REALLY uncommon source: DNA

DNA genealogy is all the rage in this decade. Before she died, my mother had her brother and another genealogist compare DNA. The result showed a common male ancestor among them. Given the genealogists’ documented genealogy, this satisfied Mother that our Abraham Spencer descended from Abner, as did the genealogist in the test.

Not everyone agrees that these tests are reliable. Which? Computing  did a recent story that expressed doubt that these tests are even useful. Which? Computing editor Sarah Kidner said: ‘Interest in genealogy has increased massively due to programmes like “Who do you think you are” but people need to be wary of DNA testing services. It’s unlikely that any of the information we received would help in researching a family tree. In fact, the results are so vague it’s almost the equivalent of telling someone what their star sign is.’

On the other hand, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, author of “Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree,” will discuss the uses of DNA and give the keynote address, “Remembering Our Ancestors,” at  “Linking to Your Family’s History,” set for Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Wyndham Portland Airport Hotel in South Portland, Maine.

So, it is a source. How useful it is, you decide!

About Libbi

Writer for 30 years. Genealogy a hobby for about 40 years. Yes, I'm in my 50's, I learned about genealogy at my mother's knee!
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3 Responses to REALLY uncommon source: DNA

  1. John says:

    My feeling is that “deep ancestry” haplogroup information is vague and uncertain. I’ve heard of people sending their DNA to different testers and being placed into different haplogroups. I think this is what “Which Computing” is referring to.

    But I haven’t read criticism of the “close ancestry”. It doesn’t tell you ‘how’ you are related, though.

  2. Libbi says:

    Agreed. It may tell you a common ancestor, but not necessarily who that is.

    The other guy, not my uncle, had good documentation to take his line back to Abner, who did have a son Abraham. With the DNA match, Mother considered that enough to tie Abraham to Abner, though we have never found the birth certificate for Abraham.

    At least Mama died believing she’d broken that last brick wall!

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