Friday, February 5, 2016

Thoughts From Salt Lake City

As I have said before, I began my path to my book when I took a course in Practical Genetic Genealogy at GRIP nineteen months ago, and the experts said they did not know how to do the DNA of Jewish and other endogamous populations.

So yesterday, a non-Jewish woman with a Jewish line came to my booth at RootsTech. I was wearing my "how many Pikholz matches do YOU have" shirt and that's what she wanted to talk about. She has a few dozen Pikholz matches and she says we discussed this some time ago. I'll take her word for that.

So she tells me that among her matches is a suggested second-third cousin with Aunt Betty, my father's sister, and close ones with Uncle Bob and others. She consulted with one of the very top names in the field, who told her "Oh, that's a Jewish match, don';t bother with it. Nothing will come of it."

I am tempted to say that this is malpractice, but I have only hearsay to go on.

What it is, though, is a clear violation of the demand made of all credentialed genealogists to do a "reasonably exhaustive" search, even if nothing comes of it. Following up a DNA match of a suggested second-third cousin (even when we know it cannot be that close) must be part of a reasonably exhaustive search. Can we get some "likes" here on that particular declaration, especially from the professionals?

New story. We all know about elevator pitches. So yesterday when leaving RootsTech on the elevator to the third level parking garage, I actually did one. In an elevator. The fellow was interested in my story and one of his clients is a prominent supporter of genealogy, someone I know by reputation, who is also a cousin of the husband of my wife's third cousin Janet. This client has never done DNA.

We got off at the first level and continued talking, exchanged cards etc. Then I got back on the elevator and I said to the people there that I had just had a first-time experience - an elevator pitch in an actual elevator. So on the way down someone else tells me what company she is with and it turns out it's a piece of software that I bought but don't know how to use.

She will come to my booth to work with me on it this morning.

Two successful elevator pitches in the same trip down three floors.

More later.

Shabbat Shalom.

I should not have used the word "malpractice," a word which has legal significance.

I do believe that this story - if told accurately - does conflict with the requirement for a reasonably exhaustive search.


  1. barbara mannlein05 February, 2016 19:11

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't know how to use programs or software I invested in.

  2. I'm so glad you are having this experience.

  3. There are opportunities everywhere, even in elevators.:D

  4. Hi,

    I want to let you know that your blog is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!