American Ancestors│NEHGS and the Boston Public Library to Look at “How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are” in a Virtual Event

The following announcement was written by American Ancestors│NEHGS:

Journalist Libby Copeland Talks about The Lost Family Wednesday, May 20, at 6 p.m. EDST in a Virtual Event Series Titled “American Stories, Inspiration Today” Providing History, Inspiration, Intelligence on the American Experience for This Unprecedented At-home Time

Talks Are Free – Online Registration Now Open

May 14, 2020—Boston, Massachusetts—On Wednesday, May 20, at 6:00 p.m. EDST, journalist Libby Copeland will discuss the impact of DNA testing on the American family in a presentation of her new book, The Lost Family: How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are. The evening event will include a conversation with Amy Dockser Marcus, a health and science reporter for the Wall Street Journal, who has reported in depth on the topic.

The Lost Family: How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are by author Libby Copeland.The evening discussion will take place online and free of charge as part of the new series titled “American Stories, Inspiration Today” presented by American Ancestors│New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) in partnership with the Boston Public Library.

“Home DNA testing is changing the lives of millions of Americans right now, and profoundly reshaping the American family,” Copeland says. “It’s doing that on such a scale — with more than 30 million Americans tested — that we’ve reached a tipping point with implications for every- one, whether tested or not. That’s something that we should all be talking about, because it is altering how people think about themselves, the truth and the past,” adds the author.

In The Lost Family, Copeland explores the culture of genealogy buffs, the science of DNA, and the business of companies like Ancestry and 23andMe, all while tracing the story of one woman, her unusual results, and a relentless methodical drive for answers that becomes a thoroughly modern genetic detective story. She delves into the many lives that have been irrevocably changed by home DNA tests, sharing the stories of adoptees who’ve used the tests to find their birth parents; donor-conceived adults who suddenly discover they have more than fifty siblings; some of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who discover their fathers aren’t biologically related to them; and individuals who are left to grapple with their conceptions of race and ethnicity when their true ancestral histories are discovered.

The Lost Family tackles a big, timely topic that must be explored. It is also a cautionary tale which I encourage anyone – everyone – engaged in genetic family research to read,” said series co-producer Margaret Talcott of American Ancestors│NEHGS. “As the book’s review in the New York Times was so aptly headlined, ‘Before You Spit in That Vial, Read This Book.’”

Libby Copeland is an award-winning journalist who has written for the Washington Post, New York magazine, the New York Times, the Atlantic, and many other publications. Copeland was a reporter and editor at the Post for eleven years, has been a media fellow and guest lecturer, and has made numerous appearances on television and radio.

Amy Dockser Marcus is a staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal, covering health and science. She was awarded the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for beat reporting for her coverage of the physical, monetary and emotional costs of cancer. Last year, she wrote a series on how the ubiquity of DNA testing is changing families. Ms. Dockser Marcus has a BA from Harvard University and a master’s degree in bioethics from Harvard Medical School.

Register for this free event at:

More information about the series and authors is available on the websites of the presenting organizations including American Ancestors│NEHGS, WGBH Forum Network, co-presenters and producers, and the Boston Public Library.

Upcoming in the “American Stories, Inspiration Today” series:

Author Honor Moore with OUR REVOLUTION: A Mother and Daughter at Mid-Century—on Monday, June 8, at 6:00 pm EDST. Register:

One Comment

I’m very skeptical that “journalists” or “staff reporters” know enough about genealogical research to be taken seriously by those of us who are doing actual hands on research in the field. I have tons of Virginia county reference books (probate, marriages, land records, county histories, parish histories and vestries and registers) that I would much rather spend my hard-earned dollars on. And, actually, at this time, buying food is more important. 😉


Leave a Reply

Name and email address are required. Your email address will not be published.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <pre> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: