Conference Update #3 -- Technology & DNA #usa


Groll, Avraham
 

Dear Friends,

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

The first phase of the modernization effort is scheduled to be completed
by early spring of 2018. Many components of this project have already
been completed, such as improvements to the JewishGen Family Finder and
Jewish Communities database. Upon completion of the first phase, we will
begin to focus on improving efficiency and the user experience. This is
an extremely exciting time for JewishGen. This new focus on our
technological infrastructure will help set the stage for many years of
growth and productivity on behalf of the broader Jewish community, and
we are truly privileged to be engaged in this work.

On the topic of technology --
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!

Avraham Groll
Director
JewishGen.org
646-437-4326 (Direct)
646-494-5972 (Main)
845-558-1948 (Cell)
agroll@JewishGen.org

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