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14 August 2018

Perspectives on DNA and Adoption: A panel discussion

On Saturday, September 29, the California Genealogical Society will host a panel discussion on one of the hottest topics in genealogy today. DNA testing is transforming genealogical research, and it’s having a huge impact on families with adoptions. Our five panelists will share a range of perspectives, from adoptees, adoptive parents, and consultants. They will discuss using DNA to build a family tree, and offer guidelines and insights for dealing with the emotional and ethical issues that can arise.
Speakers include:

Laura Ashizawa, an adoptee who found her birth mother through genealogical records online and then located her birth father using DNA.

Eva Goodwin, who is experienced in genetic genealogy research, including adoptions. She has contributed research for the Who Do You Think You Are? TV series. 

Therese Hart-Pignotti, an adopted only daughter. She works as a paralegal developing family pedigrees for use in legal cases when a person has died without an heir.

Sarah Liron, who was adopted at birth through a closed adoption. She eventually located her birth mother through genealogical records. DNA then helped her identify hundreds of people in her paternal family tree and connected with scores of cousins in her birth father’s family. Sarah holds a master’s degree in genetic counseling from UC Berkeley.

Joanna Shear, a professional genealogist and adoptive mother, who used traditional research to uncover living family members thought lost in the Holocaust. DNA testing has led her to the ancestral villages of her immigrant great-grandparents. She has experienced the powerful influence that family history can have on sense of identity for herself and through work for others. 

Linda Okazaki
The panel is facilitated by Linda Okazaki, a contract researcher with Ancestry’s ProGenealogists and past president of the California Genealogical Society. She writes a column, “Finding Your Nikkei Roots,” which is published bi-monthly in the Nichi Bei Weekly.

The event runs 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, September 29 at CGS. Tickets available at EventBrite (click for link): Cost is $45 (can be applied toward CGS membership). Free for CGS members.

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