31 January 2010

Miami: Steve Morse, Feb. 7

Super Bowl Sunday is even more special when genealogy superstar Steve Morse comes to town. He'll be in Miami, at the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Miami, on Sunday, February 7.

Spend the morning with "super" Steve and JGS members, who will also be celebrating the group's 21st anniversary. The morning program starts at 10am at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, 4200 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami.

Steve is the award-winning creator of the One Step Genealogy Website. He's received many genealogy awards for his innovative contributions and has informed international audiences with his talks.

South Floridians who may have missed him at previous IAJGS conferences or those snowbirds or anyone visiting the area should come along. On this trip, Steve will only appear at the Miami JGS.

He will give two very interesting talks.

-- "Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching: Alternative to the Soundex with Fewer False Hits." This new system was developed by Steve and Alexander Beider.

Searching for names in large databases containing spelling variations has always been a problem. One solution, known as soundex, is to encode each name into a number such that names that sound alike will encode to the same number. The search would then be based on finding matching numbers, which results in finding all names that sound like the target name.

Soundex is based on the surname spelling, with no regard to how the name might be pronounced in a particular language and has been a problem. The phonetic encoding described in Steve's lecture incorporates rules for determining the language based on the spelling of the name, along with pronunciation rules for the common languages. This has the advantage of eliminating matches that might appear to "sound alike" under the pure spelling criteria of soundex but are phonetically quite unrelated.

-- "From DNA to Genetic Genealogy: Everything You Might Want to Know, But Were Afraid to Ask."
The study of genetics that started with Gregor Mendel's pea experiments in 1865 has now entered the genealogy field with Megan Smolenyak's coining of the term "genetealogy" in 2000. To understand the genealogical aspects requires an understanding of some of the basic concepts.This talk introduces genes, chromosomes and DNA, and goes on to show how DNA is inherited. That knowledge of inheritance can be used for finding relatives you didn't know you had, learning about your very distant ancestors, the routes they traveled, and
determining if you are a Kohen (descendant of Jewish high priests).
Tracing the Tribe heard Steve present this one at a past Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree conference. It explains things very well from a non-scientists' point of view. It's a great introduction to understanding DNA genetic genealogy. Hopefully, it will encourage and inspire more people to get involved with FamilyTreeDNA.com testing and projects!

Come along and celebrate the JGS of Greater Miami's milestone anniversary. There is no fee and special refreshments will be saved.

For directions and more information, such as secure parking, click on the JGSGM website.

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