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Genetic Genealogy

Interested in genetic genealogy? Wondering what it is? Genetic Genealogy is the study of family history using DNA testing to determine relationships. DNA testing is available through several companies including 23and me,, AfricanDNA, Family Tree DNA and many others . There are three main types of DNA testing that may help with your genealogical search.

  • Y-chromosome testing - this is available only to males, as it follows the male Y-chromosome from father to son. Females will often ask a male in their family to do this test to gain information about their paternal surname line. This test is also useful for males with the same paternal surname to determine if they are related.
  • Mitochondrial DNA testing - this test focuses on the cell structures known as mitochondria which are passed to males and females from their mother. This type of testing may be used by either sex, but will only provide information about the direct female ancestral line.
  • Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) testing - these tests compare large numbers of variation (SNPs) across an individual's entire genome. The results are compared with all others who have taken the tests to determine an estimate of an individual's ethnic background. For example, this is the test that will tell you if you are 10 percent European, 15 percent African, 20 percent Asian, 30 percent Native American and 25 percent unknown. This type of test is used because the Y chromosome test and the mitochondrial test cannot capture the ethnic background of an individual.

Want to learn more? Telling Your Story, a genealogy and family history help group meets the third Monday of each month at Richland Library Cooper.

Anita Says: Using genetic tests to explore your family tree
Amazon Says: Written by two of the country's top genealogists, Trace Your Roots with DNA is the first book to explain how new and groundbreaking genetic testing can help you research your more...
Amazon Says: Written by two of the country's top genealogists, Trace Your Roots with DNA is the first book to explain how new and groundbreaking genetic testing can help you research your ancestryAccording to American Demographics, 113 million Americans have begun to trace their roots, making genealogy the second most popular hobby in the country (after gardening). Enthusiasts clamor for new information from dozens of subscription-based websites, email newsletters, and magazines devoted to the subject. For these eager roots-seekers looking to take their searches to the next level, DNA testing is the answer. After a brief introduction to genealogy and genetics fundamentals, the authors explain the types of available testing, what kind of information the tests can provide, how to interpret the results, and how the tests work (it doesn't involve digging up your dead relatives). It's in expensive, easy to do, and the results are accurate: It's as simple as swabbing the inside of your cheek and popping a sample in the mail. Family lore has it that a branch of our family emigrated to Argentina and now I've found some people there with our name. Can testing tell us whether we're from the same family?My mother was adopted and doesn't know her ethnicity. Are there any tests available to help her learn about her heritage? I just discovered someone else with my highly unusual surname. How can we find out if we have a common ancestor? These are just a few of the types of genealogical scenarios readers can pursue. The authors reveal exactly what is possible-and what is not possible-with genetic testing. They include case studies of both famous historial mysteries and examples of ordinary folks whose exploration of genetic genealogy has enabled them to trace their roots. less...