Lots of people have had more time to focus on genealogy in 2020, so let’s take a look at what’s important. What’s going on and what matters beyond this month or year? How has this industry changed in the last two decades, and where it is going?
In the beginning – twenty years ago, there were two companies who stuck their toes in the consumer DNA testing water – Oxford Ancestors and Family Tree DNA. About the same time, Sorenson Genomics and GeneTree were also entering that space, although Sorenson was a nonprofit. Today, of those, only FamilyTreeDNA remains, having adapted with the changing times – adding more products, testing, and sophistication.
- FamilyTreeDNA (Y DNA, mitochondrial DNA, and autosomal DNA testing) launched in 2000 with Y DNA and mitochondrial. Their Family Finder autosomal test launched in 2010.
- 23andMe (autosomal only) launched in 2007
- Ancestry (autosomal only) launched in 2011
- MyHeritage (autosomal only) launched in 2016
What we desperately need, and I predict will happen one way or another is a marriage of individual tools and functions that exist separately today, with a dash of innovation. We need tools that will move beyond confirming existing ancestors – and will be able to identify ancestors through our DNA.