DNA and Social Networking: A Guide to Genealogy in the Twenty-First Century Hardcover – 1 Oct 2011
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Genetics is a complicated subject, and most geneticists are profoundly incapable of explaining the subject clearly. Debbie Kennett is unparalleled in her ability to make complex science beautifully clear, and in her enthusiasm to explain how this subject really works. If you re interested in using genetics for your family tree, or even if you re already grappling with it, this book is guaranteed to make an immense and refreshing addition to your knowledge. --Anthony Adolph, Genealogist author and broadcaster
DNA and Social Networking is a timely and much needed guide showing family historians how to build up a network of researchers and helpers. --Chris Pomery - Author of DNA and Family History and Family History in the Genes
About the Author
Debbie Kennett is an editor, genealogist, and researcher who is well known in the field of DNA research. She organizes two projects at Family Tree DNA and writes for many family history magazines.
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My main interest in purchasing this book was the first section relating to DNA. As a newcomer to this aspect of genealogy, I found it clear and concise and easy to follow, in contrast to many explanations of the types of analysis and their meanings which have left me more confused after reading them than before!
It is up to date (2012) with the details of the differences between the tests of the various testing services, and the tests available, all explained with unusual clarity.
I can thoroughly recommend this book; I know that, for me, it will provide a constant reference for some time to come.
I found that the first part of the book to be excellent, and it provided exactly what I was looking for in bringing me up to speed with the use of DNA. For the reasons already mentioned, I only skimmed through the second half of the book, as most of it was familiar to me, but it seems to be well explained, although already somewhat out of date. My conclusion is therefore that although the content is very good, two separate books on the different topics would have been a better option.
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.
This book is full of good ideas and a good selection of links are provided
This is a new and growing field of Genealogy research, and i heartily recommend this book, to those considering DNA for Genealogy, and those who have already tested.