DNA Research #DNA Re: Is DNA testing Worthwhile? #dna


Itzhak Epstein
 

To answer the subject line's question, the obvious answer is that
for almost all (99.99%+) of the human race Y and mt DNA testing is
utterly useless. Most of the people whom I know do not care about
genealogy. Had I not been a genealogical enthusiast, my involvement
in DNA testing would also be a waste of money. Most of my family
members thinks so, though they indulge me in my chosen hobby.

As for genealogists, such testing can be useful when done
intelligently and in context. Sometimes it reinforces or disproves
hypotheses.

To illustrate the usefulness of research methods, I checked the NYC
grooms index (1866 to 1937). There were 1156 grooms whose given
name starts with "Sam" and whose surname sounds like Cohen. 622
grooms' exact name of record is "Samuel Cohen". Checking, as a
guest on Ancestry.com, I learned that there are about 32,000 "John
Smith"s on the 1910 US census. These are still very useful
resources. Some of us have researched at (or hired) eastern
European archives, and found useful genealogical information.
Others have found nothing.

Expecting much genealogical information >from HVR1+HVR2 is unwise.
It can, however, disprove relationships. If and when complete mtDNA
testing becomes more affordable, locating relatives through it may
become more feasible. My results indicate that I belong to
haplogroup K2a2a -- descended >from one of the four principal
matriarchs of Ashkenazi Jewry. I am also in touch with genealogists
whose HVR1+HVR2 matches mine and whose 19th Century relevant origins
are geographically sufficiently near mine. We will need more than
genetic testing to make the connections. This is why I am
supportive of archival research.

Itzhak Epstein

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