DNA Testing Complaints – What to Know Before You Test

If you're considering DNA testing for genealogy or have already tested, you've probably heard complaints or had some yourself.     Today, I'll focus on the biggest DNA testing complaint: Ethnicity Estimates. And I'm addressing autosomal DNA testing (atDNA), the most common test taken today, versus Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA testing.  

You can't sit through a DNA class or webinar and not hear someone pretty angry about their ethnicity estimate.

These complaints come from people with well-researched genealogical records as well as those with strong oral traditions of their ancestry.

Half the audience writes off five minutes of their life because they've "been there, done that" and the other half is sitting on the edge of their seat waiting to hear how the company justifies its results.

I've been on both sides of t…

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DNA Testing for Genealogy – Is It Worth It?

 DNA Testing for Genealogy - Is It Worth It? Twenty years ago, I wasn't sure. Today, it's a definitive "Yes." 1990s In the 1990s, BYU Professor Scott Woodward was in Egypt speaking about using DNA to study mummies when an Israeli researcher asked him about using DNA to test fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The scrolls had been written on animal hides before they were torn. Could DNA testing identify which pieces came from the same animal hide and belonged to the same scroll? I saw the Dead Sea Scrolls on exhibit in Israel in 1995. The work of piecing together tiny fragments looked impossible and being able to match them by their DNA was an exciting breakthrough. Animal hides and document fragments was a finite enough collection that I could grasp the payoff. DNA testing made sense.   2000 In 2000, Professor Scott Woodward had a microbiology lab at BYU and was paying $10 to anyone who would donate a DNA sample.  My youngest brother was a poor, graduating college…
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Faraday Bags to Protect Your Digital Files from Solar Storms and EMPs

Or "That One Weird Thing I Do." In December, I blogged about my huge digitizing push before RootsTech. I'm only a third of the way through digitizing but I do have a tip to share with anyone who likes to prepare for all the unknowns.   Faraday bags for your backup drives. Faraday bags are specialized bags that can protect electronic devices from damaging Solar Storms and Electromagnetic Pulses (EMPs).       What's a Solar Storm? If you Google an up-close image of our Sun, you'll see that it's one big explosive fusion reaction and that "Every so often, a patch of particles will burst from the sun in a solar flare, which can disrupt satellite communications and knock out power on Earth." In 1859, the largest recorded Solar Storm occurred that damaged telegraph lines and even shocked telegraph operators.  National Geographic has a nice article explaining the event and comparing the effects of a similar event in our present day and age. In 1989, th…
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