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DNA Testing for Genealogical Research

DNA test results can provide valuable Genealogical information - as a complement to traditional Genealogical Research.

Male DNA (Y chromosome or Y-DNA) test results can provide valuable information for the direct male ancestors of a male individual (when the DNA testing is done through a reputable organization). This DNA is passed down generation to generation from father to son.

Female DNA (Mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA) test results can provide information for the direct female ancestors of an individual (again when the DNA testing is done through a reputable organization). This DNA is passed down generation to generation through the Maternal line - from the mother to all her children. All mtDNA test results apparently fall into one of seven main haplogroups - known as the seven daughters of Eve.

Notes:
  1. Different organizations may use slightly different code definitions and/or counting methodology for the DNA markers that they test. The problem with this is that DNA test results are not necessarily 100% comparable between all DNA testing organizations.
    Some organizations try to take these definition differences into account when comparing DNA test results from different sources. Other organizations apparently do not accept DNA test results from different sources but may offer DNA test kit discounts to individuals that already have DNA test results from another source.

  2. The coding/naming of Male DNA or Y-DNA Haplogroups is apparently subject to change over time.
    For example the Y-DNA Haplogroup R1b1a2 (R-M269) - was apparently R1b3 (from 2003 to 2005) and R1b1c (from 2005 to 2008) and R1b1b2 (from 2008 to 2011).
    Members of Haplogroup R1b1a2 (R-M269) apparently share a common ancestor with:

    • Tutankhamun (died c. 1323 BC), Egyptian Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty
    • John Adams (1735-1826), 2nd President of the United States
    • Franklin Pierce (1804-1869), 14th President of the United States


Tutankhamun (King Tut) and Y-DNA Haplogroup R1b1a2 (R-M269)

Tutankhamun (King Tut) was apparently a member of Y-DNA Haplogroup R1b1a2 (R-M269)


Richard III, King of England and Mitochondrial DNA

Mitochondrial DNA was used to confirm the identity of the skeletal remains of Richard III, King of England


DNA Testing Organizations and DNA Databases

With the growing interest in using DNA for Genealogical Research - there are more and more DNA testing organizations and DNA databases available.

I recommend doing research before choosing a DNA testing organization and DNA database. Check for - the reputation of the organization - the level of confidentiality offered - the costs involved for testing and follow-up database comparisons - number of DNA markers to be tested - the level and quality of customer support - and so on ...

Also - as noted above - not all organizations use the same code definitions and/or counting methodology for DNA markers - which has created the problem that DNA test results are not necessarily 100% comparable between all DNA testing organizations and databases.

For further information check the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) website. The ISOGG "was founded in 2005 by DNA project administrators who share the common vision of the promotion and education of genetic genealogy".