Diahan Southard Lectures and Keynote Presentations

For about 4-5 years now I’ve been trying to wrap my head around DNA….You make it all so simple–so easy. I felt like you were holding my hand and whispering, “You can do it, Susie…I know you can do this!”

Susie Haenisch


Keynote Messages

These presentations appeal to mainstream audiences, with inspiration and big-picture messages

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 Lectures

These presentations focus on how-to instruction, case studies, etc.

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 Today: More Inclusive, Specific, Accurate and Meaningful (A 5-Company Comparison). Those DNA ethnicity estimates have come a long way. But how good are they today? 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)

Working with Autosomal DNA Matches

Shared DNA Matches: The Only DNA Tool You Will Ever NEED. What exactly does it take to turn your list of DNA matches into connections on your family tree? In spite of what you may hear, you just need one tool (probably).

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!

What’s Your DNA Problem? Too Few Matches? Too Many? Do you feel like you have an overwhelming number of autosomal DNA matches? Or do you have the opposite problem? We’ll talk about several reasons you might see either one, to help you understand what your best next steps are.


Why the YDNA Test Should (Still) Be Your Favorite in 2024. YDNA can help anyone seeking to extend/verify/identify a paternal line! Learn about testing at FamilyTreeDNA; 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.

Contact Diahan’s office for lecture pricing and scheduling.