Monday, September 10, 2012


The last few weeks, I have been blogging about our efforts to learn about the Skalat Pikholz families through DNA testing.

I will be speaking on that subject at two of the Israel Genealogical Society branches in the next few weeks.

Here are the announcements and the lecture description.

A DNA Skeptic Turns His Family On Its Head - And Remains A Skeptic

As a genealogy research tool, DNA is both very tempting because it tests the scientific genealogical makeup of family members, but at the same time uses analysis based on statistics and probability that can lead to incorrect or unfounded conclusions. The experts' explanations often confuse more than they illuminate, especially when you consider that some of these experts are the ones selling the testing services. So what is the lay researcher to do?
FOR SOME REASON, THE DATE ON THIS IS WRONG. Correct date is 14 October.
This talk will tell the story of one researcher who – despite his skepticism – used DNA testing to turn his basic family structure on its head, with more plans on the way. And despite his intentions to continue with this kind of research, remains a something of a skeptic.

I am also scheduled to speak on another subject - one which I have done before, both here and in the US.

"Beyond a Doubt: What We Know vs. What We Can Prove"

What do you do when the hard proofs just aren't there, but you are as sure as you can be what they would say if you could find them? If you fold your hands and wait, you may never get anywhere with your research, but if you accept your suppositions as fact, they may never be questioned again. Not by you nor by your research heirs.

This presentation will use examples from the east Galician single-surname Pikholz Project to consider when what you know is beyond a reasonable doubt and if that is indeed good enough.

I am not sure if I'll be blogging next week, so let me offer best wishes to all of you as we enter the new year 5773. May you and your families be written and sealed in the Book of Life and may you enjoy a year of health and prosperity.

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