Saturday, November 1, 2014 · 8:28 a.m.

Tennessee State Library hosts DNA testing workshop

Second annual free workshop helps trace ancestors and ethnic origins

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If you are interested in learning more about how DNA testing can help trace your ancestors or determining the ethnic origins of your family, the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) might have just the workshop to fit your needs.

For the second year in a row, TSLA is set to host a free workshop focusing on DNA testing for genealogical research, which will be held Feb. 18.

The workshop will take place in the auditorium of the TSLA building, located at 403 N. Seventh Ave. in downtown Nashville, directly west of the State Capitol Building. The workshop will be Feb. 18 from 9-10:30 a.m.

This session is recommended for those who attended last year's session or who fully understand the basics of DNA testing.

J. Mark Lowe will be the guest speaker again this year, assisted by John F. Baker Jr.

"Individuals interested in genealogy make up a large portion of the state library ... customer base," Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. "This workshop will offer advanced training in the use of DNA to enhance genealogical research."

Lowe is a distinguished professional researcher. He is an instructor at the Institute of Genealogical & Historical Research at Samford and Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. He is a native of Robertson County and a volunteer for its archives. Recently, Lowe was a featured researcher on an episode of the popular network genealogy program "Who Do You Think You Are?," featuring singer Lionel Richie.

Baker gives speeches around the country and has helped numerous individuals discover their lineage. Among his discoveries were his grandmother's paternal grandparents, Emanuel and Henny Washington, who had been enslaved on Wessyngton Plantation.

"Research at TSLA is all about documentary evidence," TSLA librarian Chuck Sherrill said. "DNA testing provides a new opportunity to use scientific evidence in conjunction with documentary evidence. Many of our users who have been working on tracking down family lines for years have begun to do DNA testing as a way of verifying their findings or of trying to make connections to other groups who share their surname."

This is a free workshop, but reservations are required. To make reservations, please email workshop.tsla@tn.gov or call 615-741-2764. Seating is limited. Limited parking is available in front, beside and behind the building.

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