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Can DNA help track ancestors?

By Staff
National Geographic thinks so
By Lydia Grimes-Forgotten Trails
This week I have been looking at some websites and thought you might be interested in checking some of them out.
The first one is nationalgeographic.com Now if you are wondering what this would have with genealogy, well, so did I. One of my coworkers, Mary-Allison Lancaster, told me about it. She said it was a DNA study to determine who were one's first ancestors came from. It is called the Genographic Project, "a five-year effort to understand the human journey-where we came from and how we got to where we live today." It is sponsored by The National Geographic Society, IBM, geneticist Spencer Wells and the Waitt Family Foundation.
You may go online and order a kit which will allow you to take a swab of the inside of your mouth and send it in to be traced. You get the results by going back to the website and using a password to access your information.
This may tell a lot about the genes of your ancestors, don't get the idea that it will be able to tell you who your ancestors are by name or even where certain ancestors lived.
The project will be able to trace migration patterns but those involved believe that time is short. With more and more populations merging, this information is quickly vanishing. So if you are interested, check out the website.
Another website I had some fun with was the one posted by the Latter Day Saints. As I have told you many times, the Latter Day Saints have one of the best collections of genealogical material in the world. It is housed in underground caverns in Salt Lake City and great care has been given to make sure the materials are preserved.
The website is familysearch.org and it has a lot of information. The Library seemed to be a little slow to go online with its vast amount of records. But they have joined the rest of the world and really are putting a lot of stuff out there, making it available for more people.
I am often asked, "How do I start?" This website seems to have gone out of the way to make it as simple as possible to get started. It even has a guide to do step-by-step research and it gives access to a lot of their library files. You can even get the forms you will need to keep track of all the ancestors that you do find. I would recommend it highly.
Another website is the Alabama Department of Archives and History. You will find it at archives.state.al.us This is where the records from all the counties are stored and many of them are now available for access over the internet. Much of the information is not really online but at least you can find out what is available at the Archives in Montgomery.
There are many other useful websites. I would also recommend that you check out trackingyourroots.com The person who maintains the website specializes in this part of the state. Try some of them and see if they are helpful to you.