You keep your ancestor's spirits alive when you remember who they are. Many of you are fortunate to know since a child the full story of your bloodline. Some of you, however, aren’t so lucky. Thanks to genetic genealogy, you can discover the roots of your family tree going back centuries. You no longer have to sit and wonder about your bloodline.
The term genetic genealogy was first introduced on February 20, 1989, in an article entitled "Genetic genealogy and the search for Eve", written by Tom Siegfried. Through the continuing years, genetic genealogy has been used as a tool for people all over the world to trace their ancestry, so it is only logical for adoptees to use this DNA testing technique to find their birth family. In fact, there are only a few steps they need to take to connect with their biological families…
A recent study was conducted on American adolescents. Within that study, the Search Institute found that 72 percent of adopted adolescents wanted answers to why they were adopted, 65 percent wanted to meet their birth parents, and 94 percent wanted to know which birth parents they inherited their looks from…
On April 24, 2018, genetic genealogy made its introduction into the spotlight when 72-year-old Joseph DeAngelo was arrested for the crimes of the Golden State Killer, the serial murderer-rapist from the ’70s and ’80s. Since his public trial, there have been over a dozen other arrests thanks to genetic genealogy. Just this week William Earl Talbott II, who was caught through genetic genealogy was sentenced to life in prison for a 1987 double murder.
Feelings of abandonment and grief are often felt from adoptees. Many can’t help but feel rejection from their birth family. No two people adopted into separate households will have the same experiences. However, those who are products of closed adoptions may face similar challenges when in pursuit of locating their birth families.
When the alleged Golden State Killer was arrested, many DNA testing companies were known only for helping to trace family histories or unlocking family medical secrets. However, because the police uploaded the DNA from the crime scene and found distant relatives of the alleged Golden State Killer, forensic genealogy has come out of the darkness and into the spotlight. Since then, the uploading of DNA from a crime scene to Family Tree DNA, and other websites, dozens of rapes and murders have been solved…
In the past year genetic genealogy has gained momentum as a tactic to solve violent crimes and identify human remains. Most of the cases solved had been cold for years, when all other investigative efforts had proven inadequate. In genetic genealogy the potential exists to close previously unsolvable cases where biological evidence is available; whether that be to exonerate the innocent or identify the perpetrators.
Law enforcement, victims of violent crimes, families of murder victims and the community as a whole has just suffered a devastating set back as the public genealogy DNA database GEDMatch has become unavailable for use by law enforcement. Whether or not this is a temporary setback or something more permanent depends on everyone who has already uploaded a DNA profile to the public database and how future uploads are handled.
On July 7, 1982 a woman's body was found near a hiking trail at Lake Tahoe. She was found raped and shot to death wearing a blue bathing suit under her t-shirt and denim shorts. She appeared to be in her late twenties or early thirties. For decades, not much more would be known about who she was or who killed her.
There has been much discussion lately about law enforcement using public DNA databases that consumers use for genealogy. In the past, law enforcement was limited to their own databases of DNA profiles. Since law enforcement already has their own databases that contain DNA profiles what is the big deal? What purpose do genealogy databases serve for law enforcement if they already have their own databases?
Before delving into forensic genealogy, let’s talk a bit about genealogy in general. Genealogy is your family history and the methods used to trace that history back through generations. Your family tree starts with you, grows into your parents and their parents’ parents. Genealogy is a hobby for many people seeking to build a family history. However, to be considered a credible depiction of your ancestry, each relationship and fact for members of your family tree must be proven using vital and historical documentation.
Family tree gaps happen when people dive deeper into their biological family roots and hit a wall where they feel they cannot find any more information. There are three ways in which people can trace their family history. There is oral history passed down through generations, archival sources, and DNA evidence. Databases like the National Archives can help start family research through census, military, immigration, naturalization, and land records. Cross-checking oral traditions and archival sources can reveal inconsistencies that require further research and turn people towards genealogists.
There are many factors that contribute to your overall health, which can include your environment, lifestyle, habits, adaptability to stress, genetics, and your family health history. Genetics and family health history make up the biological aspects of your health assessment, and while you can get genetic testing by yourself, you need to have the ability to communicate with biological family members in order to access family health history. Investigative genealogy can help you find birth family so you can ask important questions regarding family health history.