DNA testing for genealogical purposes has become increasingly popular: As of this writing, nearly 20 million people have had testing to uncover additional information about their heritage, approximately 17 million more than had been tested when the first edition of this guide was published three years ago. Whereas DNA testing for genealogical purposes is primarily an American phenomenon, its popularity has been growing significantly in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, and mainland Europe.
DNA testing is not the final word in determining your ancestry, but it is extremely helpful. It is most effective when itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s used to confirm that documentation concerning your family relationships is accurate. It is also used to test hypotheses about ancestors for whom little or no documentary evidence exists. Equally important, DNA testing can be used as “cousin bait” to identify previously unknown cousins who may be able to add information to your genealogical research and/or confirm your ancestral connections. DNA test results give you crucial information about where your most ancient ancestor originated and his ethnicity.
The new Second Edition of this handy four-page guide has been completely revised, reflecting all the changes and advances in DNA testing since the first edition was written. Author Angie Bush continues to give the straightforward facts about (a) DNA testing, (b) DNA testing results, and (c) DNA testing companies. She includes a description of the three types of DNA tests: Y-DNA; mtDNA; and atDNA, or autosomal DNA, the most popular type of testing for genealogists. Also provided are a series of tips for getting the most from your DNA testing.
Perhaps most helpful, the section on testing companies has been completely rewritten and expanded. Two additional companies–MyHeritageDNA and LivingDNA/Findmypast–have been added to the three described in the original guide: AncestryDNA, 23andMe, and FamilyTreeDNA. Each of the testing companies has different tools and subscribers, although there is some overlap between them. The five companies featured were chosen because they all provide a list of “genetic cousin” matches, which is essential for genealogical research.
In the end, Bush cautions that there is no “one size fits all” DNA test that will answer all of your research questions about an ancestor. However, you’ll often obtain solid proof regarding your genealogical research questions when you combine the analysis of DNA testing results with good old-fashioned genealogical research.