A genealogy DNA test might sound a little strange to some but it has become a very popular genetic test to conduct.
Millions of people have used family DNA tests to find out a little more about their family history, to understand their personal genetic makeup, and to potentially connect with new relatives from around the world.
Genealogy Can Not Tell You Everything
Most people get genealogy and DNA testing confused because they are very similar subjects. But in fact, there are several differences.
For example, solid genealogy research can teach you much about the customs and traditions of your family, but a DNA test can only tell you who you are genetically related to and potentially some information about familial diseases and health risks.
DNA testing can tell you a lot about yourself and your close relatives. You can find matches in online databases and connect more dots to your close family tree.
However, your DNA cannot tell you everything about your family tree. A genealogy test can help determine who the father of a child is, but it can only say the likelihood the chance of a man being a father. DNA is a game of probabilities, not an exact-match science.
For the rest of the story, you still need a solid amount of records research, you need to make human connections, you need to consider family stories and you need to lean on more traditional research.
DNA matching won’t always guarantee fantastic results for family history research, but it does do a lot of good. It’s another piece in the puzzle of who you are, and where you came from. And it can identify family connections that could not have been discovered any other way.
Understanding Your Ancestry DNA Test Results
Technically speaking, DNA test results look sort of like a blueprint of genes and statistics. They aren’t very user-friendly, in other words.
When reported to you, however, the typical family DNA test result provides three levels of detail, so you can dive in wherever you need:
- Ethnicity: which ethnicities you belong to, and which geographies your family hails from along with any special DNA trees you belong to (Vikings, Cajuns, etc,)
- DNA matches: names or IDs of people in the test service database that may be relatives of yours, based upon statistical DNA evidence. Most services allow you to contact the person using an anonymous ID or their email contact.
- Details of each match: the exact DNA markers used to make a match, and the statistical chance that you are related to that person. Often delivered in a DNA browser of some sort.
Together, these three levels of detail explain your genetic fingerprint, connect you with new family members and help you understand where you come from. This may sound very complicated, but it isn’t.
The Ancestry DNA or genealogy test have become very popular because they are easy to use and understand today, even with their known limitations.