DNA is teaching me more about me than just genetic relationships

One of my personal flaws is that I assume that if *I* know something, everyone else does too. I've always assumed that nothing can be so complicated, I guess, that I could have knowledge someone else doesn't.

I'm realizing this for a second time in my life with DNA research as it pertains to genealogical research.

Because I've been studying this for more than two years – and learning how to use it to help solve family history mysteries – I'm now so familiar with it that I am surprised when I talk to people who aren't.

Even though the Big Three testing companies – 23andMe, AncestryDNA and FamilyTreeDNA – are bombarding folks with advertising to lure more people into testing, most don't really understand it all even after they get their results.

I have to remember back to the day I received the results of my first test, which was with AncestryDNA, and what they looked like to me. Seriously, it could have been Greek and I would have been none the wiser. And that was after I'd taken a weeklong course with top genetic genealogists. 

So, I have to keep reminding myself that most people don't become as obsessed with this as me.

But that's OK. Because this means there are plenty of people out there who can use my help and can benefit from my expanding expertise.

This journey I'm on has taught me a lot about myself. First, I had no idea how much of a science "geek" I could be. I guess we all can be, but we have to find our passion and inspiration.

And that is one reason I would love to bring this to classrooms. I believe that kids would get a lot more out of history classes if they also were taught how to research their own families. I've always liked history, but I didn't love it until I could connect myself to it.

That's the same thing with DNA. I've always found it interesting, but when I could relate to what it means and what you can do with it, then I found it absolutely fascinating.

Second, I discovered that I really enjoy giving presentations. I have had a lot of success with my very basic DNA presentations, in particular, and mostly that's because I have the information others don't have but want. Fortunately, I am a good storyteller, having been a journalist my entire professional life. So, I've been thrilled to have an audience and be able to hold their interest for 45 to 60 minutes. A bonus is when they come away from it with a better understanding of the subject.

At my last presentation for the Bartholomew County Genealogical Society in Columbus, Ind., the question-and-answer session went nearly as long as my presentation. And I was able to answer most questions. And I know, now, that if I can't answer a question, it's OK and the best thing is to admit it. 

So, there you go. 

If you have any questions about DNA, please let me know. If I can't answer your question, I know real experts who can. And I'm always happy to give a presentation to your group!


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