Question of the Week: Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy?

+40 votes

Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? Why or why not? What did you learn from it?

in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (2.0m points)

52 Answers

+22 votes
Yes, I took the 23andme autosomal test.  I have also had a distant cousin do a yDNA37 test for my mom's Smiths, my brother for our Coopers and my husband for his Smiths.

I have found that the YDNA37 test is more productive in finding specific cousin connections and the cousin connections go back to colonial America, whereas the autosomal test requires more independant research and doesn't make cousin connections much before the late 1700s or so.
by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (588k points)
+18 votes
Yes, Ancestry, 23andme & FTDNA.

I've learnt that my father's roots go back to a dead end in France. We're part of a study group for his YDNA. Without colonial US roots it's a lot more difficult to track down autosomal matches particularly when you don't have a lot of relatives.

My husband, however, has solid First Families of Virginia ties and there's a study on the Jones YDNA that's merging here on WikiTree, FTDNA, and FaceBook groups.
by Rosemary Jones G2G6 Pilot (245k points)
I have had my DNA tested with Ancestry (MtDNA and Autosomal), 23andMe (Autosomal) and Family Tree DNA. Have also sent my DNA results to GEDcom. All of these testers came back with almost the exact same results; especially, naming my maternal Haplogroup. My results, especially from Ancestry, show ancestors from France and a few other European countries, as well as here in the USA and Canada. I especially have liked the results and 'feel' of working on my ancestry with Ancestry and most recently, here on WikiTree. Wikitree's 'Relationship to Me' feature is awefome.


+16 votes
I originally took AncestryDNA - trying to learn more about the results brought me to WikiTree.  I've  met cousins on my maternal line - we need one more to triangulate and be able to confirm DNA.

I've since taken 23andme and the fullMT.  I am hoping to find more cousins that will help with triangulation and verify additional lines.  I have a few mysteries in my tree and my hope is with verification I'll be able to sort out those as well.
by Elizabeth Townsend G2G6 Mach 2 (20.3k points)
23andme came in today.  I've run it through GEDMatch and plugged it in here.  I am quite curious to see I find next.  Hopeful for more brick walls to come down.
I just sent in my sample to Ancestry and they received it. By certain things I'm reading, I'm getting a feeling that I may not learn very much. Can I ask what made you also take the 2andme test? Should I be encouraging others in my family to take the test? Offhand I don't know if any other relatives are interested in learning about our family heritage, and the few who would have been interested are now sadly gone.
+17 votes
I took mine with Ancestry DNA in March, stiiiilllllll waiting on results.  I guess the sale they had for St. Patrick's day caused a big turnout. I took it for several reasons.  1) I'd like to locate my bio paternal grandfather. 2) I want to definitively confirm or exclude Native American ancestry, and 3) I'm just curious to know if there are any more surprises in my roots!
by Summer Orman G2G6 Mach 8 (87.8k points)
I took my DNA test at Ancestry, too, right after they started doing them. They were really slow getting my results posted, so I sent them an e-mail to question it. I had the results the next day. I wonder if they're having a problem with posting the results more than getting the DNA tests actually done.
+15 votes
Well, I have taken the DNA test a good while back, but I can't quite figure out what I'm supposed to do.  I mean, I read the instructions, but it isn't quite clear what I'm supposed to do. I tried entering the activation code I have, they tell me that it's already activated, which is correct, and when I click on DNA in Ancestry it does pull up the matches.  One of them I'm quite sure of as I recognize her name and know we're related.  The last time I'd checked i recognized another one, though I didn't run across it just now.  But there's another match which is new and I'm sure is correct.  It's for some descendents of John Mordecai Green.  I don't descend from him, but from his wife's parents, Christopher Conrad. (my 3ggrandfather) and his wife Barbara Wetzsel. That presumably means I can be pretty sure of the connection back to Christopher and/or Barbara.  Anyway if you can tell me what I should do first, I'd appreciate it.
by Dave Dardinger G2G6 Pilot (411k points)
edited by Dave Dardinger
Dave --

I'm no DNA expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I did want to mention that you might also want to upload your results to This will allow you to match with people who took tests with other companies as well, and that might help you find even more cousins. :-)
Right, but how do I get my "results" or does it just mean that I enter a tree back to my match?  Ok, I suppose I need to go there and check what they say to do.
GEDMatch is basically a way for you to find people who have a significant match on segments with you. So, I guess once you find them, you can work with them outside of GEDMatch to figure out where your trees cross branches.

Hey, you could invite them to WikiTree! ;-)
Well, the deed is done.  I guess it wasn't very hard... once I realized that you had to hit the "settings" icon on the Ancestry.comDNA page.  Anyway, the GEDmatch ID is on my profile, though they say that it will be a week or two before it'll show up on bulk matches.  But if someone with a test wants to see if I'm a match, I guess that can be done.

Dave, you have to analyze the chromosome segments you share with others in order to prove your connections. doesn't show this to you, but Gedmatch does.  DNA takes a lot of time, research, patience and perseverence.  There are some great free software programs out there to help you analyze data and track your research.  You might read up on autosomal DNA as well as the various sites/tools available.

ISOGG has loads of information available.  You can go to their site here:  Scroll part way down the page and you'll see "What to do with your Autosomal DNA results."  Click on the various links and read up on all of it.  Take your time getting familiar with DNA and what you need to do with your results.  Work on getting (if you don't already have) a ten generation family tree.  Without an extensive tree, you won't have much success.

Good luck, and if you've got questions, feel free to post them on G2G (and tag them with DNA and autosomal so those following those tags will see your question(s) ) or drop me a private message and I'm happy to help.

Dave, I don't see your GEDmatch ID on your WikiTree profile. Did you add it using the page found with Add -> DNA Test Information? I'm happy to see if we match.

- Karen

Karen --

I thought it was weird that it didn't show up on his front profile page, too, but it is listed on his DNA Tests page.

The DNA information does not show up on profiles until a daily process is run.
+14 votes

I have not but I had my Mother take a full mtDNA and autosomal test with hopes it would help find more information about her maternal line.  No such luck  There are only a few Haplogroup U5b2b2 that I can find.  So I am still stuck with her Great-grand mother Nancy Bell Boggs McTheny and no way to connect her to who I think is her mother  Rachel (James) Boggs   

Anyone here belong to Haplogroup U5b2b2 ?

Hope all have a great week


by Mel Lambert G2G6 Mach 3 (32.1k points)
Hello Mel,

I recommend you add U5b2b2 as one of your Tags.
I am Haplogroup U6a7.
+11 votes
I have had great success with FTDNA Family Finder & Ancestry Tests. No luck with FTDNA Y 37 & 64 tests. Eventually will try  MT DNA test.
by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.5m points)
+13 votes
I've taken the FamilyTree DNA Family Finder along with their mtDNA Plus.

The Family Finder (autosomal) has been fun, and I've found some matches on, but the mtDNA has been quite informative!

My maternal grandmother was adopted, and I had some leads on her biological mother, but I wasn't sure about her biological father. Using the combination of the autosomal and mtDNA tests, I've been able to confirm that the man we thought was the father truly is, and I've connected with two cousins in Sweden.

Money well-spent!! :-)
by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (430k points)

Dear Erik or some other charming Swede ;-) Lesson learned don't trust a charming Swedish man.... 

Another cool DNA related training you can apply to at Futurelearn and not end ;-) Genomic medicine  its about how you can use DNA to find out if a person get diabetes etc.... 

One cool thing is that they spoke about a database published as OWL/RDF ==> that is the technology I learned when doing the other training about WEB 3.0 and linked data.....and now its used for publish DNA knowledge  and I would like to do the same with Genealogy and templates and infoboxes.....

I really wish I understood this!!! You are miles ahead of most of us when it comes to this type of technology, Magnus. :-)

Assume you are looking for a painting of Venus or a location for Erik Rosen in the states before 1930.... 


Cool Google search using data with relation parents to a person sometimes called genealogy information ;-) ....

Search Obama parents parents parents
then Google has structured info about the relations between all the Obama person objects and presents them below. This information could have been retrieved from  Wikitree Obama-2 if we some of the above mentioned methods for providing structured data to Google....

Schema property parent is how you connect to person objects then Google will do the rest. See me playing around 

Think if we could connect 

  1. Wikitree family tree information
  2. FTDNA result list
  3. Sources cited on a profiles
    1. People related to someone in my FTDNA result list who also have relatives in the same churchbooks as me in Alfta 1890 or on the same page
  4. DNA segments we match on
EDIT Wikitree has structured data in microformat see testing tool  cool question is how to use it and if we could also add templates with events in a persons life with locations and date
"Think if we could connect".  I'm having difficulty understanding how to actually connect 1 through 4.  What would be needed to connect them?
+12 votes
I've had less success finding connections with others who have tested, but I am using it to test connections. I currently have dead ends on both maternal and paternal lines, but there are strong candidates for the next link(s). So I started with those and worked their lines (maternal or paternal, as appropriate) and found living descendants. The last bits were the hardest just because they are living! On both sides I have willing volunteers, so testing is underway. Hopefully I will get positive results and be able to extend my tree a few more generations, and pick up a whole lot more cousins!
by Living Hampson G2G6 Pilot (105k points)
+10 votes

Yes, I used FTDNA and did mtDNA, yDNA, and FamilyFinder tests. The yDNA found that my father's line came from North-West Ireland or Scotland where we had thought it would be South-East Ireland. The other tests had fairly vague results.

I think the value will come from others taking the test and finding matches that way. My biggest hope is that the FamilyFinder test will turn up some third cousins along branches I haven't been able to trace and we can collaborate on our shared trees.

by Peter Whalen G2G6 Mach 2 (25.0k points)
+10 votes
After my brother had taken 23andme, I have decided to take the this week. Since I got 2 kits, one for me and one for hubby,  I don't know which DNA they will do. It was a promo.

Perhaps someone can help me on this one...thank you....
by Lise Rodrigue G2G6 Mach 1 (12.5k points)
Lisa, I'm not understanding what you mean.  If you mean what type of test they will do, tests your autosomal DNA.  That's the only DNA test they do.  If you want a mtDNA or Y-DNA (males only), then you would want to test with Family Tree DNA.

I highly recommend, once you get your DNA results, that you upload (for free) to and then post your Gedmatch ID #s on the corresponding profiles.
+10 votes
I guess I'm just one of those lone individuals waiting on the price to come down a bit.  I remember my father asking me in about 1980 if he should pay a thousand dollars for a VCR.  I told him to wait a bit.  A year or so later they were only about $200.  When the DNA test hits about ten bucks I'll have one.  :)
by Vincent Piazza G2G6 Pilot (242k points)
+12 votes
I first had a DNA test done over thirteen years ago, when I had my dad's mtDNA tested to help a purported cousin prove his maternal lineage.  We were successful in proving his great-grandmother was a sister of my 2x-great grandmother.

Two years later (in 2005), I tested my dad's Y-DNA as part of the Athey DNA surname project.  He ended up being an exact match to our immigrant ancestor, George Athy, who immigrated from Galway, Ireland to Maryland in 1661.

Once autosomal DNA tests were available, I had my dad's DNA tested for that, as well as testing my mom and myself.  I have proven innumerable family connections since getting the auDNA tests done.  I'm working on breaking down several brick walls and feel quite certain that I will indeed do so as more people test and share their family trees.  My grandmother's father isn't known (her mother named a man as the father and my grandmother was given his surname), but I'm not positive that he was in fact her father.  DNA will ultimately tell me who my great-grandfather was up that line (as well as all of the families).  I can't wait!!!
by Darlene Athey-Hill G2G6 Pilot (472k points)
+7 votes
Yes and it changed my life.

DNA and WikiTree is how I prefer to spend much of my leisure time.

I've tested Y-DNA, mtDNA, auDNA, X-DNA for myself and some of those tests for about nine relatives.  My direct paternal line is Scottish (I had no clue prior to Y-DNA testing).   I'm now a life member of Clan Donnachaidh.  My paternal aunt from the Bahamas has an auDNA match with a Spaniard from Extremadura "land of the conquistadors."  My maternal uncle from the Southern U.S. has some African ancestry.

WikiTree has revealed the Y or mtDNA haplogroups of over 30 of my ancestors:

My advice... invite all your DNA matches to add their ancestry to WikiTree or offer to add it here on their behalf.
by Peter Roberts G2G6 Pilot (613k points)
edited by Peter Roberts
I have tested with Ancestry, 23andMe and FT DNA. The results of Ancestry and 23andMe were also sent to WikiTree. Just to let you realize how helpful WikiTree is: a couple of weeks ago, I received an email from someone who had tested on Ancestry. He introduced himself as a 3nd-3rd cousin of mine and he requested my help. You see, he was adopted at birth in Canada and has lived with his adoptive parents in the USA since 1953! I could find no info. about our relationship on Ancestry as he has no tree and extremely little info. on his birth parents!

I then came to WikiTree, typed in the birth surname he had given me, and voila! I found three (3) fremale relations that tie me to his birth surname and the direct ancestor we each share! I have written to him with this new information; but, I think he is like a lot of people researching their ancestry through DNA - they don't realize just how time-consuming and tedious it can be. I have spent hours at this computer since 2009 (even started researching in 2005). It has become my life's ambition and such a fulfilling hobby to learn of my very impressive4 heritage!

Keep digging whenever you can. WuikiTree has evolved quite a bit since I joined 2 1/2 years ago. There is so much help. I must admit, even though I am an experienced computer user, having been at it since 1984, using all the major software and hardware - it can be a bit daunting to research and document the life stories of so many ancestors. But, the rewards are so worth it - at least for me.


+7 votes
no, not comfortable sending DNA to anyone.
by Joyce Dugger G2G Crew (410 points)
+8 votes
I've also taken the FamilyTree DNA Family Finder along with their MTFull Sequence.

The family finder has been a blessing for me as I have found many 4- 6 cousins. My father's side was a dead end once I got to his grandparents  and now that I have some matches we are working together to find the missing link.
by Anonymous Anonymous G2G6 Mach 1 (16.2k points)
+9 votes
Not at this time. I just asked my Husband to allow me to do one for my birthday in July. Would be extremely helpful, since I have no knowledge of anything on blood lines on either side. My Still surname is not my biological father (from what I was told). This is partly why my desire to search my background and blood line is so important. Would like to know for my children and grandchildren, as well.
by Living Still G2G Crew (470 points)
+7 votes
I have taken the 23andMe test and have learned lots about DNA. I have also discovered third-, fourth-, and fifth-cousins.
by Bruce Porter G2G1 (1.4k points)
+7 votes
I'm another "Yes".

I have done the auDNA, yDNA test and some SNP testing. I have also got my Mum and Dad tested for mtDNA and auDNA.

I have been lucky that a maternal cousin was willing to test for auDNA, yDNA and some SNP testing. He then mentioned that his maternal grandmother was adopted, so I have just received the auDNA results for his sister.

One thing I have found is that you still can't rule out an ancestral line just because you and a cousin don't match someone. It could purely mean that they didn't receive enough of that segment of DNA.
by Simon Canning G2G6 Mach 2 (22.0k points)
+8 votes
Yes, I have done the full set with FTDNA, mitochondrial, the Big Y and Family Finder.

What I have proven is what I have hypothesized for some time; the Bartlett genealogy story is only true for some people. As the Norman Bartelots, their Haplogroup is totally different from the Devon Bartletts. The Bartlett story propagated through circular internet references is a lovely story, but only for those for whom it holds good.
by Steve Bartlett G2G6 Mach 5 (58.7k points)

Related questions

+55 votes
72 answers
+13 votes
25 answers
+28 votes
45 answers
+16 votes
25 answers

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright