DNA for Beginners — Genetic Genealogy
Our April ‘Zoom-hosted’ meeting welcomed Debbie Kennett as guest speaker.
An internationally recognised expert on genetic genealogy, Debbie is an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Genetics, Evolution & Environment at University College, London. She is also the author of two books, DNA and Social Networking and The Surnames Handbook. In addition, she writes about DNA testing for all the UK family-history magazines, and has been researching her own family history since 2002.
Tailoring her presentation to her audience, based upon a number of pre-submitted questions from members, Debbie started with a brief overview of the science of genetic genealogy and the three primary DNA types tested by different companies; Y-DNA – passed down solely to males in the direct paternal line; mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) passed down the direct maternal line, ostensibly to daughters; and Autosomal DNA (atDNA) inherited from each of our direct ancestors, but only reliable for ‘matching’ purposes for about 5/6 historic generations.
Debbie recommended Autosomal testing as a good starting point for most people, noting that Ancestry has by far the largest database and a lot of user friendly tools to help de-mystify DNA test results. She went on to explain that Autosomal testing had two primary functions, the first to determine deeper ‘ethnic’ origins, the second to identify ‘cousin’ matches. However, some companies, such as 23andMe were also offering health-related DNA analysis.
Throughout her absorbing, yet occasionally cerebrally challenging presentation, Debbie was at pains to stress that DNA is no more than another tool in the genealogists' armoury, and needed to be used in tandem with traditionally constructed family trees to achieve optimal results. To this end, she shared a number of examples from her own family-history research, where links to shared ancestors, flagged by DNA test results, had led to discoveries that neither DNA nor pedigree charts may have revealed in isolation.
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If you’ve been intrigued by the recent television programmes about the use of DNA testing to trace your ancestors, you’ll be interested by our online talk, to be given by Debbie KENNETT at 7:30pm on Monday, 19th April.
Debbie is an internationally-recognised expert on genetic genealogy. She is an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment at University College London, and is the author of two books, "DNA and Social Networking" and "The Surnames Handbook". She writes about DNA testing for all the UK family-history magazines, and has been researching her own family history since 2002.
DNA testing and the new generation of social networking websites are becoming increasingly useful tools. DNA testing can now be used to prove or disprove genealogical connections, and will put you in touch with your genetic cousins around the world.
Whether or not you're a member, if you wish to attend, click here to «Book for our next Zoom talk».
For further information, you can contact Angela Skelcher by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or on ☏ 01728 830949.
Thinking of taking a DNA test? Wondering how DNA can help your family tree research? Just got your results and wondering how to interpret them? Then Debbie Kennett's beginner’s talk (over Zoom) is just right for you.