Wednesday, 6 September 2006

Genetic Genealogy: Go Directly to Oblivion, do not collect publicity

It happenned again, Matthew Stibble has blogged on something that hit a chord with me.

I've just finished an article on DNA and genealogy for a British genealogy magazine, and attempted to contact several commercial testing companies for information. All had comprehensive websites which answered most of my questions, but I was looking for more.

One company gave an email address, no telephone number. I received an automated email reply. From a previous experience with the organization I expect to eventually receive a another reply explaining that they have been overwhelmed with emails and apologizing for not getting back sooner.

The second company has a 1-800 number where I left a voicemail message. After three weeks, and several attempts to call, each responded to by voicemail, I have still received no response. What confidence would you have in this company?

A third responded promptly but then failed to follow up.

The news was not all bleak. Family Tree DNA responded promptly and provided scanned images that I wanted the same day. No prize for guessing which company will receive the good publicity.