If not, you probably didn’t realize that you signed over the rights to your DNA to Ancestry, not only for the rest of your life, but they continue to hold those rights after you die.
According to its privacy policies, Ancestry.com takes ownership of your DNA forever. Your ownership of your DNA, on the other hand, is limited in years. (1)
Ancestry DNA promises to use the latest autosomal testing techology to analyze your DNA and help identify relationships with unknown relatives through a dynamic list of DNA matches. Part of your DNA is identical to your relatives. When they identify your relatives’ DNA, they are also collecting bits and pieces of your DNA. So even if you haven’t had your DNA tested through Ancestry, they may already have enough bits and pieces of your DNA to identify you from other relative’s results.
Also because of the process your DNA goes through during the testing, they hold more parts of your DNA than they reveal to you in your test results.
Genetic Data is broader than just the results delivered to you when you use the AncestryDNA test and includes a range of DNA markers such as those associated with your health or other conditions.” In short, Ancestry.com holds genetic data that reveals your health and other conditions.(2)
If you look deep within the Terms of Service, under the Informed Consent section, you will read this warning from Ancestry:
It is possible that information about you or a genetic relative could be revealed, such as that you or a relative are carriers of a particular disease. That information could be used by insurers to deny you insurance coverage, by law enforcement agencies to identify you or your relatives, and in some places, the data could be used by employers to deny employment.
The author calls this a “massive red flag.” Think it doesn’t really make any difference? That it’s hype about the future? It’s already happened to people who’ve had insurance cancelled due to health problems in relatives, which were found by accessing DNA information. The Medical Information Bureau (MIB) used a lady’s broad Ancestry consent to access medical information about her father, through his doctor, a doctor she had never had contact with.
The article these quotes are taken from is available to read at Think Progress. They note at the bottom of the article, “This piece was originally published on the author’s own Medium page and has been republished on ThinkProgress with his permission.”
The old caveat, “Buyer beware,” is still true. But now it involves far deeper problems and goes into territory we haven’t explored yet. Yes, part of it is still theoretical. But it brings up some thought provoking issues we don’t realize when we spit and send it in for analysis.
If you’ve had your DNA tested through Ancestry, how do you feel about this?
RootsTech is coming up next week. You know this if you registered for it. But if you’re not attending, or haven’t heard about it, their live streaming schedule has been released.
Check this webpage for their schedule, which includes some very interesting topics:
- Getting Started in Genealogy
- DNA: The Glue That Holds Families Together
- DNA Matching on MyHeritage
- Jewish Genealogy: Where to Look and What’s Available
- Family History Is Anything but Boring
- Mothers, Daughters, Wives: tracing Female Lines
- Censational Census Strategies
- Big 4: Comparing Ancestry, findmypast, FamilySearch, and MyHeritage
- Cross the Atlantic with Religious Records
- Journaling Principles That Work
- Don’t Just Be a Searcher, Be a Researcher
- Creating Google Alerts for Your Genealogy
For more info about the speakers and general sessions that are streamed live, go to the RootsTech 2017 Live Streaming Schedule webpage.
Perhaps you’ve heard this idea before. A few years ago I read “the dash” poem by Linda Ellis:
For that dash represents all the time
that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
know what that little line is worth.
Think of a tombstone. And the birth and death date on that marker. What’s between them? A dash, of course. Those of us who do family history spend an inordinate amount of time figuring out a lot of dashes for our ancestors.
But what about your life? Have you spent much time documenting “your dash”?
Earlier this week on Family Search’s blog there was a post entitled, Define Your Dash: Start Writing Your Personal History with the #52Stories Project. They wondered if most people have given much thought to what their legacy will be. Then they challenge people to reflect on their lives, collect their thoughts and make sense of their experiences.
There are benefits. It’s therapeutic. Patterns can emerge. It could reveal a sense of purpose and control in your life. It should provide gratitude. You may find a stronger sense of self. And it could even make you happy (happier!) and more successful in your daily life.
No matter which reason may prompt you to begin this journey, go read the blog post. And see if it doesn’t inspire you to start a journal, or a weekly blog post. Or check out the #52Stories Project on Instagram (@FamilySearch) and the FamilySearch Facebook Page.
Lest it seem too difficult, insurmountable, or you suffer from but what will I write about-itis, let me say it’s divided into manageable bites. Twelve themes with 12 different questions under each theme.
As the Family Search blog post says:
Your Story Matters
Start filling in the details of your dash now, while you’re still in the middle. Discover the power of shaping your own personal history, strengthening family bonds, and yes, leaving a legacy.
“A life that is not documented is a life that within a generation or two will largely be lost to memory,” said Dennis B. Neuenschwander in a 1999 LDS general conference address. “What a tragedy this can be in the history of a family. Knowledge of our ancestors shapes us and instills within us values that give direction and meaning to our lives.”
What have you got to lose?
Better yet, what do those who come after you have to gain?
~from BYUtv's show, The Generations Project: Graham. As Olympic snowboarder Graham reaches the end of his career, he looks to his ancestors for an example of selfless living to help him overcome his selfish habits.
Or “Avoid Being Overwhelmed By Your Genealogy Research”
Has this ever happened to you? You all of a sudden have so much information, or perhaps records and paperwork, you become overwhelmed and don’t know what to do? Or don’t know what to work on first? One thing I’ve never figured out is why genealogical information comes in spurts – sometimes pretty heavy spurts!
Since I started my research about eight years ago, a lot more information has come online. What I collect in paper now isn’t nearly as much as what I collected then. I muddled through a system that worked for me back then. Now I scan whatever little paperwork I receive and file it in my computer (which is backed up online) and add it to my trees online.
The reason I started this post is because it’s one of the articles in the weekly Legacy News I receive via email. Whether you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by your research, or you’re a pretty savvy organizer, it’s a good article full of great tips.
Halloween’s coming up, so here’s a quote that’s kind of related to the holiday:
Yesterday I received an Historical Society renewal notice. I’ve been a member for several years. In the past, the benefits outweighed the cost of the membership. However since I renewed last year, they’ve increased their prices by half again as much.
I like the benefits that come with membership. But now I’m questioning whether that chunk out of the budget could be used towards genealogy in a better way. I used to belong to a several genealogy groups. One membership lapsed a couple years ago. They weren’t as diligent about reminding their members of upcoming renewals but they did remind me a few times. The other one I let lapse over 5 years ago, and they never did send a renewal notice.
These groups need members and money to continue to exist. But if I don’t feel like I’m getting my money’s worth, I tend to look elsewhere to use my genealogy budget.
An older friend of mine used to say, “If you ain’t got the time, you better have the money. If you ain’t got the money, you better have time.” Currently there’s more time than money in my genealogy budget. And it’s easier to attend a webinar than drive a ways to a meeting, which may or may not be pertinent to my research.
I am curious about others though. Are you a lone researcher? Or do you belong to some societies? Or are you a mover and shaker in some groups? What societies or groups do you belong to? Who has helped you? Or are you a philanthropic member of societies?
[mee-rah-bil-i-ah; English mir-uh–bil-ee-uh]
plural noun, Latin.
1. marvels; miracles. 1)
Every once in a while in your genealogy research, you run across something that surprises you, or almost astonishes you. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it makes you sit up and take notice.
What I’m talking about is when you find something, and you didn’t really have much to do with finding that something. For example, a few months ago I visited a cemetery to take a photo of a tombstone. The baby was born and died the same day. I had researched it on Find-A-Grave, but what I didn’t check was the size of the cemetery. She was buried in that cemetery according to her death certificate, but she wasn’t listed on Find-A-Grave.
When I arrived it was much bigger than I thought it would be, even tho it was way out in the middle of nowhere. The weather wasn’t very suitable for tromping around in a cemetery for a couple hours trying to find her. There was heavy rain and I had no umbrella. So without even thinking about it, these whispered words came out of my mouth as I turned into the cemetery, “Marie, if you want me to find your burial spot, you’re going to have to help me.”
I turned into the first drive (there was more than one), and slowly drove along as I studied the tombstones for their age. She died almost 20 years ago, so I knew it had to be in a newer section of the cemetery. Where I turned in appeared quite old, so I headed towards the back. I kept going until I came to the end of that drive, and choose to turn left (I could have turned right as well, or turned at any of the other drives I passed). Now I’m driving slowly, looking left and right, trying to read names, but not being able to focus on them very well due to all the rain on the car windows.
Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a stone on the right, and somehow, even tho it was it flat on the ground and 4 rows away, I thought I saw a Precious Moments baby angel on the memorial. I stopped the car, jumped out and ran over to check. Sure enough. It was her! I was ecstatic to think in less than a minute I had found her.
After I had taken a few pictures of the tombstone, I realized no one had decorated her grave. I had thought about this possibility a few days beforehand, but in my rush to get there, I’d forgotten to get some flowers. The fact that this little baby girl had no decorations on her grave saddened me. It almost seemed like that fact meant her life didn’t matter. And her life DID matter.
I glanced around, trying to think what I could do. I noticed a ways back, there were little purple flowers blooming under a fence by a corn field. I ran over to see how easy it would be to dig one up and place it in front of her grave. It really was just a wild flower, which I was sure would continue to grow if it was mowed down. Many of the other tombstones had them blooming around them. I checked in my car, and sure enough, I still had the little shovel I had used on my g-grandfather’s grave a few days previous. So I grabbed the mini-shovel, dug up a plant, and planted it in front of her grave. I was sure with all the rain we were getting, the little plant wouldn’t have any trouble growing. Then I grabbed a quick pic of her tombstone with the flowering plant in front of it.
My feet were drenched, my shirt was soaked, and I squished when I sat down in my car! But my small accomplishment gave me such happiness to know that there was something by her grave to let her know that someone was there, and cared about her brief life.
Call it serendipitous, a miracle, or an accident, things like this happen every once in a while. What confirmed it for me was the next day, the word mirabilia, appeared in my word of the day app.
Coincidental? Perhaps not!
1)mirabilia. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/mirabilia (accessed: October 19, 2016).
2) info blurred to protect her living family members