Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2010-03 > 1268332955

From: David Faux <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] 23andMe Is Running a Special on the Ancestry Edition
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2010 10:42:35 -0800
References: <><596CCEB4023F4B3882BB256B5BF7CB8B@HP>
In-Reply-To: <596CCEB4023F4B3882BB256B5BF7CB8B@HP>


I am in the same rather fortunate postion as you, thanks to 35 years of
effort, with the accumulation of an abundance of genealogical
documentation for virtually all lines, and being in contact with most
relatives to the 8th cousin level who are interested in genealogy. Most are
not so fortunate and simply had normal expectations that most of those
curious enough to take the test for medical reasons would be curious enough
to see if there are a few cousins out there. For most test takers it has
become evident that they it would likely not even enter their consciousness
to go this route, and if it did the whole process would be seen as a bother
since contacting (often very distant) cousins simply has no meaning (no

In my case all of the 3rd cousins and closer who appeared on 23andMe's radar
where those I had recruited. A few failed to inform me that they had taken
the test and it was months before we were in contact (and these are people
keen on genealogy). I have found not one single new relative via 23andMe.
Even if I shared say .09% with a "Fifth Cousin" such small fragments could
as well be a false positive (I have plenty of them) and the fact that we
share a paper trail could be a mere coincidence.

My approach has been to recruit members of key families in my genealogy
(e.g., those where I have multiple connections via cousin marriages), and
for example test out hypotheses suggested by circumstantial evidence (e.g.,
that the wife of one Mohawk Valley Palatine ancestor was Dorothy surname
Pickert and hence of African ancestry). I have 11 participants for the
latter study which is testing three very specific hypotheses. After the
notice of the discount for the Ancesry Edition came out I sent out e-mails
to the other 50 on my contact list to encourage them to sign up since we
have made "remarkable progress and think what we could discover if you
signed up too".

Bottom line, I expect nothing from the lists of 270 "cousins" and have only
contacted a dozen or so (two made contact) - not one has contacted me of
their own accord. The test is best used to provide info about known
cousins, not to expect long lost kin to contact you and want to share
information (rare as hens teeth although I have heard of a few success

David K. Faux.

On Thu, Mar 11, 2010 at 4:05 AM, Diana Gale Matthiesen

> I tested at 23andMe entirely for medical reasons. I have zero interest in
> contacting cousins there, so I find this sense of "entitlement" to getting
> responses from cousins a bit annoying.
> I am *already* in contact with my cousins who are interested in their
> genealogy
> because they're *already* online working on their paper genealogy. They're
> messaging on the genealogy boards and mailing lists -- and probably have
> been
> for years -- and they probably have a web site. If someone getting DNA
> tested
> doesn't have an online "presence" in the e-genealogy community, they're
> probably
> not into their genealogy, at all -- or, if they are, they're one of the
> secretive kind whom you're not going to get anything out of, anyway (we all
> know
> the type). I have zero interest in contacting cousins who are not already
> "into" their genealogy.
> I've been mtDNA tested, and my FGS is online at my web site and uploaded to
> GenBank and mitoSearch (with a GEDCOM). My father has been both Y-DNA and
> mtDNA
> tested, and his results are online at my web site and uploaded to Ysearch
> and
> mitoSearch (with GEDCOMs). My paper genealogy, complete with all of its
> documentation, is online at my (14,000+ page) web site to the full extent
> that I
> know it. I have amply shared what I am willing and able to share.
> When I got tested at 23andMe, I don't remember being told I had to share my
> results, and I don't remember being promised that others would share
> theirs.
> There was, in fact, no "Ancestry Edition" and no "Relative Finder" at
> 23andMe at
> the time I was tested. IMO, if there's a "problem" here, it's the
> unwarranted
> expectations on the part of some of the people now being tested there that
> everyone else also did so for genealogical purposes. That's simply not the
> case.
> If you want to have a greater probability of having someone who's been
> atDNA
> tested respond to you, get tested at FTDNA, not 23andMe. It's probably
> fair to
> say virtually everyone tested at FTDNA is interested in their genealogy.
> Diana
> P.S. Yes, I know, there's a problem with people Y-DNA and mtDNA tested not
> responding at FTDNA, either, but I'll start a new thread for that one.

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