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DNA and family names

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  • Martin Votruba
    A few people trace their roots imagining that all with the same family name must be ultimately related. The current issue of Newsweek has a cautionary
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 5, 2006
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      A few people trace their roots imagining that all with the same family
      name must be ultimately related. The current issue of Newsweek has a
      cautionary paragraph about that fantasy:

      [...] genetic sleuths from as far away as Hawaii gathered for the
      second annual Family Tree DNA conference at National Geographic's
      headquarters [...]

      [...] Megan Smolenyak-Smolenyak said with a smile during a coffee
      break. Her T shirt: genealogy: it's in my DNA.

      For Smolenyak, DNA blew up a family legend. Paper records had her
      believing that every Smolenyak in the world could be traced back to
      one of four families in Osturna, Slovakia. But after testing the DNA
      of individuals in each group, she discovered no genetic connection. "I
      got smacked upside the head," says Smolenyak, co-author of "Trace Your
      Roots With DNA." "I was wrong." It wasn't just family lore that
      interested her: she was dating a Smolenyak at the time (now her
      husband), and it was nice to confirm that she could bury any fear of a
      kissing-cousins nightmare. "As it turns out," she says, "I could not
      have picked a guy more distantly related to me." [...]


      Martin

      votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu
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