CVGS DNA Special Interest Group – Cheri Mello

July 7, 2023 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
“Overcoming Brick Walls with DNA”
Cheri Mello

Learn from 4 case studies how DNA was used to overcome a brick wall that stood since the 1950s using Y-DNA, solved the mystery of the mother of two sisters using mtDNA, a surprise revealing step-grandpa was really dad using autosomal DNA, and lastly, one that solved a case of an unknown father by using the X match. Also included is an overview of the 4 types of DNA used in genealogy: Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), autosomal DNA (Family Finder) and X Match and how to decode the confusing terms of DNA.

Professionally, Cheri Mello is a math teacher with degrees in psychology, sociology, human and child development, and master’s in education. She became a National Board Certified Teacher, the most prestigious and highest teaching credential in the educational world.

The genealogy bug was planted in Cheri, a South Bay native, with the 5th grade history project. Her maternal grandmother gave her some material for her project. She used it later for a Girl Scout badge and pulled out the information many times and wondered about her family and how she could learn more. Some of this material is still incorporated into her current presentations.

Cheri began her active adult research over 25 years ago, after the death of her remaining grandparents. She has done research in many states, even taking trips overseas in search of her Portuguese ancestry. Thirteen years ago, she became involved in DNA, and was recruited as the Project Administrator for the Azores DNA project. She runs five DNA projects and manages mailing lists involving PortugueseAzorean genealogy. Cheri lectures now not only on Portuguese and DNA topics, but a host of other topics including software programs and Find-A-Grave.

Virtual Meeting,  For more info, contact Colleen Yinger at 

[VCGS and Conejo Valley Genealogical Society DNA SIGs are coordinating topics and are alternating hosting meetings for our combined DNA SIG memberships. (Note that CVGS’s DNA SIG meets on Friday afternoons.) This meeting will be held online with Zoom and an invitation will be sent out to the CVGS DNA SIG via email about 12 hours prior to the meeting. If you are not already on the CVGS DNA SIG email list you may contact Colleen Yinger ( to be added.]