts and diseases.

Humphries will also present Aug. 22, providing an overview of how DNA information is used by different companies to provide an individual with a report regarding their heredity, diseases, and identification of a potential relative.

Wrapping up the four-part series, Portland author Don Anderson will present Sept. 26. He released "Paper and Spit: Family Found: How DNA and Genealogy Revealed My First Parents' Identity" in May 2017.

Like most adoptees, Anderson wanted to know where he came from. He combined genealogical research (paper) with DNA testing (spit) to find his first family.

"Paper and Spit" chronicles his journey from filing his first application in 1995 to obtaining information from the adoption agency that placed him, to knocking on his maternal aunt's door in 2001, to finally confirming the identity of his father in 2015.

Anderson is also a project administrator for Family Tree DNA, a commercial genetic testing company.

"He will describe the process and subsequent results when he utilized his DNA report to locate relatives," Steeprow said, adding that Anderson will also have copies of his book available to purchase.

Belva McCullough, a member of the Genealogical Society, first connected with Anderson when he called her, looking for relatives. She mentioned the DNA and Genealogy program and told him they were wanting a speaker.

McCullough passed the information along to Steeprow and his wife, Nancy, and Nancy arranged for Anderson to share his story in Prineville.

This is the first time the CCGS has offered a free educational series, and the members welcome the public.

"It'll give them basic information on DNA, what it is, and how it can be used," Steeprow said.


DNA and Genealogy

The first of a four-part series is 7-8 p.m. Wednesday, June 27 at the Bowman Museum, 246 N. Main St. Dr. Bruce Williams will share the history of DNA and a description of cell division.

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