[APG Public List] [APG Members] Exciting New Dimension for DNAResearch

Ray Beere Johnson II raybeere at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 29 19:14:39 MDT 2009


--- On Thu, 10/29/09, LBoswell <laboswell at rogers.com> wrote:

> That's a much sounder approach. The ancestral research would have to be 
> verified (in this case done) anyway, but with this approach nothing is 
> taken for granted.

     Actually, there is still one thing that _is_ taken for granted, and could cause a lot of confusion. Prior to the development of DNA tests, all a genealogist could possibly go on was the written record. If, say, great-grandma had a fling with the hired man, no one would know. Even if you checked the records, you couldn't possibly know this.
     When you have your DNA tested, if you find a match, but the information you have does _not_ match, you'd then have to figure out just where the problem is. Is the match a statistical anomaly (no, I don't know enough about DNA and statistics to guess how likely this is - and, given the relative infancy of this approach, I doubt anyone else does, yet, either), or do the records contain inaccurate information, whether due to infidelity, unrecorded adoption (which _did_ occur in the past), or some other deliberate falsehood - or even inadvertent error? (Yes, I'm sure that last possibility is very slight, but in a case where only a single record identifies an ancestor, or a slender chain of reasoning that depends on a single identifying tidbit, it can't be ruled out entirely.)
     It seems to me the only thing that might clear up this type of problem is more information about the accuracy - and the exact potential significance - of this matching algorithm. Without those facts, how is the individual who discovers a match the records fail to bear out to have any idea how to proceed? (_With_ those facts, presumably, there would be _some_ avenues: say you find a match with another person but your records indicate no common ancestor, each person might seek other matches and compare _those_ records to determine whose records are wrong, then that person could use that information to estimate - or perhaps even discover - just when and how the disparity occurred.)
                           Ray Beere Johnson II


      



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