Genetic Genealogy

Solving Mysteries with DNA

DNA is being used to find lost ancestors and break through the genealogical “brick walls” in paper research.  DNA is also being used to find unknown parents of adoptees and others.  Using DNA for genealogy is oftentimes referred to as “genetic genealogy.”

DNA is inherited from our parents–roughly half from each parent.  Changes in our DNA, otherwise known as mutations, if present in a parent, can be passed onto their children.  These mutations can be used to connect children to parents, grandparents, and other relatives and ancestors.

Three commercial companies offer DNA testing for genealogy.  They are Ancestry, 23&me, and Family Tree DNA.  Each company has its own database (or collection) of people who’ve tested there.  The most effective way to find an unknown ancestor or relative is to test at all three companies.

Three types of DNA can be tested.  First is autosomal DNA, half of which is passed from a mother to a child and half of which is passed from a father to a child.  Second is Y-DNA, which is passed only from fathers to sons.  Third is  mitochondrial DNA, which is passed only from mothers, but to all children.  The type of DNA to test depends on your gender and the person or persons you are seeking.  For more information on the three types of DNA that can be tested, go to the Learning Center’s article: Types of DNA.

To find out more about how we can help you use DNA to solve your family mystery, check out the Services page.

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