Wednesday, 20 May 2009

DAR vs DNA

In the spring 2009 issue of the journal of genetic genealogy Whit Athey writes an editorial "DAR versus DNA". The stimulus is an article in American Spirit, the magazine of the Daughters of the American Revolution which explains why at the present time DAR rejects any DNA evidence submitted as a part of an application for membership. DAR’s contention is that DNA evidence does not provide sufficient accuracy to prove descent from a revolutionary soldier.

Athey concedes this for most cases. He points out however that in all cases it can add supporting evidence. Further, DNA can certainly disprove a relationship - something that most applicants would not willingly delve into given the possibility of non paternity events.

If DAR and other lineage societies were serious wouldn't they ask for ALL evidence, not just that they have grown comfortable with over the years, and require applicants to submit a DNA test result and demonstrate in the light of that evidence how the claim to be a descendant is at least plausible? Otherwise can the exploration of the evidence be said to be reasonably exhaustive as specified in the Genealogical Proof Standard?

The editorial is worth the read.

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