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I know the competition for your attention is fierce. How many Facebook notifications came in even as you read this sentence? Should you keep reading or return to the familiar world of cat videos and political memes? To get you to hang with me, I need to convince you that I have some amount of cred.

First off, I am not a professional genealogist. I am an amateur although a serious one. Since my early days of freely copying ancestors from other trees, I’ve learned the value of starting from a well-documented base and working back from it. I now understand the relative importance that different types of evidence provide. And painfully, I know that using DNA to find your ancestors is not usually the easy breezy task that Ancestry.com makes it appear in its commercials.

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Symmetry

Paper trails are absolutely wonderful, but few trees are perfectly documented generation-by-generation back to antiquity. And even then, the perfect paper trail may not reflect the actual genetic trail. For just about forever now humans have been ineptly practicing monogamy and celibacy before marriage. Those human activities can result in non-paternity events (NPEs). Some of these NPEs are known ahead of time, but others come as surprises.

Genetic testing has made NPEs more apparent while providing tools for resolving them. For me, the fun starts here. Some tools are quite sophisticated. One of the most basic, known as fishing, is about baiting your tree to catch ancestors in your DNA matches net. Sometimes the right fish takes the bait, but beware the scrod when you were casting for cod.

While this preliminary talk may sound dull and boring, it will become more lively in following topics as the research yields surprises, validates some ancestors, but releases impostors back to await the lure of another researcher’s hook.

My general disclaimer is that I am as accurate as I can be at any moment given the amount of information available and the knowledge I have to analyze it. I reserve the right to modify my conclusions due to changes in either of those variables.

So that’s my pitch for your attention. If it worked, please be sure to click the Follow button to be notified of updates to My Blooming Family Tree.

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