"Then and Now" /A celebration in the Finnish /American Perspective/ "Ennen ja Nyt"/
The Education Program 

DNA and Its Impact on Genealogy

Another FHM Educational presentation

DNA and Its Effects on Genealogy: Geneteaology is a New Term

News Report by Elaine Lillback

Did you ever wish to trace your ancestral heritage back to the very beginnings and wonder who you would find along that developing thread of ancestral creation? That is what the curious mind of Lasse Hiltunen has been doing for many decades. Finding interesting data along the way, now with the aid of DNA data, he presented “The Effects of DNA on Genealogy. Ann Pohto, a fellow teacher in Lake County, introduced his presentation to the Finnish Heritage Museum in Fairport.

Following his basiLassec education in Fairport, Lasse went on to college to major in English and Journalism, and began to teach at Painesville’s Harvey High and Fairport Harding High. After 20years he movedon to continue his educator’s role in Fairport, where he served as the principal of the McKinley Elementary School. He also has been involved in community affairs and clubs. Presently he is involved as the Webmaster of our FHM ( and chairman of our genealogy committee.

Quoting Alex Haley, Lasse stated,“ In all of us is a hunger, bone marrow deep, to know our past.” This hunger has driven Lasse to search not only his own family tree, but that of Jovette, his wife’s, to find her ancestral ties which take her roots to that of Abraham Lincoln and Charlemagne in French history and to Janet Noponen, a museum member.

How do we start? Checking genealogy through records of birth, marriage, death and adoption certificates is a good beginning. The family Bible was a good source with pictures and family names. Letters written and saved can give much information. Diaries and Journals are wonderful sources of information, and photo albums that identify people. Documents showing property titles, education records, Military, business and any other legal papers can be helpful.

Accuracy is all-important! Listening to tales told in the community need to be verified by repetition. Hearing the same story over and over again makes the tale 95% believable. Binding the stories together in a sacred research file, and always consulting sources for accuracy makes for good documentation. Courthouse records can tell many tales. Internet computer programs are helpful in genealogy research. Here you can search by pedigree. Maternal records and a descendancy chart can de-mystify and identify the “most common ancestor” using the DNA of the father’s side. Facts and truth is what is sought.

There are many web sites that offer good tools for family research. neteaology is a new term that implies the combined use of digital/DNA and standard genealogical search.

In 1953 Watson and Crick discovered the marvelous double helix, the basis of DNA. However, it was Austrian monk, Gregory Mendel (1822-1884) who discovered genetic relativity using peas, thus determining recessive and dominant factors. DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid, provides the blueprint that keeps our body running. It is composed of a sugar- phosphate backbone of adenine-thymine, and cytosine- guanine. These chromosomes determine each person’s genetics.

“Genealogy may be the end of nothing, but the start of everything,” commented Lasse in closing.

In other FHM activity, Richard Ohler presented valuable books of Finnish research materials to the FHM library. Kenneth Quiggle presented his family tree in calendar form of the Heitanen family. Their roots to the present are displayed with development from the 1500’s in Finland. Linda McAdams served refreshments.

Elaine Lillback

© Text by Elaine Lillback, © Photo by Jovette Hiltunen


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