Monthly Archives: June 2012

Analyzing DNA: My First DNA Test (Part 1)

Super excited!  I got my very first DNA test from 23andMe.  After years of wanting to do a DNA test and doing some research into the science behind DNA.  (I even had breakfast one morning with Steve Morse during Jamboree 2011!).

So what made me go with 23andMe?  I’ve been watching the company for a while and I’ve love the fact it also presents a health side to their results.  But what really cinched the whole thing for me?  The new beta features that will soon be released.  Plus, everyone at the booth at Jamboree was super welcoming and willing to answer questions.  And they had hilarious t-shirts… I like a company with great customer service and a sense of humor.

So I ordered a Personal Genome Service from 23andMe.  The kit is $299.  Surprisingly, I received my kit in the mail the next day.  I was so excited to get the package that I practically attacked the poor delivery guy and then proceeded to rip open the box.

Before I could provide a saliva sample, I had to avoid eating and drinking for 30 minutes.  Assembling the spit tube was easy but coming up with enough saliva was harder than I thought it would be – but I got it done.

Once the spitting was complete and everything was packed back up, I stuck it in my mailbox, impatiently waiting for the mailman to come pick it up.

In the meantime, I went to the 23andMe website to register my test.  It was super easy to  enter the barcode from the spit tube onto the website.  The whole user interface for 23andMe is really intuitive and easy to follow.  And there are tons of cool features to explore.

While a lot of the features are unavailable til my results come in (in about 2-3 weeks), I have taken advantage of the surveys that are offered.  The surveys provide information that could lead to a better understanding of how genetics influences health.  Thus far, I’ve taken 8 surveys (they are super addicting!).

So now… I wait for my results.  These 2-3 weeks are going to feel like they are taking forever because I’m just so excited for these results.  I keep reminding myself that patience is a virtue and that it takes time for all of this science stuff to happen – but I’m too excited to be patient!  Wonder what my results will say?

Have you ever gotten a DNA test?  Was it through 23andMe or another company? What new things did you learn?

[Disclosure: I received a complimentary 23andMe DNA test in exchange for a review of my experiences on my blog.  My opinions, however, are truthful and not swayed at all by the fact that the test was complimentary.]

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The Genealogy Generational Disconnect

Recently, there was a post on the Transitional Genealogists Forum from a young twenty-something genealogist that has sparked a lot of great conversation.  If you haven’t read the post yet, you should read it here.

Reading about Eva’s experiences as a young genealogist, especially her experience while at NGS this year, I realized how much I can relate to her.  Her experiences sounded eerily similar to my own and I could definitely feel for her.

I was very lucky with my first conference.  Going to SCGS Jamboree in 2009 was a wonderful experience and nearly everyone I met was kind, funny, knowledgeable.  People were certainly surprised that I was there but no one made me feel as if I was not knowledgeable about genealogy simply because of my age.  People remarked how shocked they were that someone my age was here and many people wanted to know why I was so interested in genealogy.  Many people wanted to quiz me on how to get their own children, grandchildren, or other young family members into genealogy.  Only one person choose to question my knowledge and practically treat me like someone with a complete lack of basic US history knowledge – and while I was polite, I quickly got away from him.  But perhaps the positive conference experience was based on the fact that this conference was practically in my own backyard.  Or maybe it was the fact that this was the first time I met so many bloggers in person – therefore, I already had a group of people behind me and cheering me on.  Or maybe it was just that all of that didn’t phase me because the conference was just so much fun.

However, at other genealogy events, I have not been so lucky.  My local society held a genealogy meeting one month that I decided to attend.  From the moment I walked in the door, people treated me like a complete newbie.  It wasn’t that it bothered me that people assumed I was a total newcomer to the genealogy world – but it bothered me that after I showed my pedigree charts and my notebooks and had a few discussions and yet, still, they treated me like a total newbie.  The whole event was honestly embarrassing and made me never want to come back.

But fortunately, most people haven’t been that way with me.  In fact, I’ve been fortunate and blessed enough to be welcomed into the community with open arms of love and acceptance.  I don’t feel that anyone looks down on me or questions my skills.  People have loved me for the crazy, loud, Energizer Bunny kind of person I am.  I’m out there in left field a bit and wearing a tiara for most genealogy events.  And yet, everyone accepts me for exactly who I am and my knowledge.

The reason why?  I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I “knew” a lot of these people before I went to conferences or went to genealogy events.  Thanks to my blog and social media, I already have a bit of a social media family.  I knew so many genealogists before I had even met them in person.  There were no awkward meetings – in fact, meeting everyone for the first time felt like I had known these people forever.  We instantly connected, instantly had stuff in common and to talk about.  We knew each other’s research interests and could relate to one another.  It was wonderful and I’m so grateful for the technology that made it possible.

So my fellow genealogists – how do we help bring out these young kids into the world of genealogy?  The young research set exists, hiding away from the crowds and just lurking on the web.  What can we do as a community to get more people like Eva out in the open and comfortable?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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