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# Thursday, June 17, 2010
4 Genealogical Questions You Always Wanted to Ask ...
Posted by Diane

While hosting the Family Tree Magazine Podcast, Lisa Louise Cooke has discovered answers to some burning genealogical questions. She shares them in this post:
 
As I continue my trek down Family Tree Magazine Podcast memory lane, I’m struck by how many talented and knowledgeable people I’ve had the good fortune to interview. Even better, I get to ask those questions that are on all of our minds:
  • How did the DeadFred photo-reunion website get its name? 

  • Can you get copies of materials from the Library of Congress (LOC) without being there in person? 

  • If I get my DNA tested, does that mean the FBI can look at my profile and compare it to criminal cases?

  • How many DNA markers should I have tested?
Inquiring minds want to know, and on the Family Tree Magazine Podcast, I do my best every month to find out!
 
In the July 2009 podcast episode, DeadFred.com founder Joe Bott spilled the beans behind that wacky website name. “Sometimes you need a hook to get people’s attention!” he said. He came up with the name while looking at an old photograph of the deceased Frederick the Great, King of Prussia.

That catchy name coined back in 1998 has lured thousands of people to post their mystery photographs, resulting in over 1,500 photos being reunited with their families in the past 10 years. Bottom line: DeadFred works! (Learn more about online photo sharing in our Photo Sharing 101 webinar recording.)
 
The question about getting copies of LOC materials was front and center in my mind after I heard James Sweeny, an LOC reference services librarian for 20-plus years, reveal some impressive stats:
  • The LOC is the largest library in the world.

  • It has more than 60,000 genealogies from around the world.

  • It has 20 million cataloged books.

  • Its unmatched US city directory collection covers 1,200 cities, towns and counties across the country.

  • The library building  has 20 reading rooms.
In the September 2009 podcast episode, Sweeny encourages listeners to check out the LOC website and use the “Ask the Librarian” feature. It turns out that staff will make a limited number of complimentary (yes, free!) copies and mail them to you. This is great when you need to check a book's index or look up a surname in a hard-to-find city directory. If you need a lot of copies, you can arrange the service for a fee without ever leaving home. 
 
Another little-known fact about the LOC's mostly non-circulating collection:  Many of its genealogies and local histories are also available on microfilm, which does circulate to your local library. Again, check the online catalog and ask a librarian for more information.
 
And finally, Dusty Rhoades of DNA testing service and social networking site GeneTree answers that nagging question about DNA testing and criminal cases in the November 2009 podcast episode.
 
“Genealogy DNA testing can’t tie you to the scene of a crime,” says Rhoades. That's because genetic genealogy tests and forensic DNA tests look at different parts of the chromosome.
 
Another common question is “how many markers should I test?” Rhoads recommends between 33 and 46. Testing only 12 markers can lead to false positives. And though a connection may appear strong with 33 markers, testing 46 markers may show it’s not as strong as it looks. 
 
And of course, when it comes to DNA, it’s a case of the more the merrier.
“The more people who get involved, the easier it is for us to find you matches” says Rhoades. (Find more genetic genealogy answers in the December 2009 Family Tree Magazine's Complete Guide to Genetic Genealogy.)
 
When it comes to questions, the Family Tree Magazine Podcast has answers!  And because it’s pre-recorded, you can find the answers today and well into the future. Got a burning genealogical question you'd like to hear about in the podcast? E-mail it to us!

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 9:18:43 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]