REACTION: AAPA Statement on Race & Racism

Please take time today to read the source document linked at the end of this post.

Responsible genetic genealogists recognize incontrovertible evidence that 99.9% of human DNA is the same, therefore we can no longer hold to age-old prejudices rooted in hatred and bigotry.

We then are free to embrace each other in full fellowship and together appreciate the beauty of biological and cultural diversity.

Today on Facebook, noted genetic genealogist Debbie Cruwys Kennett shared the link to a five page statement, unanimously accepted by the American Association of Physical Anthropologists Executive Committee, March 27, 2019 at the 88th Annual Meeting in Cleveland, Ohio.

Of particular note the statement includes the following text:

“Racist political doctrines should not receive support from scientific endeavors, but in practice racism has been co-constructed with inaccurate depictions of human variation provided by scientists. Over our history, the AAPA, and many of its members, have been complicit in producing and reifying racist ideologies via the misuse, falsification, or biased production of scientific information. We acknowledge this history and stress that we should not paper over it even as we seek to end these practices and prevent the reemergence of misconceptions about race in the future.”



PWYW In 2019

That’s right. We still do not charge for attending DearMYRTLE WEBINARS, but you may PWYW.

Frankly, I don’t want to perpetuate the myth that genealogy should be a cost-free endeavor. We should expect to pay for professional services. And I want to play nice with other virtual speakers in the genealogy space. 

Years ago, I toyed with the possibility of providing archived versions of my online classes for a fee, but I didn’t like the set up and high maintenance scenario including massive weekly snail mailings, refunds for downloads that didn’t work, etc. In short, I want to focus on substantive online genealogy education, not product fulfillment.

Someone has to pay the piper. It costs money to produce these webinars. I do not want to accept advertising. Every member of the community will realizes we can’t expect something for nothing.

Most of Ol’ Myrt’s “classes” are panel discussions with real-time feedback from the DearMYRTLE Genealogy Community on Google+. +Cousin Russ makes sure everyone is included. And then there are my “very distant cousins” to consider, but I digress.
I’m going to take a middle of the road approach: 
  • DearMYRTLE’s private, genealogy society virtual presentations will continue at the current rate, as these are custom-designed for each society in question. 
  • There will be no change in the format or location of DearMYRTLE’s calendared, live and archived public webinars. 
  • DearMYRTLE’s public virtual presentations will continue to be available free, with the following change:
What’s different? Every webinar announcement will include the “Pay what you want”option, where you may specify what you’d like to contribute to the cause. This permits Ol’ Myrt and +Cousin Russ to:
  • Provide blogger beads, writing contest prizes, and challenge awards without digging into our own pockets.
  • Pay for the Zoom webinar service and room size.
  • Share complimentary gift card with intensive study group panelists, as a small token of our appreciation.
  • Continue to bring AmbushCAM short-subject interviews at the genealogy conferences we’re able to attend. 
  • Undertake professional development. 
  • PWYW In 2019
  • So it’s simple. If you value the work Ol’ Myrt, +Cousin Russ and our beloved panelists do week in and week out on your behalf, please PWYW via PayPal, debit or credit card here. Thank you! Every little bit helps.

  • Check DearMYRTLE’s Calendar and the  GeneaWebinars Calendar for exact dates of DearMYRTLE webinars including:
    • Mondays with Myrt (genealogy open mic discussions)
    • WACKY Wednesday (1 hour, 1 topic)
    • study groups like AmericaGen
    • The Archive Lady

    Thinking of you

    This is an actual picture of Mr. Myrt *smiling” with the spirit of Christmas. It’s about family, friends, love, and all the good things in this world. 🎄❤️🎄

    The variety of our family and faith traditions is simply wonderful. We love it as you dear friends share your good wishes and prayers with each other on and off throughout the year. It’s uplifting to observe your thoughtful kindness. This is what’s good in this world.

    We have some among us who are living with big challenges, and we are humbled by the privilege to support each other through difficult trials. 🎄❤️🎄

    Others note there is one less chair around the table this December. As we’ve mourned with them, we recall our own grief, remembering loved ones who have gone on ahead.

    Young children look forward to family time and the teenagers are hoping their first love won’t be embarrassed by the usual silliness at the family dinner table. Our fur animals are just glad to see the college kids home for the holidays.

    This Ol’ Myrt has seen a lot of Christmases come and go. What brings me the most joy are those family gatherings where we reminisce. Fond memories include great-grandma Blanche’s homemade blackberry pies and the time great-grampa Glen rode his gas-powered mini-bike in the front door, down the hallway and out the laundry room door — over the brand new pale green (almost white) carpeting. (If we had done that, we would not have lived to tell the tale!) 🤣

    Here’s hoping you have a marvelous time with family and friends. Let us set aside our worries and make time to relax, and have joy in our hearts.

    And in the words of Charles Dickens’s Tiny Tim, “God bless us, every one!”

    Memories of Grandma Myrtle’s Kitchen

    Our paternal grandmother Myrtle Eliza (Weiser) Player Severinson was quite the cook. She “put up” food every summer and fall to last till the next year. I remember her bare dirt floor basement in the cottage on 2nd in Puyallup. Jars of jams, jellies mustard pickles, corn relish, sweet gherkins and watermelon pickles were arranged in neat rows on shelves near the bottom of the stairs.

    In the 1950s, Grandma’s gardens were filled mostly ornamentals like dahlias, so she bought quarts and bushels of fruits and vegetables from the local farm stand. It was owned by Hazel and Al Duris at 6012 Riverside Road, Puyallup, Washington. I know this because I shopped with her, and Grandma’s mustard pickle recipe was published in a small 3×5 inch Duris farm stand booklet that has somehow survived through the years and is now in my possession. (1)

    Blackberries and raspberries used to grow wild in those days, so I imagine she picked those much as I did 20 years later when stocking my own shelves for the winter.

    On the Sundays we’d visit, she’d serve tender fried chicken with mounds of mashed potatoes and a side of carrots sweetened with a light glaze of buttery brown sugar.

    In the last month of Dad’s life he asked the local crepe restaurant cook to add the carrots to her menu. I provided Grandma Myrtle’s recipe and the proprietor surprised dad the next time we visited.

    My favorite was Grandma Myrtle’s apricot preserves and I longed for her secret recipe. Before she passed away in 1972 from Lou Gehrig’s disease, she sent a short letter admitting it wasn’t a secret after all. The recipe is easily found on the back of the Certo label. (Certo liquid pectin is used to thicken the fruit for jam or jelly.) 💕

    (1) See “Food Traditions & Gramma Myrtle” posted 16 Sept 2010 in DearMYRTLE’s Genealogy Blog. ( : viewed 16 Nov 2018.) Grandma’s

    BCG adopts standards for DNA evidence

    For immediate release 27 October 2018

    News Release, Board for Certification of Genealogists

    Board for Certification of Genealogists Adopts Standards for DNA Evidence

    On 21 October 2018, the Board for the Certification of Genealogists (BCG) approved five modified and seven new standards relating to the use of DNA evidence in genealogical work. BCG also updated the Genealogist’s Code to address the protection of people who provide DNA samples.

    The new measures are intended to assist the millions of family historians who now turn to genetic sources to establish kinships. The action followed a public comment period on proposed standards released by BCG earlier this year.

    “BCG firmly believes the standards must evolve to incorporate this new type of evidence,” according to BCG President Richard G. Sayre. “Associates, applicants, and the public should know BCG respects DNA evidence. It respects the complexity of the evidence and the corresponding need for professional standards. BCG does not expect use of DNA to be demonstrated in every application for certification. However, all genealogists, including applicants, need to make sound decisions about when DNA can or should be used, and any work products that incorporate it should meet the new standards and ethical provisions.”

    “Standards for Using DNA Evidence,” a new chapter to be incorporated in Genealogy Standards, introduces the issues this way:

    “Meeting the Genealogical Proof Standard requires using all available and relevant types of evidence. DNA evidence both differs from and shares commonalities with documentary evidence. Like other types of evidence, DNA evidence is not always available, relevant, or usable for a specific problem, is not used alone, and involves planning, analyzing, drawing conclusions, and reporting. Unlike other types of evidence, DNA evidence usually comes from people now living.”

    In brief[1], the new standards address seven areas:

    Planning DNA tests. The first genetic standard describes the qualities of an effective plan for DNA testing including types of tests, testing companies, and analytical tools. It also calls for selecting the individuals based on their DNA’s potential to answer a research question.

    Analyzing DNA test results. The second genetic standard covers factors that might impact a genetic relationship conclusion, including analysis of pedigrees, documentary research, chromosomal segments, and mutations, markers or regions; also, composition of selected comparative test takers and genetic groups.

    Extent of DNA evidence. The third genetic standard describes the qualities needed for sufficiently extensive DNA data.

    Sufficient verifiable data. The fourth genetic standard addresses the verifiability of data used to support conclusions.

    Integrating DNA and documentary evidence. The fifth genetic standard calls for a combination of DNA and documentary evidence to support a conclusion about a genetic relationship. It also calls for analysis of all types of evidence.

    Conclusions about genetic relationships. The sixth genetic standard defines the parameters of a genetic relationship and the need for accurate representation of genealogical conclusions.

    Respect for privacy rights. The seventh genetic standard describes the parameters of informed consent.

    The modifications made to several existing standards call for:

    • Documentation of sources for each parent-child link.

    • Where appropriate, distinction among adoptive, foster, genetic, step, and other kinds of familial relationships.

    • Use of graphics as aids, for example: genealogical charts and diagrams to depict proved or hypothesized relationships; or lists and tables to facilitate correlation of data and demonstrate patterns or conflicts in evidence.

    • Explanations of deficiencies when research is insufficient to reach a conclusion.

    A new edition of Genealogy Standards is expected to be ready by next March. A new application guide and judging rubrics incorporating the new standards will be released at about the same time. In the interim, portfolios submitted for consideration for certification will be evaluated using the existing Genealogy Standards.


    [1] The Board for Certification of Genealogists® (BCG) contractually granted the publisher of  Genealogy Standards the exclusive right to copy, publish and distribute the standards including amendments. However, BCG-certified associates have the contractual right to include reasonable portions of the standards in presentations, articles, blog posts, social media, and the like. In no case may BCG or its associates allow the standards to be published in their entirety because the publisher deems that competitive to its publication rights.

    The words Certified Genealogist and the designation CG are registered certification marks and the designations Certified Genealogical Lecturer and CGL are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by board-certified associates after periodic competency evaluations, and the board name is registered in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.