DNA Testing and Ancestry

Three "23 and Me" DNA sampling kits

For Nosha, femme_makita, cw, yes.

Happy weekend my friends!

DNA by Nathan Siemers, on Flickr. CC Image, Some rights reserved
Three "23 and Me" DNA sampling kits For Nosha, femme_makita, cw, yes. Happy weekend my friends!
DNA by Nathan Siemers, on Flickr. CC Image, Some rights reserved

In this modern age, science is lending a helping hand to genealogical research. Sites like 23andme, Family Tree DNA, and Ancestry.com offer a service to people who can pay for it—DNA testing. While the main draw of this service is to find out your ethnic ancestry, there is a secondary use for your results. Based on your results and the results of others, these sites give you the opportunity to find possible relatives—usually close cousins.

The process is simple: send away for a testing kit, swab your cheek or spit into the collection tube, mail your sample back to the testing facility, and wait for your results. Once your sample has been received and processed, you will get an email letting you know that your results are in. At this point, not only will you be able to read all about what your DNA says about you, you will be able to connect with others who share at least some part of your ancestry.

23andme separates people into different haplogroups based on relatability. If someone is in the same haplogroup as you, you’ll get an email letting you know that you have relatives to find. This DNA service compares your sample to 31 world populations to give you an idea of where your recent ancestors hailed from. 23andme analyzes both maternal and paternal DNA, giving you a more complete view of your ancestry composition.

Family Tree DNA analyzes autosomal DNA, Y-DNA, and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). These tests can be especially helpful if you have an older female (mtDNA test) or male relative (Y-DNA) that you’d like to test for genealogical purposes. Family Tree DNA has a large ancestry database—using Family Finder helps you find and connect with potential relatives as far back as five generations. Family Tree DNA is always updating, and will send you emails when another person matches Y-chromosome markers with you or the person you tested. Depending on the markers shared, you could possibly find a fifth, sixth, or even seventh cousin!

Ancestry.com looks at over 700,000 markers, giving a more detailed look into your DNA than just an mtDNA or Y-DNA test. If you have stories in your family history about being part Native American or Italian or any other ethnicity, this DNA test can help you learn if that is, in fact, true. The service links to the main Ancestry.com site, allowing you to access records, family trees, and view the profiles of and connect with fellow Ancestry.com members who are listed as close matches to you—usually first to fourth cousins.

While it may be a bit pricey, DNA testing is a relatively easy way to connect to relatives you didn’t know you had. The services of Family Tree DNA and Ancestry.com seem to be preferred above all other, but it really just comes down to personal preference. Pick a site that you trust and are interested in and enjoy your DNA journey. Having more knowledge about yourself and your kin is never a bad thing.


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