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.
- 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:
- Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)
- Autosomal DNA (atDNA)
- If you are still confused, Legacy has about twenty webinars on DNA, and more coming.
- 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 Genealogy. I just received it last week, and I am learning so much from it. It covers it all–in detail.
- 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.