Kinsearching March 30, 2008




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     A fascinating and unique work concerning family research is FLEMISH DNA & ANCESTRY: HISTORY OF THREE FAMILIES OVER FIVE CENTURIES USING CONVENTIONAL AND GENETIC GENEALOGY by Guido J. Deboeck. This informative publication documents the story of the DEBOECK (whose surname represents one of the oldest in Flanders), GIRARDIN, and DE ZUTTER families of Belgium. The book, however, is much more than just a case study--it furnishes an in-depth introduction to the use of genetic genealogy.

     After consulting a wide variety of conventional genealogical resources, the author not only constructs a detailed record of three Flemish families but also describes their occupations and the historical background of the places where they resided. Because conventional resources like civil registries, parish registers, and other records can contain wrong data, may be misleading, or no longer exist, Deboeck delved into DNA testing to verify or correct information extracted from written documents. To help readers understand the process, he provides facts about how to take a DNA test, what to expect in terms of results, and how the conclusions can be used to interpret or perhaps solve family puzzles.

     Besides supplying information about the DEBOECK, GIRARDIN, and De ZUTTER families, the author covers an assortment of other topics associated with them. These include Flemish immigration to the U. S., especially in the 19th and 20th centuries; the history of embroidery, lace-making, and beer brewing; and the Flanders-Flemish DNA project. By joining these subjects with the genealogical study of his ancestors, Deboeck has produced a book that will benefit many of the more than one million Americans with Flemish roots. Since the publication integrates the findings of conventional genealogical research with results of DNA tests, it will also be of interest to family researchers in general.

     While parts of Deboeck's volume may provide more details about genetic genealogy than some people want to know, anyone seeking an in-depth explanation of how DNA testing works will be well-informed after reading the material. Expertly-written, the work is an excellent example of how to blend history and science into a riveting family epic. Breaking new ground in genealogical literature, FLEMISH DNA & ANCESTRY: HISTORY OF THREE FAMILIES OVER FIVE CENTURIES USING CONVENTIONAL AND GENETIC GENEALOGY sets a high standard for other researchers to follow.

     In addition to a foreword and a preface, the 371-page hardback has numerous interesting and helpful maps, tables, charts, and footnotes, as well as photographs of people, places, and objects. Following the epilogue are five "annexes," which deal with a variety of subjects ranging from branches of the DEBOECK family tree to surface measures and land prices to information on the ancestors and descendants of Leopold I, the first king of Belgium. Particularly useful are a glossary of terms associated with DNA and a roster of websites pertaining to genetic genealogy, genomics, and conventional genealogy, especially those dealing with Belgian family research. The six-page bibliography lists works devoted to history as well as genetic and conventional genealogy. Names of people, places, and subjects appear in separate indexes.

     To the book's price of $45.00, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $4.00 for one book and $2.00 for each additional copy; for UPS, the cost is $6.00 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. FLEMISH DNA & ANCESTRY (item order #1406) may be purchased by check, MasterCard, or Visa from Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211 (for phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website

     The growing popularity of DNA tests is the focus of Nancy Shute's article, "A High-Tech Family Tree." Appearing on pages 41-43 of the January 14, 2008, issue of U. S. News & World Report, the interesting piece discusses the use of genetics on social networking websites, risks to privacy, and reasons why DNA analyses can be erroneous.

     Debbie Harper has resumed being the editor of The Bates Booster, the official publication of the organization, The Bates Family of Old Virginia. If you have a BATES line and are not already a member, you may want to send in your $20 dues for 2008. The annual membership fee includes a subscription to the quarterly newsletter.

     Each issue contains various family histories, free queries from subscribers, and family photographs. Featured in the February 2008 issue are articles about the search for the origin of John BATES (1598 - 1666), immigrant to Virginia; Frances BURNETT, born about 1778 in VA and died in 1856 in GA, who married John BATES; the life and papers of Frederick BATES, son of Thomas Fleming BATES and Caroline Matilda WOODSON; and a biographical sketch of Robert Hicks BATES (1911-2007) of Exeter, NH.

     In addition, the periodical carries updated reports about the on-going DNA study of male Bates volunteers. One of the latest results connects Julius BATES, born in 1780 in South Carolina, to Sir Geofrey Bates of Wales, who died a few years ago.

     Checks for dues, payable to The Bates Family of Old Virginia, may be sent to Debbie Harper, editor, P. O. Box 2640, Glen Rose, TX 76043. Genealogists may also want to check out the society's website at http://www.BFOOV.ORG.

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