Friday, July 31, 2015

DNA results -- Cool new tool

Fur a fun, and interesting, way to view your match results in Family Finder from Family Tree DNA, go to and follow the quick and easy instructions. Wait for the graph or circle to populate and see whom you match in a colorful and graphic new way. (You may find a magnifying glass useful.)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Privacy Issues

I have to vent! Has anyone stopped to think about what they are protecting  and for and from whom they are protecting it? So much is made today about privacy, identity theft and all the rest, we've lost sight of the goal and let the means control us. 

Of course we should protect our financial assets and the personal reputation of living persons. I'll even allow that living persons have the right to remain anonymous if they wish. I will not, however, grant them the right to withhold or hide nonidentifying information that may have value for others. We all have rights, but they end where another person's rights begin. 

As genealogists, long before the advent of DNA testing, we relied on family letters, bibles, newspaper clippings, court records, telephone directories and more. There was never an issue of privacy. Now we have a new resource, DNA. It's as simple as that, a resource or tool, but because it's science, it's become the elephant in the room and has taken on a life of its own, even influencing the way we think about sharing and learning. People have been frightened into hiding everything -- DNA results, family trees, names , contact information. Why?

From the beginning, I have shielded living persons in every public venue, but that is simply a matter of respect and reflects my belief that people do have a right to anonymity while they are alive.

I have never understood the need to have a password to see what I can find in any library or newspaper. It's overkill and we genealogists have fallen prey. "Right to be forgotten" laws, hidden family trees, refusal to test and share, and other such impediments to knowledge are the result. Future generations will laugh at us (and sometimes curse us) for allowing such silliness to interfere with learning and knowledge. 

Remember, when someone fails to test, fails to make a family tree public, interferes with progress and the advancement of knowledge in any way, he assumes responsibility for being the roadblock others will face, whether now or in future generations. Everyone's DNA is unique; it dies with that person at his death. No one else carries the same DNA, not even siblings, so it is lost forever.

Thursday, July 16, 2015