Thursday, May 4, 2017

Get to Know Your Ancestors Better Through DNA Autosomal Testing

Last week, AncestryDNA reported they have surpassed 4 million customers in their DNA database. They are the largest consumer genetic testing company.

AncestryDNA started in 2012. With a kit they send in the mail, one provides a saliva sample and then sends it back to them. The results were typically taking less than 6 weeks, but since the new year, they’ve experienced such a large number of test kit returns that the results are taking much longer. My husband sent his in right after Christmas and didn’t received the results until March 15.

Here is what AncestryDNA reports:

        “From January to April 2017, AncestryDNA genotyped 1 million people. So, on average about two people took a DNA test every time there was a marriage in the United States.
        With 4 million members, the AncestryDNA network would be the 2nd largest city in the United States based on population just after NYC.
       The AncestryDNA database grew from 3 to 4 million in the last three months. That’s about as fast as babies are born in the United States.”

You can go onto their website and hear some of the stories customers experienced.

Once your results are in, you’ll receive an email that will take you step by step on how to view the information. There is a short video you can watch to help you understand your results.

The “cousin matches” information that AncestryDNA provides should be investigated and confirmed using additional research because it relies partially on the family history work of others, which isn’t always accurate. In other words, if I am a match to someone who has a family tree on, I can view their tree on the website (if I am a paying subscription member). It is possible there is bad or incomplete information on that tree. But, the results do take me toward individuals with whom I can collaborate with on our shared family history, and hopefully work through research together. 
For instance, I have been able to share old photos of ancestors with those who matched as 4th cousins—photos they had never seen before. And although there may be cons to DNA results on’s family trees, it does not change the fact that your ethnicity results are a match to others of the same ethnicity.

The three main companies that do autosomal testing are AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA, and 23andMe. Which is best for you depends on your goals and family history, but AncestryDNA does have the largest database. It is larger than the other two combined.

You can use the results you get from AncestryDNA and post them on other family tree DNA websites to find more matches.

I have a friend of Eastern European Jewish lineage who reports that she had only 4th cousin matches on AncestryDNA, and those who she messaged couldn’t tell her their 2nd and 3rd generations so they didn’t know how they made that 4th generation match. She must consider the matches as clues at this point.

AncestryDNA has only recently entered the international market, and of course growth is expected. At the moment, Family Tree DNA or 23andMe may be more beneficial for those with heritage outside the United States. 

From the first time my autosomal results were posted on AncestryDNA, updates have been made by the company and many more cousins found. It is worth checking back periodically to see what new has been discovered.

1 comment:

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