One of the reasons commonly cited by Genealogy enthusiasts as to what makes family history research so exciting is that it is like doing detective work.
Everybody loves to do detective work. That is why detective and crime shows, movies, and novels are consistently among the most popular genres and make millions year upon year. Indeed, Sophie Hannah, writing for the Guardian suggests that we love the genre because ‘Solving the puzzle: for most of us, that’s life’ and that it is ‘the only genre that puts puzzle-solving – making sense of what the hell’s going on – at the centre of everything. It’s closest to our core motivation’.
Your Own Personal Drama
What makes genealogical research even better than sitting down to watch a detective drama box-set or read the latest detective thriller novel is that this time the drama is all about you!
You start by finding clues by looking through family documents, letters, and photos and by talking to relatives about what they know about your family history and then trying to piece together the information. In years gone by this kind of research could take people years and involve traveling around checking local records in libraries and churches. Often you would have to order and purchase copies of certificates so it could also be potentially very costly. One extreme example of this is a man in the UK, Roy Blackmore. He reportedly spent thousands of pounds and over 30 years of his life on his genealogical research. Also, although the results looked great on paper, they were difficult to ‘flesh out’ by making actual contact with any potential living relatives you might have unearthed.
An Easier Way
Thankfully we are in the age of the internet and, more importantly, ancestral DNA testing. This means that you can play DNA detective from the comfort of your own home and use the templates, knowledge, and archives of whichever DNA testing service you opt for. The process is simple.
- Choose the service that is best for you – This will depend upon, among other things, the level of detail you require, how much you want to invest in this project, whether you want a service that includes a family tree builder, whether you want to include any health information; such as looking for genetic markers for inherited diseases, etc, if you want to be able to be informed of and/or contact potential DNA matches and where you think/know your family might be from.
- Provide a DNA sample – The service that you choose will send you a testing kit and you then (usually) either spit into a test tube or gather skin cells from the inside of your cheek (by rubbing with a swab). It is pain-free, quick, and easy.
- Send your sample back to the DNA testing laboratory – Some services provide pre-paid postage others don’t so be sure to check.
- Wait for your results – This usually takes between 2 and 8 weeks.
- Read your results – The different service providers use different reporting methods so again you should do the research to make sure it is going to be in your preferred format and provide the right details for your needs.
Discover Your Past and Maybe Your Future
This is where you can start piecing all your evidence together. How this stage of your DNA detective drama goes is down to the results you get back. Did you receive any surprises? Get any close DNA matches? Will you be getting in touch with any of your matches? Perhaps they will contact you?
At the very least you will now information to carry you to the next stage of your investigation and lead to more discoveries about your, and your ancestors’ past.
For some, their DNA testing results have changed their futures either by giving them sometimes whole new families and a whole new concept of their own identities or by giving them a reason to travel to their ancestral lands.
Article Submitted By Community Writer