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Case Studies using Mitochondrial DNA

Finding female ancestors often challenges researchers! DNA–both autosomal and mitochondrial–is a powerful tool for identifying the often-hidden women in our family tree, and case studies–illustrations of how researchers have solved particular kinds of problems–help us learn how to use new methods and tools in our own research. Here is...

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Farewell to 2016, Welcome to 2017

In so many ways, 2016 was an interesting and productive year, and 2017 looks even more promising. One of my favorite things is teaching, and I had the opportunity to do lots of that! Some of my highlights were beginning to give talks on DNA, presenting a webinar on...

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Tips for Attaching Trees to Your DNA Results

Today AncestryDNA announced that they sold 1.4 million DNA test kits in the fourth quarter of 2016, setting a sales record for the quarter and bringing their DNA database over three million participants.1 Blogger Kerry Scott, whose acuity and sense of humor I love, commented on Facebook, “The Cousinpocalypse...

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Working with POISON DNA Segments

Earlier this week Blaine Bettinger posted on “The Danger of Distant Matches.”1 In his post Blaine colorfully calls segments smaller than 10 cM2 POISON segments. While I think Blaine is, as usual, right on the money about the risks involved with small segments, I want to share a case...

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The Christopher Mackin Problem, or Three Brothers?

My husband’s most distant ancestor in his surname line is Christopher Mackin. Christopher was born in Ireland 10 August 18211 and first appears in American records in Madison, Wisconsin, where he filed a declaration of intention in 1854.2 Christopher also left land, tax, and voter records before dying intestate...

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