What Can DNA Testing do to Help You Find Your Ancestors?

January 13, 2014  - by 

Do you want to know if others with the same surname as you share a common ancestor? Do you have an uncertain family paper trail or a personal history mystery? Genealogical DNA testing is becoming a popular choice for those who are interested in their family histories, their ancestral make-up or their historic country of origin.

What Is DNA?

DNA testing is based on the standard 46 chromosomes that we all have from birth. Our genetic make-up is completely unique (except in the case of identical twins) and does not change throughout our lifetime. The X chromosome comes from the mother and the additional X or Y chromosome comes from the father. If the father contributes an X chromosome, the child will be female. If a Y, the child will be male. Each person carries mitochondrial DNA (a specific genetic molecule) in their cells. This is inherited exclusively from the mother’s side. For genealogy purposes, the study of mitochondrial DNA or the Y-chromosome forms the basis of the DNA testing.

What Is Genealogical Testing?

Genealogical DNA testing is used to determine information about genealogy or personal ancestry, but comparing your results to others from the same lineage or to different ethnic groups, both current and historic. These tests are not meant for medical use and can’t tell you about specific genetic disorders or diseases. DNA sampling is collected painlessly with a cheek swab rather than a blood test, which is great news for those who are squeamish about needles.

What Can Genealogical Testing Do?

With genealogical DNA testing you can discover the origins of your paternal line by analysing genetic markers (these are genes that code for specific characteristics). Some tests can also show what the migration routes of your paternal ancestors were up to recent years. This can also be done with mitochondrial markers to determine your maternal ancestors. You can find out which of over 200 populations you are genetically most similar to and what proportions of your ancestry come from each other the seven continental level groups. This is particularly useful for those wishing to know what percentage of their heritage is African or European, for example.

If you’re interested in finding out which of the known recessive gene variants for red hair you carry, you can be tested for the 40 known gene variants of the MC1R gene. This will show whether you have a strong or weak chance of producing red haired children.

DNA Testing Services

When deciding on the right firm to carry out your genealogical DNA testing, it’s important to remember that the company should work in accordance with internationally recognized standards. It’s worth doing some research into this area if you’re interested in the most accurate results. When choosing a company to work with, chose a company that is AABB certified. Below are a few companies that have AABB certification. (This is not an exhaustive list of AABB certified companies that offer DNA testing services.)

 Peter Boucher is a guest blogger. He represents General Genetics Corporation, a genetic DNA testing corporation.

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  1. I looking for my relatives, I was told that my grandfather came from England but I don’t Know specifically from where, can DNA tell from which part of England my grandfather came? and which of the AABB lab mention above could find this information? I’ll love and thankyou if you can answere this questions

  2. I like to know how much % of Cherokee Indian I have in me, I believe it’s a 1/4 or more, I’m on a set income and can’t spend a fortune to find out can you help.

    1. I can already tell you that we are relatives,

      I have made a test but I do not now the result yet so it from ordinary family-tree I know we are relatives far away.

      I am in Sweden.

  3. I have a friend that recently been tested,he’s not what he thought he was and it’s driving him crazy.All his life he was told that his great grandmother was full blooded American Indian and the results showed none.Does it bother other folks the same way as my friend?

    1. I was told my biological father was Aboriginal, and my Mother was white, and turns out no recent Native American in me, so none shows up in my DNA, and I am fine with that. Though did find through my DNA that I had Native American Relatives back in the 1500s and 1600s, but no DNA of that in me today, as after a few generations if mixed race often enough, then it becomes no longer in your DNA. However, my husband has a Status Card and his family are all Aboriginal, but he knew there was white on his Mothers side, and his DNA came out as 34 % Native American, 5% African, 52 % Europe etc etc. He came out quite a mixture, however just 34 % Native American and he is quite happy with his results. The DNA results are real, as found relatives I never knew existed and was able to verify them after much research. I notice many say it is fake when they find it says no Native American in them, but after a few generations, that can get washed out if mixing with other races not their own. The DNA results are easy to accept as long as you are open minded enough to accept the results. 🙂 Just accept the truth of it and be happy to discovery your heritage that you found you do have. I have done that, and finding it all very interesting. 🙂

  4. is there a test to determine the etnicity of my grandfather on the part of my mother,she never Knew him,and it is a mystery to everyone in our family?

    1. I have the same question as Juan Pena

      I am trying to find info on my mother’s father. She was born in 1014 Queens, NY

      1. Funny, I went to Lutheran School with a girl named Carol Cooke in Queens. I’m Diane were you friends with my sister Barbara Young?

  5. I would like to know how many felt cheated or lied to now that you know your DNA results? My 46 yrs of life I thout I was Hispanic but bades on my DNA I’m 67% European of which 33% is Italian/Greek. I knew I had that in me but it’s a high percentage to me. So the 19% Native American in me is my Puertorrican Pride. I’m only 19% Puertorrican, does not make sence to me. Or maybe my Pride is brused. Idk, but someone share if they felt this kinda way, pls.

    1. The people of America are being
      hoodwinked. When you go through advanced levels of college, you learn that the only information/facts so to speak that you have are with supporting details that are documented. It is not based on hearsay. I bid you good luck finding the truth.

  6. Ibwanna know in many centries and or if my blood dates bake to other civilizations and whom and what exactly

  7. I’m looking for a DNA I did the ancestry the say I have a 69% indian but don’t know what indian I don’t know we’re can i go to or any recommendations thank u