Silver Lake to invest in Ancestry.com

The following teaser is from an article posted on reuters.com

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Private equity firm Silver Lake Partners has agreed to acquire a minority stake in Ancestry.com in a deal that values the privately held genealogy website at $2.6 billion, including debt, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The investment represents a bet that Ancestry’s fast-growing DNA business will continue to expand. Ancestry sold 1 million genomics kits last year, a 93 percent increase from the prior year, as people keen to discover their roots sent in saliva samples.

Read the full article.

Share Your AncestryDNA Ethnicity Results

AncestryDNA recently launched a new feature that allows individuals to share their ethnicity results. I tried it out, sending the results to select family members by email – as well as posting to Facebook. Note that I had to allow the pop-up for Facebook sharing. I didn’t spot the block at first and wondered why the Facebook link wasn’t sharing. The share link also allows you to copy and paste the link. I pasted it into the illustration at the bottom of this post, allowing anyone to click on the illustration and get the full page at AncestryDNA.

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Ancestry DNA Test – 20% Off! – Just $79 – Sale Ends This Monday, August 17, 2015

AncestryDNA is once again running a 20% off promotion on their DNA test!

The promotion ends Monday, August 17, 2015. The $79 price is the best price they have ever offered to my knowledge. This is a deal you can’t get everyday (although this is the 3rd time this year!).

AncestryDNA has been in the news a lot this last year, with their new DNA Circles, shared ancestor hints, New Ancestor Discoveries, and their new contract with Calico. Patty and I both got new AncestryDNA tests done a few months ago, and now have more ancestors, cousins and connections than we can keep up with. If you’ve been putting off getting a test done, wait no more!

Click on the illustration below to order. Note that the actual final link to make your purchase may be all the way to the bottom of the page:


Ancestry Helps “Hicks Baby” Find Her Mother

The following is from the August 5 New York Daily News.

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It took one woman more than half a century to find a piece of her familial roots.

Kriste Hughes, 51, was reunited with her birth mother and brother after a lengthy search.

Hughes was one of 200 children sold into adoption on the black market by Dr. Thomas Jugarthy Hicks, an unscrupulous physician in McCaysville, Ga., decades ago.

“I know this is real, but I’m still kind of in shock,” Hughes told ABC News, which helped her and eight other “Hicks babies” to locate their biological relatives.

The largest genealogy website, Ancestry.com, helped Hughes and the others track down their birth parents.

She sent her DNA sample to the lab and the site analyzed the specimen for free.

But chances of finding a match were slim. The database includes 1 million people, far less than 1% of the global population.

Despite the long odds, Hughes found her match — a first cousin named Jackie Flowers.

Another DNA test returned a match. This time she got a mom and a big brother.

Read the full article.

AncestryDNA & Calico to Research the Genetics of the Human Lifespan

The following news release was received from Ancestry.com:

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Collaboration Will Analyze Family History and Genetics to Facilitate Development of Cutting-Edge Therapeutics

PROVO, Utah and SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., July 21, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — AncestryDNA, an industry leader in consumer genetics, and Calico, a company focused on longevity research and therapeutics, today announced an effort to investigate human heredity of lifespan. Together, they will evaluate anonymized data from millions of public family trees and a growing database of over one million genetic samples. Financial terms have not been disclosed.

AncestryDNA and Calico will work together to analyze and investigate the role of genetics and its influences in families experiencing unusual longevity using Ancestry’s proprietary databases, tools and algorithms. Calico will then focus its efforts to develop and commercialize any potential therapeutics that emerge from the analysis.

“On the heels of our AncestryHealth launch and our one million genotyped customers milestone for AncestryDNA, we’re excited to announce this collaboration with Calico to research and develop life changing solutions,” said Ken Chahine, Executive Vice President and Head of DNA and Health. “We have laid the groundwork for this effort through the combination of an unmatched family history database, one of the fastest growing genetic databases, and a strong and talented team of computer scientists and professional genealogists.”

AncestryDNA can provide access to a unique combination of resources that will enable Calico to develop potentially groundbreaking therapeutic solutions. The extensive research period will identify common patterns in longevity and human heredity through pedigree data.

“Our common experience suggests that there may be hereditary factors underlying longevity, but finding the genes responsible using standard techniques has proven elusive,” commented David Botstein, Calico’s Chief Scientific Officer and member of the US National Academy of Sciences. “This is an extraordinary opportunity to address a fundamental unanswered question in longevity research using high quality human pedigrees.”

To learn more about the AncestryDNA, visit www.ancestrydna.com. For more information on Calico, visit www.calicolabs.com.

About AncestryDNA
AncestryDNA is owned and operated by Ancestry.com DNA, LLC, a subsidiary of Ancestry.com, LLC. AncestryDNA uses a simple test to analyze an individual’s DNA. AncestryDNA offers the potential of identifying new insights into people’s ancient ancestry to help them collaborate with distant cousins and make even more discoveries in their family history. For more information visit www.ancestrydna.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by these forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include a variety of factors, some of which are beyond the company’s control. In particular, such risks and uncertainties include the company’s ability to add tools and features, and provide value to satisfy customer demand. Information concerning additional factors that could cause events or results to differ materially is contained under the caption “Risk Factors” in the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for Ancestry.com LLC for the period ended March 31, 2015, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 1, 2015, and in discussions in other of the company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date and we assume no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements.

About Calico Life Sciences
Calico (Calico Life Sciences LLC) is a Google-funded research and development company whose mission is to harness advanced technologies to increase our understanding of the biology that controls lifespan. Calico will use that knowledge to devise interventions that enable people to lead longer and healthier lives. Visit www.calicolabs.com.
http://corporate.ancestry.com/press/press-releases/2015/07/ancestrydna-and-calico-to-research-the-genetics-of-human-lifespan/

Ancestry Launches AncestryHealth

The following press release is from Matthew Deighton at Ancestry.com:

Dr. Cathy Petti Joins as Chief Health Officer to Spearhead Company’s Global Health Initiatives

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(PROVO, Utah) – July 16, 2015 – Ancestry (www.ancestry.com), the leader in family history and consumer genetics, today announced the launch of AncestryHealth (www.ancestryhealth.com), a new entity and resource to empower consumers with important health insights to help promote wellness, prevent illness and support healthier living. The company also announced appointment of Cathy A. Petti, MD, as AncestryHealth’s Chief Health Officer. At the same time, AncestryDNA (www.ancestrydna.com) announced the accomplishment of surpassing one million people tested in its database.

AncestryHealth’s first offering is a free service, currently in beta, that gives consumers the ability to compile their family health history information with the help of their Ancestry family tree.

Family health history is unique to every person. According to the Surgeon General’s office, family health history is one of the most effective screening tools in health today. Because certain health conditions like breast cancer, heart disease and cystic fibrosis can run in families and be traced, knowing important information about one’s family’s health history can help individuals and their physicians be more aware of potential health problems and take the necessary steps to reduce and prevent risks.

“Ancestry fundamentally believes family history is a powerful tool that not only can educate individuals about their past and where they came from, but can inform their future,” stated Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry. “This new service leverages expert research and delivers customized information to consumers about the risks and prevention measures to help empower them to make healthy lifestyle choices. Combined with the breadth and scale of Ancestry data, we expect AncestryHealth to be a key piece of the puzzle as we look to understand how health is passed down through generations, and we are excited to have Dr. Petti lead this effort.”

AncestryHealth integrates health information with expertise in genealogy to help consumers trace health conditions along family lines and understand what it means to individuals and their families, while recording this valuable information to share with their physicians and future generations. The company also plans to work with institutions to integrate family health history data into electronic medical records to better help physicians use family health history as a screening tool.

AncestryHealth is committed to being a partner in health by providing individuals with meaningful information and relevant research to help them make choices that could lead to longer, healthier lives. Dr. Petti joins Ancestry’s strong and growing leadership team to help focus AncestryHealth’s global health initiatives on empowering consumers to take charge of their health.

“We’re very excited to not only launch AncestryHealth but to also have Dr. Petti join us as its Chief Health Officer,” said Dr. Ken Chahine, Executive Vice President and General Manager of AncestryDNA and AncestryHealth. “This cements our commitment to bring our customers compelling, innovative and actionable health experiences. Dr. Petti brings tremendous knowledge and experience in individualized and global health, with expertise in clinical, regulatory and healthcare diagnostics. This is invaluable as we set out to create health offerings for our community that integrate with, and leverage the successes of, Ancestry and AncestryDNA.”

In her role, Dr. Petti will work alongside the genomics, bioinformatics, privacy and security teams to lead a health-focused strategy and create a valuable consumer health experience, starting with AncestryHealth’s family health history offering. Dr. Petti will also lead medical and regulatory affairs.

A scientific leader, Dr. Petti is internationally recognized for her expertise in clinical diagnostics and global health. Most recently, she was founder and president of HealthSpring Global, Inc., a concierge IVD consulting company supporting biotechnology companies, investors and academic researchers on the entire life cycle of advanced technologies. Dr. Petti has served as Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at TriCore Reference Laboratories; held the position of Global Head of Medical, Scientific and Clinical Affairs for Novartis Diagnostics; and was Medical Director of ARUP Laboratories. She has held appointments at leading academic institutions as a Professor of Medicine and Pathology, authored numerous peer-reviewed publications, and received multiple scientific awards and honors. Dr. Petti is board certified in both internal medicine and pathology subspecialties, and received an AB from Harvard University and MD from Duke University.

Ancestry is scaling rapidly from being the largest family history database to AncestryDNA now surpassing one million genotyped customers in just three years, making it one of the fastest growing consumer genetic networks today. Now armed with the combination of family history and DNA data, Ancestry is positioned to take a lead in giving consumers a glimpse into future possibilities. The company is also laser focused on bringing together the brightest talent, developing and designing a robust, easy-to-use platform and continuing to evolve in the health ecosystem.

To learn more about the AncestryHealth experience, visit www.ancestryhealth.com.

Ancestry DNA HIts 1 Million People in Their DNA Autosomal Database

Big News Day! AncestryDNA just hit 1 million people in their DNA Autosomal Database!

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See the blog post below from my friend, Anna Swayne.

http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2015/07/16/ancestrydna-celebrates-one-million-people-tested/

The following is a teaser from the blog post:

We just hit a huge milestone, and we are excited to celebrate! In just three short years AncestryDNA has genetically tested one million people to help them discover more about themselves and their family story. Thanks a million to all of you who have been tested and for everyone who will be taking the test soon. The AncestryDNA database has more than doubled in the last year, and so far we’ve delivered 99 million connections of 4th cousins or closer. That means that on average, 1 in 5,000 people who have taken the test are related within about 5 generations.

Understanding AncestryDNA

Why is DNA research so difficult to understand? Simple, it is a very complex topic.

You first learned about DNA in high school biology. You probably then did your best to forget about DNA until about a decade ago when DNA testing became a reality as an affordable, relatively speaking, individual identifier and tool for tracking one’s family history. Now every genealogist is a DNA expert. Right? Of course not. The language and process of DNA testing is still a science with words that belong to scientists. In addition, there have been so many recent books and articles on the subject it can be easy to get confused over all the types of tests, let alone just trying to get a general understanding of the whole practice.

Understanding AncestryDNAHowever, there is a much simpler way to grow your understanding of this complex topic. Diahan Southard has produced a series of six, colorful, laminated guides that outline all the basics one needs to understand DNA for genealogists. Her guides include:

Each guide follows the popular standard as four laminated pages in a single center folded guide measuring 8.5 x 11 inches.

Understanding AncestryDNA specifically explains Ancestry’s DNA testing and its major components. The guide will help you understand the test itself and what you can expect to gain from your test.

Here is a contents list based on specific headers in the guide:

  • Best Matches
  • First- Link Your Pedigree
    • Simple Pedigree
  • Why DNA Circles?
    • So Who is Invited?
  • Deciphering DNA Circles
  • Using the Main Match Page
  • One to One Matching
  • Genetic Tools
  • Try This!
  • What Next?

Diahan Southard holds a degree in Microbiology and has worked with the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation.

 

Order copies of Understanding AncestryDNA from Family Roots Publishing.

Ancestry DNA Kits on Sale for 10% Off Through Father’s Day, June 21, 2015

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As I’ve written before, AncestryDNA has been in the news a lot this last year, with their new DNA Circles, shared ancestor hints, and New Ancestor Discoveries. Patty and I both got new AncestryDNA tests done a few months ago, and now have more ancestors, cousins and connections than we can keep up with. If you’ve been putting off getting a test done, wait no more!

AncestryDNA is on sale for 10% off – making it just $89 – through Father’s Day, June 21, 2015.

Click here or on the illustration to order:

AncestryDNA Offers Their Test for 20% Off through Monday, August 17! Just $79

AncestryDNA is once again running a supersale on their DNA test. It’s again 20% off – but only through Monday, August 17. The test is normally $99 – so you can save about $20 by buying now.

The promotion is running from April 23 through April 27, and again, is at a full 20% off! I believe that’s the best price they have ever offered. They did it last year, and I believe they ran a very limited-time Christmas 2014 promo at the same price. But this is a deal you can’t get everyday.

AncestryDNA has been in the news a lot this last year, with their new DNA Circles, shared ancestor hints, and New Ancestor Discoveries. Patty and I both got new AncestryDNA tests done a few months ago, and now have more ancestors, cousins and connections than we can keep up with. If you’ve been putting off getting a test done, wait no more!

Click on the illustration below to order:


AncestryDNA Launches New Technology Called New Ancestor Discoveries

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A few days ago, AncestryDNA launched a new program called New Ancestor Discoveries. I’ve been swamped with the editing of several new books and Insta-Guides that are about to launch at FRPC and have just now gotten time to check it out.

I got an email from Ancestry saying that I had matches in the new program. It seems that there’s a good chance (70% or better) I’m descended from or related to two folks I’d never heard of.

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Based on DNA tests that I’ve had done with Ancestry, there are connections and online trees for 157 folks with whom I have a 4th cousin or better relationship. I recognize a lot of these folks, so the technology does work. We’ve come a long way in the 35 years since I started to actively research!

According to a note from my friend, Anna Swayne, with Ancestry DNA, the following points are what make this latest New Ancestor Discoveries technology exciting:

DNA Circles will now include anyone in your tree not only direct ancestral lines. For example, if you are genetically related to members of your 3rd great-granduncle’s DNA Circle and you have him in your tree we will now include you into that DNA Circle.

  • DNA Circle graph is now included in all DNA Circles and New Ancestor Discoveries
  • The orange lines represent DNA and the common ancestor connection between each individual in the DNA Circle
    • The thickness of the lines are determined by the strength of the connection

We changed the way family groups are displayed in the DNA connection page

  • If you belong to a family unit (family unit consists of 1st cousin relationships or closer) we will roll you up under the name of the most common ancestor.
    • For example, you, and your three 1st cousins were tested we would wrap your “family unit” up under your grandparent in common and the display the name of that common ancestor.

The Ancestor Page is new to all DNA Circle members

  • It is only accessible from the DNA Circle or New Ancestor Discovery experience
  • Have an all access pass with a subscription to see photos, records, and facts about this particular ancestor
    • Information from this page is compiled from public member trees

The following is the press release from Ancestry:

Latest Breakthrough in Consumer Genetics Connects People to Ancestors Dating Back to the 1700s Using Just Their DNA

PROVO, UT–(Marketwired – April 02, 2015) – AncestryDNA, the leader in DNA testing for family history, today launched a significant technological advancement that makes discovering one’s family history faster and easier than ever. Now with the easy-to-use AncestryDNA test, customers will have the unique ability to find their ancestors, who lived hundreds of years ago, using just their DNA. Only possible through the groundbreaking work of the AncestryDNA science team, New Ancestor Discoveries is a technical innovation that combines the latest in genetic science, new patent-pending algorithms, and access to AncestryDNA’s extensive database to push the boundaries of human genetics, and help people find ancestors from their past using just a DNA test, no genealogy research required.

“This is the biggest advancement in family history since we introduced our Hint feature, the Ancestry shaky leaf, which scours billions of historical records to automatically find new information about your family,” said Tim Sullivan CEO of Ancestry. “Now, through a simple DNA test, AncestryDNA is fundamentally revolutionizing the way to discover your family history, transforming the experience by making it faster and easier to go further into your family’s past, and instantly discover new ancestors you never knew you had.”

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New Ancestor Discoveries are revealed through a unique combination of AncestryDNA results and the millions of family trees shared by Ancestry members. First, living cousins of each AncestryDNA member are found and organized into family networks, called DNA Circles, which bring together groups of people who are genetically related to the same ancestor. When a new AncestryDNA customer is connected into that DNA Circle, it’s likely they also share that same ancestor. As a result, it is now possible to simply take the AncestryDNA test and see the name of an ancestor from your family’s past appear in your DNA results.

“It is effectively a shortcut through time — you take the test today and we tell you who your ancestors were, for example, in the 1700s. You don’t need to research records or build a family tree — AncestryDNA now transports you to the past,” said Dr. Ken Chahine, SVP and GM of AncestryDNA. “It’s a combination of three things that allowed us to achieve this breakthrough innovation: 1) millions of family trees created by Ancestry members, 2) the fastest growing genetic database in the world, currently with more than 800,000 genotyped members and 3) a dedicated team of scientists who are pushing the boundaries of genetics and statistics to help people make family history discoveries in ways never before possible.”

Discovering new ancestors is made simple. Customers just provide a small saliva sample for the AncestryDNA test, which reads a person’s genetic code at more than 700,000 DNA markers. Mail it back where it will be analyzed and compared alongside 65 million family trees and more than 800,000 genotyped AncestryDNA members. Results are available within six to eight weeks, including new possible ancestors, accompanied by historical narratives of their lives that can include photos, locations, and life events available to Ancestry members.

With this latest innovation, AncestryDNA will open the door to a whole new segment of consumers that may be interested in family history but don’t know how or don’t have the time to search records or build a family tree. It will also meet the needs of experienced genealogists, who may need new genetic connections to their ancestors to help break through dead-ends in their research that historical records alone cannot.

AncestryDNA is now connecting people to ancestors from significant periods of time and from all around the world, including Colonial America, the UK, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Poland, France, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Italy and more. Extending beyond the initial discovery of these ancestors, with a subscription to Ancestry, members can dig into the rich story of those ancestors’ lives through historical documents, photos, and insights from the events that shaped the times in which they lived.

To learn more about the new AncestryDNA experience, visit www.ancestrydna.com.

About Ancestry.com DNA, LLC
About Ancestry.com DNA, LLC. AncestryDNA is owned and operated by Ancestry.com DNA, LLC, a subsidiary of Ancestry.com LLC. AncestryDNA uses a simple test to analyze an individual’s DNA. AncestryDNA offers the potential of identifying new insights into people’s ancient ancestry to help them collaborate with distant cousins and make even more discoveries in their family history. For more information visit www.ancestrydna.com.

Ancestry Launches Enhanced DNA Matching & the beta for DNA Circles

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This morning, Ancestry launched their new, enhanced DNA matching and the beta for DNA Circles, the new name for what was DNA match groups.

I went on Ancestry and checked out my matches. My DNA matches are few because all Ancestry has in their database from me is data from collection that was done by Sorenson Molecular at a genealogy conference many years ago. However, there are still 60 matches, for 3rd cousins and higher. In scrolling down through the matches, scanning surnames, as well as pedigree charts, I’ve spotted some exciting matches that will dramatically expand my research, as well as for those folks I will be corresponding with. I’m going to need 36 hour days from now on.

According to Ancestry, “All AncestryDNA customers who had their results prior to today will have their updated DNA matches available on the site… What really makes our new matching algorithms powerful is how we have improved the process of phasing with having the database size to cross compare and take a deeper dive into the new discoveries we are making.”

Diving deeper? Yes, I have to agree…

AncestryDNA Upgrades the Methods Used for Cousin Matches

The following teaser was posted on the Ancestry.com blog on August 1. Very interesting… I’ve always felt that DNA matches were often VERY overmatched… Now I know why. Overmatching is evident throughout all populations, but is most pronounced for those with Jewish and hispanic ancestry it seems.

AncestryDNA customers with significant Jewish ancestry have witnessed the challenges that we and other genetic genealogy testing companies have faced when predicting genetic relatives. Most Jewish customers find that we predict them to be related to nearly every other Jewish customer in the database! So while we all know that the cousin matches for Jewish and some Hispanic customers were over-estimates, detecting which cousin matches were real and which ones were bogus has always been a challenge for these populations.

The AncestryDNA science team has been unsatisfied with the cousin matches we have delivered to many of our customers and as part of our continued commitment to bring innovative genomics to you, we are pleased and proud to tell you that we have found the first solution to the “overmatching” experienced by Jewish, Hispanic and other customers.

Read the full blog post.

AncestryDNA Advances Exploration of African American Ethnic Origins by Coupling Genetic Science With Historical Records

The following news release was written by Ancestry.com staff and distributed via Marketwired News Releases:

PROVO, UT — (Marketwired) — 02/26/14 — Thanks to cutting-edge genetic science from AncestryDNA, African Americans are now able to make new discoveries about their ethnic origins, learning about the people and cultures that have been a part of their ancestral heritage for centuries. With test takers on average having at least three and a half regions in Africa as part of their genetic ethnicity estimate, African Americans are learning more about their own ancestral “melting pot.”

Using state-of-the-art technology developed by the dynamic team of genetic scientists at AncestryDNA, people of African descent are able to identify their ethnicity beyond just a continent. Instead, the AncestryDNA test provides a detailed and personalized estimate of genetic ethnicity for 26 regions across the globe. These 26 regions include a total of 9 African regions, of which 6 different countries/regions are within Western Africa: Benin/Togo, Cameroon/Congo, Ivory/Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal.

“Through the expanded capabilities of AncestryDNA, African Americans can learn more about the many regions that are part of their ancestral lineage. No longer do they have to be content with the blanket ethnicity of African,” said Dr. Ken Chahine, Senior Vice President and General Manager of AncestryDNA. “AncestryDNA is connecting customers of African descent to the people and cultures that are part of their heritage, and that can be a really exciting discovery for those whose family history journeys have been cut short or unrevealing through records alone.”

Additionally, Ancestry.com has collected, preserved, digitized and indexed one of the most comprehensive collections of historical records online relating to the African American community. The records, which include Freedman Bank Records, US Federal Censuses, The California African-American “Who’s Who” and others are extensive, historically-rich and encapsulate the history of African Americans in the country.

Now through the end of February, Ancestry.com is offering a comprehensive package for African American discovery that includes the AncestryDNA test and one-month free access to all U.S. record collections on Ancestry.com, including the African American records. Available at a price of $99, this great offer provides personalized DNA results as well as access to more than 10 billion records, photos and images.

For more information about the resources available on Ancestry.com, or to start uncovering your own African roots, please visit www.ancestry.com/AfricanAmerican.

AncestryDNA’s Autosomal DNA Test – Don’t by Scared Off From It.

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Writing at The Genetic Genealogist, Blayne Bettinger, tells us why we shouldn’t let anyone talk us out of using AncestryDNA’s autosomal DNA test…

The following teaser is from Bettinger’s blog:

Many genetic genealogists, myself included, have had incredible success using AncestryDNA’s autosomal DNA test. Personally, several of my own major DNA discoveries have occurred though the service. Unfortunately, it has become popular among some genetic genealogists to deride AncestryDNA’s autosomal DNA test, and some recommend avoiding the service altogether.

Read the full article.