Beginning Date: Jan 1, 2012 Project End Date: Dec 31, 2012
Project Title Genetic Genealogy Webconferencing
Amount Requested: $10,000
Giants of the Earth Heritage Center’s Genetic Genealogy Webconferencing Project will provide the same type of genetic genealogy assistance to remote members of Giants of the Earth Heritage Center as it presently does to local users. While millions of people have received genetic tests that could be used for genealogical purposes, most do not understand how to make optimal use of them. These people would be willing to either join an organization that assists them in interpreting their results or pay for such services directly. Thus, there is a large market for consultants in genetic genealogy. We intend to provide these services with a trained staff who will work individually or in family groups through webconferencing using the well established GoToMeeting software. This software allows for remote desktop sharing and video and audio conferencing for up to 16 users simultaneously.
Continuing in the tradition of our pioneer ancestors, Spring Grove residents are always looking to make use of new opportunities to earn a living and accomplish their other goals. As each generation of farmers and townspeople learned to use the newer and more efficient technology to better accomplish their needs, we too, need to understand the technologies that are changing our world so that we can compete in it. The Genetic Genealogy Webconferencing Project capitalizes on three recent developments:
1. Spring Grove Communication’s fiber optic network. Most people realize now the profound effects of the internet, but no entrepreneur has yet capitalized on the unique opportunities for webconferencing assistance that the new Spring Grove Communications fiber optics network brings.
2. Giants of the Earth’s massive online collaborative family tree, family tree resources, and the interest therein by relatives around the world.
3. Genomic revolution. Experts agree that the discoveries of the human genome will revolutionize our lives as profoundly as the computer revolution. One of the areas that genomic discoveries are changing is genealogy, and Spring Grove, with the Giants of the Earth collaborative tree covering now over 40,000 individuals, is an excellent structure in which to apply this new technology.
We offer the most advanced genetic genealogy services in the world, making use of the best genetic and genealogy resources available and we have expert genealogists and genetic scientists. The genetic ancestry kits we use genotype an impressive 1 million different locations in our members’ genome. While the amount of genealogical and ancestry information that could be gleaned from the paternal, maternal, and autosomal genetic analysis offered by companies is amazing, few people can fully make use of this information without assistance. Typically, users of most at-home DNA kits only receive genetic ancestry information allowing them to compare themselves with others at broad population levels, but the genealogical power of genetic results can be greatly increased through use of a collaborative triangulation method, to identify ones relationships to hitherto unknown relatives. From genomic analysis, the relationship of any two people can be accurately estimated. If person A is identified as a fourth cousin to person C, then person A and C might be interested in knowing more exactly how they might be related so that they can merge their family trees. But such connections to more distant cousins are not readily apparent. The triangulation method makes use of the fact that if person A is a second cousin to person B and person B is a second cousin to person C, then the likely way in which person A is fourth cousin to person C is through their common cousin, person B.
Aside from Giants of the Earth Heritage Center, no one company presently provides a link between the historical genealogical records and the full range of genetic data that people receive if they take a genetic test. Although we have approximately 10,000 visitors to our online resources each month, prior to our webconferencing service, we have had little way of providing a service to those who are not local residents. With GoToMeeting webconferencing software, we can now provide the same type of services we currently provide to local residents to the world. Since no organization has yet emerged in the world to effectively apply the power of genetics to the many genealogical mysteries in every family tree, we believe Giants can be first. While many other worthy programs have the downside of competing with other local businesses for the same small local clientele, our genetic genealogy program has no local area competition at all. Further, as we will be providing fee-for-service assistance to non-resident members, this program promises to bring outside money into our area, thereby increasing the local wealth of our citizens rather than simply redistributing it. Given the massive interest in our genetic genealogy program, evident from the popularity of Dr. Storlie’s webites (over 1 million hits to date), we are confident that a genetic genealogy webconferencing service will bring money to Spring Grove and our area and create good jobs. Further, this will have an educational effect on our young people.
Administration of the Genetic Genealogy Webconferencing Program
The genetic genealogy program will be administered by Spring Grove native, Dr. Johnathan Storlie with the guidance of the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center, Inc. board of directors. Dr. Storlie received his doctorate from the University of Iowa, where he specialized in human DNA viruses. He taught human genetics at Luther College. Many years ago, Dr. Storlie was charged by his cousin, Reverend Rolf Storlie, with updating his book, Storlies in America. Dr. Storlie has used both collaborative online genealogy and genetics to facilitate this daunting task, and in so doing, developed the genetic triangulation method described above for merging family trees. Initial assistance will be provided directly by Johnathan Storlie, but as time goes on, Dr. Storlie hopes to train and oversee approximately 5 workers to assist people online with their genetic genealogy questions. Given the exponential growth of genetic test takers and rising interest in genealogy, we believe that program will more than pay for itself within 6 months through increased membership and donations. Once established, we will charge fees for this service and expect it to be self-sustaining. However, our immediate need is for seed money for staffing, to secure Dr. Storlie’s time from other projects.
If you would like to support this project, please consider using one of our easy membership or donation options on the left sidebar. Please mention that you would like your money to be used to support our genetic genealogy program.