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It’s in My DNA!


November 28, 2017

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In the past few years, DNA testing has become an important asset to the genealogy world. But it can be intimidating if you’re not well-versed in "science speak." The Midwest Genealogy Center and Mid-Continent Public Library are here to help.

Using MCPL’s online catalog, type in a search phrase, such as “DNA and genealogy,” and you’ll get lots of useful results. From beginning books such as Trace Your Roots With DNA to The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy, MGC has a book for you. You can even find great CDs like DNA and the Golden Rule and Genetic Genealogy and DNA Testing. If you want to know more about DNA testing and genealogy, think about attending MGC’s Spring Seminar 2018. One of the featured speakers, Patti Hobbs, will give two lectures on autosomal DNA testing. Please see MGC’s Spring Seminar 2018 event website for more information.

I recently used DNA results and MGC resources to help me break through a brick wall in a family line in Germany. I used a new collection in Ancestry Library Edition called Württemberg, Germany, Family Tables, 1550-1985. These family tables, also known as Familienbücher or Ortssippenbuch, are a valuable resource in German genealogy. They often connect three generations in one record that lists a husband and wife along with their children and parents. Dates for births or baptisms, marriages, and deaths are also listed. Considered a secondary source, they were compiled from the parish records as well as other local sources. 

Although I had this great resource, I could not find my grandfather listed in the family table. I found somebody with his name born about the right time listed as a child in the family book. I needed more than a hunch to make the connection, so I turned to my DNA results. I found a possible fourth to sixth cousin that had the surname that I was looking for in her tree. I was able to find her ancestor in the Württemberg, Germany, Family Tables collection and then made a connection to my possible ancestor. We had the same third great-grandfather! Now I can use this information to obtain church and civil records to fill in the blanks in my research. 

It was fun to use genealogy research techniques, the technology of a database, and the science of DNA to break down my brick wall. My family has always told me that doing genealogy is in my DNA. It’s a part of who I am, but now I can say that it is literally in my DNA. How have you used science, technology, and good old-fashioned research to discover something new about your family?

Jolene C.
Midwest Genealogy Center

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