The Genetic Genealogist was launched on February 12, 2007 as one of the very first blogs to examine the intersection of traditional genealogical techniques and modern genetic research, more commonly known as “genetic genealogy.” Genetic genealogists use genetics to learn more about their ancestry, including to learn about their ancient roots and to examine the relatedness of individuals. This relatively new technology represents a powerful new technology for the genealogist’s toolbox. If you are interested in genetic genealogy or personal genomics, please add The Genetic Genealogist’s RSS feed to your feed reader!
About The Author:
(For more about me, see the Biographical Material page).
My name is Blaine Bettinger and I have been using traditional genealogical research to learn more about my ancestry for almost 20 years. I entered the world of direct-to-consumer genetics in 2003 with an autosomal DNA test from one of the first companies offering this type of testing.
I have a Ph.D. in biochemistry with a concentration in genetics and am extremely interested in the recent developments in genetic genealogy.
My own tests have revealed that my maternal lineage, which has been traced back to Honduras in the 1830’s, belongs to Haplogroup A2w, a Native American haplogroup. My paternal heritage, which is traced back to Germany in the 1770’s, belongs to Haplogroup R1b1a2a1a1c1a1 (L1/S26, also known as Null439).
- Former Editor for the Journal of Genetic Genealogy (2010-2012)
- Administrator for the Bettinger Surname Project
- Co-Administrator for the R1b-L1/S26 Y-DNA Haplogroup Project (formerly The NULL439 DNA Project)
- “Genetic Genealogy: A Powerful Tool for the Family Historian” at PRI’s The World
- “Top Genetic Genealogy Tools” at Family Tree Magazine
- “Genealogy Insider: Ancestry.com’s New DNA Test” at Family Tree Magazine
- “More Power to You” at Family Tree Magazine
- “Resources for Starting a DNA Surname Study” at Family Tree Magazine
Sample Interviews and Spotlights:
- PRI’s The World – “Roots 2.0: Using DNA to Trace My Ancestry” by Carol Zall
- Treelines – “Science and Faith in One Family Tree” by Tammy Hepps
- Family Tree Magazine – “Top 40 Genealogy Blogs in 2013” by David A. Fryxell
- the spittoon – “When People Share their Genome on Facebook” by ScottH
- our 2 snps – “Admixture and Blaine Bettinger” by Bryce Christensen
- Nextgov – “Report urges Defense to collect genome data on all troops” by Bob Brewin.
- Syracuse Post-Standard – “How to create your medical family tree” by Amber Smith.
- Syracuse Post-Standard – “Future medicine: Patients with genetic codes will seek personalized care from doctors” by Amber Smith.
- Newsweek – Provided a segment in What Can I Learn From At-Home DNA Tests? by Mary Carmichael.
- Family Tree Magazine – “Fab Forty” by Maureen A. Taylor
- NewScientist – “My ‘non-human’ DNA: a cautionary tale” by Peter Aldhous.
- Wired Magazine – Quoted in “Mr. Know-It-All“, by Brendan I. Koerner.
- RootsTelevision – “Blaine Bettinger, The Genetic Genealogist“, with Dick Eastman.
- Diverse – “The Value of Knowing Where You Come From“, with Cassie Chew.
- Eye on DNA – “Genetic Genealogist Dr. Blaine Bettinger on DNA and Genealogy“, with Hsien-Hsien Lei, Ph.D.
- The Genealogy Guys Podcast – Episode #135 – April 28, 2008
- American Society of Human Genetics – News Clips Archives
- About.com: Genealogy – 10 Genealogy Blogs Worth Reading (#5)
- CGREAL (newsletter for the Center for Genetic Research Ethics & Law at Case Western Reserve University) – June 14, 2007 and August 10, 2007 (links are broken)
- Personal Genetics Education Project – Suggestions For Further Reading
- I Have The Results Of My Genetic Genealogy Test, Now What?
- 10 DNA Myths Busted, and Other Favorite Posts
The Genetic Genealogist is a private website funded by the author (and supplemented with minimal advertising). The information in this blog is for education and should NEVER be a substitute for advice from your personal physician.
Just like you, the Genetic Genealogist is concerned about privacy.We will never sell your personal information to anyone for any reason.If you submit your email address to subscribe to updates or leave a comment, that address will never be used for any other purpose.
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I am enjoying your blog. We have had genetic tests done on my brother and they are interesting, but we have no idea how to interpret the results! How can I find someone who can interpret the results for us?
Need to ask your people what they think about FamilySearch’s open editing community Family Tree, or public tree.
This should have been FamilySearch’s goal from the first, to make sure correct FAMILY Genealogies, Histories and Research Records were “preserved indefinitely.” What good is a database that is full of bad data? The problem is FamilySearch’s open editing community Family Tree, or public tree! FamilySearch can put up a “people I am watching list,” or “good data more sticky,” or have their goal as “the changing of bad data and discourage the changing of good data” or whatever, in FamilySearch’s attempt to preserve indefinitely Family Data and research, but nothing will change, and none of the above will work in a public tree. You will still get people INPUTTING BAD DATA INTO AN OPEN EDITING COMMUNITY FAMILY TREE, OR PUBLIC TREE.
Problem is now members of the church are just assuming that all on FamilySearch’s Family Tree is true, and are shipping – transferring – corrupted data around the world. When you have an open community public tree where everyone and anyone can add data, means that people with not good intentions can also add data, – subtract data, or move it around into different family lines. HOW GOOD IS THE DATA IN AN OPEN EDITING COMMUNITY PUBLIC TREE OR PUBLIC VENUE ANYWAY-?
“Correct” family histories are a moving target and a work in progress, as research advances and as DNA testing will show. How many family relationships demonstrated by the paper trail even under GPS standards will end up incorrect? When even original records have conflicting details, will all genealogists agree on which is the most accurate? We have countless online outlets to submit genealogical data. FamilySearch’s Family Tree is just one of them. Books and journals continue to be published as well. Are all of them ever going to reflect the exact same data? Who is the ultimate authority anyway? Accuracy is a worthwhile goal, but genealogy is a mess because humans beings are a mess.
Admiring the time and effort you put into your site and in depth information you present.
It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that
isn’t the same outdated rehashed information.
Great read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to
my Google account.
What is the best test kit that I may take? I have learn that are many.
i Have tested with both ANCESTRY and FamilyTree’s Family Finder. I notice that ANCESTRY has more matches to certain last names for me than Family Finder, but how accurate are each? When I go into Chromosome browser in FamilyFinder, what am I comparing? Chromosome #? Sequence beginning and end? I am totally confused by different methods.
A cousin had y-dna testing done hoping to lead to the identity of an unknown great-grandfather. he got back a list of names, none of which are known family surnames. what do we make of this list of unknown names?? I am furiously trying to learn as much about dna testing as possible, as quickly as possible. I don’t see how this test can deliver a specific name of an unknown ancestor. Is this possible?
I’m currently reading your book The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy and I am confused and have some questions and suggestions for the book. Where should I direct these questions so that they get to you, the author?
Hi Dr. Bettinger, We met at the NGS conference in Grand Rapids, MI. I have a quick question about my DNA sample from ancestry.com in comparison to those of my children. How is it that in some cases the children have a higher percentage of DNA attributed to a certain place than the parents? For example, I have 5% Germanic Europe while a daughter has 9%, also I have 0% Native American or French, but one daughter shows 1% of each. My wife shows only Philippines and China, so I don’t think this could come from her, either. Thank you very much.
Hello, I belong to the Port Macquarie Family History Society, I believe you met some of our members whilst in Sydney. One of them was telling us that you are doing a study re Endogenous families. Some of us were discussing it and wondering does that mean intermarrying in a community or where your can trace your ancestors and your husbands ancestors back in the centuries to where they met up and married. I have traced my husband and mine back to a marriage in 1592 with one family in Meopham, Kent and another marriage in 1778 Speldhurst, Kent. Looking forward to hearing from you. Many thanks for all that you have and are doing for we amateur genealogists.
Are there any estimates on the probability that two related people at a specified degrees of separation (or relationship) will have an AncestryDNA match? The Shared cM Project
Version 4.0 seems to show that two people with a full relationship will have a match with a probability of virtually 100% with 7 degrees of separation or less and drops to 6 degrees of separation or less for a half relationship. I am interested in probabilities for longer degrees of separation.