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Is It All in the Genes?

Published on Wed, 05/29/2019 - 07:25am

Everyone’s talking about it. Everyone’s asking about it. But is it the answer to all your genealogy brick walls? When researching their genealogy, so many people wonder if getting a DNA test will solve all the questions they have about their ancestors. Well, not really, but it is a tool that may help. Which test? What company? Why are my sibling’s results different than mine? I had similar questions when I first heard about this new genealogy tool. So, I did my research and…

Because each parent passes on 50 percent of their DNA to each child, every child receives a different combination. That is what makes us unique individuals. The amount of ancestral DNA we receive decreases by 50 percent each generation. For example, you might have received a percentage of great-grandmother’s Cherokee heritage, while your sibling did not.

There are three types of ancestral DNA tests you can get:

  1. Autosomal DNA tests (both men and women can take these), which explore all lines and can confirm relationships and help solve some genealogy mysteries. These work best when you have a family tree connected with your test results.
  2. Mitochondrial (mtDNA) DNA tests (both men and women can take these), which explore your maternal line. These help you understand maternal relationships in past generations.
  3. Y-DNA tests (only men can take these because only men have Y chromosomes), which explore the paternal line and are useful for determining origins of surnames.  

There are many companies that offer DNA testing. You should check all possible options before making the best decision for your particular needs. The Midwest Genealogy Center has many books about researching DNA and how to use the results. Check our online catalog for more information.

When I took an autosomal DNA test, the ethnicity estimates did not surprise me, but the connections between my tree and others did. It is a new and fascinating journey—another tool for my genealogy research kit!

Sheri V.
Midwest Genealogy Center

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