Thursday, February 12, 2015
The McDonald's Of DNA Does It Again!
You can stop researching your family tree AncestryDNA has made it unnecessary. Just take their DNA test and they'll find your ancestors for you. They may not be the correct ancestors, but you can't have everything. Where did I learn of this latest innovation? You can read more about the announcement here.
"Building on DNA Circles, in 2015 we will launch a new experience that will use the latest genetic technology to discover new ancestors without the customer having to search records or build a family tree. This new feature will transform how family history research is done by providing valuable hints to help experienced genealogist looking to break through brick walls, as well as open family history to a whole new segment of the population. Through this new experience, AncestryDNA customers will be able to discover new ancestors as far back as the 1700's by connecting into existing DNA Circles."
Sounds like a dream come true for those uninterested in doing research? It is just a dream. You can't avoid the research process. AncestryDNA cannot manufacture a tree for you using DNA alone. There are some wonderful trees attached to DNA results which can produce accurate Circles. In other cases, for instance, many people have the wrong ancestral information copied from old published genealogies. Those trees will contribute to inaccurate Circles. I'm not saying the Circles are a bad idea. I think they are a good idea if used properly; as hints only. Although they will never replace segment information for confirming matches.
If you don't read the latest Ancestry press release carefully you may miss the fact that Ancestry is only providing hints. In their first sentence, describing the Circles, they state a customer can discover ancestors without doing research or building a tree. If you read further it says they are providing hints. This contradicts their first statement and suggests research is required. A few people were misled yesterday believing Ancestry could now correct all the bad trees on their site. That would be great, but is impossible at this point in time.
The DNA testing companies are going to accentuate the positive when trying to sell their product. That's understandable. They shouldn't be grossly misleading however. The founder of Family Tree DNA has been openly critical over claims about what some say autosomal DNA can do. He has integrity. I would like to see AncestryDNA continue to grow their database in a way demonstrating they have some integrity. Many people walk away, after spending $110, dissatisfied with the results they receive. This happens when people don't understand what they are buying. This happens most often at AncestryDNA because they over state the accuracy of their product.
I have to say I get a kick out of the ridiculous statements that seem to pour out of Ancestry.com. If they made reasonable statements about their product I would miss the comic relief. I wouldn't fall off my chair laughing anymore. On the other hand, I hate to see people spend money expecting to get one thing; but, instead walk away with something they aren't happy with.