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DNA as mainstream genealogy

Is there any possibility — any chance at all — that DNA is not mainstream genealogy these days?



It’s here, it’s here to stay, and it’s here in force.

And if you had any doubts about any of that, whatsoever, the past couple of days in Columbus, Ohio, would have settled the question.


Columbus was the site of the 2015 Ohio Genealogical Society conference, three glorious days (plus an advance workshop day!) of non-stop genealogical fun.

Conferences like this one offer such a wonderful opportunity to learn about methodologies and tools and record sets we’d like to become more familiar with — and so such more. They give us a chance to network, to see old friends and meet new ones.

And boy do they ever give you the answer to just how powerful the interest in DNA as a genealogical tool is these days, as the conference goers vote with their feet — by choosing session A over session B in the same time slot.

Those feet told the story here: DNA as a genealogical tool is here, it’s here to stay, and it’s here in force.

You could see it Thursday when Diane Southard’s lecture on organizing your DNA matches had a full house.

Then it really got underway Friday with a round-table discussion where people could ask whatever questions they wanted.

It was scheduled for the end of a very long day of presentations. It cut into the dinner hour. And it was standing room only. The moderator let the discussion go on as long as she reasonably could, but still had to finally cut people off with their questions still pending.

Yesterday, Saturday, you could see it throughout the day — there was a whole DNA track at this conference, starting at oh-dark-thirty (okay, so it was 8:30 a.m.) and running through to the end of the day.

And every single session was packed. From the basic basics that I was privileged to present at the start of the day through my own presentation of using DNA to reconstruct a famiy in a burned county, through Drew Smith’s presentation on understanding and using DNA results and on to Diane Southard’s lectures on autosomal DNA testing and on ethnic origins.

Oh, yes, there are some unrealistic expectations — or perhaps hopes is a better word. The hope that DNA will be the magic bullet to break through a brick wall without any other effort. But most people genuinely understand this tool needs hard work as much as any genealogical research does.

And boy oh boy… there is no doubt.

It’s here, it’s here to stay, and it’s here in force.

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