During your ancestors search, you may discover other researchers who are studying the same family line. Eventually it may be revealed that you’re linked to third or fourth, even tenth generation ancestors. But how can you be sure that you’re related, especially if you are from different branches of the family? Even if you share the same surname, it can prove difficult to confirm a genetic connection. This is where DNA testing comes into an ancestors search. DNA testing can absolutely confirm whether two people share the same ancestor or not, and it’s because of this that more family historians are utilizing it in their ancestors search.
DNA testing can ultimately reveal whether or not two people have a common ancestor, confirming or refuting theories derived from an ancestors search using traditional methods. If you have come into contact with another genealogist you may suspect is related to you, but haven’t been able to confirm it through established ancestry reports, you might want to consider this genetic genealogical alternative. There are three other major avenues of investigation in which DNA testing is used in an ancestors search. They are:
Let’s take a look at each of these applications a little more closely.Try Ancestry.com and get 14 Days FREE!
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DNA testing of the male line of a family tree can reveal new information for a surname study, mainly because the men in the family pass down surnames. This can enhance the quality of your ancestors search by confirming whether or not men with the same surname are descended from a common ancestor. Because of its nature, it can only be performed on males. If a female member wants to investigate her male ancestry, or the genetic origins of her birth name, the test would have to be performed on her father or brother.
This type of testing has been widely used by those conducting an ancestors search in America. As it is the entertainment capitol of the world, it’s no wonder that Americans seek to find ancestors who played a part in history or were otherwise socially prominent. And some have, proof of that being the much publicized study of the Jackson surname. This project allows members of the family to find out if their DNA profile connects them to former US President Andrew Jackson, Civil War General Stonewall Jackson, possibly even Michael Jackson! This is an ongoing Family Tree DNA related ancestors search, and if by chance your surname is Jackson, you can find information on this project. There is also lots of other info regarding the use of DNA testing in an ancestors search.
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This is especially helpful for those whose ancestors have migrated within the last few generations. The value it adds to an ancestors search is that it can connect you with your pre-migration lineage. This can help overcome gaps in family tree reports due to ancestors whose path was lost and who there are no immigration records for. For instance, American families can establish exactly which European family of the same surname is directly linked to them.
Family Tree DNA testing can also provide you with information regarding your ethnic or geographical background. If your ancestors search takes you beyond the capacity of written records, as in the case of those descended from slaves, it can be, and has been very successful in providing links to the past. Alex Haley, the author of the famous Roots used this type of testing in his own ancestors search.
DNA technology is advancing furiously, and its importance in searching ancestors is becoming more relevant every day. Work is underway to compile immense databases of DNA which are particularly geared to help those conducting an ancestors search. Researchers will be able to submit the results of their DNA to see if a match exists in the databases. Indeed the future of genealogy looks exciting, but it’d important not to discard traditional research methods during your ancestors search. Discovering social history and re-living world events that were associated with your relatives is part of the fun of an ancestors search, and that sort of fulfilment you can’t get from a DNA test!
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