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January 11, 2020



I'd note that the accuracy of these is extremely limited. "It's science" is only a good argument when the science is based on very solid data (or on verifiable proofs), and in this case the "data" is mostly based on mapping genes to a lot of self-reported genealogical data [see:problem], the utility and accuracy of which is restricted based on what the company actually has [if, say, there aren't any Australian Aboriginal people in their dataset, then if someone who is mostly Australian Aboriginal takes one of these tests, their genetic data will "match" most closely as some other who-knows-what combination of ethnicities, simply because what they are is not an option within the company's data][I'm sure they've grabbed some DNA from that particular set of more-remote DNA? Probably? But you get the gist.], some of which is questionable [genealogical records often gloss over scandals, including racial ones], and almost all of which is tilted towards languages the amateur genealogists can understand and are interested in pursuing [and for which there are surviving records], so, uh, tilted white. You can't slap a thin layer of scientific and mathematic processing on top of a sloppy, problematic, and incomplete dataset and say your results are definitely true because you did science to get the output.

So there might be something other than Basically Just English in your ancestry.


Aside from the "we all have some racism" sort of thing, I do not think only racists take these tests, though. So pbbt to Gary. :-) (I admittedly could totally see neo-nazi "I wanna be like Hitler except in the part-Jewish aspect" guys showing their all-white ancestry results as something of an entrance card; but with many things, there is more than one reason to potentially be interested in the results, and this is definitely one of those things!)

(also, congrats on the known-genetic-disease-marker escape! :-) )


KC - I see how it would be inaccurate going back generations. However, it did give me some good information about my father’s side. I have a name now for one of my great-grandfathers on his side, so that’s new information. There is one odd thing, though - I’m finding a lot of 2nd cousins. I didn’t understand why at first. They’re all on my paternal grandmother’s side. And then I remembered, she was a twin - Faun and Faye. Then I realized if they were identical twins, well, then Ancestry probably sees me a the granddaughter of both Faun and Faye if you look at the DNA.


I had never thought about the havoc identical twins would wreak on DNA matching! (good heavens, think of paternity tests in soap opera evil twin/good twin scenarios???)


KC - I know. Having these accessible DNA tests throws a curve into everything. Kind of like when you watch old horror movies that would be over in five minutes if they’d just had cell phones.

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