The Lost Family: How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are


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Date(s) - May 22, 2022
11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Libby Copeland

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JGSLA invites you to our next meeting

at 11 AM

The Lost Family: How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are

Sunday  May 22nd, 2022  at 11 AM
Note that this is at a different time than usual for our programs
Pacific Time (US & Canada)

HERE is the link to the recorded meeting 

You swab your cheek or spit into a vial, then send it away to a lab somewhere. Weeks later you get a report that might tell you where your ancestors came from or if you carry certain genetic risks. Or the report could reveal a long-buried family secret and upend your entire sense of identity.

In The Lost Family, journalist Libby Copeland investigates what happens when we embark on a vast social experiment. 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.

The Lost Family delves into the many lives that have been irrevocably changed by home DNA testing. There are the adoptees who’ve used the tests to find their birth parents; donor-conceived adults who suddenly discover they have more than fifty siblings; hundreds of thousands of Americans who discover their fathers aren’t biologically related to them, a phenomenon so common it is known as a “non-paternity event”; and individuals who are left to grapple with their conceptions of race and ethnicity when their true ancestral histories are discovered. Copeland raises the question of how much our genes should get to tell us about who we are. With more than thirty million people having undergone home DNA testing, the answer to that question is more important than ever.  Gripping and masterfully told, The Lost Family is a spectacular book on a big, timely subject.

The Lost Family recently came out in paperback and is available in all formats wherever books are sold and loaned, including at Amazon and Bookshop.
Special offer for JGS members:
Signed copies of the book can be purchased through The Village Bookstore in Pleasantville, NY, and shipped across the U.S. (Attention: Jennifer Kohn, 914-769-8322).  For more stories on DNA and genealogy, plus special offers, please sign up for Libby’s newsletter at

Libby Copeland is an award-winning journalist and author who writes from New York about culture and science.
As a freelance journalist, she writes for such media outlets as The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Atlantic and Smithsonian Magazine.
Her book, The Lost Family: How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are, recently out in paperback, explores the
rapidly evolving phenomenon of home DNA testing, its implications for how we think about
family and ourselves, and its ramifications for American culture broadly.
The Wall Street Journal says it’s “a fascinating account of lives dramatically affected by genetic
The New York Times writes, “Before You Spit in That Vial, Read This Book.”
The Washington Post says The Lost Family “reads like an Agatha Christie mystery” and “wrestles with some of the biggest questions in life: Who are we? What is family? Are we defined by nature, nurture or both?” It was named to The Guardian’s list of The Best Books of 2020.


There will be no physical location so the JGSLA Traveling Library and Mentors Corner will NOT be available for this meeting.

JGSLA MEMBERS FREE – NO CHARGE FOR GUESTS, ALL ARE WELCOME, members, please share the ZOOM link with folks you know.