Wednesday, August 16, 2006

DNA Article Rating: 7.5

Arrrggh. This one was so promising! I read about 295 out of the 320 or so words in Genealogical Research Provides New Level of Family Tree Search Through DNA and found it remarkably accurate until this fatal last sentence:

"Although testing of this sort can be costly, it certainly can trace ancestral lines more accurately than the old-fashioned ways of following paper trails."

Noooooo! Ah, so close!

Yes, it's true that genetic genealogy is exceedingly accurate, but the way this sentence is written gives the reader the impression that it's something you do instead of traditional genealogy, rather than in conjunction with it. And that's just not the way it works.

Doing nothing more than taking a DNA test to learn about your roots is roughly equivalent to doing a vanity search on the Internet -- you know, typing your name in google? -- and expecting your entire family history to pop up.

The reality is that traditional and genetic genealogy go hand in hand -- and fortunately for us, they "play nice" together. Genetic genealogy -- which I like to call genetealogy -- helps you go further faster. Just like the Internet. But just as with the Internet, it doesn't replace traditional genealogy.

Sadly, this is such an important misconception that I have to deduct a full 2.5 points from the maximum rating of 10. Well, I guess my search for a perfect-10 article on genetealogy continues . . .


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