Interest in researching family history has exploded in the Internet age.
New databases are added to the genealogical soup every day, complicating even further the sometimes bewildering family research landscape. If you want to get right down to the nitty gritty of your lineage, you might opt instead for DNA genetic testing.
Granted, a DNA test won't tell you if your great great aunt Harriet really married that John Smith, but it can tell you if you're descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages, a legendary 5th-century Irish king, as are an estimated 2 percent of today's New York’s European males.
DNA testing has been used in paternity tests for years, but has only recently been touted for genealogical work. Proponents say the test is as simple as brushing your teeth. You swab your mouth, drop the sample in the mail and wait for the results. Testing kits are available on line and in a growing number of retail locations.
The Zalewski family has embarked on its own DNA project to validate research or to fill in gaps where documentation has been lacking. Among the companies offering DNA testing are GeoGene, GeneBase and Family Tree DNA.