Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Real Me

Check out the navigation bar above! I just added a new page showing my DNA information. Can't get much more 'real' than me at a cellular level!

2015 is going to be the Year of DNA Analysis for me. Be prepared for a lot of posts regarding my obsession with hunt for DNA relationships. I'll share some of my successes, and the parts of the testing process that were both helpful and annoying!

Starting in 2013, I first tested at 23andMe. I was really fortunate that some of my dad's second cousins also tested. Having people to compare to makes DNA searching a w-h-o-l-e lot easier. I have since tested with Ancestry and had my results transferred to Family Tree DNA. Each of my parents have taken one test as well.

I use the free analysis site to enhance my pool of potential cousins, and I primarily use GenomeMate to analyze my results in a database format.

DNA searching, or more properly, genetic genealogy, is not an easy quest. It can be frustrating both scientifically and genealogically. But if you are up to the challenge, finding and understanding DNA relationships is incredibly satisfying!

These are the 'Big Three' DNA testing companies:


Family Tree DNA

There are also three main types of tests, in order of genealogical usefulness:

autosomal, which tests both sides of your family, back a few generations
Y-DNA, which tests your father's father's father's... line
mitochondrial, or mtDNA, which tests your mother's mother's mother's... line

Autosomal testing, which all three companies provide for about $99US, will catch the most potential cousins. Y-DNA testing can be helpful to locate where your paternal ancestors may have originated. I am presently testing my brother so I can hopefully learn more about my paternal Irish heritage. Mitochondrial is probably the least useful, mostly because women's names changed so frequently and having a paper trail many generations back is very rare.

To learn more about DNA testing, check out the multiple resources located on the ISOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogy) wiki pages.

I would love to hear about other DNA experiences. Feel free to comment here or on any of my future posts.

© 2015 Sally Knudsen