Tuesday, August 07, 2018

The Adoptee's Guide to DNA Testing

Weinberg, Tamar. The Adoptee's Guide to DNA Testing: How to Use Genetic Genealogy to Discover Your Long-Lost Family. Cincinnati, Ohio: Family Tree Books, 2018.

Weinberg's useful guide intended to assist adoptees in their quest to identify birth families is beneficial to anyone wanting to gain a better understanding of genetic genealogy. She explains the types of tests offered, the testing companies offering each, and a bit about the differences in the results. She then offers information on how to reach out to matches, how to make use of GEDmatch's tools, and using other third party tools. She closes with several case studies designed to inspire those seeking their families. Appendices include frequently asked questions and worksheets which could be adapted to Excel spreadsheets to help keep track of genetic genealogy research. The book contains an index. Any book on genetic genealogy will likely be out-of-date on at least one or two points by the time it is printed. Her frequently asked questions poses a question about the safety of testing results. It is clear the section was written before the announcement concerning the Golden State Killer's discovery through using genetic genealogy databases. Several more arrests were made using the databases after this. I suspect the next edition will include a "caution" statement although it won't discourage the use of the databases for most individuals. I wish she had covered more third party tools, although I'm certain the editors were trying to keep the book a manageable size. The illustrations help the reader visualize the information presented. This book belongs in most libraries and private genealogy collections along with Blaine Bettinger and Debbie Parker Wayne's Practical Genetic Genealogy and Blaine Bettinger's The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy. Leading genetic genealogists found problems with early iterations of the book. We are not sure if those were corrected in the edition I read and reviewed or if I just failed to catch the things because I don't work with it at the same level they do. This review is based on an electronic advance copy received through NetGalley with the expectation an honest review would be written.

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