History, Genealogy & More...

© 2010 - 2016  Gary  Ridolph.  All Rights Reserved.

Genealogy > DNA


Over the past few years, a few companies have started offering DNA testing for genealogical research purposes.  Of course, DNA has been in use for many years for law enforcement / criminal forensics, as well as for paternity tests, law suits, etc. Currently, there are three major players in genealogical DNA testing - Ancestry DNA, MyFamilyTree DNA, and 23 & Me.  All three (at a minimum) offer what is called “Autosomal” test, which means it gives results on both mother and father sides of your ancestry, as well as the breakdown of your ethnicity. You can now get the autosomal DNA test for less than $100.  I did the Ancestry DNA version, and my results are shown below:

All three also provide information on potential DNA matches (i.e. possible relatives).  Below is how Ancestry shows the DNA matches (presented in order of closest relation, so parent/child, 1st Cousins, 2nd cousins, 3rd cousins, 4-6, 5-8 (remote), etc.  Ancestry DNA has the ability to link directly to their family trees.  I’ve found several cousins this way, breaking some real research brick walls.  You can imagine the possibilities for adoptees looking for their long lost biological parents, siblings, etc.

Ancestry DNA currently has over a 1 million people in their DNA database.

MyFamilyTree DNA’s database is currently about 750,0000. They also offer more sophisticated (and expensive) DNA tests - yDNA and (mitochondrial) mtDNA, which offer you more detailed results on your direct paternal and maternal lines.  They also are running “projects” which link DNA testing by surname. MyFTDNA also allows you to “transfer” your raw DNA test results from Ancestry over to match against their pool.  I’ve done this as well, but haven’t had any results (yet).

23 and Me also has over 1 million people types, but has a slightly different marketing model.  Their test, which is more expensive as well, does however provides you with health-related (risk) information (FDA approved and clinically proven).

I’d highly recommend you do one of these.  You can learn a lot and have a lot of fun for less than $100.  You might be surprised too...