DNA Rights and Wrongs: The Ethical Side of Testing

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL
Jan 2, 2019
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3m 17s
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Speaker's Introduction
1m 47s
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11m 44s
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Informed Consent
11m 20s
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Limits on Sharing
5m 10s
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Legal Implications
2m 42s
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Criminal Cases
2m 42s
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Rules Being Developed
4m 55s
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What DNA Cannot Prove
7m 06s
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11m 23s
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Announcements / prizes
6m 06s
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Questions / answers
13m 24s

About this webinar

Whose permission is needed to test a child or an adult unable to consent? Who owns our DNA? What can we disclose about a cousin who has tested? The rules of the road for the ethical challenges facing genealogists interested in using DNA evidence as part of their family history research. Learn the ethical rules that can guide us through many if not most of the situations in which we as genetic genealogists find ourselves.

About the speaker

About the speaker

A genealogist with a law degree, Judy G. Russell is a lecturer, educator and writer who enjoys helping others understand a wide variety of genealogical issues, including the interplay between genealogy and the law. She has a bachelor’s degre
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  1. Legacy Family Tree
    5 years ago

    Exceedingly helpful. Family members were asking my opinion this week, and now I can help answer some of those perplexing questions and send them to the best sources. Thank you very much!

    10/10 – Judy Russell is a star presenter!! So clear, so humourous in her teaching, so brilliant – and can I say, her photo/art clips are unique and fun as well-? This was a marvellous webinar on the ethics of DNA testing, reminding everyone that informed consent is the backbone of all genealogy research/sharing. Cheers.

    5++++. Powerful! When Judy presents, it is always worth listening! Thanks!

    A big WOW!

    A lot of detail. A lot of things to think about. A lot of things to do or go back and do.

    A real eye opener listened intensely and will watch this one again.

    Absolutely Amazing! She has to be the best! So much knowledge! I am still on the fence to do dna, would like my siblings to do also, but not sure they want to.

    Absolutely Amazing. Thank You!

    All new but absolutely important to know. Plan to watch again as some things have to sink in and permission forms needs to be explored and gotten. Loved it!

    always great

    always so informative!

    An excellent analysis of the topic.

    Another great webinar from Judy Russell!

    Another wonderful presentation by Judy Russell on a very important topic.

    As always, Judy delivered an extremely informative webinar. I’ve tested and had several relatives test nearly 3 years ago. I now know I need to go back and get the verbal consent from them in writing as well as a designated beneficiary form.

    As always, Judy is absolutely top-notch!! Thanks so much for making this presentation available. Fantastic handout, too!

    As always… a tremendous webinar from Judy Russell! Interesting, informative and entertaining!!

    Awesome webinar, so much information and a huge thank you for the web site to download the consent form.


    Best instructor

    Best webinar I attended. Will repeat one viewer’s comment that this should be required viewing for anyone taking a DNA test. Will add that the concept of consent should be encouraged for anyone sharing (individually or posting online) any of their or others’ genealogical information.

    Best yet

    Brilliant webinar with lots of great advice for moving forward in DNA Testing.

    Clarified what is needed for future DNA requests and for ones I had already requested. A must of all who test.

    Clear video and audio, excellent content.

    Critical topic, thanks for presenting!

    Enjoyed another topic by Judy Russell

    Essential information, clearly presented. Judy Russell is THE BEST!


    Excellent – as usual!

    excellent as always from Judy Russell

    Excellent coverage of the legal aspects of DNA research. Thanks

    excellent example on twins and bone marrow.

    Excellent explanations, helpful syllabus. Great webinar.

    Excellent information every DNA Kit Manager or DNA Mentor needs to know and implement.

    Excellent information. Rewatch in order

    Excellent presentation on a very important subject. Thank you.

    Excellent presentation, never tire of hearing Judy speak, syllabus very useful. Thank you

    Excellent topic and Judy was great!

    Excellent webinar! Judy is always fantastic & this was no exception. Thanks to Judy, Geoff & Legacy for providing the info.

    Excellent! Great food for thought.

    excellent, as always. Thank you, Judy!

    Excellent, as are all of Judy’s webinars.

    Excellent, thorough, covered difficult topics in an easy-to-understand way and with compassion

    excellent, timely and highly informative.

    Excellent. I’ve been reading Blaine’s workbook, following on his FB page and reading online updates, but there were things she discussed that enlightened me! Awesome. Thanks.

    Excellent – eye opening

    Eye opening information!

    Fabulous webinar. The topic was covered in a very clear and entire manner. The presenter, Judy Russell, was brilliant as always.


  2. Legacy Family Tree
    5 years ago

    Top-notch presentation by Judy as always. Thanks for simplifying a complicated subject.

    Twoo days into 2019 and two webinars attended. What a way to start the new year. Thanks.

    very detailed and informative. thank you

    Very Good

    Very good seminar!

    Very good webinar, good insights revealed.

    very informative

    Very informative and thought provoking. Love Judy Russell

    Very informative and very well put together to understand for the average person Thank you

    very informative!

    Very informative.

    Very interesting

    VERY interesting and informative!

    Very interesting and learned a lot

    Very interesting discussion and use of examples really brings home the issues we need to consider.

    Very interesting topic and I would welcome anything Judy G. Russell presented.

    Very timely and critical information.

    Very timely, great presentation, well worth my time. Keep up the excellent work.

    Very useful and informative

    well explained content

    Well presented as usual.

    Wish there was a higher number! Judy Russell is fantastic!!!!


    Wonderful webinar!!!!
    Wonderull webinar!

    WOW!!! Abolutely great. Can’t wait to see her next month here in Sun City West, AZ.

    Wow, Wow, Wow!!!!! So many aspects to this I would have never thought of. Will make me think a lot before asking anyone.

  3. Legacy Family Tree
    5 years ago

    Judy is one of my favorite presenters. I will watch her even on topics that are less interesting to me. She’s very clear, concise and engaging.

    Judy is the best!!! This is so timely

    Judy Russell articulated the ethical and legal issues and the implications very well. Excellent program.

    Judy Russell is a fantastic presenter. Spices up her lectures with knowledge and humor. Will definitely look at some of her other webinars.

    Judy Russell is a fantastic speaker and always provides great amounts of information in the allotted time.

    Judy Russell is a ROCK STAR! She has so much to share with us and is a fascinating speaker!!!!!!!! Thank you very much!

    Judy Russell totally rocks! I really appreciated her calm, clear, concise rundown of the ethics we must consider when testing. That she also shared the great resources on her site and Blaine Bettinger’s site (with credits to Debbie Parker Wayne) was the frosting on the cake. Best webinar yet… and I’ve seen a lot!

    Judy uses her law background well. She offers both sides of an issue to show how bad consequences may happen with revealing secrets. We all need to heighten our ethical mores to be sensitive to those consequences. Great webinar!

    Judy was fabulous, as per her usual! She is an engaging and informative speaker who knows how to get her information across to a wide variety of people. And thank you for this topic!

    Judy was great, as always!

    Judy’s presentations are amazing: clear, focused, interesting, useful, and entertaining!

    Judy’s webinars are always excellent and I always learn so much from her! Thanks again!

    Judy’s webinars are always informative and interesting.

    Judy’s webinars are always super informative!

    Just great! Learned lots

    Just the best!!

    Just wonderful!

    Learned so much!!

    Learned so much, so easily!

    lots of great information!

    Love Judy Russell!

    Love Judy Russell. She never disappoints.

    Ms Russell was very easy to understand, both through her speaking voice and the manner in which she presented the subject material about the legalities of DNA testing.

    My first Family Tree Webinar — very impressive. I always learn something new, sometimes surprising, from Judy. Am looking forward to more webinars here throughout 2019.

    My rating is a 20!

    Nicely organized. Excellent speaker. Thanks!

    Nobody can do a better job than Judy Russell of explaining a complicated subject in a way that makes it perfectly clear and simple.

    Outstanding! I never miss one of Judy’s webinars. She explains everything so well and in an interesting way!

    She’s absolutely my #1 for Webinars and Blogs.

    She’s the best 🙂

    So much great information!

    So very helpful and thanks for great handout!

    Some very important concepts that some of us had not considered. Very informative and well presented by Judy who knows “how” to make such a legal presentation in an interesting way.

    Sorry I had to leave early- had visitors staying who needed breakfast. Content was very clear- especially glad for the info around informed consent.

    Spectaclarly helpful and a gripping presentation. Thanks a lot.

    Such a strong, knowledgeable guest speaker. Congrats.


    Super informative and gives me lots of room for further thought. Wonderful!

    Super Wednesday when Judy Russell speaks

    Superb webinar from Judy — if I could, would rate it an 11!

    Terrific and I need to watch it again to catch what I missed the first time!

    Thankful for this resource and for Judy’s clear explanations.


    The legal implications of a fun adventure into the past can be very complicated. I will proceed with research for friends much more carefully now.

    This is one webinar I will listen to repeatedly. Jam-packed with important information that needs to be reviewed and understood. Judy is a wonder!

    This ought to be made free to all for all time.

    This was a Wow! Judy was informative, clear, and succinct.

    This was one of the best and most needed Webinars I have seen. Thank you!

    thorough but clear and very understandable. Thanks!

    Thought provoking. Well done.

  4. Legacy Family Tree
    5 years ago

    Fantastic information.

    Fantastic webinar. Judy’s webinars are always great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Fantastic webinar…and I have not even tested! But found this informative for the day when/if I do decide to test.

    gives one a lot to think about.

    Glad to hear about all the solutions near the end of the webinar. Thanks for all the useful information and links. Would love a similar webinar covering the situation in the UK and Ireland next time.

    Good info, thanks!

    good information

    Good information and well presented.

    Great info on DNA ethics and find with some humor, as always and appreciated. Thank you.

    Great information from Judy. I had no idea that the Consent Forms were so involved and so important. I will be reading them very carefully when and if I decide to have my DNA tested.

    Great information well presented! Thank you!

    Great information. Thanks.

    Great job. Clear and concise!

    Great presentation. Lots to think about.

    Great start to 2019!

    Great Webinar! Thanks!


    great, thanks for the info Judy.

    Great, up-to-date info. Thank you!

    I enjoy Judy Russell’s webinars & speaking engagements! She is so very knowledgeable. Great webinar today & so easy to understand! Thank you!

    I have a few family members that have had concerns about doing their own tests and this has given me the tools I need to share in order to help them decide. Thank you for such an informative webinar.

    I learned so much, you are a wonderful presenter!!!!! I shared this with many people.

    I love Judy Russell!

    I missed most of this webinar due to unforeseen circumstances, but I caught the end of it. Just that little bit answering questions about “consent to additional testing” was great! Now I’m anxious to listen to the recording! We are really so fortunate to have a Judy Russell in the genealogical community! Especially right now with constant changes in what we can do with our DNA results, new ways to analyze the data, and the legal ramifications of uploading to these new websites.Thx so much!

    I really enjoyed the seminar today and learned a lot from it. I can apply these into my own family research and others that I am researching. Thank you

    I thought it was really helpful about the issue of informed consent, especially reading the terms of service, something I’ve been remiss about. I will go back and get my uncle to actually sign a consent form and discuss beneficiary information.

    I thought it was very informative, amazing regarding the twin and bone marrow info…thank you

    If I could, I’d give Judy Russell a ten. This is one of best webinars Legacy has presented. Thanks.

    I’m new at DNA so was very helpful going forward. Thanks.

    Incredibly informative and Judy is a wonderful presenter. Thank you for this.


    It’s always a good thing to have Judy’s practical and realistic insight on any topic; especially this one.

    I’ve attended most of Judy’s webinars. This was another great one!

    Juddy is always great but this was super special.

    Judy always has the most informative webinars. However this one was so timely it rates above the rest because so many are both testing and sharing with abandon while not taking into consideration the legal and ethical ideas that are and were there all the time.

    Judy always knows what to say to convey the message clearly. Thanks.

    Judy always shares great information!

    Judy explains things so very succinctly!

    Judy gave all of us much to think about. I was a very early tester, and fortunately only asked one cousin to test. Guess I’ll have to send him the forms.

    Judy has an amazing way of giving detailed legal type into in a way that makes it clear (and interesting) to the lay person!

    Judy is always a wonderful presenter and this time was no exception.

    Judy is always amazing and funny. Such clear explanations we can all understand.

    Judy is always excellent. This webinar should be made available far and wide – the story needs to be told, and retold. Nobody does it better than Judy!

    Judy is always great! Please keep having her back.

    Judy is ALWAYS great!!!

    Judy is always outstanding!

    Judy is always so informative and real.

    Judy is ALWAYS wonderful!

    Judy is an extraordinary instructor! She has a gift 🙂

    Judy is extremely well-informed on legal and ethical topics and presents her information in a vibrant and thought-provoking way that never gets old, no matter how many times I hear her. Thanks for the quality of Legacy Family Tree Webinars!


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