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Forensic Magazine February 28, 2024: The Emotional Impact of Working in Investigative Genetic Genealogy

My friend Jarrett Ross recently posted a video on his YouTube channel Geneavlogger titled, “Why I Quit Investigative Genetic Genealogy”, which describes his journey working as an investigative genetic genealogist and lists his reasons for leaving the field. I was surprised to learn that anyone would voluntarily leave a position in IGG because paid work for practitioners is so sought after. When I viewed the video, however, I could see why someone would make the decision to move on – and recognized some commonalities that I believe are experienced by many IGG practitioners. Jarrett describes the seepage of his IGG career into his personal life – causing fatigue, exhaustion and preventing him from pursuing other passions. 

Jarrett also describes how exciting it was to narrow down leads and help to solve cases of violent crime and unidentified human remains. The thrill of the chase is what draws so many to the field, and the satisfaction of helping bring justice to victims of violent crime is the icing on the cake. With that said, there are some enormous drawbacks to working in IGG, and it is worth examining them before making a decision to jump into this career.

The stories are harrowing

IGG practitioners are tasked with generating investigative leads in some of the most grisly violent crimes imaginable. While our “need to know” is the bare minimum, we are often subject to learning the details of the crimes we are researching, and they can be haunting. It is common for IGG practitioners to express affinity with victims and their families, and traumatic stress, and fear for their personal safety and security – all related to working violent crime cases. more

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