I’ve always made it a policy to reply to every e-mail or information request that I receive. The good news is that my blogs have become very popular. The bad news is that I now receive literally hundreds of e-mails and inquiries every day, many asking questions or for advice, and I just can’t keep up anymore. So, I’ve assembled this information which provides direction for most of the types of inquiries I receive.
First, let me tell you what I do and don’t do, and provide some guidance for you to find the resources you need.
I am not a DNA testing company and I don’t do DNA testing. There are no free DNA tests unless a private individual wishes to pay for your test for genealogical reasons. Consumers must pay the testing companies for the testing service.
I write Personalized DNA Reports for both Y-line and mitochondrial DNA. I do not do reports for autosomal DNA nor telephone consultations.
To order a Y DNA report you must have tested to at least 37 markers at Family Tree DNA, and for a mitochondrial report, you must have tested at least to the HVR2 level, although the full sequence is preferred.
You can read more about the reports here: http://www.dnaexplain.com/services/DNAAnalysis.asp
I provide a “Quick Consult” service where you can ask a DNA related question related to Y, mitochondrial DNA, autosomal or a combination of the above via e-mail. The Quick Consult is designed for quick questions that do not involve complex genealogical situations and can be answered in less than an hour.
You can purchase the Y and mitochondrial DNA Reports or the Quick Consult at http://www.dnaxplain.com/shop/features.aspx
I do not do phone consultations.
For other questions and requests, I have written several articles to help you help yourself. You can find them on my website at www.dnaexplain.com and on my blog, below.
My blog is free and fully searchable by key word and there are nearly 800 articles available. So, enter the word or words you might be looking for and you will receive a list of relevant articles. www.dna-explained.com
The search box is in the upper right portion of the screen.
The Different Kinds of DNA Tests
There are different tests for genetic genealogy. I’ve explained the differences here: https://dna-explained.com/2012/10/01/4-kinds-of-dna-for-genetic-genealogy/
DNA Testing Companies
Some companies are more reputable than others and some are outright scams. https://dna-explained.com/2016/01/22/genealogy-and-ethnicity-dna-testing-3-legitimate-companies/
If you are considering ordering a DNA test from either Ancestry or 23andMe, be sure you understand that both of those companies sell your DNA – and you authorize them to do so when you sign to order your kit. Make sure you understand what you are authorizing. Read this: https://dna-explained.com/2016/02/10/ethnicity-testing-a-conundrum/
If you’re looking for a DNA testing company, I recommend Family Tree DNA at this link. They are the only DNA testing company that offers all of the different types of genetic genealogy tests and they do not sell or otherwise disclose your DNA.
Which Test is Best?
I’ve written two articles that compare the various tests and the vendors providing different types of test:
Which DNA Test is Best? here: https://dna-explained.com/which-dna-test-is-best/
Which Ethnicity Test is Best? here: https://dna-explained.com/2017/06/20/which-ethnicity-test-is-best/
Kelly Wheaton provides a great series for beginners at: https://sites.google.com/site/wheatonsurname/beginners-guide-to-genetic-genealogy
Adoptees and Parent Search
First, check the help link which includes adoptee and parent-search information.
I’ve answered the most common questions there.
All adoptees and people searching for a birth parent or missing grandparent should visit www.dnaadoption.com and utilize their methodologies.
Native American Heritage
If you are searching for your Native American heritage or your tribe, read these two articles:
This article provides a summary of many Native resources: https://dna-explained.com/2017/11/01/native-american-dna-resources/
My blog, Native Heritage Project is fully searchable. https://nativeheritageproject.com/
The Native American Ancestry Explorer group for Native American or minority DNA questions is at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1514942452068475/
Confirming Enslaved Ancestors Utilizing DNA webinar by Melvin Collier through Legacy Family Tree Webinars – available to watch anytime.
I strongly recommend that you join the African Descendant’s Genetic Genealogy Facebook group.
If you are looking for Melungeon information, read this paper: http://www.dnaexplain.com/Publications/PDFs/MelungeonsMulti-EthnicPeopleFinal.pdf
Ethnicity in General
If you are looking for your ethnicity, read this:
If you are trying to understand your ethnicity results, read this:
Assistance with Autosomal DNA
If you are trying to figure out what to do, and how, with autosomal DNA results, read these two articles:
If you are looking for someone to walk you through “what to do” with autosomal DNA, you can take a “how to” class.
If you are looking for someone to personally walk you through your DNA results, Diahan Southard provides that service online through her firm www.yourDNAguide.com and you can contact her at Guide@yourDNAguide.com.
If you are looking for someone to help you work through your autosomal DNA results and associated genealogy, Jennifer Zinck provides that type of combined service. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both Diahan and Jennifer provide a “tutoring” service.
There are two Facebook groups where you can ask questions as well. The ISOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogy) group for general DNA questions is at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/isogg/
DNA Newbie at https://www.facebook.com/groups/dnanewbie/
Professional Genetic Genealogical Services
I have made a referral arrangement with Legacy Tree, a company offering professional genealogical research services. Their staff includes an exceptional genetic genealogist, Paul Woodbury. Paul is both a certified genealogist as well as a genetic genealogist and he is excellent. Legacy Tree has offered a $50 introductory coupon if you mention my name (Roberta Estes), which assures that my genetic genealogy clients are directed to Paul. To take advantage of this offer or to receive a quote from Legacy Tree, click here.
For other genealogical assistance, please visit www.apgen.org.
Online and Social Media Resources
Facebook Genetic Genealogy Tips and Techniques group:https://www.facebook.com/groups/geneticgenealogytipsandtechniques/
The original genetic genealogy list:
The DNA Newbie group: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/DNA-NEWBIE/info
FaceBook has an ISOGG group.
Other mailing lists:
Books and Education
- The Basics and Beyond by Emily Aulicino
- NextGen Genealogy: The DNA Connection by David Dowell
- Genetic Genealogy in Practice by Blaine Bettinger and Debbie Parker Wayne
- The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy by Blaine Bettinger
Kelly Wheaton provides 19 free lessons in her Beginners Guide to Genetic Genealogy at: https://sites.google.com/site/wheatonsurname/beginners-guide-to-genetic-genealogy
- Judy Russell’s blog is The Legal Genealogist
- Jim Bartlett’s www.segmentology.org
- Kitty Cooper’s blog
- Blaine Bettinger’s blog is The Genetic Genealogist
Last, if you are going purchase anything from the following entities, will you please do me the favor of clicking through the following affiliate links when you purchase. It doesn’t cost you any more, but I receive a small commission which helps fund free educational initiatives in the DNA community, such as this informational page and hundreds of free articles on the DNA-explained blog.
- Family Tree DNA (DNA tests)
- Legacy Tree Genealogists (genealogical research)
- Insitome Neanderthal, Regional Ancestry or Metabolism (DNA tests)
- DNAGEEKS (DNA themed products)
- MyHeritage (DNA tests)
Thank you so much and best of luck on your DNA journey. I hope you unlock the mystery of your ancestors!