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DNA retrospective

Here we are, in the last days of 2012. Mayan calendars notwithstanding, the world has not ended, the year is rolling along, and today is the last DNA Sunday of 2012.

So… what were the top DNA posts for the year?

The Legal Genealogist submits that it will come as no surprise that the one that was number one both in my heart and in the top 10 for all readers for the year was this one:

Blown away with DNA. This July 29 post resulted from an almost casual standard note I send out to folks who are reasonably close DNA matches to me and to others in my family. The response of my new cousin, Trish Dukeman, literally blew me away.

Her words are forever etched in my heart:

“You are the first person other than my children that I have ever communicated with that I am related to in some way,” she wrote. “You have no idea how much that means to me.”

Trish, you see, is an adoptee… and as yet she has only a few clues to her biological family. I know Trish is working with adoption angels (folks who specialize in helping adoptees find their birth families) and we’re doing what little we can to help.

And though we haven’t moved the ball much yet, I hope Trish knows how much we want her quest to be a success, and how much we stand by her as her genetic cousins in her search. And I hope perhaps knowing she has cousins — lots of cousins — who wish her so well will be at least a small comfort in her search.

Other posts making the most-read list for 2012:

     • A DNA test not to bother with (1 April): “if you’ve been tempted to stick your toes into the water of DNA testing with a new service called ConnectMyDNA (, offering something called Gene Circles, save your money.”

     • Geno 2.0 launches! (25 July): “Today, National Geographic moves genetic genealogy forward again with the launch of Geno 2.0, a project promising unparalleled and unprecedented breadth and depth of information for human deep ancestry.”

     • A trio of posts about the new autosomal DNA testing from Ancestry: Up close: AncestryDNA (13 May); First looks at AncestryDNA (5 August); and AncestryDNA, tear down this wall! (23 September). These posts collectively cover the pros, cons, strengths and weaknesses of this newcomer to autosomal testing.

     • More bang for DNA test bucks (6 May): “Nobody is giving away DNA tests. So… how do you get the most bang for the DNA buck?”

     • Science and the “10th” cousin (26 February): “Okay, this time it isn’t Ancestry’s commercials that annoyed me in Friday night’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? but rather the science used by Ancestry in the show itself. I have a bit of an issue with telling person A (Blair Underwood) that person B (Eric Sonjowoh) is a 10th cousin when there isn’t a prayer of a paper trail to support that statement — and the science isn’t good enough to say it either.”

     • 23andMe to FTDNA? YES! (5 February): “FTDNA has just opened up its system so 23andMe folks can upload their results for a reasonable cost to FTDNA where a wide variety of tools and features are available specifically for genealogists that just don’t exist or don’t work as well on 23andMe.”

     • Gedmatch: a DNA geek’s dream site (12 August): “to fill in some of the gaps, at least for autosomal DNA tests, let me introduce you to a wonderful website:, with tools for genetic genealogy research that carry a whopping big price tag of exactly zero.”

But sometimes, of course, I have a favorite that doesn’t quite make it to the top of the readers’ list… maybe because it was fairly early on in the blog’s history. (Hey I can dream, can’t I?) Here are three that didn’t make the top 10 most-read list… but sure as heck are towards the top of my personal “favorites” list:

     • DNA and paranoia (11 January): “To my paranoid cousin who let me take a DNA sample for genetic genealogy… no, dear, unless there’s something about you that you haven’t told me, you are not going to wake up some morning and find your name in a newspaper article about a murder because you let me take a DNA sample to help our family history.”

     • Dear Genetic Cousin (25 March): “I don’t “get” paying big bucks to take a DNA test and then not bothering to work with genetic cousins to try to see where the results might lead.”

     • DNA: was he or wasn’t he? (24 June): “It started out as a typical American story. Mom, Dad, three sons and finally a daughter. But when Mom and Dad threw in the towel on their marriage two years after the daughter’s birth, Dad announced that that was one thing he wasn’t — the dad, that is, of the daughter. Now, a reader reports, the family would like to know the truth: was he or wasn’t he the father of the youngest child?”

On to 2013…

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