Genetic Ancestry Test – Questions Concerning a Genetic Ancestry Test

A genetic ancestry test can reveal vital clues to your past just like any other genealogical resource. Your genes contain information about your ancestors as well as your self, and can prove a valuable resource when no conventional source of records exists. A genetic ancestry test examines the variations in the DNA sequences of different individuals, and can tell the probability of two people being related. Notice I said probability, not certainty. There are limitations to ancestry testing that you might not realize, and some benefits you may not have been aware of as well. This article will answer some of the most popular questions that family historians have when they're thinking about taking a genetic ancestry test.

Why Take a Genetic Ancestry Test?

If you are at a dead end in your genealogical search and traditional records and resources are proving fruitless, you may want to consider having a genetic ancestry test done. A genetic ancestry test can fill in the gaps of your family tree that may exist due to a record trail going cold, or lead you to a relative who may be able to help with your search.

How Many Types of Genetic Ancestry Test are There?

There are several different types of genetic ancestry test available in today's market, but the most popular two among genealogists are the Paternal Y-chromosome Test, and the Maternal Mitochondrial DNA genetic ancestry test. The Y-chromosome test basically runs tests on your y-chromosome to see if it matches someone who may be related to you through your male lineage, while the mitochondrial (mtDNA) test looks for similar links through your mother's line. There is a third genetic ancestry test known as an Autosomal DNA test which can be used to test relationships in all family lines.

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Which Genetic Ancestry Test Should I Take?

Deciding on which genetic ancestry test to take will depend on your genealogical goals. Generally those looking to expand their family tree will take the paternal or Y-chromosome DNA test. Because the Y-chromosome is only passed from father to son, and changes very little over time, it is much easier to establish matches with other participants. As women do not have the Y- chromosome, they can use the DNA of a father or brother to trace their paternal lineage.

A maternal lineage genetic ancestry test cannot validate a family relationship, and even if you get a definite match, it only proves that there is a possibility that you were related thousands of years ago. It can be useful in defining your haplogroup or maternal clan you are a part, which basically tells you what part of the world your ancestors originated from.

Where Can I Take a Genetic Ancestry Test?

Taking a genetic ancestry test is now easier than it has ever been. You can undergo your genetic ancestry test in the privacy of your own home after ordering it online. The company that you order it from will send you a home test kit. You simply take the cotton swab that is enclosed, swab the inside of your cheek with it, seal it in the tube you receive with your kit, and send it back.

You will be notified of the results in anywhere from 2 - 10 weeks, depending on the company you take your genetic ancestry test with, and which particular type of testing you undergo.

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Is a Genetic Ancestry Test Expensive?

A genetic ancestry test can run anywhere from around $150 to over $500, again depending on the type of genetic ancestry test you undergo, and the company you take it with. Your best bet is to shop around a bit, you're sure to find an ancestry test that fits with both your needs and your budget.

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