Solving a Brick Wall with DNA – A Case Study

Larry W. Thomas
May 5, 2021
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1m 43s
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Speaker's Introduction
1m 52s
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11m 25s
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Case Study
12m 25s
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Next Steps
15m 13s
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3m 18s
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Other Techniques
7m 33s
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Announcements / prizes
6m 33s
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Questions / answers
12m 48s

About this webinar

How I used both Mitochondrial and Autosomal DNA to prove a great grandmother’s maternal line. When no paper trail gives answers, sometimes we can turn to DNA to provide the proof of the relationship and then introduce new documentary evidence to draw a valid conclusion. In this case, my father’s maternal grandmother’s parents were a complete mystery but I was able to conclude who her mother and grandparents were using DNA and documented evidence. Since her mother was not married and no evidence at this time, her father remains a mystery. For now.

About the speaker

About the speaker

Larry is a retired US Army Captain with 23 years in the field of Aviation, Transportation & Logistics. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Maintenance Management, an FAA airplane mechanic license, and earned an MBA in Management Infor
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  1. Legacy Family Tree
    3 years ago

    very refreshing and informative for a beginner, Thank you.

    A complex subject, clearly explained with a solid case study.

    A good step-by-step for using mtDNA.

    A great new presenter! A detailed explanation of how to use DNA to solve a mystery. More work for me to do!

    A very lot of dense information covered rapidly. I would need to watch it over and over again to study the charts and graphics. But as a DNA newbie, I did pick up several points to help me on my way forward. Thank you.

    Absolutely fantastic! Definitely interesting to see DNA being worked like this to solve the mysteries and this definitely gives me a better idea of how to do it for myself within my own tree. Thank you so much! I can’t wait to get to work now (darn “real life” responsibilities hampering the fun stuff!).

    articulated well and clearly explained

    Awesome and very well explained. THANKS!!!!


    Best advice keep it simple. You do not need to know how DNA works – use it often.

    Best Webinar EVER!!!

    Clear and well-paced. Illustrations were very helpful. I wish that more time had been spent on making the jump from the test results to the conclusion.

    Clear, clean, and the charts he used for teaching were marvellous!! Great teaching charts. I loved the case study, and his process of walking through each family and relationships. I know I’ll be watching this webinar again, while I set out my next research questions/DNA test people.

    Clear, concise, and interesting. Did not veer off the topic at hand, which was much appreciated. Great speaking voice.

    Complex subject made understandable. Very helpful program. Thank you.

    Down to earth presentation

    easily understood presentation.

    Enjoyed a few “light bulbs” or “a ha” moments/items that will assist with some of my research.

    Even though I understand a lot about DNA, it made my head spin! The syllabus, however, has made my confusion clear. Great strategies for knowing how to utilize the different types of DNA to break through a brick wall.

    Excellent presentation – I’m less thick-headed now after hearing it…..DNA still confounds me, but he helped so much.

    Excellent presentation with great slides. Thank you very much!

    Excellent presentation!

    Excellent presenter and information, thanks!

    EXCELLENT presentor. Easy to listen to and follow along. Well organized. Thank you.

    Excellent step by step presentation

    excellent very informative and good for the non science person ( did I spell science right?)

    Excellent Webinar which made the light bulb go off for my own brickwall. Thanks!

    Fantstic. very informative. Good speaker. Thank you.

    Fascinating webinar! It was chock full of information so I will have to watch it again.

    For me, DNA is still difficult to understand, but I don’t use it much (because I don’t understand it). However, Larry Thomas did an excellent job explaining how to use DNA in various examples. This webinar was probably the best one I’ve listened to re DNA. Thanks so much

    For me, perfect pace of speech and information presented. Excellent examples too. Thank you!

    Glad to learn about exceptions to the cM rule for DNA Brick Walls!

    Good DNA information but I have trouble following case studies. Complicated family diagrams.

    Good examples of use of mtDNA & Ychromosome. Would like to see more exactly like this.

    Good examples.

    Good for Beginners

    Good information.

    Good presentaIt’s always good to have case studies so you can see how the techniques apply in real situations.

    graphic presentations were particularly helpful

    Great explanation of the presenter’s question and all the steps he took to tear down the brick wall.

    Great ideas on research and an easy explanation of DNA which is one of those things I really need to understand and apply to my genealogy. I definitely watch this one again.

    Great information…. This is a need to watch again webinar.

    Great insights! Thank you!

    Great lesson in using DNA!

    Great Presentation

    Great presentation and useful information to apply to my own family trees. Thank you!

    Great presentation. I can’t wait to employ some of the methods described.

    Great presentation. I’m going to have to go back and check for that cross contamination Larry discussed. It may help answer some questions.

    Great presenter and I need to see it all again.

    Great Speaker

    Great speaker. His presentation was clear and easy to follow with good graphics.

    Great to listen to, but hard to follow in places. Probably due to my lack of proficiency, rather than the presenter’s. I enjoyed it. Thanks.

    Great. I need more like this.

    Hard for me to say since I missed most of it. However, I did appreciate what I did hear and will now go and listen to it all. Thank you.

    He did a great job, really knows his stuff and was easy to understand.

  2. Legacy Family Tree
    3 years ago

    He shared some good ideas about using DNA to help resolve brick walls.

    He was clear on his definition of DNA terms. I got a little bogged down with names towards the end.

    Hopefully Larry Thomas will update us on this Case Study! I did get lost for a few minutes but it’s ok. Great tips and reminders.

    I appreciated how the presenter carefully explained the relationships among the various persons he was discussing. I learned some new information. I also realized that due to some uncooperative family members, I will not be able to use his demonstration in my research. Thank You.

    I enjoy hearing how other people are solving their DNA stories/brick walls. 🙂

    I enjoyed hearing about the uses of different DNA tests. The speaker was knowledgeable and personable.

    I have had several folks of my Dad’s generation take the test and I knew something about it .. now I know a lot more and a few more ideas about how to proceed.

    I have several brick walls that I hope to solve with DNA matches.

    I learned more about the different types of DNA which I now understand but DNA is still confusing I will have to watch the presentation several times!

    I learned some different ideas on how to verify DNA matches as being along a mystery family line.

    I liked it, it was useful…Talked about endogamy, even if he didn’t call it that, but good to see it at work. Thanks!

    I loved his “ignore the cMs”, because that’s part of what has been holding me back. Also privacy, but… 🙂

    I loved this case study. I’m definitely going to go and watch more case studies since they really help things fall into place.

    I plan on watching this at least two more times so I can get it straight in my head! Good job in stimulating my thinking cap. Thank you!

    I rated it a 5 because I think it will be really helpful in the future to have his specific explanation of situations. Right now I’m just getting into DNA so having him explain the use of at, mt and y DNA and how far back test information is really valid/useful was where I’m at — the steps he went through in finding the link to Mary using DNA will take a few watchings to really grasp.

    I really enjoyed Larry’s webinar — he outlined his research question very well, and his presentation of potential test takers & results of both the atDNA and mtDNA tests were clearly explained.

    I thought he was very organized in the presentation, which made it understandable. I would watch more of his programs. His means of tackling his issue was helpful. (This is the first show I have watched.)

    I thought I knew how to use that cM chart, Now I will have to relisten to this webinar and test out some of my work.

    I thought it was very interesting and informational. I have a lot to learn with DNA and maybe now I won’t be so afraid of learning it. He made a great point , “The more you use it the more you will learn”. That will propel me forward in learning more about DNA.

    I would be very interested in a webinar from Larry if he solves the identity of Mary K’s father. I have a 3rd great grandmother without a surname; marriage records were lost in a courthouse fire. So I don’t even have potential candidates to start the process of solving the brick wall.

    Incentive to do DNA research on GG Grandmother (Jones)-my brick wall- we think from Wales

    Informative and well presented

    Insightful. Reinforced the use of documentation. Speaker went at a good pace. Would listen to other webinars from this speaker if of interest to me. Somewhat helpful in my understanding of DNA. Liked that speaker recommended other specific webinars and the speakers to encourage better understanding of DNA.

    Interesting…I am just a beginner! I need to get the ‘paper trail’ done before jumping the DNA aspect. I have plenty of brick walls that need to be addressed before going for the DNA

    It gave clear steps on how to use DNA to help solve your brick wall. I can now envision how to go about finding and using matches to solve a problem. Irish brick walls are so high!

    it is a lot of work to break down a brick wall

    It is so nice to have someone focus more on the process of finding and connecting matches with ancestors and less on the technical aspects of DNA. Thank you so much!

  3. Legacy Family Tree
    3 years ago

    It was thorough and easy to follow. It was eye-opening!

    I’ve participated in quite a few webinars about DNA. I thought the way Larry presented some of the concepts made it easier for less-knowledgeable attendees to grasp those concepts.

    Kept my interest.

    Larry certainly helped turn on our light bulbs. Great presentation and easy to follow.

    Larry did a great job of explaining important DNA concepts without overcomplicating issues.

    Larry made it seem so simple!

    Larry presented his extensive knowledge in a very “useable” manner. Greatly appreciated the examples of cross-contamination!

    Larry’s good overview plus specific examples provided helpful insight for beginning to understand how to get the most from DNA information. Thanks!

    Larry’s presentation was so clearly explained, both verbally & with his slides. Thank you.

    Larry’s steps, etc. were explained so well, especially with his wonderful graphics.

    Laughed at the inter-marriage in Mr. Thomas’ family. I have some of that going on in my dad’s family, too. I do research on the family with help from a first-cousin. We arrived at the same conclusion — there weren’t a lot of young people of the opposite sex around in those early days! Besides, worked for the royal families of Europe!

    Learned from his discussion today the importance of each of the DNA tests and what to look for. His discussion on documentation and research to verify and or explain double or triple relationships was very interesting and helped explain a few situations in my own tree.

    Learned useful testing strategies. Thank you!

    lots of good information

    Lots of good information. Will have to listen to it more than once to sort it out.

    Lots of great info!

    Lots of information, but I need to be more educated on DNA in order to follow.

    Love his explanation on how he used DNA to solve his brick wall

    Loved it, lots of great tips.

    Loved learning about mtDNA in a way I understood it’s usefulness. Thanks

    Loved your presentation. Explained your steps very well and slides were great! Specifically, enjoyed your examples of how cM can be affected if a test taker is related on multiple lines. Great examples!

    Moved from Dense fog to just plain fog. YeHa!

    Mr. Thomas explaned the DNA options in a very understandable way. Suggest having more DNA speakers who explains the usage of DNA in a way the listener does not have to be a scientist to understand.

    new thoughts on how to zero in on a person I am unsure of in my tree. Many thanks! I also have a brick wall in GA so I may seek some help in trying to find more info.

    nice explanation if his work

    Provided his information is a very easy to understand format. Thank you.

    reassured me that I am on the right path

    Solving a Brick Wall with DNA was very well done! I have so many DNA relatives, and it’s been overwhelming in many cases to find that we don’t have the same ancestors in our trees. Those branches need some work! Thank you for this really detailed webinar. I have hope now!

    Some very good techniques given on how to proceed. Thank you.

    Thank heaven I can replay! I miscalculated and just caught the last 3 minutes!!!

    Thank you for sharing your expertise! Looking forward to using some insights on my DNA/Brick walls 🙂

    Thank you in providing this speaker. I learned how to understand DNA research by viewing it from another angle, now I can research with more confident, instead of peeking and running away confused.

    Thanks Geoff and Larry, very informative and will help me somewhat with one of my brick walls. My biggest problem is the false information put out by the family at the time, I assume to hide an illegitimate birth of my gr gr grandmother, including (my theory) false birth records. I have proven some of the information is false, but the cost (and lack of willing participants) has blocked me. So grateful to LFT webinar team for all the help I am getting. Will have to retire early to find research time LOL

    The more I can learn about DNA the better I can help others

    The step by step method made it easier for me to understand DNA usage.

    The use of mtDNA in conjunction with autosomal was a good insight that I hadn’t considered before.

    This is a webinar that I will want to watch again. DNA is a subject I am trying very hard to understand.

    This was a fantastic webinar. I learned a lot from it. Can’t wait to watch it over again. Thank you very much for giving us all these webinar.

    This was a good overview of DNA research.

  4. Legacy Family Tree
    3 years ago

    This webinar has inspired me to reach back out to the male cousin who with Y DNA might be able to solve our family’s brick wall! Thank you!

    Very glad Larry reminded everyone to DOCUMENT!! and that trees on Ancestry may be wrong. Document, Document, Document. I’m already signed up for his two Georgia programs.

    very good

    very good – thanks

    Very good explanation of complicated subject.

    very good presentation

    Very good presentation by Larry W Thomas. Thank you!

    Very good presentation of often confusing information.

    Very good presentation.

    Very Good. Excellent slides, verbal explanations, what to do, what not to do and how exactly to go about it.

    Very helpful. I hope to use what I learned to break down my brick wall!

    Very informative

    Very informative and I will take this and try it with my brick walls. Thank you

    Very Informative!

    Very informative, sometimes for me it moved too fast, I imagine if I go back and listen to it a couple of more times it will become more understandable.

    Very informative.

    Very informative. Can’t wait to get started researching my dna matches

    very interesting

    Very interesting

    Very interesting and informative

    very interesting and informative

    Very interesting presentation. One to watch a second time to capture all the nuances!

    Very interesting,

    Very interesting. Love the case studies and how we can apply them to our own research.

    Very knowledgeable presenter. Good ideas and suggestions.

    Very Knowledgeable speaker. Handout was AWESOME!!

    Very nice explanation and example to simplify a complex topic

    very simply put of complex material. Appreciate stament about the using the tool, don’t try to figure out DNA

    Very thorough, a complex subject made easy to comprehend.

    Very understandable. Glad I participated. Thank you.

    Very useful information.

    very well documented

    Very well done and informative.

    Very well done and informative. Easy to follow and understand. Thank you

    Very well presented and easy to fillow.

    well done – DNA is “just” a tool – learn to use it but do not forget to do basic research 1st. Thanks for the msg.

    well done I have a much better understanding now of how to use dna in my research. Excellent

    Well done.

    Well presented and inspires action by viewers

    Wonderful and clarified several things for me. Will be watching this again so it all “sinks in”!

    Wonderful presenter and presentation. Great explanations and process. Look forward to his next presentation!

    Working through 1 case study with this much detail was great. It was a mouthful to chew on, but 2 case studies would have been enough to choke on.

    Would enjoy more case studies on DNA. thanks

    Wow – exactly what I needed! Thank you!


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