The Surname DNA Journal award for Genetic Genealogist of the Year was presented today at the 10th International Conference on Genetic Genealogy in Houston, Texas, USA. This award recognizes genetic genealogists who have made an extremely valuable contribution to the field in the past year.
This year’s other nominees have all made wonderful contributions to our field and include:
- Whit Athey
- Max Blankfeld
- Bennett Greenspan
- Iain Kennedy
- Thomas Krahn
- Justin Loe
- Susan Meates
- CeCe Moore
2014 Winners: Iain Kennedy and CeCe Moore
Because progress in the field of genetic genealogy has been so rapid on both the autosomal and Y-DNA front, we have selected two deserving winners from an august field of nominees. Each winner will receive an engraved wall plaque as well as a $ 100 cash award.
Iain has worked very hard identifying and classifying new next-generation SNP markers on the Y-chromosome with a focus on the very prolific M222 subclades. As next-generation samples are still fairly rare, Iain has played a part in recruiting participants and gathering the result data into a genealogically-meaningful assembly. Further, he regularly updates an online diagram of the M222 subclades which helps link surnames and the SNP markers. For those that do not realize it, citizen scientest researchers like Iain are the ones who have been identifying many of the new SNPs which the commerical testing companies then add to their product offering. As such, Iain is truly blazing a trail for us all and we are in his debt for the good service. Iain is also very active in the dialogue and assistance to other genetic genealogists on message boards like the R1b1c7 list.
Iain was not able to attend the award ceremony but gave these responses to our questionnaire:
Q: For you personally, what is the most important contribution you have made to the field of genetic genealogy in the past year?
A: I see myself as a SNP enthusiast (fanatic even!) and I was the first person in M222 to order the Chromo2 test as well as being an early sequencing tester. But it was when I started publishing a family tree of all the new SNP results using FTM that interest started building as everyone wanted to see where they were going to place on the tree. I also analyze results from VCF and BAM files and give out advice on testing options which are quite complex now.
Q: What do you see as being the focus for your work going into the year 2015?
A: Continuing to educate and advocate on more SNP testing in M222; with two rival SNP panels now on sale for our haplogroup I think we could achieve further big advances in understanding of M222 in 2015.
CeCe Moore has been well known for some time in the genetic genealogy community thanks to her wonderful online blog, Your Genetic Genealogist, where she highlights key areas and also provides some of the best product analysis in the industry. CeCe is a driven detective and has helped many adopted persons find their biological parents. This year, she served as DNA consultant and script writer for “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.” and is a frequent contributor to major media stories relating to genetic genealogy. As if all of that were not enough, CeCe played a key role in launching the I4GG International Genetic Genealogy Conference held in Washington D.C. in August.
CeCe was presented her award in person at the FTDNA conference where she gave an intriguing presentation about how her autosomal DNA research has been complimented by mitochondrial DNA when the entire MtDNA is sequenced (called MtDNA full genomic sequence or FGS).