How to Write a Case Study that Meets the New Standards for DNA: As Codified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists

Melinda Henningfield, CG, CGL
Sep 6, 2019
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Speaker's Introduction
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4m 19s
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New Standards
3m 58s
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Decision Making
2m 32s
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Case Study
18m 44s
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Analyzing DNA Results
13m 31s
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Extent of DNA Evidence
6m 26s
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Respect for Privacy
9m 11s

About this webinar

Mary Jones was female, landless, illiterate, and poor in Arkansas in the mid-nineteenth century. Her husband left her for another woman, her parents and many of her siblings left her for California, and the local courthouse burned to the ground destroying most of the evidence of her life. Mitochondrial and autosomal DNA evidence supports Mary’s inferential connection to her parents and siblings. How then do we write a case study about Mary that meets the new DNA standards.


Presented live at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City as part of the Joy Reisinger Memorial Lecture Series, and sponsored by the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

About the speaker

About the speaker

Melinda Daffin Henningfield, CG, CGL, is a professional genealogist, lecturer, and author. She has served as a trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists. She has written articles published in the National Genealogical Society Qua
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  1. Legacy Family Tree
    5 years ago

    Amazing amount of work

    another excellent case study to help understand the process of when to use DNA from whom…

    Another excellent presentation. Thank you for the examples of how to present data.

    Awesome job.

    DNA is not my interest, but I liked the story about Mary Jones.

    Enjoyed following the story, How do we find out if we might be related to the case study. Sebastian, Arkansas, have family there…plus several jones in my tree.

    Especially like her observation concerning needing more published written genealogical information related to received DNA results to improve DNA data being able to more accurately be able to link people together with more than just probability percentages.


    excellent case study requiring further review

    excellent info!

    excellent interesting presentation

    Excellent Presentation, enjoyed Melinda’s thoughts and the way she expressed herself. Using common sense in applying the Standards which is very refreshing, from the usual stuffy by the letter of the rule! This was the best presentation that I attended online today! Thank you Melinda Henningfield!

    Excellent teaching example webinar. I like the transitional flow of the webinars today. Thank you!

    Excellent webinar, best I’ve heard on the DNA case study topic. Very clear and well organized. I look forward to rewatching this for all the things I missed the first go-round and to read her NGSQ article. Great example.

    Excellent! She did a great job explaining a complex topic. Her charts were especially helpful.


    Extremely informative and detailed for the hour’s presentation.

    good example of charts that might be needed.

    Good speaker that took her time and that allowed the listner to take what she said in before she went to the next thought.

    Good! Thoroughly enjoyed it!

    Great case study example.

    Great case study thoroughly explained!

    Great information

    Great job, Melinda! That is the type of practical information that I really needed. Thinking about my renewal portfolio and this really helped.

    great learning experience.

    Great practical case study.

    Great presentation

    Great presentation…great tips on how to document back through time.


    I enjoyed the presentation. I would have liked to see tree samples and charts used in the presentation in the materials. Also, she went through a step by step process in the presentation, but is was not the focus of the lecture materials and that would have been helpful.

    I enjoyed this one from Melinda Henningfield I hope she comes to Legacy FT Webinars!

    I especially appreciated the examples of ways one might present DNA evidence in a case study. One thing I’m wondering is how judges can verify DNA information if matches won’t post their results to GEDmatch.

    I need more DNA education to understand all that was presented. Will be doing further study of the subject.

    Informative presentation


    Informative… Thank you so much!


    Interesting. Fresh new info about how DNA plays into case studies. Thank you!

    It helps to understand the details of what has to go into a case study, but it would if the lecturer went into more detail about what exactly a case study is and why write one.

    Lots of great info

    Melinda is exceedingly thorough and logical in her presentation. I was concerned that there was too much of a repeat from Karen Stanbary’s – but there wasn’t. Melinda’s case study was well presented.

    Melinda, Thank You for a fantastic informative lecture.

    Melinda’s webinar was very thorough and detailed. Will definitely be watching it again.

    Much better!

    Need more of this skill level learning

    OMG DNA…presenter did lots of research. But I still don’t understand all the ins and outs of DNA

    Particularly interested in detail used.

    Personable, knowledgeable, but timing on some of the slides was too fast to assimilate the information.

    Plan to listen again; helpful with paternal relationship problem.

    Presentation was fascinating and well-thought out. The content only makes me want to delve further into genealogy DNA studies. Well done!!

    She handled the question on tree completeness well – Genealogical Proof Standard was not adhered to.

    She made this clearer than I thought she could. What a complicated case!

    This was an excellent case study to show how to use DNA evidence and the new DNA standards toward certification. The graphics that accompanied the talk were also excellent.

    So much good info and well presented!

    So much valuable information and explanation!

    Spoke well, very organized. Excellent

  2. Legacy Family Tree
    5 years ago

    Thank you for offering these professional webinars to us! Inspiring!

    The content was awesome.

    The convoluted case study distracted from the topic being taught, how to incorporate DNA into writing a case study. Lovely study but not good for instruction. I had already read the article and still had issues fallowing the lecture.

    The presentation was very interesting, but one needed some basic knowledge of DNA testing and results to fully understand it.

    The presentation was very useful.

    There is so much to learn about using DNA effectively.

    There was a lot of information that I will be reviewing later a little bit at a time

    This can be very complicated to meticulously trace back unfamiliar family members for targeted DNA. I think Melinda did a very good job of doing this and presenting it in this lecture.

    This did not meet what the title says: How to write a case study for DNA. We already saw 2 webinars about the DNA standards, so this one should have been showing us how to write…putting the pieces of a written case study together.

    This presentation gave me a better idea of what is required with the new standards involving DNA, than the previous presentation by Karen Stanbury. I look forward to reading the case study!

    This presentation will help me continue discovering an ethical and thorough method of analyzing then presenting DNA with my case study.

    This was a great follow-up to the Stanbury presentation. I’m looking forward to reading her article in the NGSQ as a model!

    This was really a top rated presentation. Gave me new ideas at how to look at my research in identifying my 2nd great grandmother’s parents.

    This webinar was extremely pertinent for a similar DNA/genealogy situation I am studying. But I had no idea how to organize it all. This was perfect.

    Thorough, with lots of good detail. Learned a lot.

    Very clear for a DNA newbie. Surprised that I was able to understand as much as I did.

    Very clear thank you

    very clear; I like that she spoke slowly and clearly. Good case study from which to learn and good suggestions.

    Very clearly and thoroughly presented.

    very clearly presented

    Very detailed and practical information for writing a case study.

    Very detailed material; well delivered

    Very good detail, this was a tremendous help.

    Very good info!

    Very helpful

    very informative

    very informative

    Very informative

    very informative and well presented

    Very informative.

    Very informative.

    Very interesting information! Delightful presenter.

    Very interesting webinar.

    Very interesting. Thank you 🙂

    Very thorough and the diagrams were helpful.

    Very thorough discussion, with illustrations.

    Very thorough presentation. Also, addressing tree completeness is important. Perhaps there will be a future webinar on tree completeness.

    Very well done!

    Very well presented

    Very well-explained

    Well explained and documented. Very helpful.

    Well organized. Way above my head but I’m sure the info was most helpful for those in the certification process.

    What a special day! Thank you for this series!

    Will definitely be watching this several times. This was an excellent lecture loaded with more information than I could take in and process in one sitting.

    Wow! Tremendous amount of information in this hour. Great examples and explanations that even someone with little knowledge of DNA can understand.


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