Jim Sims

Making genetic genealogy more understandable...

Genetic Genealogy Talks Offered for General Audiences


IntroductoryVenturing into Genetic Genealogy, is a talk to help people choose the right DNA test to answer their particular genealogical questions, with examples of what might be discovered about a family's history by taking a DNA test for ancestry. The material for this talk is drawn from data provided by 23AndMe, AncestryDNA and Family Tree DNA. The target audience for this talk includes people who are just thinking about adding genetic genealogy to their family history project, and those who have very recently gotten a DNA result and are totally confused about its meaning. The most recent update to this talk was in the summer of 2018.

BeginnerI have a DNA test result. What comes next?, is a talk to help people use DNA testing vendor web sites effectively in an effort to make the most of their investment in a DNA test. The online tools discussed in this talk include those provided at 23AndMe, AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA and MyHeritageDNA. This talk focuses to autosomal DNA testing and the use of shared DNA matches. The target audience for this talk includes people who have some experience (say six months or so) using the web site of one of the testing vendors discussed in this talk, but who may not be aware of some online tools at the vendor's site or how to use them. The most recent update to this talk was in the summer of 2019.

Beginner: Use Grouping & Clustering to Better Understand Shared Matches, is a talk focused on helping people see the patterns of DNA sharing in their match lists. Images or pictures produced by grouping and clustering techniques are able to summarize information in a way that is easier to understand than looking at the underlying information for the image (a large number of shared match lists). The main focus of the talk is the Leeds Method for grouping shared DNA matches, also called in-common-with matches. It is a method performed by hand, and is suitable for adoptees, and for genetic genealogists of all experience levels. Alternative automated clustering techniques are also touched upon for those who want to cluster hundreds of shared matches. This is a new talk offered beginning in 2019.

IntermediateUsing the Quantity of Shared DNA to Answer Genealogical Questions, is a talk to explain how the quantity of autosomal DNA shared can help you understand your matches, and how the quantity of DNA shared can help answer certain genealogical questions. During 2017, people asked me for additional talks. This is that new talk for 2018.

Request one of the talks above, or a speciality talk: Contact me with your speaking request.

Scheduled Talks


  • November 16, 2019 10-11:30 AM— TBA, Oakland County Genealogical Society DNA Special Interest Group (SIG), Highland Township Public Library, Highland, Michigan
  • March 22, 2020 at 1:30 PM — Using the Quantity of Shared DNA to Answer Genealogical Questions, Genealogical Society of Washtenaw County, Ypsilanti, Michigan
  • April 18, 2020 — Overview of DNA Testing for Ancestry, Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, Explorer Room, Detroit Public Library, Detroit, Michigan
  • April 25, 2020 10-11:30 AM — TBA, Oakland County Genealogical Society DNA Special Interest Group (SIG), Highland Township Public Library, Highland, Michigan
  • June 20, 2020 10-11:30 AM — TBA, Oakland County Genealogical Society DNA Special Interest Group (SIG), Highland Township Public Library, Highland, Michigan



Talks I've Given


  • September 7, 2019 10-11:30 AM— As time allows: (1) Solutions to the June 2019 What Are The Odds challenge, (2) What's Keeping You from Using DNA Evidence Effectively? and (3) Beginning GEDmatch, Oakland County Genealogical Society DNA Special Interest Group (SIG), Highland Township Public Library, Highland, Michigan
  • September 5, 2019 7 PM Using the Quantity of Shared DNA to Answer Genealogical Questions, Livingston County Genealogical Society, United Methodist Church, Howell, Michigan
  • August 15, 2019 1 PM & 5:30 PM — I have a DNA test result. What comes next? (1 PM), Using the Quantity of Shared DNA to Answer Genealogical Questions (5:30 PM), Summer 2019 Symposium: Genetic Genealogy and Research in Archives, sponsored by Spring Arbor University Archives & Jackson County Genealogical Society, White Library on the campus of Spring Arbor University, Spring Arbor, Michigan
  • June 22, 2019 at 10-11:30 AM— Using the Quantity of DNA Shared to Solve Certain Genealogical Problems, Oakland County Genealogical Society DNA Special Interest Group (SIG), Highland Township Public Library, Highland, Michigan
  • May 4, 2019 — Use Grouping & Clustering to Better Understand Shared Matches, Waterford Genealogical Society, Waterford Township Public Library; their annual lock-in fundraising event
  • April 16, 2019 at 10-11AM — Leeds Method for Grouping DNA Matches & Automated Alternatives, Oakland County Genealogical Society DNA Special Interest Group, Highland Township Public Library, Highland Michigan
  • October 2, 2018 at 7PM — Help Night, staffed the DNA help table at Oakland County Genealogical Society meeting, St. Stephens Episcopal Church, Tory, Michigan
  • September 29, 2018 at 10-11:30 AM — Autosomal DNA Matching Basics, Oakland County Genealogical Society DNA Special Interest Group (SIG), Highland Township Public Library, Highland, Michigan
  • September 11, 2018 at 1:30 PM — I have a DNA test result. What comes next?, Piety Hill chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution
  • April 20, 2018 — I have a DNA test result. What comes next?, Abrams Foundation Family History Seminar, Archies of Michigan, Lansing, Michigan
  • April 18, 2018 at 1:30PM—Using DNA for Surname Studies and for Multifamily Genealogy Projects, Gaelic League/Irish American Club, Detroit, Michigan
  • April 14, 2018 at 7:15PM — I have a DNA test result. What comes next?, Waterford Genealogical Society, Waterford Township Public Library; their annual lock-in fundraising event
  • April 8, 2018 at 3PM — I have a DNA test result. What comes next?, Northville Genealogical Society
  • April 3, 2018 at 7PM — I have a DNA test result. What comes next?, Oakland County Genealogical Society
  • November 20, 2017 at 7:30PM — I have a DNA test result. What comes next?, Western Wayne County Genealogical Society, Livonia Senior Center located at 5Mile Rd & Farmington Rd
  • November 12, 2017 at 3PM — Venturing into Genetic Genealogy, Northville Genealogical Society
  • October 14, 2017, 10AM-3PM — A Day of Genetic Genealogy workshop, sponsored by the Job Winslow Chapter of the DAR, Traverse City, Michigan
  • October 10, 2017 at 7PM — Venturing into Genetic Genealogy, Waterford Genealogical Society, Waterford Public Library
  • October 5, 2017 at 7PM — Venturing into Genetic Genealogy, Livingston County Genealogical Society, First United Methodist Church, 1230 Bower Street, Howell, MI
  • October 3, 2017 7PM — I will be staffing the DNA help table at the Oakland County Genealogical Society Open House, which meets at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Troy, MI
  • May 13, 2017 at 1PM — Venturing into Genetic Genealogy, Hazel Park Memorial Library, Hazel Park, Michigan
  • May 6, 2017 at 10:30AM— I have a DNA test result. What comes next?, at the Explorer Room, Detroit Public Library, Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, Detroit, Michigan
  • April 23, 2017 at 1:30PM— I have a DNA test result. What comes next? I will also be staying to answer questions during the following session of the program at 3:30PM, Genealogical Society of Washtenaw County, Ypsilanti, Michigan
  • Apr 22, 2017 at 7:15PM — Advanced Autosomal DNA Matching for Meaningful Genealogical Time Depths, one of the sessions at Waterford Genealogical Society Lock-in event at the Waterford Public Library
  • April 5, 2017 at 7:30PM— Venturing into Genetic Genealogy, Grosse Pointe Public Library, Ewald Branch, 15175 E. Jefferson in Grosse Pointe Park
  • March 21, 2017, 6:30PM — I have a DNA test result. What comes next? Lyon Township Public Library
  • November 15, 2016 at 12:30PM — Venturing into Genetic Genealogy, Wayne County Community College Administration Building, 3rd and Fort, Detroit, Michigan
  • November 4, 2016 at 1:30PM — Venturing into Genetic Genealogy, Fox Run Genealogical Society, Novi, Michigan
  • October 22, 2016 at 1PM — Venturing into Genetic Genealogy, Dearborn Genealogical Society, Genealogy/Family History Workshop, Henry Ford Centennial Library, Dearborn, Michigan
  • October 18, 2016 at 1PM — Venturing into Genetic Genealogy, Lyon Township Public Library
  • October 4, 2016 — Open House and Help Night—I will be staffing a table from 7PM to 9PM to help people with their genetic genealogy related questions, Oakland County Genealogical Society, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Troy, Michigan
  • April 2016 — Venturing into Genetic Genealogy, Genealogical Society of Washtenaw County Michigan, Ypsilanti, Michigan
  • April 2016 — Venturing into Genetic Genealogy, Farmington Genealogical Society, Farmington, Michigan
  • April 2016 — I have My DNA Result, What Comes Next?, Waterford Genealogical Society, Waterford Township, Michigan
  • April 2016 — Venturing into Genetic Genealogy, Ford Genealogy Club, Ford World Headquarters, Dearborn, Michigan
  • April 2016 — A 21st Century Approach to Correcting the 20th Century Biography of Boyd McNairy, MD (1785-1856), Oakland County Genealogical Society, Troy Michigan
  • May 2015 — Venturing into Genetic Genealogy, Oakland County Genealogical Society, Troy Michigan
  • April 2015 — Choosing The Right DNA Test to Answer Your Genealogy Question, Waterford Genealogical Society, Waterford Township, Michigan annual fundraiser
  • March 2015 — Genetic Genealogy for Beginners, Warren Township Historical & Genealogical Society, Warren Township, Michigan
  • October 2014 — Y-DNA for DAR Documentation & Autosomal DNA for the Curious, Piety Hill Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution
  • April 2014 — Venturing into Genetic Genealogy, Waterford Genealogical Society, Waterford Township, Michigan


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