Ancestry DNA Testing: 10 Things You Need to Know
Ancestry DNA testing is becoming a more and more popular component of genealogy research and has made it much easier for individuals to learn more about their family history. Before choosing an ancestry DNA test, there are a few things you should know.
#1: DNA Testing Can’t Take the Place of Research
While a genealogy DNA test can offer clues to a person’s origins and can determine if two people may be related, it will not provide you with a complete family tree. DNA testing is a supplement to genealogy research and is most often used to confirm the information that has been compiled through research.
#2: Every DNA Test Is Not the Same
There are currently two types of DNA tests that are used for ancestry testing so it’s important to choose the right one. Mitochondrial DNA tests, referred to as mtDNA, detect chromosomes that are passed through the maternal bloodline, while Y-Line tests are only useful on males and can often determine common ancestry between lineages.
#3: The Purpose of the Test Is Vital
Choosing the right ancestry DNA test will depend primarily on the reason the testing is desired. Some people want to verify a family tree that includes a famous historian, while others hope to make a connection between families with the same surname in different locations.
#4: Testing the Right Person Is Equally Important
Once the purpose of the test is determined, the next step is deciding who to test. If you are female, for example, and want to prove that Albert Einstein is part of your ancestral lineage, your brother or father will be better suited for the DNA sample.
#5: Choose a Reputable Testing Company
Before ordering a genealogy DNA test, take the time to compare the products that are available. Choose a testing company that offers a good value, but also be sure the tests are performed by a worthy laboratory with experienced DNA scientists.
Founded in April 2000, FamilyTreeDNA has been associated with the world’s leading authorities in the fields of Genetics and Anthropology and is the official testing facility for National Geographic and IBM’s Genographic Project.
FamilyTreeDNA’s state-of-the-art Genomic Research Center located at its headquarters in Houston, Texas, currently performs R&D and processes over 200 types of advanced DNA tests for its customers.
As a worldwide leader in genetic genealogy, FamilyTreeDNA holds the distinction of being the only lab in the world, in it’s field, to be certified by GEDNAP in Europe and various federal agencies controlling lab work in the United States and adheres to the US-EU Safe Harbor, preventing companies from publicly sharing their customers information.
#6: Ancestry DNA Testing Costs
Genealogy DNA tests can range in price from as little as $100 to well over $800. The type of test and the results it will yield are the main factors that influence the price, but the costs can also vary depending on the company offering the test.
#7: Understand the Testing Process
As you’re searching for the best DNA testing company and comparing the costs, take a moment to review the instructions as well. Most reputable companies explain how to use the test on their website and also provide details on how to safely return the samples for testing.
#8: Ancestry DNA Testing Takes Time
Like costs, the amount of time it takes to receive results from an ancestry DNA test also depends on the type of test and the particular company performing the test. Generally it will take about 2 months to process the samples and to analyze the results.
#9: What About Privacy?
Many companies that offer ancestry DNA testing keep a database of hundreds of genetic profiles to help their clients match their results with possible relatives. If you are concerned about privacy, check the company’s policies on retaining data and the procedures required to delete your profile.
#10: Is Ancestry DNA Testing Worth the Cost?
Depending on the purpose, a genealogy DNA test can be a very effective way to gain more knowledge about your lineage. Most of the time, a successful test requires careful planning to be sure samples are received from the best possible candidates.
When used correctly, ancestry DNA testing can be very useful. Keep in mind however, that DNA test results will not determine your ancestors and genealogy DNA tests are intended to supplement your family history research, not replace it.
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