I am an independent professional genetic genealogist currently working as the genetic genealogy consultant on Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. 

I have close working relationships with all of the major genetic genealogy testing companies and participated in the beta testing for all three autosomal DNA products on the market. I am considered an innovator in the use of autosomal DNA for genealogy, frequently consulted by DNA testing companies, genealogists, adoptees and the press.

As an experienced media consultant, I have appeared on "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr." (x3), 20/20 (x3), CBS This Morning, Nightline, Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show and The Doctors. I have been quoted on the subject of DNA in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, People Magazine, Harper's Magazine, Business Insider, ABC News, Live Science, Huffington Post, The Root, Washington Times, Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post, Discover Magazine’s Gene Expression, Science Blog’s Genetic Future, Genomes Unzipped, Genomics Law Report, Fox Health, CNN's Paging Dr. Gupta, BioArray News (multiple),  Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter (multiple) and many others.  

I have taken a leadership role in creating educational resources for the genetic genealogy community and am a frequent national presenter. With Blaine Bettinger and Debbie Parker-Wayne, I taught the first week-long, intensive genetic genealogy course at a genealogical institute at GRIPitt (La Roche College) and have continued to teach and coordinate DNA courses there and recently taught with the same team at the first DNA course at the highly-respected institute, IGHR (Samford University). With Tim Janzen, I co-founded the Institute for Genetic Genealogy and we organized the first completely independent genetic genealogy conference held in Washington D.C. in 2014. I also taught/co-coordinated portions of two genetic genealogy courses (Beginner and Advanced) at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in January 2015 (also taught in Jan 2016) and taught two courses focusing on DNA and Unknown Parentage at the Forensic Genealogy Institute in March 2015 and March 2016.

My volunteer work includes: Founder of the DNA Detectives Facebook page, Lead Ancestry Ambassador for 23andMe, Moderator for the ISOGG DNA Newbie List and Facebook page, International Society of Genetic Genealogy's Regional Coordinator for Southern California, Volunteer Administrator for the Jefferson/Hemings, Proctor, Travis, Malagasy Roots, Unknown Fathers and the Global Adoptee Genealogy Projects at Family Tree DNA and Administrator for the ISOGG Wikipedia

If you are a beginner, please see the Resources menu tab for links to basic articles on genetic genealogy. I am always happy to hear from my readers, however due to the large amount of inquiries I receive, it has become impossible for me to respond to every email personally. If you need your question answered in a timely manner, please join the ISOGG DNA Newbie Yahoo Group or, if your question concerns adoption or unknown paternity and DNA, the DNA Detectives Facebook page and ask there.

Thank you for reading!

CeCe (click here for public Facebook page)

Interview with Rebekah Canada here 

Christine Kenneally article here.

Post by Maud Newton here

The text of this page is available for modification and reuse under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA) and the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL).


  1. I'm interested in your observations about the uniqueness of Finnish DNA. Both my grandparents were from Finland, Henry (Heikki Jarvinen) Freeman from Rautalampi and Maria Syrjala from Somero (typical Finnish accents omitted). I have only one uncle remaining from whom I could get a DNA test but doubt he would cooperate. I have done mtDNA full genealogical scan resulting in haplogroup U6a3a1 but the only close matches don't reply to email so may have passed away. This brings out the importance of those doing DNA testing to pass along access to the information and having someone who can reply to matches. I've also done the FTDNA FF test and have many matches but most of those don't have well developed traditional genealogies. Also, my own research has not yet revealed great grandparents in Finland. American cousins: Syrjala & Syrjanen in Fitchburg MA and Jarvinen in Flint MI don't seem inclined to share info.

    Cheers, Ray Whidden, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

  2. I enjoyed your panel session this morning at RootsTech. I only wish we'd had more time.

    The question I would have asked is: suppose I have a lock of hair, blood-stained fabric, or other material that might yield DNA from some long-dead known relative. How close are we to having reasonably-priced DNA tests that can take as input something other than a cheek swap or blood sample from a living person? Clearly this is already possible at least on a small scale in the lab, since for years we have been reading about the DNA of Neanderthals and of Otzi the Ice Man in the Alps.

  3. I enjoyed your presentation on DNA for adoptees yesterday. I was contacted by a woman a few months ago claiming to share great grand parents. Having actually known my great grandparents- and having done the family tree- I thought this was impossible. We compared genomes at 23 and me and sure enough we did share great grandparents. We were listed as 2nd cousins. She also matched my siblings, cousins and paternal aunt. Her father had been adopted in 1945 in Denver with the only information being that his biological mother had "health issues." We predicted that he must have been the son of my grandmother's only sister. We tested him and found his mitochondrial to be H2a2- exactly my aunts. We used location as well and found her in the Denver directory in 1945.
    We are now onto his father and will order a Y-DNA 111 test from Family Tree DNA. Hopefully we will at least get a surname.

  4. I enjoyed your presentation on DNA for adoptees yesterday at Rootstech. I received an email from a woman a few months ago who claimed to share great grandparents. I thought this impossible having known them and having done their tree. We compared genomes on 23 and me and we were a 2nd cousin match. She also matched my siblings, cousins and paternal aunt. Her father had been adopted in Denver in 1945. The only information he had on his mother was that she "had health issues." We looked at our family information and discovered that my grandmother's sister had lived there in 1945. We figured out that her dad should have H2a2 mitochondrial DNA if he were to be my grandmother's sister's son. Sure enough he came back H2a2. We are now onto the father and will order the Family Tree DNA Y-111 test to try to get a surname. Just wanted to let you know that everything you mentioned yesterday- DNA, a family tree, triangulation and location all contributed to solving part of this mystery.

  5. Enjoyed your episode on "Finding Your Roots" but, I have one question... Where can we get that great DNA necklace you are wearing on the episode?

  6. I read two astonishing recent news articles regarding DNA. Since I have been using Genealogy DNA for over 10 years in a surname study article, I am concerned these articles may impact on anyone doing a surname study and asking others to participate.
    1. Artificial Insemination Nightmare revealed through Genealogy DNA tests - Thomas Ray Lippert
    2. Familial Searching - Ancestry.com received a court order last summer requiring it to reveal a name to the police, although it is listed as “protected” in the Sorenson Y-chromosome database, according to court records obtained by The New Orleans Advocate.
    I have followed CeCe for a number of years and find her articles extremely interesting.

  7. I just found out on ancestry.com that COL Peter Jefferson is my 5th great grandfather and President Thomas Jefferson is my 5th great uncle. I don't know what to do with this information. P,ease contact me at Georgianbay6@yahoo.com