Getting your results
Waiting on your test results is the easiest part of this process. Most labs tell you 2-6 weeks. With as many tests as they are processing these days, they have gotten quite good at sending them back fast. If you managed to take advantage of the holiday special sales (Mother's Day, Father's Day, Easter, Christmas, etc.) chances are that you will be among a larger group that also took the test at the same time and it will take slightly longer to get your results back.
Things to do while you wait
You have several weeks to get ready for all the work to be done once the test results come back. Use this downtime wisely. READ AND RESEARCH is the key! Read up on what your test results will consist of, how to process what they send you and what to do with all the information that is going to make your head spin. One day down the road you will open up your email to links and lists of new relative matches and you are going to say "Now what do I do?" doing your research ahead of time will help you process all of this information.
Your DNA test will not provide all of the information required to find the answers you seek. There are many tools available to use
in conjunction with your DNA test. Ancestry offers a family tree building program. You will want to check to see what your particular lab offers in the way of
building family trees. This is one of the most advantageous features and you should use it as it will help you find information faster.
Their premiere service offers access to all sorts of documents, one for USA based information, a World Explorer plan that helps you find
documents from all over the world, and an All Access plan that provides Military, Newspaper, and access to their Education portal the
Roughly, these upgraded plans will cost you between $15-35 per month. To save money, try the version
included with your DNA test kit and see if that works for you. You can always upgrade later.
There are also other Family Tree building programs such as MyHeritage (that comes free with FTDNA) and many more that you can use in your project.
Third party databases
You will want to create free accounts on www.Gedmatch.com and www.DNA.Land. These two websites help process your DNA and compare it to others who have uploaded their raw data to these sites.
In a nutshell, what Gedmatch does is adds you to those who have uploaded their data from any of the Big 3 Labs (Ancestry, FTDNA, and 23AndMe) to one central database. In addition, they are currently allowing uploaded data from tests from WeGene and GenetiConcept labs data so you get the added benefit from a much larger database than just the lab you tested with. If you are going to test multiple family members, Gedmatch will allow you to manage multiple tests in one account whereas DNA.Land must have a unique email account for each DNA test uploaded.
DNA.Land is the new kid on the block and will more than likely be a serious contender to the Gedmatch machine.