DNA test results can be used to confirm common ancestry within a tree, to test if separate trees may share a common ancestor, to help test weak links in an existing Family Tree and to investigate ethnic origin. They complement the traditional methods of “paper” genealogy. The value of DNA tests for Genealogy is now established.
Testing has developed to the extent that results from some test agencies are comparable and are recorded in a standard format. Test results (but not the name of the donor) are published on the Internet and are available to all. Test material may be retained by some of the test agencies for many years, this allows more extensive tests to be run in the future.
Choosing the right type of DNA test for your interests and the agency to do the work is not straight forward. Testing is moderately expensive, therefore to avoid getting results which are of little value it is important to seek information other than from testing agencies advertising. The comments below describe members experiences, give information about the various tests available, and contain links to other sources.
DNA TESTING REVIEWS
(Editors Note: Lorna Henderson sent the following discussion of some of the problems that can arise in choosing a company for DNA testing. Thank you Lorna.)
I note that one of your members has tested with Genebase. For the general information of your members, genetic genealogists recommend testing with one of the three main players in the dna testing for genealogy world:
23andme, FamilyTreeDNA, and ancestry.
All test autosomal dna (all family lines back to say 4-6 generations with reasonable success at finding relations, but many get “sticky dna” matches much further back), only FamilyTreeDNA does yDNA (father’s father’s father’s direct paternal line) and mtDNA (mother’s mother’s mother’s direct maternal line) .
The three main players have large databases, which is what you need to find relations and thus confirm your papertrails and map your chromosomes to the particular ancestor who passed that segment down the generations to you.
Whichever you test at it is recommended that you also upload your raw data results to GEDMatch.com a free (registration required, donations accepted site) where you can compare your results with others who tested at the other companies and tweak the matching parameters to see if there are matches that you can detect that the company you tested with missed because of their higher criteria (used to eliminate false matches/hope).