Everyone’s an Armchair Geneticist…DNA; our new found past time.

Great news everybody!!! We have a new found past time that is very popular these days. We are obsessed with our DNA!!!! Every one can play along and comment and critique as they desire with whatever they know or heard or read or think!! It’s an all inclusive participation activity! If you really want to play this game to its maximum, then be sure to get on Facebook and join ALL of the family tree DNA forums where thousands of people sit on their screens and argue all day about the following: cMs, DNA testing, Y-DNA, mT-DNA, GedMatch, FamilytreeDNA, AncestryDNA, Ancestry DNA Circles, how to deal with “surprise family members”, adoptions, exposing family secrets and oh so much more! Who knew vials of spit and bar graphs together could be this FUN?!?!

I find it really amazing how many of your average people have recently become Masters in Genetics!! I’ll admit I’m fascinated with the DNA aspect of genealogical research but I’m a musician and not a scientist and I can never pretend to completely understand the sciences behind DNA. There are some simple things I know and I’ll just stick to the basics.

In these forums that start out as innocent online groups, things generally get heated in comments when a well meaning person asks a question about something and as per usual everyone puts in their 2 cents,….here come the experts! This weekend, someone asked about the ancestry DNA circles. I currently have 40 DNA circles and so stupid me!…I commented on this persons post as to how I came about these results.

Well, I should have known better, it wasn’t long before someone was disagreeing with me and so I just simply posted the 43 page white paper written by ancestry.com (by 13 authors) on how they do it and said “we can only pretend to understand it”. Well that really torked off the person who was trying to argue with me. I never go into these comments to try to argue, but man, people are angry these days! I was posting a post about some lost dogs at my farm and I was trying to give this original poster some tips on how I get results but apparently in today’s world you can’t just give someone a piece of advice…especially! when it pertains to DNA. I’ve got to stay off the FB! {I know this! I know this!}

So,….if you are trying to understand how ancestry.com creates those really fun DNA circles, (I am not going to pretend to understand it all), just read the white paper – 43 pages of scientific formulas. I have some things I do which relate to the data entry process (see previous posts).

You can read all the specifics including those really simple mathematical formulas in the white paper if you follow this link:

Ancestry.com DNA Circles – white paper

If you want to know some basics about DNA this is a great article:

Wiki – autosomal DNA

If you want to get a little more info about DNA like a “DNA for Dummies”….you can do that,….they have that! Click this link to add it to your Amazon.com cart.

Genetics for Dummies Book


If you really want to “get into your DNA”, then I suggest finding one source or person to learn from. What are you trying to discover? Go in that direction. People have devoted their entire lives and careers to DNA genetics. I am not those people, I do not know it all, I am not a scientific brain. I’m a musical, writing, story telling brain. I am grateful to my cousins, Mike Lacopo and Carol Dove for their generous help in DNA study in our family tree lines.

DNA is a tool, it takes time, it’s evolving, it’s growing, it’s changing. DNA leads to a lot of “Estimates”. Let’s say that again….DNA includes a lot of “ESTIMATES”. We can’t expect DNA to do it all. And everyone needs to RELAX!! Why are we in such a hurry to know it all?!? What is with this obsession?? We need to take a lesson from those that came before us, take time, be accurate, use all the tools to find the answers. Make sure you’re tracing the right person, triple check your work. Some things WILL remain unknown.

I’ll end this post with a recent quote from another cousin that reminds me in this process that the old and the new ways really do need to go hand in hand.

“DNA by itself is worthless; DNA with Records is PRICELESS!”

This entry was posted in ancestry.com, DNA Testing, family tree,, free research, Genealogy research, genetic genealogy, public records, releasetherecords.org, Uncategorized, US Census Records, User Tips Ancestry.com and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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