Today is the first anniversary of the launch of www.dna-explained.com. In a way it seems like just yesterday and in another way, it seems like DNA-explained has been a part of my life forever. One thing is for sure, it’s been a very interesting year!
So now, I’m going to tell you a secret.
I was going to retire early and write a book. I was going to have time on my hands. I was going to work on my own genealogy and share the journey of what I learned. I was going to weed my garden. Are you laughing now? Holding your sides? Well, if so, you clearly understand just how unrealistic that expectation was.
I have less, much less, time now than ever. My little part-time retirement job overtook my original career, and then some. I’ve never worked harder, had less sleep, nor loved it more. Is sleep really a necessity? Seems like so much wasted time. Spoken like a true genealogist!
Genetic genealogy is the marriage of my two passions, genealogy and science. I spent my entire career on the very exciting edge of technology, first communications research and discovery, then mapping and specialized software. Genetic genealogy isn’t much different actually, except it’s more bleeding edge (some days) than leading edge and it’s much more personal and fulfilling. Not only have I learned volumes about my own ancestors – things there was no prayer of knowing even a decade ago – but I get to help others on that journey too. Not only that, but I’ve gotten to be personally involved in scientific discovery. I can’t imagine a better place to be!
And no, I’m not writing a DNA book. Well, actually, I am, soft of – but just in a different way. Blogs are the way of the future – so is electronic communication. The problem with books about fast-moving and highly technical topics is that they move on and change so rapidly that tomorrow, literally, your book can be out of date and you have no way to update it. Just what I don’t need is another box of boat-anchors in my office.
Not long ago, someone on the ISOGG Facebook page asked for a list of books and someone replied, “forget the books, read the blogs.” I don’t want to invest the effort into one of those “forgotten books” when the blogosphere beckons and is so much more friendly towards photos, graphics, color and change. It’s also a lot more personal and flexible. And it lets me interact with you and vice versa .
So how have we done this first year? As of yesterday, we surpassed 2100 subscribers and that doesn’t count all of the RSS feed, Facebook and Twitter followers. My husband bet me I’d have 2000 by summer and I said I wouldn’t. Good thing I didn’t bet much, because I was wrong. Thanks to all of you. Sometimes being wrong is a good thing!
This is the 162nd posting, so about one every other day. I had goaled one a week.
There have been a total of about 2700 “real” comments and are you ready for this, almost 29,000 spam ones. No, that is not a typo. Yes, I do use a spam filter, but I still approve every single comment that is posted – and now you know why. The spam filter doesn’t catch them all, because spammers are crafty!
In total, the articles are “tagged” in 81 different categories so you can find them by searching. One of the articles I’ll be writing soon will tell you how to use and search blogs more efficiently, including this one!
www.dna-explained.com has had a total of 249,545 views, nearly a quarter million and that doesn’t count the 2100+ people who receive postings via e-mail and RSS. We average just over 1000 hits per day now. Wow!
What is the most popular category of blog articles visited? Autosomal DNA.
How about the most popular article? Big News! Probable New Native American Haplogroup. That shocked me. For a long time, the most popular article had been the kickoff of the Geno 2.0 announcement, National Geographic – Geno 2.0 Announcement – The Human Story published on July 25, 2012. Older articles have more time to amass hits – and the haplogroup article was just published June 27th. Indeed it does seem to be big news and is of interest to lots of people.
One of my reasons for creating this blog was as a matter of self-defense. Most of you know that I also have a business webpage, www.dnaexplain.com. I receive a lot of inquiries from the page and through my various list memberships. The DNAeXplain webpage is professionally written and updating content it is not just a matter of typing. I have to create something, send it to the provider and they make the change or the update. And it’s not convenient or free. Needless to say, this is not a conducive environment to making regular updates or additions. I do need the separate website though in order to take orders for consulting and for DNA Reports, so the blog doesn’t by any means replace the webpage.
I was constantly referring people to several papers on my webpage, which are still there, but I needed more flexibility.
So I decided that if I wrote the answers to the most frequently asked questions, well, including graphics and pictures (which really are worth 1000 words), once, I could use that document to answer people’s questions, over and over again. The good news is, so can you. What are the most commonly asked questions and the pages I use to answer them?
- What can DNA testing do for me? That is such a basic question and the answer could be that book I didn’t write. I use the article 4 Kinds of DNA for Genetic Genealogy to answer this one.
- I think my ancestor was Native American and I want to prove it. This question also has other variants like, proving which tribe, joining a tribe, getting benefits and free education. I refer people to the article Proving Native American Ancestry Using DNA.
- I’m adopted, or I don’t know who my father is, and I want to use DNA testing to find my parents/ancestry. This is also relevant for people who discover an undocumented adoption in their line that “interferes” with the genealogy they thought they knew. For this answer, I use I’m Adopted and I Don’t Know Where to Start. This article, along with many others, links within the article to other resources as well.
- What can autosomal testing do for me? If I had a dollar for every time I’ve received some flavor of this question, I’d be really retired and on that World Cruise! The article I use for this is Autosomal Basics.
- And then the companion question to the one above, my autosomal results are back – what do I do with them now? For this one, I refer people to the summary article for The Autosomal Me series. While it is focused on a particular challenge for me, minority Native admixture, the tools and techniques are relevant for everyone.
We’ve had an awesome first year, thanks to all of you, and I’m looking forward to even more breakthroughs and findings in year two. I love sharing your stories and victories too and always appreciate tips and hints pointing out genetic genealogy items of interest. I have some fun articles planned for this upcoming year and there are discoveries on the horizon, so stay tuned!!!
And indeed, may we all continue to live in very interesting times!