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DNA: Your Ancestors Gave It to You

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Since this show does DNA testing, it's convenient to have a place to discuss it and ask questions without having to scroll through pages of episode discussion.


For starters, here are some sites that have been mentioned:


Article about the DNA testing in the episode featuring Derek Jeter, Billie Jean King, and Rebecca Lobo.  Has links to others.  CeCe Moore is a widely recognized expert on DNA testing.


ISOGG's introduction to autosomal DNA testing.


Edited by Driad
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Dr. Gates wouldn't have much fun with me, I don't think.


I did 23andMe a few years ago, then bought one for my Dad for his 90th birthday. I was primarily interested in the health aspects but it did show that I share half my father's DNA, so I guess good on you, mom.


The family story is that I'm half Italian, a quarter Finnish and a quarter Welsh. 23andMe says my ancestry is 29.7% Italian, 24.4% Finnish, and 18.8% UK. There's also a bit of Sweden and Norway in there. No surprises, in other words. And 99.3% European. All four of my grandparents immigrated here, so zero chance of patriots, Mayflower connections, slaves, or Native American heritage.


Until I disabled it, I kept getting relative requests from 3rd and 4th cousins, mostly in Finland. Hello, Bo Sundqvist and Aki Härkönen!

Edited by lordonia
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All four of my grandparents immigrated here, so zero chance of patriots, Mayflower connections, slaves, or Native American heritage.



You could still be related if the siblings or aunts/uncles came over!  If you can't be Ben Franklin's descendant, you can at least be a cousin!


The video clip of Ben Jealous was interesting, but I think they're making quite a leap.  A reasonable leap, but still a leap.  Okay, so the maternal ancestor came over to Madagascar in a canoe from Indonesia a thousand years ago.  That seems clear.  And there were only ~17 vessels taking slaves from Madagascar in the last few hundred years.  That seems to be documented.  But that doesn't mean that she was on one of them.  We're talking about a thousand years during which any given female ancestor might have traveled to the west coast (or even Congo, etc,) where slave trading was much more common.


So I'm with them on the canoe thing, but I think there's way too much time between the Indonesian arrival and the enslavement to assume no further migration from Madagascar took place.  I'm sure it's a reasonable bet,  assuming there wasn't much traffic within the continent, and they maybe couldn't find much Madagascan mtDNA anywhere else, but over a thousand years it's not the slam dunk they seemed to be saying it was in terms of any individual woman/bloodline.  


Then again, if they painstakingly explained every single rationale for the conclusions they reached, it would probably be way too much to air.

Edited by kassa
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From CeCe Moore:

"The episode that aired last week with Carole King, Alan Dershowitz and Tony Kushner did not include any DNA research, but that doesn’t mean that I hesitated to delve into their genetic genealogy. In fact, a short segment featuring Alan is included in the special DNA-themed last episode scheduled to air on November 25."

more at


"Ashkenazi Jewish DNA and the Potential to Piece Together Shattered Family Branches"

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Genealogy Roadshow is back on PBS, but doesn't have a home here for discussion.  Probably not enough interest for one, but catch it if you can!  Mr. "Jenny-ology" is back.  And they've cut down a lot of the obnoxious backstage chatter that took up so much time.  They still get reactions from the people who learned about their families, but they're focused and don't take away from the pace.

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I find "Genealogy Roadshow" a bit frustrating because they give the answers without explaining how they found them.  For viewers who might have similar stories in their ancestry, it's encouraging but not necessarily helpful.


Is there a "behind the scenes" article about "Genealogy Roadshow"?  It's fairly obvious that they get people's questions, do the research, and then invite them in to hear the results.  But I would like to read or see more.

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I thought the house story from the New Orleans episode was brilliant!    And I suggest that the not really royalty family get the grandmother's DNA done while they can.   Best bet of finding that unknown parenting situation, if they're interested.  

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