DNA Research #DNA Re: DNA Matches #dna

Martin Davis (com)

David Gold wrote: I am just about ready to give up contacting the vast
majority of matches I am provided with by the various sites. It just
doesn't mean anything for family genealogy within the past one or two
centuries. Some of my own relatives keep asking me, "How far back do you
want to do this?! Of course we are all related at some point, what's the
big deal?!" Sometimes I have no answer for such questions.

Much of what we see on the pages of commercial providers is targeted at
customer recruitment, retention and development. DNA notifications of
'cousin matches' are definitely part of that marketing, a redefining of
the words to make shared, but quite distant, DNA kit matches sound closer
than they actually are. That way commercial company findings become just
that much more relevant to the customer. The matches are normally real
enough but just not normally combinable with a family tree of specific
named ancestors.

In the case of autosomal DNA, if like David you are straightforwardly
interested in making a family tree which stretches as far back as it can
be taken, you will be dissatisfied with most DNA results below a quite
high segment threshold - and definitely will find small segments with
limited SNPs and limited cM size way too obscure. However, if you want
to explore the more general historic landscape which your ancestors
occupied (the time before Poland, Russia or Lithuania etc.) then those
tiny segments which link you to people of Mediterranean etc. origins,
can open the door to a better understanding of historic locations,
migration patterns etc.

Remembering that many people's interests are, like David's, focussed
on building their own family tree and not conducting general historic
research, writing to matches, especially the more distant ones, can be
useful but also at times fruitless.

Martin Davis (London - UK)

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