What DNA Can (and Can’t) Do for Your Research
Aaron Goodwin March 31, 2019
by Meryl Schumacker, CG
In a toolbox, each tool serves a specific purpose. If you venture beyond a tool’s purpose—try to drive a screw into a piece of wood with only a tape measure—it’s not going to go well. Genealogy’s newest, shiniest toolbox—DNA—is no different. Today, we will parse the DNA-screw from the DNA-tape measure by identifying which DNA tests are the proper tools for which types of genealogical research.Only NGS members have access to full articles of NGS Monthly. Please log in or click here to learn more about joining the National Genealogical Society.
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My paternal grandfather disappeared in 1922 three weeks after my father’s birth and the untimely death of my grandmother. I searched for him for 48 years. In 2006 I tested with a DNA company and had one match who never responded to my emails. At the urging of a cousin I tested with 23andMe in December 2017. By May 2018 I had found my paternal grandfather, because I matched with one of his great grandchildren from a previous marriage that we knew nothing about. It was that connection that showed me that he had changed his name, which was the reason I could not locate so many records for him. I now sing the praises of 23andMe, and I am most grateful that my DNA match responded to my email. Now I am researching a whole new family line in Wales. Who would have thunk????