How to use genealogy and genetics to uncover your roots, connect with your biological family, and better understand your medical history.
If you are an adoptee, there’s likely missing information about your past and you hope to change that. You may have already started down the path of DNA testing, or it may be entirely new to you.
Why DNA testing, and why now?
DNA testing is a game-changer for people researching family connections. Many recent advances have made it possible for adoptees to search for answers more easily than they could have done even a few years ago. Consider the following changes:
- At-home DNA tests have grown in number and dropped in price.
- Millions of people use software to build and track their family trees and share results online.
- Billions of vital records, legal files, and other documents are available online.
- Social networks and search engines make it easy to find and connect to people all over the world.
- Adoptees are sharing their DNA stories publicly, through television shows and other media.
While advances in DNA testing are exciting and useful, there are real limitations, and we will be the first to acknowledge that DNA doesn’t hold all of the answers for everyone. Nevertheless, it plays an important role for adoptees hoping to learn more about themselves and their genetics. In some cases, DNA testing has helped adoptees discover unknown medical risks, which is invaluable in situations where little or no family health history is available.
Information is a powerful thing:
What you learn from testing your DNA can have a profound impact on you, your family members, and even future generations. Information can be a powerful thing. We have seen how the discovery of new information can impact relationships. The journey through DNA and a search for family can be emotional for many people.
If you hope that DNA testing might open up the search for information about yourself, your origins, and your future, you need to understand, in plain English, how DNA and genealogical records fit together like the pieces of a puzzle, and how to deal with questions about health, ancestry, biological family, and DNA. It is not as simple as is sounds.
Where to get help.
After 2 years of hard work, a new book by Shannon Combs-Bennett and Brianne Kirkpatrick, brings a unique aspect to genetics and genealogy that is not covered in other publications.
“We have worked professionally and personally with adoptees, and we understand some of the unique challenges you face. We’ve done our best to present material to you from a place of understanding and compassion.
This book will provide you with practical advice on topics such as medical and genealogical DNA testing, handling emotional aspects of the search, and recommended resources to help take your research efforts to the next level. What helps one person may not be relevant for others, so we cover different approaches suitable for different situations.
While we write on many paper issues for US researchers, the information provide on how to work through emotions, writing to contacts, and the unknowns many adoptees or foundlings deal with are covered. Also, sections on basic genetics and how it is used in conjunction with genealogy are discussed which means you do not any need background in those areas to use the information in the book. We wanted this to be a comprehensive introduction for anyone researching missing or misidentified parentage.”
No matter where you are starting, the information in this book is interesting, useful, and easy to understand. Real-life examples, fictionalized scenarios, and advice have been gathered from adoptees to make this book relevant no matter your prior experience with DNA.
The Kindle book is available now from Amazon.
Do you need more help with your research?
Contact Shannon or one of our other members via their RQG profiles here: https://www.qualifiedgenealogists.org/resumes
About the Author
Shannon Combs-Bennett is a professional genealogist based out of Northern Virginia where she lectures and writes on a variety of topics from methodology to genetic genealogy. She is a graduate of the Boston University Certificate program, ProGen 24, and in 2016 Shannon was awarded her PLCGS in American Studies from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Shannon earned her Bachelors of Science in Biology from Indiana University with an emphasis in human genetics and is currently working toward her Masters of Science in Genealogical, Heraldic, and Paleographic Studies from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. She joined RQG in 2018. Her book “Genealogy Basics in 30 Minutes” won the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Silver Award in 2017. Shannon is as a columnist for the Federation of Genealogical Societies magazine Forum and the Southeast Regional Director for the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors