Using AncestryDNA to Chart Your Family Tree

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If paper- and online-based genealogy isn’t enough for you, if you want to dig into your more general cultural roots, there are DNA-based genealogy tests that you can take.

Some of you might have read my long series, Genealogy for Geeks, where I used Ancestry.com and other resources to trace my roots. I now have the opportunity to use Ancestry.com’s AncestryDNA program to dig even more deeply.

Image: Ancestry.com

I received the DNA kit in the mail, and it contains a sample collection tube, a mailer for returning said tube, and directions on how to collect the sample. In case you’re squeamish or concerned about bodily fluids, rest assured that this kit collects your saliva. Quite a lot of it, but they say it usually only takes from two to five minutes to conjure up enough for the test.

What can you find out from your results? You can discover your ethnicity, and be matched to new relatives on your family tree. It uses up-to-date DNA autosomal testing, meaning it covers 22 of your 23 chromosomal pairs. It looks at both maternal and paternal lines, and works just as well for men and for women. Some tests out there only cover certain lines or genders.

I’m very excited to know the results of this test. I’ve always known that I am mostly German and English, with some Welsh, Scottish, Native American, and Dutch thrown in for good measure. But this little experiment will do the math for me, adding up my percentages, and likely revealing to me some ethnicities of which I was unaware. It will also help me grow my family tree much more quickly.

This service costs $199 without an additional Ancestry.com subscription, but they are currently having sales on the combinations that include membership. Stay tuned, and when my results are returned to me in six to eight weeks, I will post them here. If you have more questions, there is an AncestryDNA FAQ.

Note: I received AncestryDNA for the purposes of this review.

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