Diahan Southard Lectures

Click to jump to the topic you want (all keynote topics are available for webinars and lectures, too):

DNA-Related Keynotes for All Audiences

How DNA Influences Our Identity. It seems like every day we are seeing news stories about individuals who are suddenly discovering their parentage and heritage using DNA testing. We will talk about how these experiences are shaping lives and changing perspectives, and about how you can be inspired and encouraged by their stories.

Let Your DNA Tell Your Story. Your DNA, by its very nature, is one of a kind. There is no one else on the earth exactly like you. In this class we will cover all three kinds of DNA test types and discover ways you can use this unique record to tell the story of your family history. We will strip down your DNA results into their essential parts, and learn together how to use this fascinating technology to tell an engaging story of your past, using tools you already have, so that even your most skeptical family member will want to hear more about your family history.

How DNA Made a Family Out of Strangers. My mom was adopted from an unwed mother’s home in Seattle, Washington. Come learn how we were able to use a combination of genetic and genealogical tools to connect with our biological family, and how it has affected our lives. Leave with concrete ideas on how to apply these same methods to your own personal genetic genealogy endeavors, whether you are looking for your father, or your 3-times great-grandfather.

Genetic Genealogy Keynotes, Banquets and Hands-on Workshops

These presentations appeal to mainstream audiences; they inspire as they instruct and focus less on methodology.

8 Ways Your DNA Test Impacts Your Family History. With so many people finding parents and siblings and long-lost grandparents thanks to the power of DNA testing, you may have the impression that genetic genealogy is only for those with limited genealogical information. However, that is not the case! Those with especially conspicuous ancestors can still benefit from the results of DNA testing. We will cover how to use your test results to verify your known family history, how to use it to get younger generations involved in family history, how to use it to explore your health, and much more! Lecture style; no special setup required.

Jack and Jill: Can DNA Reveal The True Story On The Hill?  Using Jack and Jill as our example, we will cover the ins and outs of autosomal DNA and what it can actually reveal about two people, their heritage, relationship, and their story. We will examine media stories to help uncover fact or fiction, including the role of law enforcement. All to determine if DNA can really help determine why Jack went tumbling down the hill. Lecture style; no special setup required.

How DNA Made a Family Out of Strangers. My mom was adopted from an unwed mother’s home in Seattle, Washington. Come learn how we were able to use a combination of genetic and genealogical tools to connect with our biological family, and how it has affected our lives. Leave with concrete ideas on how to apply these same methods to your own personal genetic genealogy endeavors, whether you are looking for your father, or your 3-times great-grandfather. Lecture style; no special setup required.

From Mouse Click to DNA Connection. Learning and doing are two entirely different things. Combine them in this fun and effective lecture about genetic genealogy. Workshop style: computers and reliable internet connection required for each participant.

Try Your Hand At Genetic Genealogy. Working in pairs or small groups, you will get a chance to take a DNA case step-by-step to learn exactly how to explore your autosomal DNA match list and make family connections. Workshop style: seating should be configured to allow for collaborative work. No computers or internet access required.

3 Ways To Get Youth Involved in Genealogy. The more we learn about our family, the more we want to share. Learn easy ways to involve those you love in the research process. Lecture style; no special setup required.

Genetic Genealogy Webinars and Lectures

Beginner and DNA Ethnicity

Three DNA Tests = Three Times the Fun. Three kinds of DNA tests, five testing companies, and many different outcomes. Learn the basics and leave with confidence in this new area of research.

Comparing the Big 5 DNA Testing Companies. With more and more companies joining the ranks of autosomal DNA testing, and without unlimited resources, how can you choose the best company to fit your needs? We will cover the five main autosomal DNA testing companies, as well as other smaller companies vying for your business.

DNA Ethnicity in 2022: More Inclusive, Specific, Accurate and Meaningful (A 5-Company Comparison). What does DNA ethnicity mean in 2022 (or beyond)? Learn how increasing inclusiveness, specificity, and accuracy are making ethnicity results more meaningful to genealogical exploration. (This presentation continually evolves to keep up with industry developments)

Five Tips To Make Sense of Your DNA Testing. So you have had your autosomal DNA tested: now what?! Come learn in 45 minutes what would take you hours to read about online, and leave armed with enough information to start making your DNA work for you.

Working with DNA Matches: Getting Started

Me and My 1,000+ DNA 4th Cousins. If you have seen the results from an autosomal DNA test you have likely seen a long long list of 4th cousins. Who are all of these people? Are all of them relevant to your family history research? How do you go about figuring that out? We will cover the tools available at your DNA testing company that will help you sort and filter your match list, to present you with only your Best Matches, those who are most able to help you with your genealogical questions. We will learn both analysis and organizational techniques that are sure to add more leaves to your family tree.

“Dear John, I Have Your DNA:” Contacting Your DNA Matches. Get tips from a seasoned expert on contacting your DNA matches, which can involve a complicated blend of ethics, diplomacy and “first-date” skills.

Find Missing Ancestors Using DNA Testing: An Introduction for Genealogists. Your DNA can help you fill in blank spaces on your family tree! Start learning how to find missing ancestors through your DNA match list.

No Tree? No Problem! One of the most frustrating things about genetic genealogy is to recognize that you have a good DNA match that just might be able to help you break down your brick wall, only to realize they haven’t posted any family tree information. Come learn some best practices for identifying your best DNA matches, as well as super-sleuthing skills to help you track down the family tree for that all-important DNA match.

Working with DNA Matches: Intermediate and Beyond

Your DNA Match List: Overcome the Overwhelm by Organizing Them. Organizing your DNA matches into genetic networks puts matches onto branches of your tree and prepares you to find missing ancestors. Learn how!

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda: A Look At Ethics in Genetic Genealogy. While DNA testing isn’t the only way of discovering a family secret, it certainly is efficient. As the genetic genealogy databases swell with individuals searching for their relatives, both distant and immediate, you are bound to find yourself in some kind of quandary about what to do next. We will explore the options surrounding what you should do, identify what you can do, and generate some ideas on what you might want to do next.

Smart Alternatives to Some 3rd-Party DNA Tools (GEDmatch, Autoclustering, and Chromosome Mapping). Learn why I don’t use GEDmatch, autoclustering or chromosome mapping tools, and alternatives for finding, organizing and analyzing DNA matches to build your family tree.

Connecting Your DNA Matches. While it is possible for you to analyze your DNA matches one at a time to determine how you are related, there is much that can be accomplished by first identifying the connections between those on your match list, organizing those matches, and then working together to determine how you are related to each other. Learn the tips and tricks to this powerful method of match analysis.

Genetic Genealogy: Behind the Curtain. There is more to your genetic genealogy test results that what is displayed on the website at your DNA testing company. There is tremendous power in those little shared pieces of DNA that you can unleash if you know how. In this lecture we will cover HOW the testing company is coming up with these numbers, and how that knowledge, and a couple tools, can empower your family history research.


Why the YDNA Test Should (Still) Be Your Favorite in 2022. YDNA can help anyone seeking to extend/verify/identify a paternal line! Learn about testing at Family Tree DNA; haplogroups; YDNA matching; and surname projects.

Making YDNA and mtDNA Part of Your Family History. YDNA and mtDNA are often overlooked in this autosomal-centered industry. Learn how both of these tests can enliven your family history research.

The Combined Power of YDNA and Autosomal DNA: A Case Study. This case study integrating YDNA and autosomal DNA testing can teach you how to navigate your own DNA—and the possible clash between our expectations for DNA testing and the reality of our experience.

Ask The Wife! A DNA Analysis Strategy. With the advent of autosomal DNA testing, women were catapulted into the limelight, no longer needing to rely so heavily on the men in their life to spit or swab. This lecture will focus on all things female from mtDNA, XDNA, and especially how to use the wives of your ancestors to help identify your autosomal DNA matches.

Ready to talk to us? Contact Diahan’s office for lecture pricing and scheduling.