Ancestry remains hot button hobby
Is there royalty in your family?
A tiny percent that just might justify displaying some lofty family crest or a photo of some king or queen that you can boast about being a distant, distant..., distant relative.
That mystery continues to spur interest in genealogy and DNA research. Hannah Scholze is the museum services associate at the Monroe County Local History Room in Sparta. Scholze, a genealogist, is a self proclaimed 'history geek' who admits, "I love my microfilm machine," she says with a grin.
Scholze hosted a genealogy workshop Tuesday night at the Tomah Area Historical Museum. It was sponsored by the Monroe, Juneau, Jackson Counties Genealogy Workshop, Inc. Approximately 25 people attended to learn some tips on genealogy/ancestry research.'
"The hot topic now is DNA," Scholze said. "More people want to know their (family) history."
There are no shortages of resources, Scholze said. But finding those that are legitimate is important, she adds. Scholze credits her grandmother for what has become an important part of her profession.
"I fell in love with genealogy because of my grandmother when I was 8-years-old," Scholze said, recalling significant chunks of time in libraries studying the past.
The current pace of technology has made it much easier to chart genealogy. Leading DNA testing companies include Ancestry.com, 23andMe.com, FamilyTreeDNA.com, MyHeritage.com and LivingDNA.com. All have upsides and downsides. DMA test kits generally cost around $100. Scholze suggests waiting until Black Friday holiday sales when prices dip to around $50 if people want to make the investment.
There are online third party DNA analysis tools that include GedMatch Genesis, DNAGedcom.com, DNAPainter.com or Kitty Cooper's Chromosome Mapper.
Countless tools exist and she concedes people overwhelm themselves with ancestry research.
"People can become lost in the research component," Scholze said.
But web sites and software along does not solve ancestry mysteries.
"We are detectives as genealogists," Scholze said. "DNA will not provide a family tree. It is a piece of the puzzle, not the whole box. There is still leg work to do. You have to walk through cemeteries."
Genealogy research will not become stagnant. There will continue to be advances in analysis tools along with other refinements. New professional standards for genealogists exist to ensure credibility.
Scholze is always interested to answer questions for anyone in their search for family history. Stop by the Monroe County Local History Room or call 269-8680.