Community Services

Community Services Division News


BernCo Expands Online Genealogy Class Offerings

11:00 AM

The Office of Senior and Social Services continues the Bringing Generations Together Thru Genealogy program with “DNA in Genealogy: Testing, Tools and Techniques,” a six-part series of free online classes for Bernalillo County residents. The classes will be recorded so registrants not available to participate live can view the classes on demand.

“We were surprised and of course pleased by the huge response to the first series of genealogy classes offered late last year,” says George Schroeder, Senior and Social Services manager. “This news series is all about DNA in genealogy. Six classes taught by four genealogists, all members of the Albuquerque Genealogical Society.”     

The instructors are genealogists Martin Brady, Lark Robart, Philip Spivey, and John Adam Farris. The free classes will be hosted online via Zoom on Mondays from 10:30 am. to noon from Feb. 8 to March 15. Register for all classes online here.   

Class Descriptions:

Introduction to Genealogy and DNA with Philip Spivey (Feb. 8, 2021)

If you are curious about your family history or have been watching all those genealogy shows and wonder how they do it, this is the class for you. Discover how genealogists combine documentation and DNA to build family trees and uncover old family secrets. This class will introduce you to practical and easy to use tools for unlocking your family’s past.

Introduction to DNA Testing for Genealogy with John Adam Farris (Feb. 15, 2021)

Which five companies offer at home DNA testing to the public, the three DNA tests available, which tests are offered by each company and their approximate cost, the pros and cons of each company and what do the testing results look like.  Each company provides you with a different estimate of your ethnicity.  What is matching and how to use it to verify existing kin and find new kin.  

Chromosomes, Centimorgans and Segments with Lark Robart (Feb. 22, 2021)

Are you overwhelmed by the sheer number of DNA matches, and how to start organizing and understanding them in a way that helps you solve the brick walls in your tree?  Lark Robart will share her real-life experience in how she did just that in a successful attempt to solve a multi-generational mystery in her family.
Specifically, you'll learn how to:

  • Review and organize your matches at Ancestry
  • Create a "quick & dirty" tree
  • Use the "What Are The Odds" tool at DNAPainter

The Science of Genetic Genealogy with Martin Brady (March 1, 2021)

We will explore the uses of Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA and autosomal DNA.  We will examine how DNA is inherited from one generation to the next and how DNA can help us corroborate our documentary evidence and give us leads for further investigation.  We will explore chromosomes, DNA, recombination, SNPs, STRs, meiosis, haplotypes, haplogroups, alleles and much more.

Finding Unknown Parents with Philip Spivey (March 8, 2021)

Learn how adoptees can combine genealogy and DNA to identify their biological families. Even when both parents are unknown, it may be possible to determine who they are. This class will show you the specific DNA and family research tools and strategies genetic genealogists use to help adoptees. It will include actual successful cases as examples. If you are an adoptee or know an adoptee who would like to discover biological family members, this is the place to start. No prior experience with DNA or genealogy is needed. However, those that have already done DNA testing at AncestryDNA, 23andMe, MyHeritage or FamiltyTreeDNA will be able to put these tools to use immediately.

Forensic DNA with Martin Brady and Philip Spivey (March 15, 2021)

DNA has been used to help solve crimes since 1986.  This class will discuss the history of the use of DNA in forensic investigations, its development and the current use of genetic genealogy to help solve crimes.

The Office of Senior and Social Services provides health and quality of life initiatives for Bernalillo County residents to improve economic wellbeing, education, health and family and community development. Visit  or email  for more information.

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