If you donated a blood or saliva sample and a filled-in pedigree chart at a genealogical conference or seminar during the past few years — thanks. You did us all a favor by contributing to the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) genetic-genealogy database. The nonprofit SMGF <www.smgf.org> aims to collect DNA samples and family trees from 100,000 people worldwide. Its researchers are using the test results to create a comprehensive database of genetic (Y-chromosome, mtDNA and autosomal DNA) and genealogical data they say will be a truly revolutionary tool for roots seekers. For privacy's sake, the database includes genealogical information only of ancestors born prior to 1900. So far, about 50,000 people have contributed their DNA and family data.
You already can search the SMGF site for Y-DNA matches by entering your test results in the foundation's Web site. An mtDNA database looms in the not-too-distant future. In time, SMGF says you'll be able to query the database for family information gleaned from more-meaningful autosomal DNA test results. It might be possible to learn, for example, that people of your genetic makeup were heavily concentrated in Finland in 1850, in Illinois in 1900 and so forth.