Learn more about how DNA helps in genealogy research


April 16, 2021

The next Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Orlando Zoom meeting will be held May 4 at 7 p.m. The guest speaker will be Adam Brown, founder and director of the Avotaynu DNA Project, an academic multi-disciplinary study of the origins and migrations of the Jewish people with over 8,000 participants.

DNA testing is now a well-established tool in the genealogist’s toolbox, and success stories appear almost daily announcing the reunion of long lost relatives and the solution to cold cases. Among Ashkenazi Jews, it also leads to challenges to unravel real relationships among the tens of thousands of “cousins” showing up as DNA matches. Yet, used carefully and studied with thoughtful questions, DNA can provide insight into historical events and illuminate what archeology and the written word tell us about our earlier ancestors.

For the past five years the Avotaynu DNA Project has been spearheading collaborative international DNA research that includes academics at leading institutions around the world as well as a local cadre of Jewish historians and community leaders whose aim is to demonstrate what DNA can tell us about the origins and migrations of the world’s Jewish populations since the founding of the Jewish People approximately 3,000 years ago. This is not a story that can be compressed into a one-hour presentation, but an introduction will provide a view of the results to date.

Brown has worked extensively in all major online genealogical platforms — including Ancestry, MyHeritage, Geni, and WikiTree — and as a volunteer Geni Curator has helped countless users develop their own collaborative online projects focused on Ashkenazi and Sephardi families and their communities.

He has researched his family’s Jewish origins for over three decades. His numerous groundbreaking lectures and articles have been presented at IAJGS conferences and published in AVOTAYNU. He was the co-chair of the IAJGS 2017 Annual Conference in Orlando.

By profession, Brown is a lawyer and strategic planner, is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago Law School, and serves on numerous municipal, scientific research, and academic non-profit boards and commissions. He has worked two seasons as an IT/telecommunications specialist at a remote field camp deep in the interior of Antarctica. He returned to the region during March-April 2016 as part of a multi-national scientific expedition that traveled 5,800 miles by sea to and from ice-covered yet volcanic Heard Island, a rarely visited pristine habitat in the stormy Southern Indian Ocean halfway between Australia and South Africa

Registration is required for this meeting. Send an email to jgsgo.blogger@gmail.com to get your request to organizers. This will get your name on the registration list.  A link to access the Zoom meeting will be sent to you a few days before the meeting.


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