How DNA Tests Shape Our Idea of Family – An Interview with Libby Copeland: Episode 136

By Family Tree Editors

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This month Lisa interviews author Libby Copeland on her new book The Lost Family and discusses how consumer DNA tests are changing the way we think of family relationships. Plus: a look at the reliability of DNA, free DNA websites and more.

Ep. 136: April 2020

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In this episode:

Tree Talk (1:35)

Listener and author Barb Baltrinic shares her DNA story. You can find her book Maternal Failure on Amazon.

Share your story of discovery and you may just hear it here on the Family Tree Magazine podcast! Email your story to:

Feature Interview with Author Libby Copeland (3:09)

Lisa talks with award-winning journalist Libby Copeland about her new book, The Lost Family (Abrams Press). This book focuses on the impact of consumer DNA tests on our families and explores the question: How much our genes should get to tell us about who we are?

The Lost Family by Libby Copeland
The Lost Family (Abrams Press; March 3, 2020; U.S. $27.00; Hardcover) about DNA and its impact on genealogy and society.

Sponsor Spotlight: Tag That Photo (14:07)

This episode was brought to you by Tag That Photo, an AI facial recognition technology that enhances identifying family members when archiving photo catalogs. It’s a great resource to speed along your photo organizing as you tell your Family Tree story. Lisa’s guest is April Ganong of Tag That Photo. You can learn more by visiting their website at

DNA Deconstructed: The Reliability of DNA (22:00)

In this month’s DNA Deconstructed segment, Your DNA Guide, Diahan Southard joins Lisa to answer one of the most fundamental and commonly asked questions about DNA: How reliable is it?

For more information, check out Diahan’s article below!

Best Genealogy Websites: Top Free Websites for Research (29:46)

We’re all familiar with the websites and companies that offer DNA testing, but there are many other related sites you can turn to after you get your results. Genetic genealogists Blaine Bettinger shares some of the best websites for maximizing your testing dollars and getting the most useful genealogical information out of your results!

Websites mentioned in this interview:

For more free DNA resources online, check out Blaine’s article below!

Your Host: Lisa Louise Cooke

Listen to Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems Podcast in your favorite podcasting app or with the Genealogy Gems Podcast app in your app store, and visit her website for great research ideas, podcast episodes and videos.

Have fun climbing your family tree!

Lisa Louise Cooke, host of the Family Tree Magazine podcast. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for site to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to affiliated websites.