Sunday, October 31, 2021

'Til the Night Before Thanksgiving


The holiday DNA kit shopping season is already upon us. I spotted sales for 23andMe first, but it wasn't long until followed suit. To be sure, there will be others. And they may disappear just as prematurely as they made their initial appearance.

I realize this is the last day of October, but somehow my mind is still set in summer—or at least only reluctantly placing one foot on autumnal turf. To spring into the winter festivities I am not yet prepared. However, having noticed warnings that mail and delivery services anticipate delayed shipping, I can see the reasoning behind the early arrival of DNA kit shopping ads.

It used to be that I looked forward to the winter DNA sales. That meant more matches sure to come my way by the beginning of the new year. But I had to snicker at finding a recent article this weekend characterizing DNA testing as all the rage. Not so much now. In fact, my DNA match numbers dropped off once the conversation about privacy in the face of the Golden State Killer case surfaced.

Still, I keep focused on building out my trees to include descendants of my ancestors' collateral lines. Is it any surprise that I've now got 26,723 individual profiles in my family tree? True, my research goal from the beginning of this month through the end of the year was to focus on my father's ancestors, so it's to be expected that the past two weeks brought an increase in that tree of 167 individuals. But even on my in-laws' tree, just reviewing new DNA matches can prompt the building out of another branch; witness the 324 individuals loaded into that tree, just from identifying some DNA matches in the past two week. That tree now stands at 23,962.

With each passing two-week period, I barely see new matches added to either my test or those of my husband's family members now, no matter which testing company I look at. Numbers at Ancestry DNA dribble in—only two new matches for me and five for my husband in this biweekly count, not much different than it's been over the past year. Family Tree DNA garners a bit more, approaching ten for each of us in the past two week period. Don't expect those numbers to jump much, even with the holiday hype.

For holiday shoppers who still would like to try their hand at exploring their family history via genetic genealogy—or at least get a glimpse at the latest guess about their ethnicity—don't blink. I hope some of them turn out to be my family's distant cousins. However, while the holiday sales I've seen have begun early, they'll apparently wrap up just as prematurely. The offer, for instance, is good through midnight eastern time on the night before Thanksgiving, not Christmas. Even high-tech gifts can sometimes experience old-fashioned shipping delays.

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