The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation is a major "player" in the field of genealogy DNA. The non-profit foundation and its commercial "cousin," Relative Genetics, have been mentioned in this newsletter many times. A newer commercial enterprise of the foundation, Sorenson Genomics, entered into a partnership with Ancestry.com in June with the promise of letting people some day trace distant cousins through DNA at the click of a mouse.
Now USA Today has written an article about the founder of these and other companies, 86-year-old James LeVoy Sorenson. You can read the article at http://www.usatoday.com/money/companies/management/2007-07-01-sorenson_N.htm?csp=34.
I met Jim Sorenson a couple of times and received an impression similar to that described by the author of USA Today's article.
Sorenson was a baby in the depression years, when his parents moved from Idaho to live in a tar-papered converted chicken coop in Yuba City, California. There the elder Sorenson dug sewer lines for a living. James Sorenson was an undiagnosed dyslexic, labeled "retarded" by his first-grade teacher. After his first day of school at age six, the teacher sent him home with a note saying that the boy was too retarded to teach. Jim Sorenson never attended school again until after his World War II military service, when he signed up at a local junior college. He lasted one semester and dropped out.
When I met Mr. Sorenson, he said that he had two or three jobs after his brief college stint. He was fired from each one. Unemployed, without references, and with essentially no formal education, he could not find another job. As he said, he had "no choice" but to become self-employed. Today, James Sorenson's personal worth is estimated to be higher than that of Donald Trump and Ted Turner combined. Now he is helping genealogists.
You can read my three-year-old article about James LeVoy Sorenson at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2004/08/the_man_behind_.html.