This blog, DNA-eXplained, is celebrating its 10th anniversary today. How time flies!
I never thought for a minute about a 10th anniversary when I launched that first article.
I started blogging to teach people and literally “explain” about genetic genealogy – which is why I selected the name DNA-eXplained. Over time, it has also been nicknamed DNAeXplain, which is fine.
I hoped to be able to answer questions once, with graphics and examples, instead of over and over again off-the-cuff. I needed someplace where people could be referred for answers. Blogging seemed like the perfect medium for achieving exactly that.
Blogs allow writers to publish content attractively and react to changes and announcements quickly.
Blogs encourage readers to subscribe for email delivery or use RSS reader aggregation and can publish to social media.
Content can be located easily using browser searches.
Everything, all content, is indexed and searchable by keyword or phrase.
Blogging certainly seemed like the right solution. Still, I was hesitant.
I vividly remember working at my desk that day, a different desk in a different location, and anguishing before pressing the “publish” button that first time. Was I really, REALLY sure? I had the sense that I was sitting in one of those life-defining fork-in-the-road moments and once embarked upon, there would be no turning back.
I’m so glad I closed my eyes and pushed that button!
I knew we were going to be in for an incredible journey. Of course, I had no idea where that roller coaster ride was going, but we would be riding together, regardless. What a journey it has been!
A decade later, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and become friends with so many of you, both online and in person. I’ve met countless cousins I never knew I had, thanks to various blog articles, including the 52 Ancestors series which has turned out to be 365 and counting.
I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity! I thought I was giving to others, yet I’ve been greatly enriched by this experience and all of you.
So much has changed in all of our lives.
Today, as I look back at that very short first article, I can’t help but think just how unbelievably far we’ve come.
There was one Y and mitochondrial DNA testing vendor in 2012, FamilyTreeDNA, and that’s still the case today.
There were three autosomal testing companies, 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, and Ancestry, in addition to the Genographic Project, which was sunset in 2019 after an amazing 15-year run. GEDmatch was two years old in 2012 and had been formed to fill the need for advanced autosomal matching tools. In 2016, MyHeritage joined the autosomal testing market. All of those companies have since been acquired.
In 2012, FamilyTreeDNA broke ground by accepting uploaded DNA files from other vendors. Autosomal DNA tests cost about $300 although prices were dropping. I don’t anticipate prices dropping much further now, because companies have to maintain a reasonable profit margin to stay in business.
In 2013, when DNA-eXplained celebrated its first anniversary, I had published 162 articles.
That first year was VERY busy with lots of innovation occurring in the industry. You can read my end-of-year article, 2012 Top 10 Genetic Genealogy Happenings if you’d like to reminisce a bit. For comparison, here’s my Genetic Genealogy at 20 Years summary.
The World is Our Oyster
In the past decade, I’ve penned articles in a wide variety of locations, in several countries, on 5 continents.
I’ve written in my offices, of course, but also in cars, on buses, trains, and planes. I’ve crafted several articles on ships while cruising. In fact, writing is one of my favorite “sea-day” things to do, often sitting on deck if it’s a nice day.
I’ve written in cemeteries, which shouldn’t surprise you, on the hood of my car, and cross-legged on the floor at innumerable conferences.
I’ve composed at picnic tables and in countless hotel lobbies, libraries, laboratories, restaurants, and coffee shops. And, in at least 3 castles.
I’ve written while on archaeology digs, balancing my laptop on my knees while sitting on an inverted bucket, trying to keep dirt, sand, and ever-present insects away.
I’ve even written in hospitals, both as a visitor and a patient. Yea, I might not have told you about that.
I’ve pretty much taken you with me everyplace I’ve gone for the past decade. And we are no place near finished!
This article is number 1531 which means I’ve published an article every 2.3 days for a decade. Truthfully, I’m stunned. I had no idea that I have been that prolific. I never have writer’s block. In fact, I have the opposite problem. So many wonderful topics to write about and never enough time.
A huge, HUGE thank you to all of my readers. Writers don’t write if people don’t read!
DNA-eXplained has received millions and millions of views and is very popular, thanks to all of you.
There have been more than 48,000 comments, 4,800 a year or about 13 each day, and yes, I read every single one before approving it for publication.
Akismet, my spam blocker only reports for 45 months, but in that time alone, there have been about 100,000 attempted SPAM comments. That equates to about 75 each day and THANK GOODNESS I don’t have to deal with those.
WordPress doesn’t count “pages,” as such, but if my articles average 10 pages each, and each page averages 500 words, then we’re looking at someplace between 7 and 8 million words. That’s 13 times the size of War and Peace😊. Not only do I write each article, but I proofread it several times too.
Peering Into the Future
Genetic genealogy as a whole continues to produce the unexpected and solve mysteries.
Tools like triangulation in general, Family Matching at FamilyTreeDNA, genetic trees at 23andMe, Theories of Family Relativity at MyHeritage, and ThruLines at Ancestry have provided hints and tools to both suggest and confirm relationships and break through brick walls.
Ethnicity chromosome painting at both 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA help unravel ancestral mysteries, especially for people with combinations of fundamentally different ancestries, as does Genetic Communities at Ancestry and Genetic Groups at MyHeritage.
Third-party tools that we love today weren’t even a twinkle in a developer’s eye in 2012. Products like DNAPainter, Genetic Affairs, and DNAGedcom pick up where the vendors leave off and are widely utilized by genealogists.
I hope that all of our vendors continue to invest in product development and provide the genetic genealogy community with new and innovative tools that assist us with breaking down those pesky brick walls.
Primarily, though, I hope you continue to enjoy your genealogy journey and make steady progress, with a rocket boost from genetic testing.
The vendors can provide wonderful tools, but it’s up to us to use them consistently, wringing out every possible drop. Don’t neglect paternal (male surname) Y DNA and matrilineal mitochondrial DNA testing for people who carry those important lines for your ancestors. All 4 kinds of DNA have a very specific and unique genealogical use.
I encourage you to test every relative you can and check their and your results often. New people test every single day. You never know where that critical piece of information will come from, or when that essential puzzle piece will drop into place.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me by reading and sharing my articles with your friends, organizations, and family members, by purchasing through the affiliate links, by buying my book, and by graciously sharing your own experiences.
Thank you for your suggestions and questions which plant the seeds of new articles and improvements.
I hope you’ve made progress with your research, unraveled some thorny knots, and that you’ve enjoyed this decade as much as I have. Tell me in the comments what you enjoyed the most or found most useful?
Here’s to another wonderful 10 years together!
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You Can Help Keep This Blog Free
I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.
Thank you so much.
DNA Purchases and Free Uploads
- FamilyTreeDNA – Y, mitochondrial and autosomal DNA testing
- MyHeritage DNA – Autosomal DNA test
- MyHeritage FREE DNA file upload – Upload your DNA file from other vendors free
- AncestryDNA – Autosomal DNA test
- 23andMe Ancestry – Autosomal DNA only, no Health
- 23andMe Ancestry Plus Health
Genealogy Products and Services
- MyHeritage FREE Tree Builder – Genealogy software for your computer
- MyHeritage Subscription with Free Trial
- Legacy Family Tree Webinars – Genealogy and DNA classes, subscription-based, some free
- Legacy Family Tree Software – Genealogy software for your computer
- Newspapers.com – Search newspapers for your ancestors
- NewspaperArchive – Search different newspapers for your ancestors
- DNA for Native American Genealogy – by Roberta Estes, for those ordering the e-book from anyplace, or paperback within the United States
- DNA for Native American Genealogy – for those ordering the paperback outside the US
- Genealogical.com – Lots of wonderful genealogy research books
- Legacy Tree Genealogists – Professional genealogy research