Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2010-03 > 1268489422

From: "Lancaster-Boon" <>
Subject: [DNA] Are the testing companies being guided to invest in thewrongthings for genealogy?
Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2010 15:10:22 +0100

Hi Raymond

Don't get me wrong. I do realize that both autosomal and mitochondrial
testing can help people's genealogy work in specific types of family tree or
sub-population. And for people who have tried everything else why not?

But for most people most of the time, if genealogy is your priority you
could spend your time and money much better on the normal types of
subscription, message boards, etc, and doing the paper trail work.

Two impressions I have, but I'll put them in a bit of a "devil's advocate"

1. Most of the leads I have heard about coming from mitochondrial and
autosomal testing have not sounded like any more than you would get by
hanging out on regional or surname oriented genealogy message forums. They
are mainly just leads coming from being in conversations with people with a
similar background.

With Y DNA, you often get evidence which is as clear as finding a new
document, and which can therefore go beyond existing documents. To get such
a clear call in mitochondrial or autosomal testing is extremely rare.

Because these technologies do not normally give a clear answer to the
quesiton of whether two people are closely related, they can never be used
to do something which you could not do with a paper trail. And so for every
lead you find, you still need the paper trail anyway.

2. Increasingly I am having contact with genetic genealogists or are asking
what tests to take, but who have clearly never done their homework on
getting their paper trail in order. Put your hands up admins who have ended
up spending a lot of time fixing up people's half-done family trees in order
to make your project work.

I have always said that it is pointless to get involved in genetic genealogy
as a REPLACEMENT to normal genealogy. It is part of it. Perhaps confusion
about this is leading to a confused market.

Best Regards

From: Raymond Wing <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Are the testing companies being guided to invest in
thewrong things for genealogy?
Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2010 03:25:31 -0800 (PST)
In-Reply-To: <FBB46A69C034477DB2E43F821688A7A7@PC>

While I understand your concerns, I personally feel quite different about
where DNA testing companies should be going. I wholeheartedly agree with you
on some of the points you raised regarding how administrators of DNA
projects are not able to view all the information. However, I disagree with
you on the importance of autosomal & mt DNA testing.

I would love to see more research completed on autosomal DNA and mtDNA.
While mtDNA has its limits (due to the relatively few bps it contains), much
of the limit regarding mtDNA rests on the shoulders of the genealogy
community (rather than the DNA companies). I had found mtDNA to help me
research my "umbilical" line as it proved the "paper" genealogies in error
in listing the marriages of two cousins with the same name (Phebe Lovejoy).

Even in autosomal DNA research, the onus really is not on the DNA testing
companies, but on the genealogical community to discover ways to use the
data encoded in our DNA to tease out as much of our ancestry as possible.
This will require not only the expertise of statistical analysis, but also
an expanded view of how to conduct genealogical research.

What I mean by the last statement is that traditional genealogical research
does a relatively good job of tracing the descendants of a family
(especially the male-line descent). However, we currently do not do a good
job of looking at the ancestry of the spouses and seeing how they form an
extended network (ie not only the issue of siblings marrying siblings, but
extending that to cousins marrying cousins).

Both the statistical analysis and the expansion of genealogical research
require much more effort on the part of the genealogical community. However,
it must be recognized that these issues are not related to the DNA testing

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