January 6, 2017

What To Do With Your DNA Test Kit And How To Understand It?

So now that you've had your DNA tested for genealogical purposes, what to do with it? One of the best free tools online that I've come across is GEDMatch.

GEDMatch is a website that allows you to upload your DNA file, analyze it further, and provides an ability to find genetic DNA cousins who tested with other DNA companies. The website is full of great features and options.

So if you tested with AncestryDNA, 23andMe (personally don't recommend health report option),  FamilyTreeDNA, and WeeGene, you can download or use one of GEDMatch's automation tools (depending on testing company) to transfer data.  They provide you with great instructions on what steps you need to take.

I recommend that if you're new to DNA testing, that you read their Beginner's Guide which will be a menu option on the screen after logging in. The website also provides a forum and wiki pages; so plenty of support.

There is also many Facebook groups for those of you on Facebook.  Just use search and you'll be surprised to uncover how many groups are out there willing to help.  I previously posted about them in a prior post and the list is provided below. There are many more beyond what I listed below so you are not alone in this. 💛 💜

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DNAAfricans/ (researching your African ancestry)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/ALLGeneticGenealogy (a good friend, Kelly, runs this group, very welcoming)  - she also has a wonderful blog with lessons on DNA, VERY easy to follow.

I have posted in my blog about DNA testing but at the time it was directed to Puerto Ricans and Dominicans.  However I highly recommend it to EVERYONE!  If you're from the Caribbean, you'll be surprised how many others have taken the plunge.

I encourage that you have your eldest relatives tested first.  Tests consist of spitting into a tube or swabbing of the cheek.  Before spitting into the tube, I recommend scratching your cheek gently with your teeth, swishing around saliva to get the it into the saliva and spit; yes sounds nasty but works.  You should not eat, drink or smoke for at least one hour before spitting as it can ruin the test and require retesting.

23andMe Test Results
So far I have tested with AncestryDNA and 23andMe.  I originally tested with 23andMe years ago before Ancestry offered DNA testing but also had it done there.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover many cousins on the same path with me. I have always called myself a human mutt since a kid because I knew my family was a rainbow of colors; my DNA simply confirmed it. Below I'm providing a view of the breakdown of my 23andMe test results.
DNA Results from 23andMe

All companies have their plus and minus.  If you're of African descent, I recommend AncestryDNA and then 23andMe.  The reason in that order is that Ancestry has the largest number of DNA testers with well over 3 million people as 23andMe doesn't provide that much.  However if budgets are tight then skip on 23andMe and go for GEDMatch.  You'll discover cousins there and many tools to analyze.

GEDMatch also provides a Lazarus tool; creation of tool kits of parents/grandparents without them testing; example they're deceased.  I recommend you read up on it to understand how it works. ($10 monthly fee needed to access)