Genetic Genealogy Courses and Research

We have had a long standing commitment to the study of genetic genealogy as an essential component of our postgraduate courses and believe that its importance will grow as the size of databases of test results increase and knowledge and skill in the interpretation of these results develops. The wealth of knowledge and expertise of our staff in this area ensures continual refreshment of course content which also benefits from research such as the Battle of Bannockburn Family History Project. Education in genetic genealogy is provided not only as part of our postgraduate courses, but also through the delivery of specialist short courses. 

Our Research

Battle of Bannockburn Family History Project

To mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn in 2014, we ran a Bannockburn Project, to throw light on the participants in the Battle from a genealogical point of view. The project examined the combatants and their families, which featured biographical information and coats of arms of 70 of the combatants as well as genealogies of their families over four generations.

The project also incorporated the use of genetic genealogy in the research, to help reveal living descendants of combatants in the Battle. This involved the identification of several male line descendants of combatants, using documentary sources. These descendants were subsequently invited to take a DNA test, with the results being used to help find another individual who closely matched each testee. Visit the Battle of Bannockburn Family History Project website to learn more about this project. 

Our Courses

Short Courses

Our short online courses run for 8 weeks and are suitable for beginner to intermediate level. Classes commence at various dates throughout the year and are a fantastic starting point to develop your interest in Genetic Genealogy.

Online learning allows students to study anywhere at a time that suits, whilst providing access to an online community where students can interact and share resources with other budding genealogists.

Successful completion of class assessments will also enable students to gain credits at level SCQF7 and the opportunity to study towards an Open Certificate in Genealogical Studies. Classes are currently priced at £167.00 per 8 week class for 2017/18. 

How to Book - you can 'Browse & Book Online' using our new online booking system - MyCLL - accessed via the red 'Browse & Book Online' box on right hand side of this page. 

Genetic genealogy: an introduction

10 credit points (at Level SCQF 7)

This class aims to impart a basic knowledge of the scientific and technological aspects of genetic genealogy and teach the skills needed to interpret DNA test results for genealogy.

There has been an increasing interest in genetic genealogy as the technology of DNA testing has developed and the potential for genealogical applications has become clear.

The scientific and technological complexities of the subject make it challenging for genealogists and family historians who are more likely to feel an affinity with the field of arts and humanities rather than that of science and technology.

Many individuals who have a DNA test carried out find it very difficult to fully understand the meaning of the results and what further tests and/or genealogical research might prove worthwhile.

This class addresses this issue and illustrates that genetic genealogy is an important tool in the field of genealogical studies.

The class is also suitable for those who have not yet taken a test.

Understanding Autosomal DNA Testing for Genealogy: A Beginners Guide
This class aims to impart knowledge of the scientific basis of autosomal testing and teach the skills needed to interpret DNA test results for genealogy. There has been an increasing interest in genetic genealogy as the technology of DNA testing has developed and the potential for genealogical applications has become clearer. This class will assist genealogists and family historians to identify scenarios where autosomal testing might be applied and make sense of the various reports which accompany test results. 


Autosomal tests are now the most popular type of DNA test as they are relatively cheap and results can be linked to online family trees. However, the theoretical complexities of the subject can make it challenging for genealogists and family historians, who are more likely to feel an affinity with the field of arts and humanities, rather than that of science and technology. Many individuals who have a DNA test carried out find it difficult to fully understand the relevance of their matching to other testees and what further testing or research may be required to corroborate their matches. 

This class addresses these issues by providing the theoretical and methodological framework for the practical application of autosomal testing, working with results and the use of utilities such as Gedmatch and DNAGedcom.
This class is most suitable for those who have already taken an autosomal DNA test.

Postgraduate Courses

The Centre also delivers part time and full time postgraduate qualifications in Genealogical Studies by distance learning. The courses are online and learning is self-directed, with tutor support and feedback provided throughout.Find out more. 

About Us 

Our team are all passionate about Genetic Genealogy and their wealth of knowledge and expertise support the development and delivery of our short courses, postgraduate learning and further research in this field;

Alasdair Macdonald

Alasdair is an administrator for a number of surname, haplogroup and geographical projects and utilises genetic genealogy to resolve genealogical puzzles particularly for surname and lineage research.  He has a particular research interest in Scottish Clans, families and kindreds.  He is also active in providing support and assistance to adoptees or individuals who have a disconnect between documentary and genetic evidence in their recent ancestry.

Graham Holton

Graham has a long term interest in the field of genetic genealogy and leads the Battle of Bannockburn Family History Project, the concept behind which has potentially major implications for tracing early descents using documentary and genetic evidence. He has given a number of presentations relating to the Project and the methodologies of Y-DNA research.

Dr Iain McDonald (Honorary Research Fellow)

By day, Iain is an astrophysicist, working at the University of Manchester. By night, he has been using physical, statistical and mathematical techniques to develop tools, for both conventional and genetic genealogy. His speciality is in estimating the dates of male-line (surname) relationships from commercial genetic tests, and using these to construct models of population movements between mainland Europe and the British Isles over the last 5000 years.

 

If you would like to contact us in relation to our research and learning opportunities, please email scosh@strath.ac.uk