Debbie has packed an amazing amount of information into this book.
The DNA portion of the book is divided in to 6 chapters as follows:
1. The basic principles
2. Surnames and the paternal line
3. Before surnames: haplogroups and deep ancestry
4. The maternal line: mitochondrial DNA tests
5. Cousins reunited: autosomal DNA tests
6. Setting up and running a DNA project
The social networking section is divided into 7 chapters as follows:
1. Traditional genealogical networking methods
2. Genealogy social networking web sites
3. General social networking web sites
7. Collaborative tools
The first chapter in the DNA section covers the basics of how to do DNA testing and who in particular should be tested. In the second chapter Debbie covers Y chromosome testing and includes an in-depth discussion of non-paternity events. She also discusses all of the major Y chromosome databases such as Ysearch, the SMGF database, YHRD, etc. The chapter about haplogroups and deep ancestry reviews deep subclade testing, the Walk the Y project, TMRCA estimates, and other issues pertaining to Y STR and SNP analysis. The fourth chapter discusses much information about mtDNA analysis, as well as Mitosearch and GenBank. The relatively new field of autosomal DNA analysis for genealogical purposes is reviewed in the fifth chapter. Both 23andMe's test and FTDNA's Family Finder test are discussed in detail. The final chapter in the DNA section outlines best practices for setting up and running DNA projects for genealogical purposes.
In the section on social networking Debbie covers a wide range of options for genealogical researchers to find and contact other people, many of which I was familiar with and some I wasn't particularly familiar with. It is clear that Debbie knows this topic well. She provides a lot of interesting background behind many of the web sites that I think adds substance to the book. She devotes 5 pages to describing various facets of Facebook and discusses her personal experience using Facebook for genealogical purposes as well. Since I am not yet a Tweep, I found the 4-page section on Twitter informative. The social networking chapters would be helpful background to anyone who feels that they have more that they could learn about some of the recent advances in social media.
There are 4 appendices which are also well worth reading and keeping in mind for future reference. The 4 appendices are as follows:
1. DNA websites
2. Testing Companies
3. DNA projects
4. Surname resources
The DNA website section is broken down into the following categories:
2. Deep Ancestry and haplogroups
3. Y-DNA tools
5. Genetics primers
6. DNA databases
7. Scientific research projects
8. Mailing lists and forums
9. DNA blogs (with subcategories for anthropology blogs, commercial blogs, DNA testing blogs, and personal genomics blogs)
Debbie covers the pluses and minuses of all of the major DNA testing companies in the section on testing companies. The book also includes a 5-page glossary in which Debbie provides definitions for many of the common terms used in genetic genealogy. Debbie also included a 2-page bibliography in which she lists many of the most important books that have been written about DNA testing, as well as books that cover the topic of English surnames.
Overall the prose in the book is fluid and easy to read. The book has somewhat of a British focus, but that shouldn't be surprising since Debbie lives in England and the focus of much of her research is on English genealogy. In any case, I think that all genetic genealogists will enjoy reading her book and will learn from it. In my opinion, this book is the most important primer on genetic genealogy that has been written since Megan Smolenyak and Ann Turner published their book "Trace Your Roots with DNA" in 2004. Because the book covers a broad array of topics in the areas of genetic genealogy and social media it should appeal to many genealogists.