Saturday, August 5, 2017

Are you getting the most out of DNA testing?

I know that we are all involved with autosomal DNA (Ancestry, 23andMe and Family Finder from Family Tree DNA), but are you supplementing it with Y-DNA and mtDNA? Don’t overlook their value.

For example, you might learn about your early family roots through archaeological studies and haplogroup projects that often start with haplogroup studies at Family Tree DNA. A brand new study is dear to my heart. As a fan of early Greek history and mythology since early childhood, I was thrilled to see that my GG grandfather, whose Y-DNA haplogroup is J2b2, shared the J in this tested group of 14 women and five men, four of whom were J and one was G. You can read about it here.

Another reason to test the Y and mt DNA is to help confirm suspected relationships in your atDNA matches. Since the Y tests only the direct paternal line, an atDNA match that is also a Y-DNA match can add strength to an argument for (or against) a particular relationship. Likewise, the mtDNA for a direct maternal line match. 

Notice that Y-DNA and mtDNA are best tested with Family Tree DNA, which also permits free* transfer into Family Finder from the other main testing companies, thus providing access to more atDNA matches. For the nominal fee of $19*, you can also have access to FTDNA's many tools, including Family Matching (that can help align matches with your maternal and paternal sides), chromosome mapping and more. 

Of course, an essential element of DNA testing is a family tree. Make it as full and deep as you can, excluding living persons but including cousins and their children, complete with dates and places of birth, marriage and death at a minimum, or as much as you can find and back as far as you know. Upload that tree everywhere in the form of a GEDCOM. If your only tree is online (that is, you do not have one on your computer in your own genealogy program), you can usually download a GEDCOM from the hosting company (Ancestry, MyHeritage, etc.), then upload it to other sites.

If you haven't already joined Gedmatch, do so! Once you have a Gedmatch ID, be sure to post it everywhere. I have mine on my public profile at Ancestry, FTDNA, 23andMe,, MyHeritage, Wikitree and more.  To post it at FamilySearch, I had to add it as a custom fact to each of my deceased parents' pages.

Happy ancestor searching!

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