Today, I’m excited to announce a new series titled “DNA: In Search of…”
I receive queries every single day about how to search for either unknown parents or unknown grandparents using genetic genealogy.
While some of the techniques are the same when searching for these different people, others vary and depend on a combination of factors:
- Your birth sex, meaning whether or not you have a Y chromosome which also means you only inherited an X chromosome from your mother.
- Which of the four kinds of DNA tests (autosomal, X, Y, and mitochondrial DNA) are relevant for identifying the person you seek
- Whether or not you know the identity of anyone else in your tree.
- Who else is available and useful to test, in addition to yourself.
- Which vendors you’ve tested with or uploaded to, and which tests you’ve taken.
In Search of Series Articles
I’m preparing a series of articles, including:
- DNA: In Search of…Understanding the Basics
This article forms the foundation of the series and discusses the basics of each of the four types of DNA tests; autosomal, X DNA, Y DNA, and mitochondrial DNA. I describe when and how each can be utilized in our search, and when it can’t.
- DNA: In Search of…Your Paternal Grandfather
- DNA: In Search of…Your Paternal Grandmother
- DNA: In Search of…Your Maternal Grandfather
- DNA: In Search of…Your Maternal Grandmother
- DNA: In Search of…Your Father
- DNA: In Search of…Your Mother
These articles detail step-by-step how to conduct searches for each type of ancestor. I use example scenarios at each vendor and for each type of DNA when more than one type can be used to reach our goal.
You’ll also be able to use these same techniques to search for people further back in your tree.
Ponds to Fish In
I’ll be using examples from each of the four major DNA testing companies in each article. You’ll want to be fishing in all of the ponds because you never know where that critical match will be found.
If you’re searching for any of the aforementioned individuals, I strongly suggest that you order the autosomal test at, or upload to, all of the following vendors:
- Test at 23andMe
- Test at AncestryDNA
- Test at MyHeritage or upload your autosomal file from another vendor here.
- Test at FamilyTreeDNA (Family Finder) or upload your autosomal file at the same link by clicking on “Upload DNA Data” at the top
Unfortunately, Ancestry and 23andMe do not accept uploads from other vendors.
You can find detailed upload/download instructions for all vendors here.
- If you are a male and are searching for either your father, paternal grandfather, or direct paternal line ancestors, take the Big Y test here.
- For males and females, if you are searching for your mother, maternal grandmother, or direct matrilineal line ancestors, test your mitochondrial DNA here.
If you’re searching for both parents, you won’t yet have a family tree, but if you know at least one parent’s identity, you will have a partial tree.
Flesh out that tree to the best of your ability, including birth and death dates with locations, and be sure that tree has been uploaded to or is functional at Ancestry, MyHeritage, and FamilyTreeDNA. In general, private trees discourage or prevent some tools from working.
Link your DNA test to your profile card at each vendor. Link any other relatives’ tests that you manage to their profile card too.
Most genealogists have a preferred tree someplace. For this purpose, you probably don’t need a deep tree, but you will need a tree with at least a few generations and descendants of those ancestors, if possible. My tree at all of the vendors reaches back at least six generations and 10 when I can. Try for at least 6 or 7 generations because you will have DNA matches with people who can reliably be connected to common ancestors within this timeframe.
Tools at all three vendors who support trees depend on being able to discover or connect to present-day descendants of those ancestors.
Do your best, but we will work with whatever you have.
What do you need to do to get ready for this series?
Are there other people you know who could benefit from this series?
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You Can Help Keep This Blog Free
I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.
Thank you so much.
DNA Purchases and Free Uploads
- FamilyTreeDNA – Y, mitochondrial and autosomal DNA testing
- MyHeritage DNA – Autosomal DNA test
- MyHeritage FREE DNA file upload – Upload your DNA file from other vendors free
- AncestryDNA – Autosomal DNA test
- 23andMe Ancestry – Autosomal DNA only, no Health
- 23andMe Ancestry Plus Health
Genealogy Products and Services
- MyHeritage FREE Tree Builder – Genealogy software for your computer
- MyHeritage Subscription with Free Trial
- Legacy Family Tree Webinars – Genealogy and DNA classes, subscription-based, some free
- Legacy Family Tree Software – Genealogy software for your computer
- Newspapers.com – Search newspapers for your ancestors
- NewspaperArchive – Search different newspapers for your ancestors
- DNA for Native American Genealogy – by Roberta Estes, for those ordering the e-book from anyplace, or paperback within the United States
- DNA for Native American Genealogy – for those ordering the paperback outside the US
- Genealogical.com – Lots of wonderful genealogy research books
- Legacy Tree Genealogists – Professional genealogy research