DNA - what's your plan?


04 August 2022
We take a DNA test filled with curiosity, but it takes more than curiosity to get the full benefits of a DNA test. DNA detective Michelle Leonard has been examining DNA case studies for years, solving mysteries, and teaching others how to piece together their own DNA puzzles too. This is what she deems important:

Michelle Leonard believes that building a really robust family tree is extremely important for helping you make sense of your DNA match list. Having researched your collateral lines (i.e. the siblings of your direct line ancestors) and also researched some of their descendants too, you stand a better chance of recognising where a DNA match may fit on your tree.

Look at the DNA: look at the percentage or number of shared centiMorgans that you and a match share. The study the full range of possible relationships that this number may indicate, for instance by using the Shared cM Project Tool.

Ensure you keep great notes. When studying your DNA you will soon find yourself immersed in details. It's extremely helpful to set up a system to keep yourself organised from the outset. On the DNA Bootcamp we provide you with the tools and instruction to set up your own, bespoke, really organised system.

And lastly, if you're asking family members to test, make sure you test the right relations. What is meant by this? While it is fun for any member of the family to test, if you are the person buying the tests and if you have a specific research goal you would like to reach, then you need to think about which relation(s) may be best placed to help you. As a general rule, testing the people in the generations above you will be more fruitful than testing your peers or descendants.

About the DNA Bootcamp

The DNA Bootcamp is an online 8-week DNA course for family historians tutored by Michelle Leonard and hosted by Family Tree. On the Bootcamp Michelle will explain autosomal DNA test results, she'll show the steps you need to take in order to succeed with your DNA research, and the tools and skills you need to be a thorough, methodical and organised DNA family history researcher.

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To find out more, get the dates in your diary, and to sign up for your place, click here. (Prices from £55 to £90).

PS Get the Workbook & Join the Group

When you book on the DNA Bootcamp starting 28 September you will also receive:

  • a digital copy of the 52 page DNA Workbook - packed with tips and tasks
  • & an invitation to join an exclusive DNA Facebook group that will run for the duration of the course

Any questions about the DNA Bootcamp, please email [email protected]