Today is something of a red-letter day. This is the 801st article published on this blog.
This blog, DNA-Explained, was christened on July 11, 2012 and will soon be 5 years old, as hard as that is to believe. In some ways, it feels like this blog has been around “forever” and in other ways, it feels like it’s very new, because there is always some interesting topic to write about.
Truthfully, I can’t believe I’ve written 800 articles. No wonder some of the letters are worn off of my keyboard. And it’s my second keyboard!
My original goal was one article per week, which would have been about 235 articles by now. I wasn’t sure I could accomplish that. It’s amazing what inspiration can do! I love genetic genealogy every bit as much today as I did then, if not more. What an incredibly exciting time to be alive with an unbelievable opportunity to participate in an unfolding field with new discoveries being made on an almost daily basis.
I had been considering a DNA blog when Spencer Wells, then Scientist in Residence at the National Geographic Society, suggested that I SHOULD author a blog. That encouragement was all it took to motivate me. Thanks so much Spencer for that final nudge!!!
Just 12 days after DNA-Explained’s launch, the Genographic 2.0 product was introduced and I was privileged to participate in that announcement.
I started writing articles in self-defense, truthfully, because I was receiving the same questions over and over again. I figured if I could write the answer once, I could then just point the next person with that same question to an answer that included graphics and illustrations and was a much better answer than I could provide in an e-mail.
Plus, repetitively recreating the same answer was a time-waster – and blogging to share publicly with the goal of helping lots of people learn seemed the perfect solution.
I had no idea, and I mean none, that DNA testing in the direct to consumer marketplace would explode like it has. I’m glad I started writing when I did, because there are ever-more people asking questions. That’s a good thing, because it means people are testing and learning what messages their DNA has for them.
Our DNA is the most personal record of our ancestors that we’ll ever have – and today more and more tools exist to interpret what those ancestors are telling us. We are still panning for gold on the frontier of science although we know infinitely more than we did a decade or 5 years ago, and we know less than we will 5 or 10 years from now. We are still learning every single day. That’s what makes this field so exciting, and infinitely personal.
Here’s part of what I said in my introductory article:
Genetic genealogy is a world full of promise, but it changes rapidly and can be confusing. People need to understand how to use the numerous tools available to us to unravel our ancestral history.
People also love to share stories. We become inspired by the successes of others, and ideas are often forthcoming that we would not have otherwise thought of.
In light of that, I’ve tried to include a wide variety of articles at every level so that there is something for everyone. I hope I’ve managed to make genetics interesting and shared some of my enthusiasm with you over the years.
To celebrate this 800 article-versary, I’m going to share a few things.
- Article organization and how to find what you want
- The 10 most popular articles of those 800
- Two things people can do to help themselves
- Articles I wish people would read
- Questions asked most frequently
Then, I’m going to ask you what you’d like for me to write about in the future.
Articles Organization aka How To Find What You Want
Blogs allow you to group articles by both categories and tags, two ways of organizing your articles so that people and search engines can find them.
Each article is identified by categories. You can click on any of the categories, below, to see which articles fall into that category. These are also some of the keywords for the blog search feature.
- Aggregated Data
- Ancestor Chromosome Mapper
- Ancestor Library
- Ancestor Mapping
- Ancestor Reconstruction
- Ancestry Health
- Ancient DNA
- Ancient Origins
- Archaic Humans
- Autosomal DNA Segment Analyzer (ADSA)
- Big Y
- Biogeographical Analysis (BGA)
- Book Review
- Britain’s DNA
- Charting Companion
- Chromosome Mapping
- Citizen Science
- CRS (Cambridge Reference Sequence)
- Data Bases
- DNA Day
- DNA Testing Companies
- DNA Traits
- Double Helix
- Double Match Triangulator (DMT)
- Family Finder
- Family Finder Matrix
- Family Matching
- Family Tree DNA
- Famous People
- Free My Genes
- Full Genome Sequence
- Full Genomes Company
- Gene by Gene
- Genealogy Not DNA
- Genetic Distance
- Genographic Project
- Grandparent Inheritance Chart
- IBC – Identical by Chance
- IBD – Identical by Descent
- IBP – Identical by Population
- IBS – Identical by State
- In Common With
- Ireland’s DNA
- Legacy Tree Genealogists
- Lost Colony
- Marker Frequency
- Match Groups
- MCRA (Most Recent Common Ancestor)
- Minority Admixture Mapping
- Mitochondrial DNA
- Mitochondrial Eve
- Mutation Rates
- Native American
- Non-Parental Events
- Novel Variants
- Orphan Train
- Personalized DNA Report
- Population Genetics
- Quick Consult
- Relationship Predictor
- RSRS (Reconstructed Sapiens Reference Sequence)
- Scotland’s DNA
- SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism)
- Social Media
- STR (Short Tandem Repeat)
- Success Stories
- The Future
- Thousand Genomes Project
- Undocumented Adoptions
- Warrior Gene
- WTY (Walk the Y)
- X Chromosome
- Y DNA
- Yfull Company
- Yorkshire’s DNA
I’ve also grouped articles by tags as shown on the sidebar of the blog. The larger text indicates tags with more articles.
You can click on any of those as well (on the actual blog page) to view all the articles that fall into that tag group.
For example, one of my 52 Ancestor Stories would be tagged with “52 Weeks of Ancestors” but if it discussed Y DNA, that would be one of the categories selected.
At the end of every blog article, you can see the category or categories the article is posted under, tags and other pertinent information about that article.
The Top 10 Articles
- Proving Native American Ancestry Using DNA
- 4 Kinds of DNA for Genetic Genealogy
- Ethnicity Results – True or Not?
- Mythbusting – Women, Fathers and DNA
- Genealogy and Ethnicity DNA Testing – 3 Legitimate Companies
- How Much Indian Do I Have in Me???
- What is a Haplogroup?
- Thick Hair, Small Boobs, Shovel Shaped Teeth and More
- Ethnicity Testing and Results
- 23andMe, Ancestry and Selling Your DNA Information
The Two Things People Can Do To Help Themselves
- Search first.
Before asking a question, I wish people would try searching my blog for the answer. Using the search box in the upper right hand corner, the blog is fully key word searchable.
Furthermore, even if you can’t figure out the right key word to search, you can also find articles on my blog by searching for phrases using google.
2. Upload GEDCOM files.
Your DNA testing is only as good as the comparisons you can make, and the ancestors and ancestral links you can find. Please, please, PLEASE upload GEDCOM files to Family Tree DNA and GedMatch. If you don’t have a tree, you can create one at Family Tree DNA. Link your tree to your DNA results on Ancestry and share your results. 23andMe has no tree ability at this time.
The Articles I Wish People Would Read
In addition to some of the articles already listed in the top 10, I wish people would read:
- Ethnicity Testing – A Conundrum
- Concepts – Calculating Ethnicity Percentages
- Finding Your American Indian Tribe Using DNA
- The Concepts Series – an ongoing educational series of 16 articles launched in February 2016
- The help page with answers and guidance for the most commonly asked questions.
Questions Asked Most Frequently
- Questions relating to Native American heritage and testing.
- Questions relating to ethnicity, especially when the results are unexpected or don’t seem to align with what is known or family oral history.
- Overwhelmed newbies who receive results and don’t have any idea how to interpret what they’ve received, which is why I created the Help page.
The Future – What Articles Would You Like to See?
It’s your turn.
What topics would you like to see me cover in upcoming articles? Is there something in particular that you find confusing, or enticing, or exciting?
I’m not promising that I’ll write about every topic, and some may be combined, but articles are often prompted by questions and suggestions from readers.
And speaking of readers…
A very big thank you to all of my subscribers and followers for making DNA-Explained so popular and such a success. You folks are amazing, infinitely giving and helpful. We really are a community!