Are you interested in DNA testing for genealogy?

+42 votes


Although it hasn't been a priority (and there have been many other priorities!) we continue to explore ways to integrate DNA data into WikiTree.
After a recent discussion with Ed Burke and Debby Black we created a basic page showing up to 10 generations of direct paternal and maternal ancestors. Here's an example for President James Monroe. 
I think we'll link this from every profile (with appropriate privacy controls, of course). Would this be of any use to you?
The next baby step for WikiTree, I think, is to enable members to indicate that they've taken a test. This could somehow automatically attach to the profiles up their direct paternal and maternal lines, and then back down again. (I'm not sure how we'd do this with the "autosomal" stuff, which I don't understand at all. Does anyone have ideas?)
This would enable us to alert members when they should compare test results. Or, for those who haven't taken a test, it will be clear when you or someone in your family could benefit from taking one. That is, you'd know when there's a connection that you can prove or disprove.
There are a growing number of places where you can compare test results. (I recently checked out Anyone familiar with their tools?)
WikiTree wouldn't be comparing test results, we'd be alerting people when they might want to compare test results.
A lot of this is still over my head, so any and all input is welcome!
We had a Google Group discussion going last year, but now I think we should keep it in G2G and maybe organize through this DNA Project page.  If the topic interests you, please add your name there.
Happy Thanksgiving,
in Policy and Style by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
Am interested in this part of the project. FamilyTree DNA matched me to a relative in Switzerland who had published his genealogy.  Although there was a brother (born 1720) with the same first name, there was no way to be sure that his father (whose name I didn't know) might be our common ancestor.  Because our Y-chromosome  matched, I think we're safe to say our two genealogies link at that point.

I tried to add my name to the list of those who've taken a DNA test, but not sure I understand what to enter (didn't see the list change after I tried).

Please consider identifying a consultant who understands this technology.  At minimum, genealogists will want to understand what mtDNA and Y-chromosome DNA tells them.  Autosomal DNA opens up a bigger, but more uncertain way to link people.  On the side of caution, there are ethical and legal risks that genealogists and WikiTree's organizers will want to avoid.
Hi Dr. Bill,

Please join us at  I hope we can make your yDNA test productive, at least for your Smiths!

KinCityKitty[at] DNA Project administrator

I have been using the DNA link on my various profiles to check for lineage disconnects and such.  Works great for that.  I love it!  Thank you.

I would like to see a clickable, checkbox profile option called "Earliest Known Ancestor (EKA)" and another clickable checkbox called "DNA Tested Direct Descendant".  That way, obviously, the EKA for each line of ancestry can be clearly marked and it would be easy to see if there was a DNA tested descendant.  Anyone looking at the profile would see those two bit of information at a glance and know to check the profile Sources or contact the profile manager for more info.

DNA testing is invaluable in Smith family ancestries. At, we have 72 groups of yDNA tests that are genetically matched to their cousins, but not to any of the other 71 groups of Smiths.  It is wonderful to know you need to concentrate your research on these Smiths, but not those Smiths because they are not genetically related to "these Smiths".  DNA is the only way we have been able to untangle the many immigrant Smith families to New England.

I don't advocate more detailed information such as haplogroup, SNPs, testing company, or other details in the body of the profiles. This is because some information changes (haplogroups vs SNPs); sometimes bad book and record research after the DNA test causes conflicts (we had three DNA groups all trying to claim a particular George Smith); and IMHO, those details should be added to the Source section (Ex: has "Descendant of Group 18 brother Joseph in DNA Project Kit #163271" in the Source area.)

Anyway, that would be my suggestion.  This is a great website!  Thank you so much.  Kitty (what else?cool. . . Smith)


No Thank You! ;-)
With so many DNA sites out there today I think knowing which DNA website to go to is the challenge.

My personal opinion is that it depends on your research interest. Each test will give you some crossover information between the following three options, but I think there are three main considerations:

  1. The bigger the database, the more opportunities for genetic matches.  I suggest FamilyTreeDNA or Ancestry because they both have large databases for yDNA (continuous line of fathers), mtDNA (continuous line of mothers) and Family Finder (family lines for the past three to five generations) type tests. These three tests are most useful for genealogy research.
  2. For predisposition for specific health problems, I would consider 23&Me.  I believe these are called autosomal tests.
  3. For ancient genetic heritage (where did my DNA originate thousands of years ago?), you might consider the Genographic Project by the National Geographic Society.

Certainly, there are other companies out there and probably many that I haven't heard of yet, but these are just my thoughts for your consideration as to which company might help your research the most.



We've used FamilyTreeDNA with very good results down three different ancestral lines.

We have the Smith Official DNA Project at FamilyTreeDNA for All Smith/Schmidt/Smyth/Smythe/Smidt et al of all locations  at - We have over 1800 members and over 188 matched groupings. For those who are members of the project, which can include not just testers from FamilyTreeDNA but also from other vendors such as Ancestry, Sorenson, etc, we have automatic matching reports that both compare the results by haplogroup but also within groups. We also recently did a DNA kit by locations report.    I just joined the wikitree so haven't considered how best yet to include the massive amount of data we have from trees but putting in a manual link on each person, given the # of Smiths that are out there, is really prohibitively time consuming.

We're starting the programming work on this!

The next step: compiling a list of the different tests you should be able to select from.

Can you click to and add which test(s) you've taken?

There's always the possibility that after a dna test, you might find out Gramma probably cheated on Grampa.

4 Answers

+3 votes

I'm very interested in the DNA testing programs - it would certainly verify whether or not one's research is headed in the right direction and might open some additional lines to the researchers.

For some, the cost is still a bit prohibitive, for now at least.  But that shouldn't detract from those who can use this science from applying it to their research efforts.  Having an 'alert feature'  in WikiTree makes a lot of good sense.

Keith Baker (Forrester-158)
by Keith Baker G2G6 Pilot (101k points)
edited by Chris Whitten
+1 vote
Great idea Chris.

There are plenty of places where people can compare actual results (the testing companies, gedmatch, ysearch .. ), but few where it is easy to see the attached trees or at least more than a direct line for just the participant.

Here the interconnectedness of the trees is more evident.

At the very least I'd appreciate a set of fields such as:

Date, test taken (Y/mt/at DNA), company, haplogroup (or terminal SNP), possibly also the actual test name as Y-DNA12 is way less significant than Y-DNA67 and a link where further information may be found.

Company is relevant as the companies are by no means equal.

More than one test should be possible, but only one of each type

Which is fine for Y and mtDNA but a lot harder for atDNA which is where the overall family trees become even more relevant.


by Lorna Henderson G2G6 Mach 2 (27.2k points)
edited by Lorna Henderson
+1 vote
Hi Chris,

I talked to you a couple of years ago about DNA testing and wikitree. I am glad that progress has started and a conversation of how to implement this is beginning.

I personally have Y-DNA 44 markers from my uncle, MT-DNA and Autosomol Family Finder test for me.  My children are adopted from Cambodia and they have Autosomol Family Finder tests for them also.  

I think on each living persons page there needs to be a checkbox for each type of test and the lab name.  If someone is looking for my paternal surname and saw that my paternal surname has been tested and  what lab & test, they can message me to get more info. They can also click on the DNA tab from the profile and see the DNA lineage  

Y-DNA:, 44 markers


Autosomol: FTDNA

On the non living ancestors there should be a checkbox that I can check to include the DNA testing info to that page. Paternal ancestors would just have the same info copied from my page, Y-DNA:, 44 markers

Kari Lemons

Founder of Khmer Cousins DNA Project, FTDNA

Co-Admin Lemon DNA Project FTDNA
by Kari Lemons G2G5 (5.7k points)

Thanks, Kari! I haven't forgotten about our conversations.

Coincidentally, today I was working on this. Finally.

Check out these two new questions:

  1. Which DNA test have you taken? (Since you answer above, I'll fill in your ID).
  2. How many generations should autosomal DNA test results attach to?
+1 vote
I already underwent these tests and they do provide insightful information into your tree. Though I would not take them as being 100 percent.
by Matt Pryber G2G6 Mach 4 (48.6k points)
I hope you will upload your AncestryDNA reultls to and add yuor GEDMatch ID to your DNA Tests page on WikiTree.  If you have Y-DNA test or mtDNA test results then it will be more helpful for you if you added them to WikiTree (and YSearch and MitoSearch)  because those results are automatically associated their corresponding direct line.  Sincerely,

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