Many of you know about using the DNA records at www.smgf.org. The good news is that those of you who don’t will still get the opportunity to make discoveries by searching their data bases, at least for awhile. They have provided, for some number of years, free data base searches to their records for both Y-line and mitochondrial DNA.
Sorenson’s assets were recently acquired by Ancestry.com, a move which has caused a non-trivial amount of consternation among genetic genealogists. In particular, people, me included, contributed their DNA and their pedigree charts and they want to know what is going to happen to that information. The testing was performed for free. People never received individual results, but as their tests were processed, their results were added to a publicly searchable data base, so you could find and identify yourself with a little effort. Equally as important, it’s a resource that many genealogists use for finding additional matches outside of the commercial testing companies.
Although today’s update from Sorenson doesn’t answer all of the questions about what will happen, or when, they do tell us that the data base will be available for some time to come. I hope that Ancestry continues to maintain this free service, as it is certainly in line with the expectations of the people who donated their DNA/pedigree charts and also the vision of James Sorenson who founded SMGF several years before his death. It does call into question, however, what is going to happen to these records. Are they going to be absorbed into the Ancestry.com databases without notifying the participants? As a participant myself, that certainly wasn’t what I expected or signed up for.
As of this morning, the new records have been added to the data base for this last and final update, but early reports also indicate that some records previously included are now missing.
Here’s what Sorenson had to say today:
Dear Friends of SMGF,
SMGF is happy to announce the addition of new haplotypes and genealogical records to the Sorenson mtDNA and Y-chromosome databases. We invite you to search these updated databases to find new family connections at http://www.smgf.org.
From the time it was founded in 1999 by molecular genealogy pioneer, James Levoy Sorenson, the mission of SMGF has been to support an important public purpose, namely the advancement of DNA-based genealogy research. Thanks to the continued philanthropic support of Mr. Sorenson and his family and the generosity of enthusiastic SMGF participants, SMGF has built the most comprehensive database of linked DNA and pedigree information in the world. Additionally, SMGF has contributed greatly to the emerging field of genetic genealogy in other ways, such as providing online DNA databases to the public and publishing numerous scientific articles detailing new discoveries.
In order to remain a leader in this rapidly growing and dynamic field, SMGF’s resources and capabilities would have to be substantially increased. Therefore, SMGF has decided that AncestryDNA is better positioned to provide the benefit to the public that is central to SMGF’s mission. For this reason, SMGF’s DNA-related assets were acquired by AncestryDNA in March 2012. SMGF is very excited to join AncestryDNA, and we are confident that the pioneering work begun at SMGF will continue to grow and have an even greater impact on the future scientific understanding and public outreach of genetic genealogy.
As we redirect our efforts to the integration with AncestryDNA it will be necessary to discontinue updates to the smgf.org website. Therefore, this will be the last update made to the Sorenson online databases. This update includes all of the Y-chromosome and mtDNA haplotypes that were generated by SMGF over the course of its operations.
The smgf.org site will continue to operate for the foreseeable future as a freely accessible tool for the genetic genealogy community, so we invite users to continue searching for family connections on smgf.org. We express our sincerest thanks to all those who participated in the SMGF project.
The SMGF Team