Over the past few weeks, I’ve been describing a problem I’ve been working on: using DNA to learn about the ancestry of someone (“Bob”) who was uncertain of the identity of his biological father. After examining what the paper records suggested for Bob’s maternal and paternal ancestors, I looked at Bob’s top DNA matches. Some... Continue Reading →
After putting together Bob’s maternal and paternal family tree (according to paper records), I took a closer look at his autosomal DNA matches to see how they compared.
Last week, I introduced a project I have been working on to try to use DNA to learn about the paternal ancestry of someone who wasn’t sure of their father’s identity. As I mentioned before, I won’t use any real names here; I’ll call the person testing “Bob.” We ordered tests, sent in saliva, waited,... Continue Reading →
Almost two years ago, I was talking with an acquaintance who had been uncertain of the identity of his biological father for much of his life. I suggested the idea of DNA testing to him; I would help him, and we would see what we could learn about his genetic ancestry. He was open to... Continue Reading →
Thinking carefully about a research question before diving in can help to a) highlight what I already know and b) define what, precisely, I want to answer with my research.
Yesterday, in a guest post on the DNA Geek blog, Erik Schaefer used Excel pie charts as a fun way to visually compare different ethnicity estimates, with examples comparing paper records to DNA testing. I gave it a try with my own data. I was able to use Erik’s instructions pretty well, though on my... Continue Reading →
I’ve seen some of the wonderful chromosome mapping images that others have generated, but I hadn’t yet gotten around to mapping any of my own DNA. Letting the perfect being the enemy of the good, I figured I hadn’t done enough analysis to be ready to map my own data yet. This week, I gave it a try.
If we honestly try to find flaws in our assumptions and in our theories with every piece of evidence we examine, and if our hypothesis stands, then we can feel much more confident that we have come to a reasonable conclusion.
Lately, I've used old photo albums as conversation starters with the family members who know more than I do about what’s in the photos. Recording conversations about photo albums has given me more detail, context, and fun anecdotes than I had before.