Twice a year, my local genealogy society holds a free Meet a Genealogist Day at a regional library. The well attended event allows the general public with little knowledge of genealogy to meet with a professional to kick start their research. Over the years that I’ve participated, the trend has been more and more questions about DNA.
The genealogy society does provide free classes on a variety of topics during the year but unfortunately, most are held during the day which working people can’t attend. I think that’s one of the reasons the Meet a Genealogist Day is so widely attended as it’s held on a Saturday.
I just received an email with the new date and a new format. The event will be held in two rooms – one for general research (which I call old school methods) and the other for those interested only in DNA research.
I’m not sure where I’ll be placed as I’m fine with either group but I am looking forward to the “data” that shows the interest level of the two groups. One part of me says that it’s all the same – that you need to use both historical record research and DNA results. The other part of me, from my participating in past events, understands why there is a new division. People are getting DNA results and not understanding what they mean or how to move forward with their findings.
I’m not criticizing the companies who are providing the results. Most have done an amazing job with giving lots of helpful information on their sites. Even so, it is overwhelming to many and unfortunately, sometimes the results are disappointing.
We all know real life is not T.V., however, I wish I had a dollar for every time someone came to me saying they thought they’d find a family connection with an entire tree done once they had their DNA results back. Then there’s the smaller number of people who insist that the DNA lab messed up their results and that they aren’t the ethnicity that was stated. A few have insisted that the results were just plain wrong when the results show they aren’t related to a known relative. I know of one local genealogist who insists that happened. Interestingly, the individual did not get retested. Personally, if this happened to me I would contact the company AND I would test with another company to compare results. Mistakes happen but I’ve never ever heard that the mistake was made by the lab.
So, the underlying issue is having difficulty accepting the DNA results. Like with all of life’s disappointments, that healing takes time.