A recently published NPR article ponders the connection between DNA and family history and appears to the be the first piece in what could be an intriguing ongoing series.
Writer Alva Noë makes the distinction between genetic, or DNA ancestors and pedigree ancestors, and touches on some important facts and thoughts to consider when it comes to utilizing consumer DNA testing as a tool for exploring one’s genealogy.
Particularly helpful, his article links to the University College London’s page on genetic ancestry testing, which has the most clear explanation of autosomal DNA testing I’ve thus far encountered.
But it’s the notion that with ancestry what’s most important is family, and that family is about relationships and not necessarily genetics, that resonates with me.
I am reminded of a quote introduced to me decades ago by my late Dad which reflected one of his core beliefs:
“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.” – Richard Bach
And I think of my 20-month old son, who will never know either one of his biological grandfathers, but instead has formed a special bond with my stepdad – the man who will always be Grandpa to him. Genes don’t tell the full story of family and sometimes we forget that in pursuit of our lineage.