I’m Beginning to Love DNA

I was introduced to DNA back in March of 2016 when I got my Ancestry DNA results back. Prior to that time, I was interested in DNA, but literally knew nothing about it. I am one who studies a subject a lot, especially when it is as complicated as DNA. My studies prior to getting my results, left me in what I would call “DNA No-man’s Land.” The desire to have my DNA done was great but, my–my–oh was I confused about what the results meant.

In my previous blog about DNA, I stated guidelines that I feel are important for anyone new to doing DNA to consider. I still stand by those.

But for those who want to really learn more than just having a nice printout of your potential ethnicity, here’s what I recommend.

  1. Start with watching the five part series of Legacy Webinars on DNA Foundations, by Blaine Bettinger at:  http://familytreewebinars.com/    They are fantastic, and will give you not only a basic overall understanding of DNA, but will especially help you know which kind of DNA test you will be wanting to use.  In addition to the basics, they cover:
    1. Y-DNA
    2. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)
    3. Autosomal DNA (atDNA)
  2. If you are still confused, Legacy has about twenty webinars on DNA, and more coming.
  3. After all of that, I still felt like a novice, and purchased Blaine Bettinger’s newest book: The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic GenealogyI just received it last week, and I am learning so much from it. It covers it all–in detail.
  4. If, you have chosen atDNA through Ancestry, then your next step is to upload your raw data to GEDmatch.com. It’s free and adds a whole lot more potential matches with lots of tools to help you understand what your data means. You can also upload that same data to FamilyTreeDNA.

I chose Autosomal DNA thru Ancestry.com and I recommend it for those just starting to use DNA. It is most helpful for finding cousins, which is what most of us really want to do. I have bounced around with the idea of having my Y-DNA done, but it is much more expensive, and frankly, I am finding out that I have only touched the surface of how powerful Autosomal DNA is. So I am a long way from doing any Y-DNA test. Until I come up with a very significant reason for spending that kind of money, I want to make sure that I have gotten to most out of my Autosomal DNA test.

As for which company to get your DNA test done, I definitely would suggest getting it done thru Ancestry.com. All the three major companies charge about the same, (approx. $100) but with your test from Ancestry you can upload your raw data to FamilyTreeDNA, so you do not have to spend more money. I am not sure if you can upload your DNA to 23andme, so I won’t speculate on that.  Then once you have the results from Ancestry, upload your raw data to GEDmatch.com.

After reading Bettinger’s latest book, and also being lucky enough to run into a genetic genealogy expert on one of my Facebook groups, who helped me understand what I was doing, I feel much more competent and I have made significant progress in using my DNA matches, and circles. Watch for more DNA blogs here and on my Swisher Research Blog page.