By: Paula Walter
DNA research has taken off in the past few years with the advent of a simple DNA test that opens up the doors to what makes us who we are. There are those who take the test mainly to discover what parts of their world their ancestors come from, and there are those who have unanswered questions and they are seeking family connections. Many genealogists, professional and amateur, prefer to conduct extensive research to create family trees, backed by years of documents collected from family members, census records and local information from their hometown library. There are those who like the immediate results of the scientific results, and those who find the records to support the results. Whatever method researchers prefer, the need to find family history and ancestors has become a growing trend.
Janie Gentry of Johnson County has had an interest in her family roots for many years. She remembers her father telling stories when she was young. “I wish I had written or recorded his stories,” she said. Gentry had an Ancestry.com membership for several years before she decided to take the DNA test. After submitting her test, her results were back in just three short weeks.
According to Gentry, her family had always believed they had Cherokee Native American heritage, so she was quite surprised to learn there wasn’t even a trace of Native American in her test results.
Once your DNA results are in, Ancestry gives a list of all your DNA matches. It updates continually and new contacts are added all the time. Gentry has made contact with some new cousins, including one who lives in Montana. For Gentry, her results have made sense and have been easy to check out. Her test results show she is 13 percent Irish, 15 percent British and the remainder is a mix from Western Europe and Scandinavia.
Gentry plans on continuing to keep up with her DNA connections and is hopeful her children will decide to test, also. She is looking forward to new discoveries in the future.
Jenny Manuel has been working on her family tree between 40 and 50 years and has a database of over 40,000 relatives. She searches records and has not taken the DNA test.
“There are hardly any hobbies that hold more passion than genealogy,” she said. “Once hooked by the bug, most people never retire and one of the things they worry about passing down to their family are genealogy records, even if the family of today isn’t terribly interested.”
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