It’s coming up to Christmas, and this has become one of the main times for people buying DNA tests for genealogy purposes. If you’re thinking of getting a test for yourself or for someone else with the intention of finding cousins or ancestors, there are things to think about:
- What is the purpose? Do you want to find your ancestors? Do you want to be able to find any ancestors or ones from a specific side (ie paternal or maternal ancestors)?
- Are you looking to connect with cousins related to you via recent ancestors? Or are you not bothered how far back you’re related because you want to just see the names?
An autosomal DNA (AtDNA) test will show relatives that are more recently related to you, such as cousins from up to short number of Great Grandparents back. This is the one most people use and it’s this one that helps populate the databases of sites such as Ancestry.
A YDNA test will only show the males you are related to through your Father’s side. Anyone on that side with a Y sex chromosome will be counted but it can go back quite far and just because you’re showing as matched it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re related. To find out how the person is related to you (if they are) you could have to go back centuries to find a common ancestor.
A Mitochondrial DNA (MtDNA) test is used to trace relatives from the Mother’s side. And like the YDNA, it could go back very far and show people related to you via ancestors from centuries ago.
There are benefits to all three, they show different parts of your history and are a great aid to learning where your ancestors came from as they will all show your Haplogroup and how people within the same groups migrated over time.
One benefit you get from a DNA test at many sites, is you can actually download your raw genetic data and upload it to another site to search for more relatives. A popular site for people to upload their data to is Gedmatch as it’s free and is used by many DNA/Genealogy groups on Facebook to show connections between members. These groups are usually based around a region such as a County or even a surname (Family Tree DNA is the main surname projects host as it’s the main YDNA test provider). There are also sites that exist to bring everyone together into a single tree, one such site is Geni.
The links below may earn this site some commission on any sales, but it won’t increase the price you pay, this is part of the marketing budget of the DNA test providers. iMutual is a cashback network that earns you cashback and also shares in iMutual. Registration is required to earn cashback with them. If you intend to purchase a test, then aim to buy when they’re on sale as you make a decent saving, normally they can work out expensive especially if you buy different types.
https://www.imutual.co.uk/living-dna – MtDNA, YDNA, AtDNA
https://www.familytreedna.com/products/ – AtDNA, YDNA, MtDNA, Surname projects and integration with Geni.com (Global family tree project).
I hope you found this post helpful 😉