July 29, 2015

Nemesio Aleman Aleman

Below is the record for Nemesio Aleman Aleman.  He was born in 1919 and the son of Ramon Aleman and Marcelina Aleman.  His father is reporting the birth to Trujillo Alto municipality.  In the record, both grandfathers are deceased but both grandmothers were still alive at the time of his birth.

Juan Aleman Morales

As you can see in the below transcription, both grandmothers have the same last name of Garcia. In actuality it turns out that their last name is Garcia Hernandez and they are sisters. They are the daughters of Aquilino Garcia and Natalia Hernandez.

This means that Juan Aleman Morales' parents are 1st cousins or primo hermanos. Take a look at my blog post about kissing cousins; yes it exists in every family on this planet.

Benita Garcia Hernandez passed away on 20 Aug 1921 in Dos Bocas, Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico and her death record identified her parents.  Her sister, Ceferina Garcia Hernandez, passed on 30 Mar 1926 in Quebrada Infierno, Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico.  Since they were born during an era when baptism records contain grandparent's name, I'm sure it will be very easy to discover who they are.

They have a sister named Pilar who married Tomas Hernandez Betancourt.  In addition, there are two additional brother (Juan and Hermogene) and two more sisters (Anastasia and Tiburcia). You can find them all in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico.

Desktop:  To see other blog posts for your island or country, click on the menu that appears at the top right of this post. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Mobile Devices (Smartphone & Tablets):  To see other blog posts for your island or country, at the top of the page, click on the "Most Recent Post", a popup menu will appear, select an option. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country. 

Navigating Dominican Republic's Archive Website ~ Archivo General de la Nacion - Part 6 - Bernando Vega Collection

So now I want to speak to the Bernardo Vega Collection.  Basically he was a historian of Dominican Republic's history.  When you click on the link, it will open a new window which provides a brief description.  To save you time, I copied the entire page and dropped it into Google Translate.

Below is what it states without me editing anything. From glancing at it, the translation looks great.

This collection is the result of over 30 years of research and documentary compilation by the historian Bernardo Vega files United States, Britain and Dominican Republic. Is a collection of first order to know and understand the Dominican history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The cataloging and digitization project started on August 31, 2006 with the signing of an agreement between the Dominican Cultural Foundation, the Global Democracy and Development Foundation and the General Archives of the Nation. The documentation refers specifically to diplomatic relations between Dominican Republic and countries like the United States, Haiti, Cuba, Venezuela and England.

This digital collection contains information on the first republican governments, the first American intervention (1916-1924), the government of Horacio Vásquez (1924-1930), the dictatorship of Rafael L. Trujillo (1930-1961), the State Council ( 1962), the government of Juan Bosch (1963), the Triumvirate (1964-1965), Civil War (1965) and the first years of the government of Joaquin Balaguer. Also documentation on trade matters as patent laws, tariffs, import, export and maritime trade and the Dominican-American Convention of 1907 and 1924. It consists of a variety of document types including include: correspondence, offices reports, inventories, interviews, appointments, conventions and treaties. In addition, books and newspapers and magazines.
176 microfilms and 158 boxes of paper documents were digitized. The product of this technical work resulted in a total of 29.104 and 199.795 chips image description. The descriptions and the associated image bank, may be freely consulted by an automated program publicly accessible online. Users who make use of this document should cite the source.

So basically Bernando Vega's dedicated work is now available for all of us to use at no charge. The records mentioned in the above translations means that these records are available for you to go through online.  The documents available will assist you in navigating through records in search of your ancestors by providing the ability of knowing what impacts your ancestor during a certain period of time.  To access the search engine to view these digitized images, click on the button available at the bottom; "Biblioteca".

Now when you arrive to the new screen, do not be intimidated. There are quite a few things on here but remember that Google Translator provides you the ability to determine what you're seeing on the screen.  The search doesn't work like Google does using keyword phrases. Instead you have to be precise.  

I recommend that before you start to type that you check all the boxes when searching below the search box.  This will save a lot of time in your search. So for example, if you descend from Rafael Estrella Ureña or even share a last name with this individual, I recommend that you type in his name.  You can even come across his name by simply searching on the town of La Vega.  You'll discover many documents with his name.  Click on any one of them to view the individual search item that appears.

When you click, it will open up the description. The result views are a little clunky and you won't be able to scroll completely down; hoping they correct that to make it compatible with all browsers. Notice at the top that there is another tab that states "Ver Documentos".  When you click on that tab, it will immediately display the document available for viewing.  That is pretty much all there is to this website. So play with it a little and you may discover information you were not aware of that may have impacted your ancestors.

July 28, 2015

Navigating Dominican Republic's Archive Website ~ Archivo General de la Nacion - Part 5 - Revista Clio

The next post is truly a short one if you have been following my blog posts about Dominican Republic's National General Archive also known as the Archivo General de la Nacion (agn.gov.do).

In my prior post I spoke about the Archivo's Boletin and the Revista Clio functions in the same manner that the Boletins do. However the Revista Clio or Clio Magazine concentrates on history and there are no gaps in the publications from 1933 to 2010.  These are academic articles on the history of and the culture of the island. After clicking through all the years, I didn't see any missing volumes.

The volumes appear at the bottom in folders and simply click on the folder words to expand. Once you expand you should see the PDFs appears which you can download and read at your leisure offline. Just remember to use Google Translate or your choice of translator to go through the documents if you're not familiar with the language.

Maria Florentina Alvarez Castillo

I always say to keep an open mind when researching your ancestors.  It is important to read up on the history of the region including when a town was established and when a church was erected in the town.  This has helped immensely in finding records when researching my ancestors.  Well, this way of thinking has worked very well.  It worked so well that in a little time I was able to not only find the records I needed but even further back into Spain including finding letters in PARES.

So this ancestor I speak of is Maria Florentina Alvarez Castillo. She is my 5th great grandmother by my father's maternal line.  This is the line that connects me to the Betancourt families that I match with via DNA.  Many of whom have tested and I've been able to connect with and reaffirm that my documentation on my tree is correct.

So I want to begin with how I was stuck on this line.  Many others were also stuck and were not able to figure out who was the Betancourt Asencio parents.  You see my fourth great grandmother is
Matea del Pilar Betancourt Asencio.  It turns out she was one of 4 children to her parents. However before I jump the gun let me explain.  I was able to find Matea on many records and many of her children.

Through research I was able to discover that she was married in  Trujillo Alto's Exaltacion de la Santa Cruz Roman Catholic Church in Dec 1819 to Juan Betancourt Mangual; Book 1 of marriages.  However that book isn't filmed and is actually in bad condition. The only thing that could be read were the names along with year and month of marriage.  I actually thought that finding out further information from the US mainland was impossible beyond this.  However I don't give up easily so I decided to look for other resources.

Well my persistence paid off. It turns out that I had access to the 1860, 1870, 1872 and 1898 Census for Trujillo Alto Puerto Rico and I decided to look through the records.  I found Matea del Pilar on the 1860 Census on row 1470 living with her son Juan Betancourt, daughter Catalina Velez Asencio and son Modesto Velez Asencio; children can be found on rows 1471, 1472 and 1473.

I realized that the answer was sitting right in front of me all along so I kept digging and found more records against the Velez children and realized through the census records that she also had a brother and sister right on the census; Juan Asencio Alvarez and Felicita Asencio Alvarez. I had these two individuals already on my tree but as being married into the family. Through many records I was able to establish their relationship.

The 1860 Census also provided ages and doing my math I realized Matea del Pilar was born before the church was erected and started researching in the closet large city; San Juan.  I went looking for a marriage record and knew her spouse was Asencio.  Since these three Asencio children were the earliest I noticed in the region, along with seeing Maria Florentina Alvarez appearing on the baptism records as the godmother, I decided I to use Maria Florentina Alvarez when searching in the military marriage church books.  Sure enough I found her quickly! What a find!

It turns out she married a soldier named Antonio Asencio Sans. I found them in Book 4 of marriages which covers from 1790 to 1813.   They were married on December 2nd, 1803.
Antonio Asencio Sans & Maria Florentina Asencio Alvarez marriage
I then turned to church books and started in 1800 and was shocked to discover another child, Fermin Antonio, born October 11, 1802.  So now I knew I was on the right trail. 

I now realized that there was only one Maria Florentina Alvarez Castillo in Trujillo Alto and she was the one and the same that was married to Pedro Velez. It also explains why the low number of Asencio Alvarez during that time period.

I already had Maria Florentina on my tree with two sons; Pedro and Vicente Velez It also helped that I realized that I had two entries with Maria Alvarez. It then made sense as to why Matea's death record had Pedro's name on her father. What finally confirmed it was my DNA test. I show close relationship to people who descend the Velez line with some showing being 3rd and 4th cousins which makes sense based on the family tree.  There is more to add to this but I'll leave this for you to absorb and I'll be back with the continuation to this story.

Desktop:  To see other blog posts for your island or country, click on the menu that appears at the top right of this post. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Mobile Devices (Smartphone & Tablets):  To see other blog posts for your island or country, at the top of the page, click on the "Most Recent Post", a popup menu will appear, select an option. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country. 

July 27, 2015

Navigating Dominican Republic's Archive Website ~ Archivo General de la Nacion - Part 4 - Boletins AGN

People tend to ignore the Boletins in Archives and I can tell you first hand, HUGE mistake!  One of the great things about the Boletins is the history it contains.  These little magazines speak to things that have occurred on the island as well as the collections the archives contain. This can help you immensely in your research. What people tend not to realize is that many archives are much bigger than what the website displays. Perfect example of this is Spain's archives called PARES.  While PARES has a large collection of digitized documents, it only represents 5% of their collection. Yes only 5%!  PARES archives are very huge in side with some being larger than football fields.

To get to the Boletins,  click on the link on the menu that says Boletin AGN.

Now Dominican Republic's may not be as large, however they still have a vast library of information and this isn't including what their universities may have in their libraries or even the libraries throughout the country.  So now back to the Boletins.

When you arrive on the new page, you'll notice many years at the top.  Let's start with 1938. Click on the year.  I'm providing the view so you can follow this without needing to click back and forth to the website.

Boletin Main Page

Now notice that there are 4 folders called No 1, No 2, No 3, and No 4.  Also notice that there are 4 PDF folders.  Now don't click on anything just yet.  Each folder cooresponds to each PDF below it.
So now click on folder No 1 (on the words).  Every single PDF in this folder is a piece part to the corresponding PDF below it.  They've made it that easy!

Now I downloaded BAGN 1938 No 1 file which is the entire volume.  I pulled the below images from this document; they are images that can be found on page 11 and 12.  You can also find these images in the PDF file named Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Leyes Reglamentos del agn.  The first image makes you cringe at the sight as a family genealogist and historian. You ask yourself, "How could they allow this?".  This is what the archivo looked like before President Trujillo took over the country in put into place the laws to fix this. Notice the height and the long ladder in the first image and the mess as well.

Image of Archive before President Trujillo

Once he took over per what the Boletin states, this is what he had put into place. At least he was good for this (setting politics aside).  I must say it was a huge improvement and hope he didn't have any records destroyed.

Archives after President Trujillo

The Boletins are available for download and are pretty big with the first one in 1938 having 94 pages. You can also download the piece parts if you need to keep only certain articles.  I think that this was great for the AGN to preserve this book by digitizing it and offering it to everyone in two different formats.  If you scroll down to pages 23 and 30 of the big volume, you get to see the concepts of the National library.

Now I truly expect people to go through these. On page 47, it provides a list of towns throughout Dominican Republic and when they were established. For example, Villa de Bonoa was founded by Cristobal Colon or Christopher Columbus in 1494.  These dates become extremely important because once you get into the 1700's, you can then research information on Spain's PARES website to see what they have thereby increases your chances in finding what you seek; YOUR ANCESTORS.

Notice that there are many years missing after 1960 so you have plenty to research in those years. However don't ignore the current ones as they can also provide clues in your research. 

Abelardo Betancourt Betancourt

Below is the civil registration record for Abelardo Betancourt Betancourt.  His father, Anselmo Betancourt Betancourt is report it to Trujillo Alto municipality. 

Adalberto Rodriguez Betancourt

Below you have the civil registration record with the municipality of Trujillo Alto for Adalberto Rodriguez Betancourt. His father Emilio Rodriguez Betancourt is reporting the birth.

Adalberto was born on the 24th of April in 1929.  His mother's name is Juana Betancourt Marquez.  I hope his birth record will help others in the family tree research.

Desktop:  To see other blog posts for your island or country, click on the menu that appears at the top right of this post. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Mobile Devices (Smartphone & Tablets):  To see other blog posts for your island or country, at the top of the page, click on the "Most Recent Post", a popup menu will appear, select an option. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

July 26, 2015

Juana Regina Bayala Rodriguez

Juana Regina's parents were not married at the time of her birth which it reflects in the below record. Prior to her birth, her father Miguel Bayala Flores had been married to Maria Encarnacion Colon Diaz but she died not too long after giving birth to her son Pedro Bayala Colon.

Her son Pedro eventually wound up working in Trujillo Alto's municipality registering births, marriages, and deaths.  You can find his signature on many records.  Juana Regina's parents eventually marry as documented below.

Desktop:  To see other blog posts for your island or country, click on the menu that appears at the top right of this post. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Mobile Devices (Smartphone & Tablets):  To see other blog posts for your island or country, at the top of the page, click on the "Most Recent Post", a popup menu will appear, select an option. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Alejandra Aquino Bayala

Alejandra was born in Carraizo, Trujillo Alto in Puerto Rico. She married Esteban Betancourt y Pacheco on January 27, 1907 and lived in Carraizo. She is one of 7 children to Severo Aquino Perez and Regina Bayala Rodriguez. My last update on Alejandra's and Esteban's family shows that they had 11 children together. Her grandson advised me that she had a close relationship with two of her sisters; Paula and Genara. I also have images of them which I will share once I transcribe their records.

Aug 26, 1948

Desktop:  To see other blog posts for your island or country, click on the menu that appears at the top right of this post. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Mobile Devices (Smartphone & Tablets):  To see other blog posts for your island or country, at the top of the page, click on the "Most Recent Post", a popup menu will appear, select an option. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

July 25, 2015

Navigating Dominican Republic's Archive Website ~ Archivo General de la Nacion - Part 3

So before I begin, I recommend that you check out Parts 1 and 2 if you're just arriving at this blog. Below I've provided links to each to help you walk through this website.  They will open each in their own window so you won't lose your place.

The next part is going to require you to think outside of the box in what you seek.

The next piece is "Fondos Documentales", this link will open a new tab on your browser. Here you can find a treasure trove of information that can date back as far as they maintained records. I have seen some very old records. What I like about this archive is that they even have records about neighboring islands. So if you know anyone looking for ancestry information for Cuba and Puerto Rico then definitely check out the Dominican Republic archives.

So when you arrived to this screen, ignore the right side and we'll concentrated on the left. People normally see the sign-in window on the right and quickly assume that they can't search; quite the opposite.

This website works exactly the same way it does for Biblioteca and Hemeroteca that I mentioned in my prior post. The thinking outside the box concept is how you'll find information. 

The first step in typing the person who you're looking for. If you come up with no search results then try simply their last name and what town you believe they are from.  If nothing comes up then try "protocoles" and the name of their town. Now if you're following what I'm saying, then basically you'll be able to find documents that can lead to your ancestor.

This concept actually works more than people realize. Even looking for a court cases or even time periods can help in your search. Simply searching for the town and a particular year can yield information on your ancestors. Typing an ancestor's name and thinking you're going to find everything about them will fail since that isn't how these catalogs work nor do they work this way even with PARES (Spain's archive).
You're also given additional features with this website. Notice the words under the search box, "Fondos" and "Archivos" (See above image).

Yes you can narrow down your search based upon a catalog. If you click on "Fondo", you'll be taken to a new page.

Take notice of the years that appear under "Fechas de Produciones" which translates to dates of production.  If you scroll down, you'll realize that their is a link called "Archivo Real de El Seibo" which dates back to 1700!  So yes you will find information for a region that saw fires and destruction of towns (read the history).  Now understand that you can drill down further on the catalog and again document what they have but yes it may require you to make a visit to the island or ask a family member to gain access to the record.  One of the drill down items that catches my immediate interest is "Actos Notariales".  The description from the catalog is as follow:

Esta serie está integrada por actos notariales, relacionados con: ventas de terrenos, de esclavos, de casas y/o bohíos y de animales, testamentos, inventarios de bienes, tasaciones y particiones de bienes. Contiene además otorgamientos de poder, cartas de liberación a esclavos y escrituras de censo, tributo y capellanías

I'll leave it to you to copy and paste it into a translator to understand it's translation. Yes you will more than likely find family in these records; especially with the wills that have been filed. Another piece of assistance is having maps of the islands. Towns change names and sizes and possibly move over time. Use the old name towns in your searches and find out when the town was settled and when it became official; two different dates and it will help you in finding ancestors. This is why reading the history is so important.

If you go back and search and when your search results appear, you're given two windows, one above and below the search results.

You'll want to read the lower pane, however notice the word "Ver" on each item.  If you click on it, it will provide the same information that appears in the lower pane but in it's own window. I used Felipe Cartagena as an example because I knew he was an attorney on the island and knew that many records exist with his name; he's my 2nd great grandfather. We came very close to having another "Guantanamo Bay" but with Samana.  Thank goodness the US Congress rejected the purchase because the region is an asset to the country. 

I hope this quick tutorial helps many out there searching information on their line. And don't be afraid to pick up the phone and call down there. You can find their number on the website. Also you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Lots of information available to you!

July 24, 2015

Navigating Dominican Republic's Archive Website ~ Archivo General de la Nacion - Part 2

One of the things I forgot to mention, any links I provide will always open in a new window. The same goes for the AGN so make sure you turn off pop up blockers for both websites.

If you're looking for Part 1, then click here and it will open in a new window.

The next link is "Biblioteca and Hemeroteca" which is a catalog for their library of books and newspapers that are available on microfiche film and other formats.  This is good for the person who plans to visit the archives in Santo Domingo or can get a family member on the island to view the microfilm for them.

So below is the search window. Notice there are two tabs, for beginners stick with the Simple tab which is the default and the Avanzada is of course for Advance searches. The advance search is where I recommend that don't use until you get used to the website; especially if you're not familiar with AND/OR use. You can gain more information and narrow down your search which I will provide an example for those who want to try advance search.

So for my example I want to know more about the History of Monte Cristi.  Here is where it is very important that you use a translator, especially if you don't know how to speak, write, or read in Spanish. Remember everything on this website must be searched in Spanish.  As you can see I typed in "Historia de Montecrisi"

Click on "Buscar" and the next view is the search results.  So let's look at the search results here. You have a few options available. Anterior is to go back to the prior page however you can't go back to tweak your search. Another is Siguiente to go to the next page if you have that many searches and the last is Nueva busqueda which provides you the ability to start a new search.

Now notice I've circle one of the search results in yellow. If you click on the link, it will open a popup window and it will provide you details. You can even reserve the microfilm to view if you have a user account; only those on the island have these unless you want to call the archive and ask if you can have one. Note that those of us not on the island will have to reserve it once you arrive there. However jot down the information so you'll have it when you get there. It will save you a lot of time in your research.

Note that this is a digitized book on microfilm and provides the call number. The summary states its a book on the history, social environment and customs along with information on architecture for the city of Montecristi. Again make your translator your friend. There are different ways to view the information in this window but the default should be fine for your use.

Now to narrow down your search and using the same search but adding additional information. It's very simple and they even provide a little blurb about how to use AND/OR.  I used AND so that I get exact search on anything doing with the history and architecture of the city as shown below. Notice how the search results has been narrowed down to exactly what you're searching for.

I hope this walk through helps someone along the way in researching their Dominican ancestry.

Navigating Dominican Republic's Archive Website ~ Archivo General de la Nacion

Dominican Republic is well known for being very much into its history and attempting to document as much as possible. There are some amazing libraries (known as bibliotecas in Spanish) in this country. One of the great things I've heard about Dominican Republic's Archivo General de la Nacion (Archives of the Nation) is that they are extremely friendly and helpful to all visitors.  I must say their website is also getting there with the collections they have added over time. Unfortunately if you don't speak the language, it makes it harder to navigate but not impossible.

So the first thing is where can you find the website. The website is www.agn.gov.do

Before I begin, I must advise that I'm going to do a few blogs to explain the piece parts of this website. You will appreciate it versus scroll through one blog. Now I recommend that you have two tabs opened on your browser to make life easy. One should have the website and another should have Google Translator or any other translator website you like using.  When you arrive on this website, the first thing you'll notice is their top menu bar.  It's just like any other website with their general pages such as "About", "News", "Publications", etc.  You can investigate these pages at your leisure.

If you scroll down on the page, the website provides additional databases for you to do your research. However let's start with the available publications. One of the most important things about researching your genealogy is truly understanding the history of a region, knowing the layout of the map (they do change over time!), and knowing weather patterns.  All three of these are truly important when researching in the Caribbean where tropical storms will determine what happens on an island. So below you should see something similar on the website.

Now what this image is doing is allowing you to navigate through the books.  If you want to read a particular book then it needs to sit at the center like the above gray book in the image. If you click on it, it will open the book for you to read. So yes they provide you access to out of print books without needing to visit a library. I wish all archives did something this! I've been able to research information very easily from my computer.  Now if you want to see what else is in their collection, then you click on the sides. Below is an image showing what I mean by this by circling the area of where you should be clicking.

Just remember that once you decide what book you want to read, just make sure it's in the center position and simply click on it. I'm shockingly surprised to discover information on ancestors in some of the books and you never know what you may find on your family. Another surprise is that there are more books to be found on this website. To the side of the images of these books you should see a menu; I've provided an image of the menu below.  If you click on the first link, "Biblioteca Digital Dominicana", it will lead to a search engine where you can find additional books or you can click on the menu that appears to the left on the new page.

My next blog post will be discussing the extensive information you can find on the menu and how to navigate around it. I was able to clear up verbal family history using this website and hope that it will be just as useful to all who want to research their family.

July 22, 2015

The Cartagena and Marun family - Familia Dominicana

I wanted a way of communicating our history with the family in a much easier format. The opening beach scene is from Florida's west coast and other beach scenes are from Dominican Republic.  I hope that you enjoy and thank you to all of those who contributed in the creation of this video; my family.

Understand that the Cartagena family expands out to many branches. Nieves Rivas is one of many children that Felipe Cartagena Estrella had. Nieves Rivas had older siblings but younger siblings too. She has one remaining living sister from her paternal side; Olimpia Cartagena Portalatin.  As I uncover more information, I'll be sharing my discoveries.

Desktop:  To see other blog posts for your island or country, click on the menu that appears at the top right of this post. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Mobile Devices (Smartphone & Tablets):  To see other blog posts for your island or country, at the top of the page, click on the "Most Recent Post", a popup menu will appear, select an option. It will take you to the page containing posts for your island or country.

Puerto Rican and Dominicans - Getting Your DNA Tested for Genealogical Purposes

I had to think over who I wanted to write about and drew a blank because there are so many I'd like to write about. Since I'm still working on both my Puerto Rican and Dominican ancestry, I figured I'd talk about the benefits of having your DNA tested. First I recommend an Autosomal DNA test; its an inclusive test that will let you see relatives from both maternal and paternal line.  The test does not advise you if a person is related to you maternally or paternally.  To determine this requires working with the individual and finding the connection.

Currently there are 3 main companies I recommend you chose from; FamilyTreeDNA, 23andMe, and Ancestry. The reason for this is that you can upload your raw DNA data file to a website called GEDMatch which offers you many free tools to analyze your DNA and allows you to find relative connections that have tested with one of these companies.

I personally have tested with two companies so far; 23andMe and Ancestry.  I will speak to FamilyTreeDNA in a moment and what I've done. It is totally up to you which route you take.

One of the main things I need to point out about DNA testing, its NOT going to tell you how you're related to an individual. It provides predictions on relationship levels and that is based upon  the number of centimorgans (cM) and SNP's that match an individual; centimorgans are the distance between chromosome positions.  The number can be off if you're related more than once. This occurs when you are related to an individual on more than one family line. 

I'm not going to get into the discussion of cM because it is very involved. A great place to start in learning about DNA is by visiting The International Society of Genetic Genealogy website (www.isogg.org). This website provides detailed information about DNA testing as well as comparisons between the different companies out there. The website lists other companies available for testing. See their welcome page link below and you'll find the comparison charts on the right side of the page on the different types of tests:


Testing is not too expensive if you go with any of these three. Each has their plus and minuses depending on what it is you seek and your race/ethnicity.  The consensus is that if you're Puerto Rican or Dominican then 23andMe may be your best option. It is also a great website if you suspect African ancestry. There is a large amount of Puerto Rican and Dominicans that are testing with this website and with the matches I've found I've been able to accurately continue to build my Dominican family tree. It has also provided confirmation that what I've documented is accurate based on those that match me.

I've found 23andMe's test to be more accurate in identifying countries of origin since I've done my genealogy tree that goes back many generations; some lines going back to the 1500's on my Puerto Rican side.   However if you're looking to make your dollar stretch, then I recommend Ancestry.  Why is that? Well for one you can compare notes with those who have their family tree built on the website. Another reason is that you can easily download the DNA file and upload it to FamilyTreeDNA, thereby getting a two for one. What is lacking on Ancestry is tools to manipulate your data. They simply supply you with your genetic makeup based on their algorithms.  Here is a sample of what mine looks like on Ancestry:

Ancestry Results

I can assure you that I'm not 35% Italian/Greek. I found that to be laughable; not that I have any issue with being part Italian or Greek because 23andMe found Italian DNA ancestry but at around 1%. Had I not done by genealogy tree and documented my ancestry well I would have been fooled into thinking I'm mostly Italian/Greek. I also know that I have a Syrian great grandfather that migrated in the 1800's, no indication on this screen. 

Now as for 23andMe, I must say the website has some great tools but is lacking in others; however it's a start.  Once you familiarize yourself with the website, you can see which segments of your chromosomes and what regions of the world a person matches with. The person must be sharing their DNA with you to determine this.

Now here is the test results screen that is comparable to Ancestry's website. The difference is that it was much more accurate, provides you with three different view on the map alone. In addition if you had a parent tested, it provides you a split view of your chromosomes. Since my father is deceased I can't have that test done unless I get my brother to test.  I'm also providing the chromosome view that goes with the country percentages to the right of the first screenshot.

23andMe Country of Origin View

23andMe Chromosome View

Hope this provides insight into which test to go with and where to find information on testing. I leave you with my Neanderthal DNA that 23andMe found; another perk! This may explain the need to shave all the time. LOL!!!

Neanderthal DNA