Elizabeth Shown Mills is an "Ask An Expert" with the New York Times. She is a genealogist and historical writer. This article was printed in the times on November 6th, 2013. I loved the questions and Elizabeth's answers. She covers such topics as how to research; accessing public records; DNA and more. Check out her page for more details.
Everyone knows that DNA testing can show you where your ancestors lived, can help you find living relatives and can help prove that your research is accurate. All of this is great but are there limitations to DNA testing? I think there is! I have been trying to find the Irish family of my mother. Her mother's father came from Ireland in 1881 and died in Toronto in 1895. The ship's manifest just said he was from Ireland (very hard to source his birthplace). The manifest did tell me he was 21 years old when he arrived. He married and had 5 children with my grandmother being the youngest.
So I sent away for a DNA kit with high hopes of finding even a "10th" cousin removed from or still living in Ireland. I had no luck. Most of my "cousins" were related to my father's side, Todd or Gilbert. In fact the very first match is my cousin Leslie who's father is my fathers' brother. As you can imagine I am very disappointed. I have to remember that we inherit 50% of each of our parents. They also received 50% of their parents DNA, and so on. You can imagine then how little of my mother's family DNA is in my DNA! The DNA test did show me geographically that I have Irish, English, European and New England ancestors. So I am still looking for Irish roots. That's okay I enjoy the hunt!
(For more information on the Pros and Cons of DNA testing go to prosconsDNA)
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Louise has been researching her family for over 35 years. Louise is a volunteer researcher at the local Family History Centre and over the years she has been assisting families in their search for information and details of their family tree.