Israel based online genealogy company MyHeritage has announced a pro-bono (voluntarily and without payment) initiative called DNA Quest to help adoptees reunite with their biological families through DNA testing.
Ther company giving out 15,000 MyHeritage DNA kits, worth more than one million dollars, for free, with free shipping, prioritizing people that are not able to afford the service. The offer currently is open only to U.S. residents regarding adoptions that took place in the U.S.
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More than 7 million Americans are adopted, and many are searching for their biological parents or siblings.
Formal adoption evidence is often unavailable or difficult to acquire, and research can be frustrating, time-consuming and costly.
This search is time-sensitive. Every year some adoptees are missing the chance to reunite with their family because relatives have passed away.
MyHeritage genetic genealogy gives hope to open new doors in the search for relatives and reunions can sometimes happen in the blink of an eye: all it takes is a single match.
Founded in 2003 by CEO Gilad Japhet, MyHeritage enables users to create family trees, and search through historical documents such as census, immigration, marriage and burial records, and also through newspaper articles. According to the company, its service is available in 42 languages, and its website has over 40 million family trees and 2.9 billion profiles.
MyHeritage uses a few matching techniques. It could be cross-referencing family trees with other family trees and historical records. It uses global name translation, which enables users to search for names in records that are in other languages.
The advisory board for the project includes Susan Friel-Williams, vice president of the American Adoption Congress, and Blaine Bettinger, author of The Genetic Genealogist blog and a lawyer who also has a doctorate in molecular biology.
Applications for participation in the project can be submitted until April 30, 2018, and chosen participants can expect their results around July.
In a statement CEO Gilad Japhet said: “We have a company culture of using our resources and technology for the greater good. In this spirit, we’ve initiated several significant pro bono projects, such as returning looted assets from WWII to their rightful owners and documenting family histories and traditions of tribal peoples who lack access to modern technology. DNA Quest is a natural extension of these efforts.”
The project’s advisory board includes other professional notables, such as Susan Friel-Williams, vice president of the American Adoption Congress, and Blaine Bettinger, author of The Genetic Genealogist blog, a lawyer who also has a doctorate in molecular biology.
Applications for participation in the project can be submitted at DNAQuest.org through April 30, 2018. Results are expected around July.
CeCe Moore, founder of DNA Detectives, a popular Facebook group that connects volunteers with genetic genealogy and searching experience with people searching for their biological family said: “Few things are more fulfilling than a life-changing adoptee-family reunion. I’m very excited to be a member of the DNA Quest advisory board and look forward to assisting participants in finding the lost loved ones for whom they are yearning.”