Boost your family history with genealogical DNA testing!
May 15, 2015
Family Tree University
Note from the Dean
There’s little doubt that DNA testing is an excellent supplement to your family history research. Attend a genealogy conference like RootsTech and you’ll notice genetic genealogy booths everywhere, and any number of headlining presenters trying to break down the topic for a wider audience.
And that’s just the problem. No matter what way you wrap it, DNA is complex and complicated. In order to understand which test is right for you, what you can (and can’t) expect to learn, and how it can be applied to your research takes careful planning-after all, these tests can be a big investment in both time and money. Heck, I work for Family Tree Magazine and readily admit that there are still elements I find flummoxing.
Which is why Blaine Bettinger, author of the Genetic Genealogist blog, teaches the most popular course in our catalog: Genetic Genealogy 101. Plus, Blaine will be on hand all four weeks to answer your questions and help you through the whole process. If you’ve been thinking of adding DNA to your family research for a while, I seriously implore you to consider the course: It will be worth your while!
Course Details: Genetic Genealogy 101
Date: 5/18 – 6/12
Length: 4 weeks
Instructor: Blaine Bettinger
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN
• What genetic genealogy is and how it works
• How DNA can help your family research
• What different types of DNA tests there are, and what you can learn from each one
• How to avoid common genetic genealogy misconceptions
•How mtDNA, Y-DNA and atDNA figure into your family history
•What tests are available-AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA and more-and which one is right for you
•How genetic genealogy can be used to bust through brick walls
5 Common Genetic Genealogy Myths
May 15, 2015
Tyler Moss, Online Editor Family Tree University.
Although genetic genealogy can add valuable information to your family tree, it does have some limitations. To help you understand the benefits and limitations of genetic genealogy testing, here are a few of the most common misunderstandings. Mastering these will help you avoid the most common mistakes that beginner genetic genealogists make.
1. A DNA test can fill in my family tree.
Although DNA testing is powerful, it is merely one of many tools in the genealogist’s toolbox. DNA test results alone cannot fill in your family tree or break through your brick walls. For example, although a test can determine the genetic relatedness of two or more individuals, it usually cannot reveal the exact genealogical relationship between those individuals.
2. I’d like to take a DNA test, but I’m terrified of needles.
Good news! Although DNA used to be obtained by taking blood, getting a DNA sample now is as simple as spitting in a tube or swabbing the inside of your cheek!
3. I’d like to test my great-grandfather’s DNA, but he died years ago.
You don’t need to exhume your ancestor to get useful information from a genetic genealogy test! Genetic genealogists use their own DNA to learn about their ancestors. For example, a man’s Y-DNA was given to him by his father, who received it from his father, and so on back through time. And every one of us has autosomal DNA that we inherited from our grandparents, great-grandparents and beyond.
4. Since I’m a woman, I can’t learn about my deceased father’s Y-DNA.
Although as a woman you did not inherit your father’s Y chromosome, there is a very good chance that there is another living source of that Y-DNA. For instance, do you have a brother who would have inherited Y-DNA from your father? Or does your father have a living brother? There are usually several different sources for the DNA you’re looking for; to identify those sources you’ll need to understand how Y-DNA is passed from one generation to the next.
5. DNA testing will reveal medical information about me.
With the exception of companies that intentionally test for medical data, most genetic genealogy testing does not uncover or share any important health information about the test-taker. However, test-takers should understand that some limited medical information can inadvertently be revealed by a genetic genealogy test, especially as new scientific discoveries uncover previously unknown connections between health and DNA.