Friday, 9 February 2018

DNA: tracing your ancestors and your genealogy

In a rapidly evolving field a book with its typical extended publication process risks becoming dated before publication. Yet many people like to have a publication in hardcopy to hand. 

Moorshead Magazines have recognized the potential of this market hitting the sweet spot with a series of magazine-style publications that can be updated and reissued retailing at an affordable $9.95. A second edition of Google for genealogy in the series by Lisa Alzo is a recent example.

The latest in the series, dealing with genetic genealogy, is written by Maurice Gleeson. Maurice was voted a top Rockstar Genealogist again in 2017-- a recognition of his dedication to advancing the field by sharing his own experience through skilled presentations and mentoring.

The chapters are:
Some Basic Science
Y-DNA - Tracing Your Direct Male Line
Mitochondrial DNA - Tracing Your Direct Female Line
Autosomal DNA - Some More Basic Science
Autosomal DNA - connecting with Genetic Cousins
Using DNA to help Adoptees.

Susan Courage, who convenes the Ottawa DNA Group points to Maurice’s 4 step process on Analyzing Autosomal DNA Matches as a highlight.

One thing I liked about DNA: tracing your ancestors and your genealogy is that it starts with a background chapter, suitable for the complete genetic genealogy novice. If there's someone you might want to persuade to test this chapter gives the need to know information. You can draw on it to formulate how you present things or just gift a copy.

Subsequent chapters gradually build the knowledge base right up to the more challenging topics like triangulation and adoption. You can stop where you feel you know enough for your purposes, yet appreciate you have the option go further later.

If you need additional information, perhaps in more depth than presented, there are references to videos, blog posts and web resources, notably the ISOGG wiki, by Maurice and other respected genetic genealogists

The presentation carries Maurice's style over to print with straightforward advice on topics like "what test should I take".

As mentioned, this is a rapidly evolving field. More people are being  tested so understanding of DNA's contribution to our genealogy is being refined. Reference databases for "ethnicity", or whatever your preferred term is, are improving with better resolution. The human Y-DNA tree continues to grow with Y-SNP testing becoming more popular.

Tools and tactics are also changing. Ways to examine autosomal DNA segment matches are being added to or improved.

Hopefully Maurice will be updating the publication to cover these developments.

The bottom line is, as Susan sees it, "This magazine is a great resource for anyone with an interest in mastering genetic genealogy."

Order from

Outside Canada try

If these don't work go to
follow the Canada or US link, click for the drop-down menu and choose Tracing Your Ancestors Series.

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