Sunday, March 19, 2017

the Sunday Soapbox | DNA and 'Discoveries' ~ Who Is Bob's Mother?

Well, I'm no DNA expert. Far from it. But I do understand the basics. I've started the sometimes boring process of educating myself with seminars, webinars and reading material. I have a love/hate relationship with DNA. I love what it can add to my genealogical research, but I also hate the sometimes difficult reality that some matches may not ever be solved, in my lifetime anyway.

Then there's this other problem.

Maybe you've noticed it too.

The Ancestor Discoveries on Ancestry.

I don't pay much attention to them, but there they are every time I log in to my AncestryDNA page.

Maybe I'm ignorant. I'm not too proud to admit there's a lot I don't have working knowledge about.

But I ponder on this:

There is one particular "ancestor" that keeps showing up as a possible relation. She has been added to myriad family trees without much more documentation than someone else's tree. She has been added to a group of trees with whom I know I share a common, proved, ancestor. She has been declared the mother of this particular ancestor.

Problem is, there is no proof.



It's pure speculation.

So, like unsourced Public Trees, we (or I anyway) now have this issue of 'DNA' 'related' ancestors. And I'm thinking, I could put Bozo the Clown in my tree as this guy's (we'll call him Bob) mother. If everyone else who was a proved relation to Bob does the same thing well, I'd bet that Bozo would show up as an Ancestry Discovery!

I have red hair and I do have an odd fondness for clowns, but I'm certain Bozo and I are not related.

I'm okay with not knowing who Bob's mother is. The records most likely exist somewhere - we're talking 1800 Maryland - I will continue to pursue the truth and ignore the unproved.

But not everyone will.

How big of a problem will this become?

Am I way off base here, or is this a genuine concern?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

©2017 Anne Faulkner -, All Rights Reserved

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