Thursday, July 6, 2017

I've Done a DNA Test, Now what?

I am not an expert at DNA research. I'm barely a novice at this point.  I have found a few experts though, and I am learning from them.  These are the steps and resources I recommend.  

The first thing you will want to do is download your raw DNA.  I'm using ancestry as an example, because that is where most people test.

Go to
choose settings

Then on the right hand side you will see something like the photo above.  Choose "Download Raw DNA Data"

They will send you an email, you will have to click on the link in the email to confirm you want to download your data.

Once downloaded, it will be a zip file.  Do not unzip it.  But you may wish to rename it.  I rename each of ours with the person it belongs to, so I don't confuse the files later.

Next you will want to go to
This is where you can compare kits against each other to see which strings of chromosomes you have in common.  I know that sounds complex, but don't quit on me yet.  Even if you decide not to do the matches here, if you upload your dna, other researchers can perform the match and connect with you, and if they have more knowledge than you, you could get easy answers without too much effort.   Or, if you are interested, there are still lots of resources for learning how to interpret and compare your dna results.

  This is the main gedmatch page, once you have an account and login.
Up at the very top, middle, choose "Generic Upload Fast" and you can upload the zip file of your raw dna.  

From there, it does get a bit more complex.  But it's still do-able for the average researcher!  This post will cover in more detail than I care to, how to proceed:


If you have any interest in genetic genealogy research at all, I suggest this facebook group:
This is a group of people actively using dna for genetic resarch, and they share tips as they work.  It's an immensely helpful resource!

And then you will want to read Blaine Bettingers Blog - The Genetic Genealogist.  He has some amazingly helpful charts to help explain things.  He also has information so far over my head that I'm just not yet able to process it.  I'll probably work on learning more from him this winter, when I spend more time indoors.
DNA Detectives is a facebook group specifically for those using their DNA to search for adoptive family members -

Genetic genealogy group focused on using DNA to find biological family for adoptees, foundlings, donor-conceived individuals, unknown paternity and all other types of unknown parentage cases - recent and more distant. 

Now please keep in mind, we do NOT inherit an even 50% of our ancestors DNA.  DNA is not a set percentage.  But if we DID inherit an exact set amount, this gives you a rough idea of how much that might be.  
"The chart above shows how much of a particular generation of ancestors’ DNA you would inherit if each generation between you and that ancestor inherited exactly 50% of that ancestor’s DNA from their parent. This means, on the average, you will carry less than 1% of each of your 5 times great-grandparents DNA, shown in generation 7, in total. You’ll carry about 1.56% of each of your 6 times great-grandparents, and so forth."   This is better explained in the rest of her post here:

Another great resource:

"A few years ago The Genetic Genealogist Blaine Bettinger posted several versions of X‑DNA inheritance charts. Colored blocks on the charts indicate which ancestors might contribute segments to a person's X chromosome(s). The percentage of X‑DNA that each ancestor might contribute was shown in one of the later charts.1 Blaine explains X‑DNA inheritance in those posts as well as providing the charts.

I formatted this information into a Microsoft Word table so I can type the names of the ancestors of a person who has tested for use in X‑DNA analysis. "


The Shared CM Project
"You might be familiar with the Shared cM Project, which produced this chart. The Project relies on submissions from genealogists just like you! I will soon be working on an annual update to the Shared cM Project, and I would greatly appreciate tons of new submissions! I am accepting all submissions, and I am especially looking for relationships more distant than 2C (as well as all half relationships). Because I have limited time, I can ONLY accept submissions through the submission Portal: THANK YOU to everyone! (If you'd like to share this post, copy & paste rather than clicking "share" so it can reach more people)."

If you are not familiar with the shared CM project, you can read more about it here.  This is a little more advanced, not a beginners project.  


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