Using DNA to Discover Your Ancestry

2017 DNA Day event details Join us for this informative event held in conjunction with National DNA Day!

  • Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2017
  • Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm:
      • 10:00 am - 11:30 am: Presentation
      • 11:30 am - 12:00 pm: Q&A and discussion
  • Location: Pollak Library (Room PLN-303)
  • Admission: Free and open to the public
  • Parking: $8.00 Day Pass (normal campus rules apply)
  • RSVPs: Not necessary

This class is suitable for those who have already tested, as well as those who are just curious or who want to get started.

About the Program

What can DNA testing tell you about your ethnic origins? How can it be used to piece together your family history? Are those TV commercials all hype? How have anthropologists and historians used this type of DNA testing to solve historical mysteries? Can these tests reveal anything about your health?

DNA testing for family history has been available since early 2000. However, scientific and technological advances since then have dramatically increased its popularity over the past five years—due in large part to these advances resulting in much lower test prices now for consumers. Everyday people (not just scientists) are using DNA to learn more about their ancestral origins.

The instructor will walk through high-profile and controversial cases (such as: Richard III of England, Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, and the Russian Imperial Romanov family), as well as examples from her own family history research, to demonstrate the concepts behind genetic genealogy.

The lecture will include an overview of:

  • The 3 types of DNA tests used for family history research
  • How each type of DNA is inherited from our ancestors
  • The main companies who do consumer testing for family history
  • A brief look at results and analytical tools for each type of test
  • Deciding who to test and why
  • Ethical considerations.

National DNA Day

National DNA Day: Celebrating Genomics Through Awareness.

National DNA Day Partner Logo

"National DNA Day is a unique day when students, teachers and the public can learn more about genetics and genomics! The day commemorates the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003, and the discovery of DNA's double helix in 1953." (source: National DNA Day)

Looking Ahead In 2018

The Pollak Library is using this program to kick-off an interdisciplinary program series and accompanying exhibit in Spring 2018, focusing on advances in human DNA.

The Program & Exhibit Team

  • Trish Campbell, Exhibits Coordinator
  • Robert Tomaszewski, Science Librarian
  • Colleen Greene, Marketing Librarian

About the Presenter

Colleen Greene is the Marketing Librarian (formerly the Systems Librarian) for the Pollak Library. She is also a Lecturer for the San Jose State University School of Information, where she teaches an online graduate-level course in U.S. genealogy. Colleen has a B.A. in History, a Masters of Library and Information Science, and has been researching her family history for 20 years. She is a professional genealogist who teaches and presents on scholarly methodology, Mexican and Hispanic genealogy, Southwest U.S. research, and strategies for utilizing libraries and archives. She is an avid student of genetic genealogy, regularly incorporating it into her research.

Location & Floor Map

 This event is being held on April 25, 2017 in room PLN-303 in Pollak Library's Third Floor North.