DNA – Should you? Could You? Would You?

DNA – Should you? Could You? Would You?

I’ve skirted around the subject of whether I should get my DNA done for a few years now. My reasons for doing it so far have been

  • It’s too expensive.
  • Unsure if it will help my genealogy very much.
  • Not convinced that science and technology have advanced enough

The main one has been cost, but lately the price has come down quite a bit. And whilst I am aware that the sellers of DNA kits are going to present stories of people having great breakthroughs  I think the databases now have enough people in them to start to be worthwhile. So my birthday is coming up very soon and I have asked family if they will group together and buy me a DNA kit. Now I have made the commitment I can’t wait for it to arrive so I can do the “CSI” type thing and collect some saliva and send it off. The wait for the results is 6 – 8 weeks. It will be like the old days of writing letters to archives and waiting for a response, if you started genealogy in pre-internet days you will vividly remember the elation when an envelope popped through the letterbox and the disappointment when it turned out to be the electricty bill!


Which kit should I choose? first consideration before I even got as far as pretending I was a police crime of scene expert was which company to go with. It all seemed a bit of a nightmare because a lot of the reports referred to aspects that I had no idea about, so I was pleased to come across in my Google search the Wirecutter report. The Wirecutter is owned by the New York Times and looks very reliable. They are independent from any of the companies involved and they wrote in a way I could understand what they were saying.

Wirecutter compared five DNA companies 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, National Geographic, Ancestry and African Ancestry. It was found that all of the DNA services that were tested came up with broadly the same results, the difference was in how these results were presented to the customer. Ancestry did a better job of presenting the data in a clear manner and placed it into historic context. They also have a far greater number of entries in their database, 5 million and counting, with which to compare the results and link up those who are researching the same ancestors. Ancestry did not track maternal and paternal ancestry independently which some other companies do, but at a great expense. Ancestry won out when comparing size of database (they have two and a half times more database entries than their nearest rival) and clarity of results. The next best was Family Tree DNA, who offered the service of separate maternal and paternal lines and tracking the clients place in early human migration, but the cost was three and a half times greater with these extras.

For me Ancestry won out as I want to have results I can understand and also the opportunity to connect up with others to explore where our families fit together. A plus is that as I have my family trees on Ancestry it will be easy to link my results with my tree. Like most people I have links on my family tree that I am unsure of and am hopeful collaboration with others might help prove or disprove a link.

Below are two videos about Ancestry DNA and I have also put another one in the Webinar section – click on the tab at the top of this page.


What am I expecting the results to be?

When I do get my results I am going to make a short video of my reaction to the results so I can share them with you all. However I am expecting the graph to show mainly British, with some Italian (thanks to 9th great grandmother Mary Champanti, daughter of an Italian merchant living in London) and some Irish (thanks to 3rd great grandmother Eleanor Kennedy, who only ever admitted in the census as being from Ireland!), if the family story about gypsy heritage is true I have yet to find it, but it will be interesting to see if there is any Indian continent genes which would point out that this could possibly be correct. They might be a smattering of Scandinavian because of invasions going back centuries, but really I think I will be mainly British. We shall see ………

Below are two webinars about Ancestry DNA – the first is the science behind Ancestry DNA and the second is about the Ancestry Genetic Communities. I am excited about these communities and think they will only get better as more people have their DNA recorded on Ancestry’s DNA database. Now I have made the decision I just want the results !




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