If you’ve ever wondered about your family tree’s true origins and where you fit in, it might be time to consider taking a DNA test or giving one as a gift.
When you begin your genealogy journey, you have several testing options. The first route is through mitochondrial DNA testing. This type of test traces ancestry through the female ancestral lines of your family. Mitochondria are passed from a mother to her children. What is particularly interesting about this test is that it can shed light on women in your family tree that you may not have heard of, due to the loss of surnames through marriage.
Alternatively, a Y chromosome test tracks lineage through the male side of your family. Since women do not have Y chromosomes, this sort of testing can only be done on men. It is additionally helpful in determining if other people who have the same last name are related.
Most people are surprised to see that their ethnic breakdown is an estimated split into percentages, such as if you have an Irish surname and know all of your immediate family to have emigrated from Ireland, yet you receive a 5% estimate of Southeast Asian. Again, this means your DNA has markers that have a probability of being from that region. It could have been a distant ancestor who passed down these genes.
It is also important to note that the more people that opt for DNA testing, the more the database grows. The more robust a database becomes, the more accurate the test results will be, simply due to the fact that there is a larger sample size to compare DNA markers.
In some cases, these tests can help settle topics such as right to inheritance, social security, issues of paternity and the confirmation of biological family members. DNA is a very useful tool that establishes a scientific context for interpersonal relationships.
By Annmarie Dallao | ARCpoint Labs of Reading
Source: ARCpoint Labs Franchise Group