Judy G. Russell writes concerning DNA evidence “…there’s a reason why they have names like Theory of Family Relativity (at MyHeritage) or ThruLines (at Ancestry) and not Proof of How We’re Related.” (1)

As Judy explains, critical thinking *must* be part of the mix. ✔️

Critical thinking has always been part of the mix. Adding DNA evidence to paper trail research doesn’t negate the necessity for critical thinking. Computer algorithms should never replace human critical thinking.

After reading about Judy’s recent DNA evidence challenge, I wonder how complicated genetic genealogy will be if posthumous parentage scenarios become commonplace. With sperm banks and frozen eggs, anything is possible. On the other hand, under 10cm represents a very distant relationship. There may be missing records in the paper trail.

There are no “quick clicks” to climbing family trees. That’s why we must continue to take courses that support sound genealogical & DNA research, analysis and writing skills.

We do our level best to arrive at relationship theories, “current thinking” as Cousin Russ calls it.

As other record sets come to light, we compare, contrast, and correlate newly discovered evidence with what we previously concluded about a family relationship. We appropriately assimilate that information, overcoming conflicts, perhaps altering prior conclusions.

Citing the sources of the information we’ve compiled, we confidently move the ball forward. Future generations may review our conclusions, seeing which records we had not considered. They, in turn, move the ball forward.

The goal is to thoughtfully compile accurate lineages with insights wherever possible into the personal lives of our ancestors and their associates.

There’s no point in barking up the wrong tree.

(1) Judy G. Russell, “Just a theory,” The Legal Genealogist (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : posted 21 July 2019).

IMAGE: “Angel Oak Tree Panorama” by Michael, licensed to Pat Richley from Adobe Stock. (https://stock.adobe.com : 21 July 2019.)