The last time I wished I were an 11-year-old boy was — well, never.Â Â But right now, Iâ€™d like to swap places with one.Â Why?Â Free DNA testing.Â Iâ€™m not kidding.
In one of the more unusual arrangements Iâ€™ve heard of, free Y-DNA testing is being offered for active Boys Scouts of America.Â To learn more, go to ScoutMedia (http://www.scoutmedia.org/) and click on the â€œfree DNA/genealogy testâ€ link toward the upper, left-hand corner.Â There youâ€™ll be taken to a page explaining the SMGF/BSA Participation Special.Â Itâ€™s a multi-step process, but will save the usual $100-$230 for a mid-range test (that is, one with 20-some-odd markers).
The SMGF referenced above is the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation.Â To receive a free test, it is necessary to first participate in the SMGF study.Â This kit can be ordered via the website and must be submitted with four or more generations of oneâ€™s family tree.Â Once the kit is received back by the lab, a coupon will be emailed.Â With coupon in hand, you can then call Relative Genetics at 1-800-956-9362 to request a free test.Â If youâ€™d rather not submit a sample and pedigree to SMGF, thereâ€™s an option to order a kit at a steeply discounted $95 — still a good price.
Are you a ScoutMaster?
While this is a great bargain for individual Boy Scouts, it could be even more intriguing if entire troops joined the world of genetic genealogy.Â A little snooping around the internet reveals that 5,714 genealogy merit badges were awarded in 2004 â€“ and 177,121 have been awarded in total.Â In 2004, that puts genealogy roughly on a par with skiing, skating, salesmanship, railroading, bird study, collection, home repairs and radio.Â Not bad company — but it pales in comparison to woodwork and archery, both of which were completed by more than ten times as many Scouts.Â
Perhaps a 21st century dash of science would enhance the appeal to todayâ€™s Scouts.Â Forensics is wildly popular with students — largely because of DNA — so why not introduce genetics into the genealogy arena?Â Itâ€™s true the requirements for the genealogy merit badge (http://usscouts.org/mb/mb056.html) are mum on the topic of DNA, but what a great way to provoke interest.Â Especially when itâ€™s free!
Jump In Today!
If youâ€™re a ScoutMaster or a Boy Scout or simply know someone who is, please spread the word soon because itâ€™s hard to say how long this offer will last.Â And should you decide to take advantage of this special arrangement, Iâ€™d like to hear from you.Â Your experiences may well be of interest to other Scouts and ScoutMasters, so Iâ€™ll try to share them in a future article.Â In the meantime, enjoy your adventures in the world of â€œgenetealogyâ€!
Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, co-author (with Ann Turner) of Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree (as well as In Search of Our Ancestors, Honoring Our Ancestors and They Came to America), can be contacted through www.genetealogy.com and www.honoringourancestors.com.Â
Upcoming Events Where Megan Will Be Speaking:Upcoming Events Where Megan Will Be Speaking:Upcoming Events Where Megan Will Be Speaking:Upcoming Events Where Megan Will Be Speaking:Upcoming Events Where Megan Will Be Speaking:Upcoming Events Where Megan Will Be Speaking:Upcoming Events Where Megan Will Be Speaking:
Upcoming Events Where Megan Will Be Speaking:
- Burlington County Genealogy Club
(April 5, 2006, Westampton, NJ)
- Genealogy Federation of Long Island
(April 8, 2006, Stony Brook, NY)
- Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia
(April 10, 2006, Elkins Park, PA)
- Virginia Genealogical Society
(April 22, 2006, Location TBD)
- Rockland County Genealogical Society
(May 6, 2006, New City, New York)
- Roots in the Boot
(July 15, 2006, Pittsburgh, PA)