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History Corner By Pat Ross & Fran Snead


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July 01, 2015

Do you know where you could probably find around one thousand relatives that you may not know that you had?  Several of us here at the Center, both staff and patrons, decided recently to embark on a journey of DNA testing.  We each, at different times, ordered DNA kits from a company known as 23 and Me.  23 and Me is presently the largest ancestry service in the world having over 950,000 genotyped members, and the price is very reasonable as well.  However, there are many other DNA sites and kits as well from which to choose.  This DNA process takes no time at all, two or three days, for your personal kit to arrive.  Then you simply follow the easy steps of providing a saliva sample, registering your kit online with the company, and then sending it off to be analyzed.  The most difficult part is the waiting, but the company is really great at keeping you updated as to what is happening with your testing.  This communication is obviously done through your personal email.  If you are curious as to what happens in the lab itself, there is a tutorial on the website of 23 and Me that explains verbatim what is actually done when your sample is received.  It is quite interesting to say the least.  It takes several weeks for results to be sent to you via email so you do have to exercise patience.

When your DNA results are finally sent to you, after the completion of six steps, you will find out what your DNA says about you and your family.  So again, who you think you are may be a tad different from who you really are.  Results will show what percentage of your DNA comes from each of the thirty-one populations worldwide.  It breaks down the DNA that you received from all of your recent ancestors, on both sides of your family.  The results also reflect where your ancestors lived before the widespread migrations of the past few hundred years.  You have the ability to meet and contact your DNA relatives across continents or across town (only if they are in the 23 and Me database of course) while you expand your family tree.

By participating in DNA research, you are able with the results to discover a "recipe of me" - what ingredients were used to make you YOU!  It allows you to discover your ancestral origin and trace your lineage with a personalized analysis of your DNA.  It provides you with your ancestry composition, gives you your percentage of Neanderthal, and provides information of your maternal and paternal lineages.  You are also able to find out about your health.  The good, the bad, the ugly, and yes, the bizarre!  Keep in mind that if you choose to participate in DNA testing, it is pretty obvious that you have no control over the outcomes.  So be prepared!  For example, your results might show that your parents are distantly related or that you are a cousin to your own spouse.

I am fortunate because both of my parents participated in this testing.  So I am able to determine what I "got" from Mom and what I "got" from Dad.  And believe me it leaves no question about who your parents are!  It actually breaks down your DNA  chromosome by chromosome.  My personal ingredients show that I have a little Iberian DNA from Mom's side, a small amount of Italian from Dad's side, and, believe it or not, Native American from both sides, and much much more!  It is quite unbelievable to be able to compare each of my parent's DNA with my own and be able to determine where my "ingredients" actually came from.

My sister is also planning to participate, but, just like everything else, she moves at her own speed (which means she hasn't spit into the little tube yet).  I am very interested to see how our DNA compares with each other.  We are so different in looks and personality that I am anxious to see if our DNA is as different.  Now is someone could only test personality all of my questions would be answered!

On August 4 at 11:00am here at the Center, Jenepher Homer, a resident of Henry, a friend of the Center, and an avid genealogist, will be presenting a program entitled "DNA and You".  She will explain more about DNA testing and how it can be beneficial to you in the world of genealogy. 

"DNA neither cares nor knows.  DNA just is.  And we dance to its music."  Richard Dawkins

Fran Snead










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