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Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree Paperback – October 7, 2004
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About the Author
Megan Smolenyak has been an avid genealogist for more than three decades and is an expert at family history research. The lead researcher for the PBS Ancestors series, she is a contributing editor for Heritage Quest and the author of Honoring Our Ancestors, In Search of Our Ancestors, and They Came to America. She currently resides in Williamsburg, VA.
Ann Turner was hooked on genealogy when she learned that her parents' ancestors had arrived in the United States on the same ship yet went their separate ways until her parents met 300 years later. She works at home, writing computer software and composing messages for the popular Genealogy-DNA mailing list. She currently resides in Menlo Park, California.
More About the Author
A popular writer, speaker and TV guest, Megan has appeared on Good Morning America, the Today Show, the Early Show, CNN, NPR and BBC. In addition to consulting on shows ranging from Who Do You Think You Are? to Top Chef, she is the author of six books, a Huffington Post contributor, a cold case researcher for the Army, NCIS and the FBI, and former Chief Family Historian and spokesperson for Ancestry.com.
Her most recent books are Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing and Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History, companion guide to the TV series.
Megan's "greatest hits" include the following:
* Discovering Michelle Obama's roots, as featured on the front page of The New York Times
* Celebrity roots as featured on assorted TV shows (e.g., Martha Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Brooke Shields, Cory Booker, Susan Sarandon, Emmitt Smith, Richard Blais, etc.) and in her writings (e.g., Betty White, Katy Perry, Joe Biden, Beyonce, Julia Roberts, Jon Hamm, Josh Groban, Pink, Prince, Jon Stewart, Bruno Mars, etc.)
* Tracing Barack Obama's roots to Moneygall, Co. Offaly, Ireland
* Providing 14 years of forensic consulting to the U.S. Army to locate thousands of family members of soldiers still unaccounted for from WWI, WWII, Korea and Southeast Asia
* Correcting history by revealing the true story of Annie Moore, the first immigrant through Ellis Island, as featured on the front page of The New York Times
* Using her sleuthing skills to help coroners and medical examiners locate the next of kin for unclaimed persons
* Supporting more than 150 genealogical initiatives through her Seton Shields Genealogy Grants Program
Kind words about Megan's work:
"Megan Smolenyak is a master storyteller who brings personal history to life." -- Cheryl Richardson, New York Times best-selling author of The Art of Extreme Self-Care, Take Time for Your Life and more
"Megan Smolenyak ... is the guru ... - the beginning, the middle, and the end of genealogy. And like all good gurus, she inspires the rest of us to find our own roots, to keep digging until we know our own story." -- Pam Grout, New York Times best-selling author of E-Squared, E-Cubed and more
"Megan is a gifted roots detective who uncovers the past through meticulous research." -- Patricia Harty, Editor/Co-Founder, Irish America Magazine
"The stories in In Search of Our Ancestors are touching and personal. Each one reveals the three S's that are at the heart of researching our family roots: surprise, serendipity, and secrets." -- Lisa See, New York Times best-selling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love and more
"Megan . . . is, hands down, America's greatest genealogist." -- Andrew Carroll, editor of the New York Times bestsellers War Letters and Behind the Lines
"The Indiana Jones of genealogy...Megan Smolenyak is a national treasure." -- Buzzy Jackson, author of Shaking the Family Tree
"Megan Smolenyak is the genealogist's genealogist - the go-to person for building your family tree and solving stubborn historical mysteries." -- Dr. Spencer Wells, Director of the Genographic Project, National Geographic
"Megan can find the living as well as the dead - and she has the skills to do it quickly." -- Leland & Patty Meitzler, genealogyblog.com
"Thank you for taking the time to lay out our family map... You're practically family. You certainly know more about us than we do." -- Stephen Colbert
"Megan is a genealogist's dream, a forensic investigator who can also tell a great story." -- Sam Roberts, The New York Times
"Megan is a blessing to cold-case detectives and a master genealogist." -- Julie M. Haney, special agent, NCIS Cold Case Homicide Unit
You can find Megan online at the following sites:
* MeganSmolenyak.com (http://www.megansmolenyak.com)
* Honoring Our Ancestors (http://honoringourancestors.com)
* Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/megan-smolenyak-smolenyak)
* Twitter (http://twitter.com/megansmolenyak)
* Facebook (http://facebook.com/smolenyak)
* LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/megansmolenyak)
Top Customer Reviews
Co-author Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak (no, that's not a typo!) has been an eager genealogist for more than thirty years, is an authority on family history research, and was the lead researcher for the Ancestors series on PBS. She is also a contributing editor for "Heritage Quest" and the author of a number of books related to genealogy and ancestor historiography. The other co-author, Ann Turner, became interested in genealogy when she learned that her parents' ancestors had arrived in the United States on the same ship, yet went their separate ways until her parents met 300 years later. That sort of coincidence would also have piqued my interest in my family history if I knew something like that about my parents. Sometimes facts are really stranger than fiction.
"Trace Your Roots with DNA" is not really for leisure reading, but it does contain very valuable information for those who want to use the new DNA tests for help in tracing their family ancestry.Read more ›
Some people make a life's work of tracing their family roots. I'm not one of those people. But a few years ago, my sister researched our family's immigration on the paternal side and found the account we'd been told our whole lives simply wasn't true. So when I saw this book, I thought it might be interesting. That's exactly what it turned out to be--in spades.
The authors took care to make the book readable to both novices and experienced genealogical researchers. As I have no experience in genealogy, I very much appreciated Part I. It gave me a good background, so I could understand and enjoy the rest of the book. Folks who already knew the basics could skip over Part I, without missing out on something of value to them.
This modular organization of Trace Your Roots is something I want to explain a bit more, by looking for a moment at a different genre. One of my pet peeves with computer books is most of them are either extremely basic throughout so you get bogged down in boring detail, or they are so advanced you just can't move forward. The correct approach is to include a primer on the basics for those who need it, and then write the book as though everyone knows the basics. I was pleased that Trace Your Roots took this approach.
Moving beyond the primer (which addresses genealogy and then genetics), the book takes one subject at a time and explains it in a clear and interesting way with examples and anecdotes.
In Part II, we start with tracing roots along the paternal path. There are two basic reasons for taking this path. The first is biological--the Y chromosome.Read more ›
Professor Bryan Sykes' book The Seven Daughters of Eve was a seminal work. This book focuses on mtDNA (Mitochondrial DNA) that is passed down the maternal line. This book is written in an easy to read style that creates the tone and tenor of a mystery novel. The punch line of this book is that all maternal lines can be traced back to seven theoretic women who lived at different places in the worlds at different times. This book is very light reading and similar to picking up a pop culture magazine. This book is not recommended other than as the most basic introduction to genetic genealogy. It also suffers from it's minimal discussion of paternal DNA testing (Y-chromosome) which is the most popular form of DNA testing today.
Sykes second book "Adam's Curse" discusses the long term de-evolution of the male chromosome. It's a shame that Sykes has stooped to pandering to sensationalistic popular culture instead in more serious genetic research. Sykes made a name for himself in this space, but it seems that this segment of science has passed him by.
Two excellent introductory books were published in 2004 -- "Trace Your Roots with DNA : Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree" by Megan Smolenyak and Ann Turner and "DNA and Family History: How Genetic Testing Can Advance Your Genealogical Research" by Chris Pomery.
In Trace your Roots, Smolenyak, who makes her living as a professional genealogist, branches out into genetics and DNA testing.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I like this book re DNA research. It was well written and gave good suggestions and info.Published 7 days ago by Historybuff
I have only started reading this but so far it is interesting and informative. Seems to be good for beginners like me.Published 18 days ago by R A.
Helped me understand some of the DNA results I have. I'm sure it will continue being helpful when I get further into the results and what they mean on the 2 DNA tests I have done... Read morePublished 22 days ago by Amazon Customer
I'm just starting to delve into this book... have been working on my family tree for several years and am hoping this book will help shed some light in areas where I've hit a brick... Read morePublished 3 months ago by DPowers
No problems here. Am enjoying the reading. Truman NicholasPublished 6 months ago by Truman Nicholas
This book explains all the types of DNA and DNA tests very well in understandable terms. It also covers which companies offer which tests, setting up or joining DNA Projects and... Read morePublished 7 months ago by G. W. Hanson
Just what I needed to read to help understand the basics of DNA testing.Published 8 months ago by Linda Kuzak