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Definitions for DNA tests:
Autosomal: DNA inherited from the autosomal chromosomes. This contains segments of DNA that a person shares with paternal and maternal relatives, either directly or indirectly. This test is for both male and female. This test will not include information about your haplogroups.
Y-DNA: Y-chromosomes are passed from father to son. Males can use this test to learn more about their paternal male-line. Woman do not have a Y-chromosome and cannot take this test. Y-chromosome testing will give you your y-chromosome haplogroup.
mtDNA: Mitochondrial DNA traces your maternal line. Mitochondrial DNA is passed from a mother to her children. This test can be taken by men and woman. mtDNA will give you your mtDNA haplogroup
Haplogroup: A single chromosome group that is passed down on either your Y-chromosome or your mitochondrial DNA and share a common ancestor as far back as thousands of years ago. All people who share a haplogroup have the same mutation on a single chromosome which determines which haplogroup you belong to.
Raw DNA: A computerized file of your DNA results that you can download directly from your testing company.
Ancestry DNA offers an autosomal DNA test that will help you discover not only your ethnicity origins but also family members that share your DNA with you. This DNA is passed down through generations from a common ancestor, such as a great great great grandparent or even closer like a parent or sibling. AncestryDNA is a great test if you are looking to connect with other long lost or unknown family members.
MyHeritage DNA offers an autosomal DNA test that is done using a cheek swab. MyHeritage will show you your ethnic groups and geographic regions from which you descend from. MyHeritage also provides DNA matches to connect you with family members. MyHeritage accepts uploads of your raw DNA from other testing companies. This will unlock another perspective of your ethnic groups and even more family matches.
FTDNA offers autosomal DNA testing, Y-DNA, and mtDNA tests. FTDNA is done using a swap kit. They offer many different DNA Projects you can join to learn more about what your DNA says about you. FTDNA’s family finder is a great way to connect with others who you share DNA with. With FTDNA you can also upload your raw DNA from another testing company and see what new family matches you may connect with.
23andMe offers two types of tests. The first is an ancestry test that will tell you your ethnicity estimates and show you DNA Matches. It also will tell you what haplogroup you belong to. The second test is an ancestry test coupled with a health report. The health report can tell you if you have genetic markers for some health problems, such as Type 2 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease (late-onset), celiac disease and more.
LivingDNA offers autosomal DNA with an option to upgrade your test to Y-DNA and mtDNA results. LivingDNA has partnered with findmypast to provide their customers with access to DNA family matches. You can also upload your ancestryDNA test results to their site.
GedMatch is NOT a DNA testing company. GedMatch is actually a third-party website that you can upload your raw DNA to in order to compare raw autosomal DNA from other testing companies. GedMatch provides many tools to take a closer look at what your DNA says about you and those you match with.
Family Tree Building
The following websites provide a place for you to build your family tree. Some people use one site and others keep their tree on multiple platforms. It really comes down to personal preference and what feels most comfortable for you to use.
Ancestry is free to sign up for. You can create your tree for free, but in order to search their records and attach them to your family tree you will need a subscription. Ancestry lets you create as many family trees as you need. You can make your tree public for others to see or you can opt to keep it private and unsearchable. Your DNA results can and should be linked to your family tree.
MyHeritage offers you a free place to start building your tree. However, it should be noted that their tree has a capacity for free trees. Purchasing a subscription gives you access to build a family tree with no restrictions on the amount of people you can add. Having a subscription also provides you with access to their record database.
If you have uploaded your DNA to FTDNA or purchased their DNA kit you can build a tree on their site. One feature I really like about FTDNA is the option to connect your DNA Match directly into your family tree.
Family Search uses one tree for everyone. As you complete your research you can add records to an ancestor, but so can others. The goal of family search is to have one tree for each person. Some ancestors you will find within their database already and some you may have to add. It’s a great way to collaborate with others and share in your research. This site is free to use, however, some records are only available at the family history library in Utah or at a family history center, usually located at a local LDS church and some select libraries or archive centers.
Newspapers.com is one of the largest online newspaper archives. The carry historical newspapers, as well as, more recent editions. Researching old newspapers can give you a private glimpse into your ancestors lives.
Genealogybank is another one of the largest online newspaper archives. They carry newspapers from all 50 states. With over 9,000 historical newspapers you are bound to find something.
Provides access to military records, such as, documents, pictures and stories of the many men and woman who have served. Take a moment to remember our heroes and take a peek inside their lives.