We who are fully immersed in the mikvah that is genetic genealogy like to say that DNA is the hottest topic in genealogy today. I have certainly said so. After RootsTech, I am sure it is not.
Furthermore, though it certainly should be, I think I understand why it isn't and what in fact is. And how those two things are connected.
Those willing to discuss DNA testing thought it pointless - something that never really produces anything useful. I would cite results and revelations from my own experience and from those of others and to some passers-by I must have seemed like I was selling DNA tests rather than a book about DNA analysis.
Here I had bought our own hype and was expecting the general genealogy public to be - if not quite as enthusiastic as we were - at least intrigued by the potential and willing to look at what genetics might do for them. After all, these folks had defined themselves as more than beginners just by showing up.
Many of these folks were in the sixty-plus cohort and the idea that the results would come when the tests and the analytical tools improve and the database expands did not impress them, especially if they are on a fixed retirement-income.
What did interest them? The other big thing that was all around us. The story-telling. The products that would help them translate their genealogy work into a medium that would appeal to the younger generation. Not the next generation of genealogists, but their personal next generations who were not likely to continue the research, but who might want to see what Grampa has been working at all these years. The products that would suggest how their work might be presented and help them get it done.
So this is really two sides of the same coin. People see DNA as something really far into the future and would rather concentrate on bringing their own work into that future rather than just laying the groundwork for what some research heir might or might not be interested in doing. As an analyst, I am not sure what I can do besides bringing my own experience and learned lessons to encourage and inspire, but it seems to me that the testing companies should be targeting this market before it passes on. And those of us who recognize the importance of getting the older generation into the database, all the moreso. It's our communal heritage.
Story-telling and genetic testing can both be the hottest topics in our conversation.