Does Your DNA Research Lack Focus? Check out the DNA Discovery Plan from Legacy Tree Genealogists
Are you overwhelmed with DNA testing results and all the options now available in terms of taking your genealogy research to the next step? Me too. In addition, even though I’ve attended many webinars and classes, and spent money on DNA books, I know I need a kick in the pants when it comes to actually doing something with the DNA results.
Recently I had the opportunity to take the DNA Discovery Plan offered by Legacy Tree Genealogists for a test drive and here are my results and my impressions. Overall, I think that Legacy Tree Genealogists offers a great service for genealogy and family history researchers who have test their own DNA (or that of a family member). Especially if you are at a point where you don’t know a) how to incorporate the DNA test results into your research and b) you are wondering how to expand your research based on the DNA results.
Here is how the DNA Discovery Plan is described on the Legacy Tree Genealogists website:
DNA DISCOVERY PLAN US $350 ($100/hr): Preliminary assessment of your DNA test results (test not included) and development of a detailed research plan including recommendations for additional testing/research to meet your goal(s). Digital results only. Completed 2-3 weeks after test results are received.
The DNA Discovery Plan Process
Many times when I use any service (for genealogy research or any process I want to outsource and not do myself), I’m always curious as to the workflow process. Why is this important? First, I want to know what I’m getting for my money and to see if it really is saving me time and/or money. Second, I want to make sure that the process is at least similar to what I would perform on my own, and hopefully that process is better in terms of efficiency and results quality.
I spoke with Amber Brown, Marketing Manager for Legacy Tree Genealogists, and here are the insights she offered as to the process employed. Keep in mind, this process is not just for the DNA Discovery service, but is typical of all the quality work performed by Legacy Tree Genealogists:
- Query is submitted on website for consultation.
- Sales team member will respond to query within one (1) business day, first by telephone. If there is no answer, a voice mail will be left and an email will be sent.
- During the call, a representative will ask for the research goal, what previous research they have already done, and will make recommendations on the most appropriate project for the client’s needs.
- After order has been placed, the client will receive an email with a link to complete our New Client Checklist and to provide their background information.
- A Project Manager will be assigned to the client. The Project Manager will be the point-of-contact for the client throughout the project, and will facilitate coordinating the necessary researcher(s).
- After the New Client Checklist has been completed, the Project Manager will contact the client via email (unless phone contact has been requested) within two (2) business days to help set concise project goal, review submitted information and ensure any additional information is communicated.
- Once the project goal(s) have been determined, the Project Manager will match the project with the best researcher(s) and ensure they have everything they need to begin research.
- The client will receive periodic automatic updates as the project moves from the queue into research, into editing, etc.
- Our highly experienced researchers work on the client’s goals and write up a report on their findings. The Project Manager will work with the researchers to overcome any obstacles or complications that may arise, such as dealing with difficult onsite research situations.
- The Project Manager will send an update to the client when the researchers complete their analysis then the project is put through our rigorous peer review process where we double-check for accuracy and professionalism. This process is unique to Legacy Tree and provides our clients with a polished product instead of a rough draft.
- After the peer review, the Project Manager also reviews the project to confirm one final time that it appropriately addresses the client’s goals.
- Finally, the project receives a third and final review and then is uploaded to a private webpage for the client. It is printed, put into one of our beautiful custom binders, and shipped to the client.
- The Project Manager will follow-up with each client after receiving their project.
This list certainly made me confident in using the DNA Discovery Plan service! I could see that it was thorough, but here is an important factor: you must provide as much information as needed, especially when requested from the case manager. Legacy Tree Genealogists contacted me several times to make sure they had access to all my DNA test results and matching sites. There’s no way I should be disappointed with results based on a lack of information if I had access to such data and many opportunities to provide it.
The DNA Hype and Who Should You Trust?
Right now, and I’m about to get on my soap box, there is so much hype and attention being paid to DNA tests, that the genealogy field is ripe for opportunists who just want to hop on the bandwagon and make a quick buck. I can tell you that this is NOT the case with the folks at Legacy Tree Genealogists. Every team member is invested in making sure you find success with your DNA test results and that you are happy with the results of the DNA Discovery Plan. Legacy Tree Genealogists realizes that you may decide to continue your DNA research on your own OR you may contract with them for a research project. I just want to make clear that the DNA Project Plan is not a “teaser” product so that you’ll purchase a more expensive product or service.
So What Did I Learn about My DNA Results?
Let me first say that I was impressed with the professionalism of the Legacy Tree Genealogists team members, and the thoroughness of the digital report. Here is the goal as stated from the report:
Analyze the client’s DNA results and create a plan to identify the parents of Gustave Henneberg who died 15 August 1942 in Queens, New York.
The report then recommended various strategies to expand my research and identify the parents of Gustave Henneberg. These include (note: this not a complete list of the recommendations):
- Perform additional document-based research. This is a great recommendation especially for new genealogists who may not have followed the “reasonably exhaustive search” mantra. This recommendation is based on the known information I had provided to Legacy Tree Genealogists about Gustave Henneberg.
- Transfer Test Results to Family Tree DNA. The process looks for “gaps” in terms of where I could have uploaded my existing DNA test data to discover more matches. The Project Manager realized while I had done this for MyHeritage, I had not yet done the full data upload to Family Tree DNA.
- Obtain access to DNA results for known Henneberg relatives who have tested. The Project Manager noted several other sites where I could upload my existing DNA data – like GEDMatch – and look for existing Henneberg relatives.
- Test known descendants from additional children of Gustave Henneberg and Magdalena Zwicker to utilize the shared matches and in common with features of the testing companies. Another smart recommendation and many new to DNA don’t realize that you often need to convince others to test due to how autosomal DNA is inherited especially among cousins.
- Correspond with the client’s closest genetic cousins of each genetic network group. Again, Legacy Tree Genealogists addresses an issue all-too-common in DNA testing and genealogy: the need for those who have tested to upload or build their own family trees. Doing so will result in better information and possibly better matches.
- Construct speculative trees for genetic cousins who decline to collaborate. I’m sure we all know one or more relatives whose spit we need for our research, but they just don’t want to cooperate! The Project Manager has put forth a plan on what to do in case I can’t get others to take a DNA test.
- Identify additional descendants of Gustave Henneberg to test in order to reconstruct his genome using the Lazarus tool at GEDmatch. I had forgotten about the Lazarus tool and how helpful this can be! Again, I like the fact that many of the suggestions by Legacy Tree Genealogists use free tools like GEDMatch already available online. So many other service providers might just try to sell you further research time and not even tell you about free DNA resources.
- Perform Y-DNA testing for a documented direct male line descendant of Gustave Henneberg. While this may seem like a no-brainer, the Project Manager actually took the time to explain: “Gustave had six sons. The client is descended from his son, Richard. Richard also had three sons. The oldest son, Richard Jr., had only one daughter, but other sons Charles and Edward each had two sons. If the client knows any sons still living of Charles or Edward or knows any of their sons, we recommend the client invite them to test at Family Tree DNA beginning with the 37-marker test.”
It’s nice to have a plan for ANYTHING, especially genealogy research. I’ve seen too many of those new to genealogy just wander aimlessly among resources, whether they are Ancestry’s shaky leaves or DNA matching sites. We spend good money when we search for our roots, don’t we? And it adds up after a while, so why not get the most out of the research you’ve already done? That’s why I wanted to use the DNA Discovery Plan from Legacy Tree Genealogists and I’m glad I did.
I have a definite plan with lots of options, many of which won’t cost me any money. And for those options that do cost (like Y-DNA testing), the Project Manager plotted the strategy for me among the descendants of Gustave Henneberg. My next step: distill the recommendations and write them on a note which I will tape to the wall in my genea-cave. This seems to be the only way I get things done lately: to have a “to do” list looking at me all day!
And while some may balk at the price for the DNA Discovery Plan, consider how much of your own time (and money) you would spend to educate yourself on the very complicated topics of DNA and genetic genealogy, attend classes and/or webinars, purchase DNA-related books, and then spend time reviewing DNA matches online.
I recommend using the DNA Discovery Plan to any genealogist who has been putting off utilizing their DNA test results and can’t seem to get organized when it comes to developing a research plan. My next step is to implement many of the recommendations from Legacy Tree Genealogists and then consider contracting more research time with them if needed.
Finally, I can’t emphasize enough the quality of the work product as well as the superior customer service offered by Legacy Tree Genealogists. If DNA is not your thing, you might consider the basic Discovery Plan which is similar but based on research you’ve already performed and not focusing on DNA results.
Click HERE to get started with the DNA Discovery Plan from Legacy Tree Genealogists.
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©2018, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.