Genealogical DNA Test Kits.
I have known about them for a long time and swore on multiple occasions that I was going to purchase one, but somehow it always got put on the back burner.
I could find 100 other uses for that money other than spending it on a DNA kit. I talked myself into it, then out of it again so many times that my family thought I was losing my marbles.
However, recently my son got tired of waiting on me to make up my mind and my bought me a genealogical DNA test kit as birthday gift.
What is it really going to tell me about my roots? I already have tons of documents about my ancestors, so could it really help me further my genealogy search? Eventually curiosity won out and I took the test.
After a few weeks, I had my results. Now what do I do with them?
What to do with my DNA results?
My son purchased the DNA kit from Ancestry.com since I already have several family members there. When my results came in, I was excited not only to see my ethnicity estimates, but who shares DNA with me.
Through these DNA matches, I have found a few cousins that I didn’t know existed. We have even been able to share information that we each have and work on problem solving together.
Genealogical DNA tests will not tell you exactly who your ancestors are. It will not create your family tree for you, but It can however give you leads, and leads are important to continuing your search.
Ancestry.com for example gives you ethnicity estimates and DNA matches. They take your DNA matches list and compare your family tree with the trees on that list to find what ancestors you have in common. Then they make suggestions as to who your missing ancestors could be based on what others have in their family tree.
These suggestions may not be fact, but they can give you leads.
What can my DNA tell me?
Ancestry ethnicity estimates
Finding out your ethnicity estimates does not change who you are. You will still be the same person when you receive your results as you were the day before. And remember, the numbers you receive in your ethnicity estimates are just that, estimates.
DNA testing has only been around since the 1980’s. It is still being perfected. Databases of genetic information are still being built. Every day, something changes based on new information that is learned.
Even though your DNA does not change, the data base that your estimates come from do change. According to your results, you may be 81% Irish today, but in the future when databases are updated, you may be only 76% as new ethnic backgrounds and genetic materials are discovered.
These estimates, even if they are still fairly new, give you an idea of who your ancestors were and what kind of lives they may have led.
Remember, it’s not just names you are researching, but the story of these ancestors’ lives.
Shared DNA with Relatives
Your DNA test results will also tell you how much DNA you have in common with your relatives. Ancestry.com showed these results under their DNA Matches section.
The DNA that 2 people have in common is measured in centimorgans or cM for short. The higher the centimorgans number, the closer you are in relation to the other person.
For example, two of my sons who are full brothers share 2,683 cM, while with their half-brother they only share about 1800 cM.
Choosing the best DNA testing for ancestry
My advice on choosing a genealogical DNA testing company is this… Research!
- If you have other family members who have had DNA testing done, ask them what company they used. Ask them if they were happy with the product and the results they received.
- Research the companies online and see what other customers are saying. What are their ratings?
- Keep in mind, if your family members have taken a DNA test with a different company other than what you choose, they will not show up as your DNA matches.
- Be on the lookout for sales. Most of the major genealogical DNA testing companies run sales around holidays. DNA testing is not cheap, so if you have the patience to wait, try to catch a sale. I promise it will be worth the wait.
No matter what company you choose, just remember that no genealogical DNA testing company is going to give you perfect results. DNA is still a work in progress and likely will be for a long time to come. One day, they may be able to tell us our whole history in a single drop of blood, but in the meantime, I am going to sit back and enjoy the search.
And as always…
The Legal Stuff
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