It gives us great pleasure to publish the winner of the Surname DNA Journal 2016 Genetic Genealogist of the Year award as Katherine Borges of Salida, California. Katherine is very well known and active in the genetic genealogy community as well as well as in her local political community. She has also been a leading advocate for consumer rights on direct to consumer (DTC) genetic testing. Her many roles include:
- Director and Co-Founder of the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG)
- DNA Project Administrator for the McCallum Surname Project and the Laurens County, South Carolina DNA Project
- Chaplain and a Past-Regent of Turlock Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution
- President of the Salida Chamber of Commerce
- Chair of the Salida Municipal Advisory Council
- Commissioner on the Stanislaus County Planning Commission
- Volunteer Police Officer, Modesto Police Department (focused on graffiti inhibition)
Just in the past year, Katherine’s activities as a leader in the genetic genealogy community include:
- DNA presentations at California State DAR Northern and Southern Councils
- Spoken in front of numerous other lineage societies in California and recruited hundreds of new DNA participants in the process.
- DNA presentation in April 2017 at the North Carolina State DAR Conference
- DNA presentations at “Who Do You Think You Are? – LIVE” in Birmingham, England
- DNA Presentation at Back to Our Past – Genetic Genealogy Ireland in Dublin, Ireland in October 2016
- Recruited two Project Administrators for DNA projects that had become orphaned without an leader.
It should be mentioned that Katherine does not just speak at these events, she actively recruits new DNA participants, researchers, and project leaders. As someone who is interested in both politics and DNA, she is particularly noted for collecting samples from public figures such as sampling the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Ireland last month.
Q: For you personally, what is the most important contribution you have made to the field of genetic genealogy in the past year?
What I am most proud to accomplish this year is the revival of the Journal of Genetic Genealogy! It lay dormant for five long years, and I am so happy to have it back and it's under ISOGG's umbrella now.
Locally, I'm proudest of getting Linda Magellan into our chapter on October 1st.
Q: Are there any personal genetic genealogy brick walls you’ve been able to overcome this year?
In my own personal DNA projects, I did have a success this year as a result of going to Scotland in April - I obtained the McCallum Y-DNA of my 2nd cousin (1R) who I found out came from Irish Potato Famine immigrants. But his DNA matches a Scottish Clan cluster in my McCallum project and I'm very excited about that!!! This is my mother's paternal line and it had completely daughtered-out on the North American Continent. You can see why I was so thrilled that my cousin tested!