08 August 2008

DNA: Genetic cousins

The use of DNA as a new tool for Jewish genealogy research was the subject of a Windy Citizen Internet newsroom story here.
When a North suburban Jewish genealogy group began encouraging its members to undergo DNA tests to search for family connections, Mike Karsen said he did it because he's the group's president.

Karsen, who has been researching his family's history since the mid-1990s, traced his roots to Eastern Europe. But his cheek swab solved a mystery for another man whose only known background was in the southern United States.

Jack Kane, a Wisconsin computer programmer, completed the DNA test two years ago. His father, Gordon, was abandoned as a toddler in a New York City office building in 1926 and later adopted. Gordon Kane, now 82, had no information about his biological family until Jack made a strong match with Karsen two months ago.
The story addresses online genealogy research, quotes the 2006 Pew Internet and American Life Project which indicated some 25% of Internet users had researched their family history online, and that JewishGen.org is searched some 40,000 times per month. Other topics: growth of online research, Family Tree DNA, and more.

President of the JGS of Illinois (founded in 1981), Karsen says his group is growing and trying to build a "virtual society" by offering online services to people elsewhere with Chicago Jewish roots.

Although the group is still growing (some 250 members), it isn't expanding as quickly as it could be, Karsen said. The society is trying to build a "virtual society" by offering online services to people across the country with Chicago Jewish roots. Its research library and monthly meetings are at Temple Beth Israel in Skokie.

The hook for the story, of course, is the 28th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, which will take place in Chicago from August 17-22; some 650 people are expected.

Do read the entire story at the link above.

I found it amusing that one tag for this story is "geneology," although the word is spelled correctly throughout the story.

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