Recent NY Times Article on Genetic Testing Sites


In the recent, Sunday Styles – New York Times (June 17, 2018) article, “Like Facebook, but Based on DNA”, talks about genetic result matches and how features of both 23andMe and AncestryDNA provide a way for connecting with others that do the same DNA test. This part of the article does make a valid point. But is it similar to Facebook?

Though the intent of the genetic companies, from my perspective, is not to be a social network but a scientific tool to find and learn more about how you “might” be related to another living person who is also trying to match or find others that share similar DNA. In other words how many centiMorgans (size of matching DNA segments in autosomal DNA tests) do you have in common?

An aspect that the article does not mention is how Genealogy is more than DNA matching. The article does show how some of the featured individuals do meet relatives they never knew existed or find parents that were unknown to them.

However as a working Genealogists, remember that DNA is one piece to family history searches. The other aspect is the “family story” with support documentation, sources, evidence finding, analysis and genealogical proof.

I support DNA use and have even done it myself but it does not always answer all the questions we have about who we are and where your origins might have begun in the Old World. Just remember that life events also make family stories interesting and explain how we connect.

As the article indicated, there are others who get a DNA test done simply to learn who they are ethnically and not to connect with others who seek them out, no matter how much we may want to meet or talk with them about how much DNA we share. We have to respect that others aren’t ready or have no interest in further pursuit with DNA.

Recent NY Times Article on Genetic Testing Sites

Genealogy Trees and Use of Software: Where is the Output Function?


Currently I’ve been consulting a client with their Family Tree Maker (FTM) databases. I find the product to be very good if used with proper awareness of the functions and learning of it’s output capability with the selection of Publish.

One of the keys I have found in using FTM is to plan what your intended use is once you put information into the program. Remember a database is a tool to help organize your data and give you capability for output or reporting. In FTM they list that Capability under name Publish.

Personally I think the name confuses many users and could be better served by the heading of Reports or something similar. Many of my clients have indicated avoiding that area of FTM because they are not going to Publish a book. However, once I inform them that under that heading you can get output for making trees and reports on listing of individuals in their database, they are so glad to know the various items besides Publish as a booklet. So it can be confusing for some people.

FTM like other tree making products is a database that allows or encourages users to input names, dates and other facts while building links among other people to create families over generations.

Proper use is usually to connect all people in one family (both parents) from know to the unknown (grandparents), building with evidence to produce genealogical proof; with high validity that the source information is correct or justifiable with source documents.

Building various different single trees in FTM can be confusing and make your efforts be less effective. Especially if you build single trees based on only one side of your line, i.e., maternal. If the links are missing among all sides the output you get or expect is less helpful. My recommendation is to build a tree with all sides for one family. If other separate (non-linked) families exist for your research purpose, build those under a different tree name. The Publish or Reports is where you can get output on the single sides or person you are interested in showing from one “linked” Family.

Genealogy Trees and Use of Software: Where is the Output Function?

Remember: Memorial Day 2018


Picture of Memorial in Village of Lyndon Station, WI. At least 12 of my relatives are listed from Spanish-American through Korean Period of service in Army or Navy.

Picture of my Great-Uncle Henry Wendland, who served in World War. Through reach, he did not make overseas but did die in later 1918 of the flu while in camp. His two brothers did serve overseas, made it back alive but with war injuries and PDSD that shorten their lives and mental health.

Remember: Memorial Day 2018