genetic genealogy

8 Apr 2016

Paternity and Historical DNA

Some interesting changed thinking on paternity and historical DNA in a nice article in the Science section of the New York Times today, entitled Fathered by the Mailman? It’s Mostly an Urban Legend:

It wasn’t until DNA sequencing emerged in the 1990s that paternity tests earned the legal system’s confidence. Labs were able to compare DNA markers in children to those of their purported fathers to see if they matched.
As the lab tests piled up, researchers collated the results and came to a startling conclusion: Ten percent to 30 percent of the tested men were not the biological fathers of their children.
Those figures were spread far and wide, ending up in many science books. But the problem with the lab data, Dr. Larmuseau said, was that it didn’t come from a random sample of people. The people who ordered the tests already had reason to doubt paternity.
Dr. Larmuseau and other scientists developed […]

27 Oct 2015

Ancestry Selling DNA Info

As reported by GenealogyinTime in their post, “ Quietly Shifts Gears,” Ancestry appears to be changing strategies for future growth of the company as revealed in two announcements this summer. GenealogyinTime writes of these changes:
The first was an announcement of the launch of a new service called AncestryHealth. This service allows users to combine their personal family health knowledge with family trees that have been created on Ancestry websites.

The second was an announcement that AncestryDNA had sold the results of DNA sequences collected from some one million Ancestry customers to a Google-affiliated company called Calico. Calico is focussed on longevity research. What makes the dataset so valuable to Calico is both its size and the fact that it comes with extensive family trees. Calico will be studying the DNA results combined with the family trees of Ancestry’s DNA customers to look for patterns in longevity across families.

These two announcements combined represent an interesting […]

16 Aug 2015

Ma, Ma, Where’s My Pa?

Ma, Ma, Where’s My Pa? Gone to the White House, Ha Ha Ha!
During the election of 1884, Republicans tried unsuccessfully to discredit Grover Cleveland, a Democrat from New York, with tales of his debauched lifestyle and immoral character, using this ditty to allude to a love child allegedly born to Cleveland and widow Maria Crofts Halpin. The jury’s still out on that particular presidential contretemps.

But thanks to genetic genealogy, the truth has recently been uncovered on another presidential mystery:
Peter Baker’s piece in the 12 Aug 2015 issue of the New York Times is titled, “DNA Is Said to Solve a Mystery of Warren Harding’s Love Life.” In his article, Baker sheds lights on recurring questions about paramour Nan Britton and President Warren Harding:

She was denounced as a “degenerate” and a “pervert,” accused of lying for money and shamed for waging a “diabolical” campaign of falsehoods against the president’s family that tore away […]

25 Dec 2014

Family Resemblance Across Generations

Did family resemblance across generations come up at your holiday gathering, perhaps in conversation or photographs or both?

Today’s post is about DNA and family resemblance courtesy of, an interesting genealogy website.

The blog author writes:

Resemblance is the basis of our perception of race and ethnicity. It is also a favourite topic of conversation at family gatherings – proclaimed where it is strikingly apparent, or perhaps whispered where it is lacking. Families generally like it when their male biological offspring look like their fathers and females look like their mothers, perhaps with the odd feature thrown in to mark the other half’s creative stamp (“He’s the spitting image of you, but he’s got my eyes”). Some may start life looking like one parent, then ‘morph’ into the other as they get older. Certain facial features may perpetuate for generations, or, fascinatingly, even skip generations. What family historian hasn’t felt a thrill when they […]