Monday, 10 March 2014

DNA Test Experience: Comments

I've been reporting results of a survey of people who have taken DNA tests for genealogy. The experience with the various testing companies and with the various tests were reported over the last two days. Today we look at a representative selection of responses to an invitation to leave comments.

"The testing itself was fine, but I had to learn a lot on my own about what to do with the results once I received them. I think this is probably true of DNA testing in general at this stage but I think the company could have done a better job of telling me what to expect, and what not to expect, before I ordered the test."

"DNA testing has proven to be one of the most fascinating things that I have done with regard to learning about my family history. I end up with a lot of questions, not many matches but an in-depth deep ancestry that exactly mimics my known family history as far back in time as I have been able to push it on paper."

"Tested with big 3, all suck for ethnic and any expert who recommends any of them for ethnic should resign."

"I know that although the science delivers what it says it is going to deliver, I find the results presented in such an overly optimistic manner as to be almost disingenuous."

"I want to test with Ancestry, but they won't sell me a kit because I'm not in the USA. Why won't Ancestry do tests for those outside the USA? I'm surprised that Americans don't seem to care that they can get matches only with other Americans - the only ones that seem to be complaining about Ancestry's policy are non-Americans."

"My dissatisfaction is not from the companies, it is with myself for not doing anything with the results. I don't have time to give it the attention it needs, and to figure out next steps."

"The problem is with people who do not respond to a query from you re a possible match. Or when you do make contact, and you send them information - they do not acknowledge it or respond back."

"On autosomal DNA tests the key is to have other relatives tested so that you can look for "matches in common" and assign your new genetic cousins to particular branches of your tree. It is frustrating when so many people don't load GEDCOMs so you can't look at their family trees."

"We need to have VERY basic info that a MORON can understand. I honestly think that's the starting point for most testees, at least those with no science background. There is a VERY steep learning curve, and people have to be taught in baby steps. I can't tell you how many emails I read that say, "Trying SO hard to understand this DNA stuff, but seriously, what does it all mean?" It's a shame that such an excited audience becomes so quickly frustrated."

"Ethnicity averages sure do vary (obviously still in its infancy.) Finding enough help to understand results seems to be a problem locally, although I'm very grateful for the International Society of Genetic Genealogists' website and Facebook page (which I read daily trying to educate myself.) Southern California Genealogical Society's DNA Jamboree was a huge help last year and I'll attend again this June. Wish there were more intermediate longer courses on the West coast of the US."

"My expectations were realistic going in so I was mostly satisfied. Most of the people I have talked to who are not satisfied do not understand the limitations and capabilities of current DNA knowledge and technology."

"AncestryDNA's lack of tools make it nearly useless without getting matches to upload their raw DNA data to GEDmatch. 23andMe needs to overhaul their messaging system. Family Tree DNA needs to revise their matching thresholds so that customers can get more useful matching and triangulation. My biggest concern with genetic genealogy as a whole: too many people are now testing with no knowledge of their family history while too few die-hard genealogists are testing."

"All companies could do a better job of integrating known data with its members and educating those who are confused as to what they signed up for. I think your survey is too general as my dissatisfation is only with the way the companies organizational aspects are, not with the many, many people who I communicate with and are public profiles, I am satisfied with the product itself, meaning my genes being matched to others."

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