Some Views on Supporting Those Looking For Family Members with DNA

>> Sunday, June 28, 2015

Several years ago, a handful of us took on the responsibility of supporting the Adoption Community through forums, tools and education. We carefully put a support structure in place including:

  • DNAadoption Yahoo Group  - where we actively support people trying to analyze DNA results as well as provide community support for the technical and emotional issues that a group like this has.
  • - which provides many how-to documents and resources that range from getting started to advanced search topics
  • Technical Support - mostly through Karin Corbeil who provides support answers for third party software as it applies to our group and for utilities as well as our computing resources.
  • Educational Resources - We have held the first classes on Autosomal DNA analysis and have continued to grow the scope of the classes to include Beginning, Basic and Advanced Autosomal classes, Y classes and classes to help people learn the ins and outs of working with different vendors. We have had 925 students to date, many taking more than one class.
  • Advocacy for the Adoptee - through participation in many online groups
  • A growing Support Resource for Genealogists' Education in DNA analysis
  • A greatly expanded tool set and utilities to facilitate data gathering and analysis mostly by Rob Warthen through DNAGedcom. com including:
    • Download capabilities for FTDNA data through an established API.
    • This includes Chromosome browser files, ICW files, Family Finder matches and the 
    • new ability to download FTDNA tree data to Gworks on DNAGedcom
    • Download capabilities for several 23andme files
    • The ability to process these files for triangulation and ICW status.
    • A utility to accept data from Gedmatch Triangulation Tier 1 utility and the Segment matcher and prepare it so that it can be processed by our triangulation  utilities and compared with data from other sources.
    • The Gworks utility to search data from the matches and to compare it.
    • Providing ADSA utility by Don Worth
    • Providing Jworks by Juan Pizarro
    • Providing Kworks by Kitty Munson Cooper,
    • The ability to compare results from different vendors

You can see that we have put a lot of time and effort into the support infra-structure which has grown to include about 60% non-adoptee genealogists.

Earlier this year, DNAGedcom split into two parts to better support education through a non-profit entity (DNAdoption) and DNAGedcom remained for tools development and support.

This is all supported by monies from classes as well as donations.

So what am I getting to? This is a Pet Peeve of mine. People have taken to opening FaceBook pages to support Adoptees. Unfortunately most of these lack:

  • Support infra structure
  • Support personnel
  • A file structure to adequately support case research.
The typical FaceBook page for Family Searching comes to Karin and I as a statement that a new FaceBook page has been set up and that we are named as administrators on these groups. Most of these groups are really floundering. The people have so little resources and education and are not directed to ones that are available. I feel very sorry for them. The answers that they get from fellow lost souls are atrociously inaccurate. I have come to the conclusion that I cannot take responsibility for everything that comes my way.

I have taken on a personal responsibility to monitor these pages and to answer questions that need answering as they came up. No More.

I noticed that I was not getting any mail stream on Facebook from my family. All the items in my Facebook Feed were from these support pages. I started removing groups from active monitoring by me and lo and behold, I am now getting messages and pictures from my family again.

I have made the personal decision that the person who sets up a Facebook page has a personal responsibility to support the people who use the page and to spend time developing the resources to support it.

FaceBook is a very poor forum for working these cases any way. It also does not have a good structure for Help Desk type support.

So I will be continuing to provide answers and support to the DNAadoption classes, to the DNAadoption yahoogroup, to the Unknown fathers group and to those who personally seek my help as well as for the time being to the DNA-Newbie Facebook users who seem particularly to need my help. This leaves me a little more time to research issues, write classes and answer class questions and to keep the infrastructure of DNAadoption up to date.

This is fair warning, please do not set  up a new Family Finding or DNA research Facebook page and expect me to be an administrator. It is not going to happen.

To those who have chosen the Facebook interface over the yahoogroup interface and all the support people and resources that are in place, think about the quality of the information that you get and go to the places that can really give you the support that you need and deserve.

There are a couple and I would really limit it to a handful of decent Support assistance Facebook pages, but research the help resources that you are asking for. Do not increase your personal frustration level by joining unsupported Facebook groups. Like it or not, the number of people who can help you is severely limited, be picky about the support level you get. If you are joining a Facebook page because of the social experience, that is one thing. Think about the type of support you need and go where it is.



Karin Corbeil June 28, 2015 at 9:30 AM  

We all wish there were more Search Angels and many more hours in the day to help and support those adoptees who are searching, whether it be a traditional search or a DNA search. Diane is right.....quantity of Facebook groups is not quality. Thanks Diane for saying it like it is.

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