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Extreme Genealogy with DNA Tests


You’ve heard of extreme sports, this is extreme genealogy – and a recent news story on Fox News reported the bizarre but growing phenomenon. It followed amateur genealogist, Lee Drew, who has spent his spare time playing detective uncovering his extremely extensive family tree. Where the paper trail went dead, he used DNA tests to uncover relations.

DNA Tests and Computer Packages

There’s a whole host of tools that have made mapping out your family tree easier then ever before – computer programmes and DNA tests mean the world can come to your living room. Before, the trail to uncover your family tree often meant trips to remote churches to check marriage, birth and death registries. But New Yorker Lee Drew is showing how things have changed. Before these tests and the invention of the internet, the kind of research Drew has done would have been impossible. As it is, he hasn’t relied on microfilm, old newspaper archives or dusty archives to locate his distant family.

Tests offered Online

When he was interviewed in his home office in America, a dozen or so cousins from around the world joined him online. He’s found so many relatives that he now has a database to keep track of them – astonishingly the number of relatives he has found so far number 1.7 million. It sounds like a lot of work, but computer programmes, DNA tests and other modern tools mean it’s actually quite an easy task to accomplish.

Tests Confirm Bizarre Facts

DNA tests are now confirming some bizarre facts such as the black civil rights activist being related to white slave owners, or BNP members having black ancestry. The fact that Lee Drew has unearthed 1.7 million relatives speaks volumes about the diversity of our genealogy and make-up. Major genealogy websites and bioscience firms offering tests have led to people discovering they are related to royalty, whether they are distant cousins of Butch Cassidy or if they’re descended from Genghis Khan.

All of this can be done from the comfort of your home – Google Books means there are university library collections now online, bioscience companies can send you DNA tests at the click of a button and websites are dedicated to genealogy databases, all making the search for your own ancestry an easy step-by-step process.

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