The Genealogy Do-Over was created by Thomas MacEntee from Geneabloggers and focuses on reexamining (maybe even re-researching) your genealogy to get a better and more fresh perspective on your work.
Although I’m not fully participating in the Genealogy Do-Over, there are certain topics that I feel I should review. This last week’s Genealogy Do-Over topic is about DNA, an area where I could definitely use a do-over!
DNA Testing Options
So, what is it exactly I’m looking to research here? Well, everything if I’m honest! But really, the Witherell’s and the Langeneck’s. Those two are the ones I like to focus on the most in my personal research. With that in mind, here are my testing options:
- Y-DNA test – this is for the paternal lineage and only males can take this test. I will do this one for the Witherell line.
- mtDNA – this is the mitochondrial DNA test and it’s used for the maternal lineage but for the more distant relatives. Females can take this test as well as males. I’ll eventually take this test too but that’s in the future.
- Autosomal DNA – also known as FamilyFinder or ethnic DNA (be sure you understand where those percentages come from though and how reliable they are). Either male or female can test as this test doesn’t use the sex chromosomes and works best for finding more recent ancestors. I will use this one for the Langeneck line.
I have personally tested with AncestryDNA and then uploaded that to GEDmatch. I would like to test with 23andMe as I now know more about what 23andMe has to offer genealogists as far as tools go that Ancestry does not, like a chromosome browser. A chromosome browser allows the test-taker to see what chromosomes match someone else. This is helpful when identifying what relative you have in common. Ancestry.com DOES show if your genetic match has someone in their tree that you also have in yours. I recommend reading The Legal Genealogist’s blog post “Changes at AncestryDNA” for more information on how that works. Testing with 23andMe will wait a bit though as these tests can be expensive…
I know I will probably use FamilyTreeDNA for their FamilyFinder with my grandparents because that requires a cheek swab, and not a spit test tube (and I can transfer my AncestryDNA results for a cheaper price than taking another test) . I know the older you are, the harder it is to do a spit test and even I had a hard time creating enough spit for the Ancestry test!
I plan on reading as much as I possibly can about DNA and taking coursework in it as well. I hope to be able to add DNA into my genealogy research as part of my business one day, and soon. This is my #1 educational goal at the moment!
I really want to attend GRIP this summer for their genetic genealogy program and wish I could get my bank account to agree with me!
Books/Blogs to Read
If you’re interested in DNA and how it can help your genealogy, reading is one of the best things you can do.
Blogs/Websites (many are mentioned in Geneabloggers original post for this do-over topic)
- The Genetic Genealogist by Blaine Bettinger
- Your Genetic Genealogist by CeCe Moore (probably one of my favorites)
- DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy by Roberta Estes
- International Society of Genetic Genealogy has their own wiki – great for looking up some of the terms you may be unfamiliar with!
- FamilyTreeDNA has their own collection of webinars on genetic genealogy that is worth checking out
- The Legal Genealogist by Judy G Russell (check out her “2015: Most Bang for the DNA Buck” for figuring out what test to take first).
Be aware that there are many ebooks that are popping up with this topic. Always check the price and the reviews to see if it’s something worthwhile to you. Some ebooks are outrageously expensive and can contain information you can learn online and many ebooks tend to be self-published and can have many grammatical errors.
The first two ebooks I link from Amazon are two I personally bought but haven’t read yet.
- Genealogy: DNA and the Family Tree (Ancestry, Genealogy Research, Family History Detective) by James Mayflower – the link takes you to the Kindle version which is currently free.
- Guide to DNA Testing: How to Identify Ancestors, Confirm Relationships and Measure Ethnic Ancestry through DNA Testing by Richard Hill – the link takes you to the Kindle version which is currently $.99!
- Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree by Megan Smolenyak (One of my favorite genealogy authors and this is on my to-read list)
- Jump Into Genetic Genealogy: Use Genealogical DNA Testing to Solve Family Mysteries by FamilyTree University – free ebook
Feel I left out a valuable book/website/blog? Please add it in the comments below!