The Amazing world of DNA
DNA, the blueprint that makes you who you are! Each one of us is different and so is our DNA. You get some DNA from your mother, and some from your father, who got theirs from their mother and father and so on. An identical twin will be the only person whose DNA is exactly like yours. But DNA can be used to help discover others who are related to you by segments of matching chromosomes.
Why use it?
Unlike paper documents, DNA cannot be falsified. It is the absolute best way to identify relatives. Even though yours will vary a bit from the rest of your family, it will still be so close that the relationship is undeniable. This is why taking a DNA test is so very important. DNA tests have been around for a very long time. Over the past decade they have improved the tests and are able to detect more specific details. If there is any chance there is an adoption in your family tree, you need to take a test. Whether you know of the adoption in your family or not, let me assure you that you are related to many adopted people who are looking for answers. Used in conjunction with other, more traditional genealogy tools, these tests can help you reach discoveries that may never be found otherwise.
Who should take a DNA test?
In my opinion, EVERYONE! As wonderful as that would be, it is not going to happen anytime soon. So, if there is any chance there
is an adoption in your family tree, you need to take a test. Then hope that others from your biological family do the same. This will
help in a couple of ways:
1) An adoptee that you may not know now has an association with you. You can work with the adoptee to find how they fit into your family tree. You can provide them with family information that until now, they did not have. Believe me, you have no idea how happy you can make them just with a little bit of information.
2) You are the adoptee and a family member takes a test, they show up in your matches of that lab that you tested with. You can then contact them and ask them to assist you in your quest. Working together with a member of your family, you may be able to discover your place in the tree.
Which test should I take?
This is a hard decision. It will ultimately be up to your main objective for taking the test. There are three main labs that perform tests. Each of them are very good and the level of testing is similar. However, some are more detailed, some focus on medical research, and still others primarily focus on genealogy. Being adopted, I wanted medical reports and so I chose 23AndMe.com. Later, I also tested with FamilyTreeDNA.com and Ancestry.com just because they provided two more databases of test subjects that I could possibly connect with. Let me explain. On my test with Ancestry I found a 3rd cousin match. I contacted the cousin and got no response. Yes, there are some people who will not share information. Then I found another 3rd cousin match on 23andMe who was related to the cousin on Ancestry. By triangulating these two people and researching their family trees, I could identify the family line that produced my mother. Of course, this family had about 10 children and any one could be my great grandparent. About a year later a 2nd cousin match appeared in my Ancestry results which descended from one of the 10 children mentioned above and confirmed that the grandmother of these other two matches had a sister who is my mother's grandparent. Had I not tested with both of those labs, I would still be searching for that information. As far as which of the 10 children I come from, I can rule out one but as for the other nine, I may as well throw a dart. I can only hope that their descendants take a DNA test so that it sheds more light on the actual family line.
How much does it cost?
Each of the tests are pretty similar in price. For a basic autosomal DNA test, you can expect to pay about $80.00 to 100.00 for a test kit. DNA tests from drug stores or other local shops are not detailed enough to give you the results you need. You need to purchase your test directly through one of the labs listed below. You will create an account and they will ship you the test. They are either a saliva capture or cheek swab. You then send the test kit back in and wait impatiently for your results. Anywhere from two to six weeks. Generally the labs will run specials at holidays like Mother's Day, Father's Day, Christmas, etc. So you can save $10-$20 at those times of the year.