My Heritage offers 5000 free DNA kits to adoptees

Just received this press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   MyHeritage Extends DNA Quest Initiative to Help More Adoptees Reunite with Their Birth Families
MyHeritage pledges 5,000 additional free DNA kits for global distribution to eligible participants, following the success of the first phase of its pro bono initiative

March 01, 2019 01:18 PM Eastern Standard Time
TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah–(BUSINESS WIRE)–MyHeritage, the leading global service for family history and DNA testing, announced today that it is extending DNA Quest, its pro bono initiative to reunite adoptees with their birth families through at-home DNA testing. The first phase of DNA Quest was launched in March 2018 and offered 15,000 free DNA kits to adoptees and those seeking to reunite with family members who were placed for adoption. This resulted in many successful reunions. Due to the large number of applicants, a waiting list of several thousand people was established after registration closed in May 2018. The next phase of DNA Quest announced today re-opens applications on the project website ( and will offer an additional 5,000 free DNA kits to eligible applicants from all countries. Preference is given to applicants who are unable to afford genetic testing.

MyHeritage helps people find their relatives using its DNA Matching technology. The MyHeritage DNA database is one of the fastest-growing in the industry and currently numbers 2.5 million people, including people who tested on MyHeritage and others who uploaded the results of their DNA test for free from other providers. Numerous participants have already reconnected with long-lost family and others have obtained vital clues to assist them in their search. New discoveries continue to emerge, offering participants newfound hope of reuniting with their long-lost loved ones. The search for biological family, especially for birth parents, is time sensitive, as each year older relatives pass away.

Mitch Yurkovich, a Michigan resident and father of four, was adopted as a baby and recently reunited with his biological parents and siblings through DNA Quest. Mitch described the moment that he pieced together the story of his past: “I began to shake, and couldn’t stop smiling! My heart started to race and I was utterly blown away! This was news better than anything in my wildest dreams… I had found my biological family!”

MyHeritage is committed to ensuring that participants receive support on their journey to find their birth families. Last year, the company formed a top-notch advisory board for DNA Quest comprised of world class adoption experts and genetic genealogists, to provide guidance to MyHeritage and the participants. The current project will continue in this manner in 2019 with the same advisory board.

Eligible DNA Quest participants will receive a free MyHeritage DNA kit, which consists of a simple cheek swab. DNA samples are processed in the company’s CLIA-certified, CAP accredited lab in the U.S. and results are available 3–4 weeks after the sample is received. All data is kept private and secure and personal information is never shared with any third parties.

Applications for DNA Quest are now open on the initiative’s website: Applications will close on April 30, 2019.

Some notable DNA Quest success stories:

1. DNA Quest reunion featured on Good Morning America

2. New Zealand siblings living just miles apart meet for the first time

3. Emotional reunion of siblings who found one another through DNA Quest

4. DNA Quest reunites half-siblings in their 50s

Some of Hudson’s Bay Company Archives to be digitized

I need a bunch of years to read through all the microfilmed and manuscript records of the legendary Hudson’s Bay Company. I can view some at places I regularly research and need to go to Winnipeg to access the bulk of the records. Now we have some great news.

” The province of Manitoba will celebrate its sesquicentennial in 2020 and plans to mark the anniversary are well underway. “

“HBCA is digitizing over 1000 reels of microfilm copies of pre-1870 trading post records, making them available to the world online. ”

Read the informative article from CTV Winnipeg here:

Learn more about the HBCA here:

The Native American Research course at SLIG:

At the annual Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy this January, I was among the instructors in the Native American Research course headed by Rick Fogarty. It was a course that took us all considerable time to pull together for the syllabus,  presentation slides,  and the actual presentation notes. Was the outcome worth the work? It was so worth the time and the interaction with the students was amazing!

I left my sessions in the course feeling euphoric. This group of students knew that there was education available, knew attendance was important, and their contributions in discussions was beyond valuable. Discussions with the other instructors was also beneficial.

So much wrong information about Native American research is found online and in suggestions on social media. The variety of records, approaches, tribes, and repositories is extensive. Consider in-depth learning on this and other subjects if you really want to do extensive research to find your answers.  The learning never stops and it occurs to a special level when done in-person with intensive presentations.

In-depth summer genealogy education in Pittsburgh at GRIP

Two separate weeks of quality genealogy education this summer in Pittsburgh on a beautiful college campus! Expert coordinators and instructors, networking with fellow students, knowledge galore, extensive syllabus, direct assistance, and it’s a no-brainer! Join the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh for world-class education this summer in either June or July. A good number of students attend both sessions.

Decisions, decisions, decisions. I highly recommend July’s “Digging Deeper: Records, Tools, & Skills” … I love planning, teaching, and interacting in this well-received course. We’ve done some upgrading for 2019 and you will love the instruction, interaction, and the extensive syllabus with lots of tips, websites, explanations, and information on things you may not have thought about or encountered. This is a great course if you need to progress further on your research, aren’t quite ready for an extra advanced course, or know you need some extra foundation of learning. We do have some fun, too.

The GRIP website has great tips on the registration process and being ready so you get into your chosen course. I  hope to see you this summer in Pittsburgh!

p.s. GRIP students are addicted to education and advancing their research. Parking is free, basic dorm rooms are available (includes meals), and living genealogy from Sunday-Friday at noon can’t be beat!

Saint Paul: Family History Conference at MHS, Feb. 16


Join a great lineup of experts at the Minnesota History Center in Saint Paul on Saturday February 16, 2019 for a full day of learning. The day’s theme is Preserve & Organize Your Family History. 

Attend this day packed with sessions led by renowned professional genealogists, speakers, and researchers, plus a keynote by award-winning author Paula Stuart Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA. (That would be me and I blushed a bit at the publicity from MHS,)

The day includes a rare, behind-the-scenes tour of the massive MNHS archives. That’s a real eye-opener. Learn more and register now! Click here for full details.

Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) Registration Opens Soon!

Yes, it’s January and many of us are seeing snow and cold temperatures. Let’s plan for summer. Join your fellow genealogy enthusiasts for two weeks of quality and extensive education this summer. The Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh is fun, too.  There is a course that will fit your level of interest and experience.

I am the coordinator of a July course and have three other excellent instructors, Melissa Johnson, CG, Karen Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS, and Debbie Mieszala, CG.

The course is titled “Digging Deeper: Records, Tools, and Skills.” Ask yourself these questions and if you answer yes to any of them, this is the course for you. Have you moved beyond the beginning stages of researching your family history? Maybe you have researched online but know there must be more to be done elsewhere or that you have missed some online resources? Do you need a firmer foundation before taking advanced or specialized courses? Are you not yet comfortable with in-depth evaluation of documents and setting up research plans?  For more about the course and the individual sessions, check here.

Registration is next month (February) for all the courses:

  • 23-28 JUNE 2019 (REGISTRATION OPENS Wednesday, February 20, 2019, at 11 AM Eastern (9 AM Pacific) for the nine courses in June)
  • 14-19 JULY 2019 (REGISTRATION OPENS Wednesday, February 20, 2019, at 1 PM Eastern (11 AM Pacific) for the eight courses in July)

Click here for full info on the location, courses, and instructors.

Board for Certification of Genealogists Announces Free Webinars for 2019

For Immediate Release: 18 December 2018 from BCG

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) is excited to present the following free webinars through Legacy Family Tree Webinars in 2019:

January 15 – Margaret R. Fortier, CG, “Visualizing Information for Genealogists”

February 19 – Melissa A. Johnson, CG, “Applying Evidence to Genealogical Research Questions”

March 19 – Debra S. Mieszala, CG, “The Five-story Fall: Correlating Indirect and Direct Evidence to Extend the Pedigree”

April 16 – LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, J.D., LL.M., CG, CGL, “Transcribing Documents: There Is More Than Meets the Eye!”

May 21 – Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, “Valid and Unsound Assumptions: What Was She Thinking?”

June 18 – Patricia Walls Stamm, CG, CGL, “Using Another Library Source: The Government Document Section”

July  16 – Yvette Hoitink, CG, “Lesser Used Records for Research in the Netherlands” **

August 20 – Harold Henderson, CG, “Ten Tools for Genealogical Writing”

September 17 – Claire Bettag, CG, FNGS, FUGA, “Civil Law Concepts and Genealogy” **

October 15 – Claire Bettag, CG, FNGS, FUGA, “Civil Law Records in Genealogical Research: Notarial Records” **

November 19 – Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA, “Native American Research: Things You May Not Know”

December 17 – J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA, “Marriages Here, There, and Nowhere: Finding Gretna Greens and Borders”

BCG’s webinars are normally held on the third Tuesday of each month at 8 p.m. Eastern time. In order to accommodate those who might have schedule conflicts, most webinars can be accessed by the public at no charge for a week after each live broadcast. BCG webinars are always free to BCG-certified associates.

** Please note that Yvette Hoitink’s July 16 webinar will be broadcast at 2 p.m. Eastern time. In addition, the two webinars by Claire Bettag on September 17 and October 15 will not be recorded and will be available only via live stream.

BCG receives a commission if you register by clicking our affiliate link: register for more than one webinar at the same time, use our affiliate link:

“We are pleased to sponsor these high-quality educational webinars by BCG associates,” said President Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA. “We are delighted to work again with our partner Legacy Family Tree to make these offerings available at no charge. The Board for Certification of Genealogists promotes public confidence in genealogy by supporting uniform standards of competence.These webinars are part of our effort to provide educational opportunities to family historians of all levels of experience.”

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. For more information
View BCG’s past Legacy webinars using our affiliate link at

Again, BCG receives a commission if you register by clicking and buying via our affiliate link. For more information on educational opportunities, please visit:

 The words Certified Genealogist and the designation CG are registered certification marks, and the designation CGL and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

January travel: SLIG and Mississippi Genealogical Society

January 2019 starts a new travel year for me. The first trip is to Salt Lake City to do client research and teach 3 sessions in the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy’s Native American course. Then I am excited to be off to Jackson, Mississippi to do a day-long seminar on 19 January for the Mississippi Genealogical Society. The flyer for that event is below. 

Legacy Family Tree Webinars has added closed captioning!

In case you haven’t see this  exciting news over the past few days!

Legacy Family Tree Webinars has announced the addition of closed captioning to its services. This includes my November 2018 webinar,  Railroad Records and Railroad History: Methods for Tracking.

From their press release: “Implemented as a full human-curated transcription via synced subtitles, closed captioning is now available as an option for all live and members-only webinar recordings released since May 1,2018. In addition, the most popular 50 webinars on the platform and all MyHeritage-specific webinars have been captioned. Legacy will add captioning to all new webinars going forward.

We are committed to providing the best genealogy and DNA education for all,including people who are hard of hearing,” said Geoff Rasmussen, founder and host of Legacy Family Tree Webinars. “Captioning is an excellent way to make online education more accessible, and is also a benefit to non-native English  speakers who struggle with spoken English but have an easier time with written English.

Legacy has exciting plans for 2019, which include the hosting of webinars in non-English languages as well as the translation of English captions to select foreign languages.

When we acquired Legacy last year, we promised to invest resources to improve the webinar platform and increase its reach, while maintaining its high quality and unique character”, said Gilad Japhet, founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “The addition of closed captioning makes good on this promise and, with translated captioning coming up soon, will help make the webinars accessible to millions of people in Europe and other countries, true to MyHeritage’s goal of making genealogy and DNA testing available to huge consumer audiences worldwide”.

To access closed captioning, click on the blue CC icon in the lower right-hand side of the video you choose to view. 207 webinars are already captioned! Those from the MyHeritage live 2018 conference in Norway are already captioned.

To access the closed captioning requires a subscription to the webinars. The low cost of $49.95 for one year of unlimited access to all the 800+ webinars.

This post includes affiliate links.

Railroad records webinar Free for a week for genealogists and historians

I had an enjoyable time this afternoon presenting “Railroad Records and Railroad History: Methods for Tracking” for Legacy Family Tree Webinars. If you wish to watch it again or missed it today, it’s now online for free for a week.

The extensive handout is available to LFTW members. In the intro to today’s webinar, Geoff Rasmussen said there are now more than 800 webinars on the site for members. That’s a lot of handouts, too!  This is an affiliate membership link to join for the next 12 months in order to view all these.

Geoff also announced that with the support of MyHeritage, captioning is debuting soon!

See more about the webinar content in my earlier blog post on November 19th.

NEWS: this webinar is in the top ten for November!