Top ten reasons to do a DNA test for family history
Taking a DNA test can transform our understanding of the past, helping you to smash brick walls and find long-relations. Discover why you should take a DNA test to enhance your family history, with our top ten guide.
1 Discover your ancestry
Take your family history research to a new level, using DNA testing to complement your paper-based findings and help you to find living relatives and solve age-old family history puzzles in a way which traditional documents never could.
2 Break through a brick wall
Family tree brick walls which were unsolvable before the advent of DNA testing can now be solved with the help of a test. By finding living relatives who share your DNA, a brick wall such as an ancestor with unknown parents could soon be solved.
3 Connect with your kin
An autosomal DNA test can be taken by both males and females, placing your details into a matching database to connect you with genetic cousins on your family tree. These new-found relatives may have documents and photos relating to your family tree, allowing you to help each other with your research.
4 Testing is simple
Taking a DNA test couldn’t be simpler. Most family history DNA tests require just a cheek swab or a sample of saliva, which you submit to the testing company, and then sit back and excitedly wait for the results (which are usually available in not a great deal more than a month).
5 Test now and help future researchers
The more family historians who take a DNA test, the higher the chances of everyone finding matches for their tree. The databases become larger with each person who tests, and so even if you don’t immediately solve your family history mystery, there’s always the chance someone new to DNA testing will be connected to you – with great results.
6 Make sure you’re on the right track
Whether you’re new to tracing your ancestors, or have been building your family tree for many years, a DNA test is the perfect way to be sure that your research is rock solid and you’re tracing the correct ancestors.
7 Research your surname
The latest advances in DNA testing and the growth of DNA surname projects can allow you to narrow down your paper-based research. If your male-line surname is fairly common, your DNA results will allow you to be sorted into a sub-set of that surname, giving you a more focused group of men among whom the DNA predicts will be your ancestors.
8 Follow the trail of migrant ancestors
A DNA test is a great way to see when and where your ancestors migrated over the centuries, providing information which traditional paper-based sources often can’t. For example, if your ancestor migrated to the USA during the Colonial era, there will be few records showing where they came from – whereas a DNA match can help provide a location to search for records for your immigrant ancestor.
9 Find your personal ethnic mix
One of the most exciting things about receiving the results of a family history DNA test is discovering your own ethnic mix, with results that show the percentages which make up your own ethnicity. For example, you may believe your ancestors have lived in the UK for hundreds of years, but when your results arrive, you might be surprised to find you have 25% Italian ancestry, and a tantalizing 3% Scandinavian ancestry.
DNA testing is now much more affordable than in previous years. Modern DNA tests can provide you with more information and details about your ancestry than ever before, so now is the perfect time to take the plunge and begin your DNA family history adventure.
Find out more about understanding family finder DNA tests in the June issue of Family Tree magazine, available to pre-order today.