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Nov092011 DNA Testing- What Can DNA Tell Me About My Ancestors? 

Last week I received an email from with a great freebie offer- a free DNA test kit! I didn't have a particularly strong interest in DNA testing and to be completely honest, I wasn't quite sure what I could learn or why I would want to explore this method of research. But genealogy isn't cheap and a freebie is hard to pass by! I just got the kit in the mail yesterday so I figured it's time to see what this is all about.

On the DNA Testing website I see there are 3 different DNA tests you can choose from, Paternal Lineage, Maternal Lineage, and a combined test for both Paternal and Maternal DNA testing. Pricing ranges from $149-$358.  From reading the FAQ section I learned that a female can only test the maternal lineage, whereas a male can take both the maternal and paternal. If I submit the DNA sample for the maternal test I will find out the ancient ancestry of my mothers side, but it won't help me find living family matches. From the site: "The Maternal Lineage test differs from the Paternal test in that it cannot validate a family relationship -- so even if your maternal DNA is an identical match with another participant it can only prove that you may have been related thousands of years ago." With the paternal test you can find matching genetic cousins, levels of relatedness with other DNA groups, and learn the ancient ancestry of my paternal line from up to 100,000 years.

When I activated my test online I indicated that I will be providing the DNA. In hindsight it might have been better if I asked my dad to provide the test sample for the paternal test. I might try contacting them to see if I can change this, it seems like the paternal test would provide me with better information for growing my family tree. My maiden name is Wright and it's been difficult sifting through this popular surname for relations!

The kit looks very simple, cheek swabs for collecting the DNA sample and instructions for collecting and getting your sample processed. 

Find out more about Genetic Genealogy: webinar: Genetic Genealogy Made Easy

A book I found, DNA and Social Networking: A Guide to Genealogy in the Twenty-First Century by Debbie Kennett looks like a good resource for learning more about DNA and it's relevance in genealogy research.

Stay tuned for an update after my (or my dads) sample is processed. I'll be exploring the DNA groups and services from and other DNA projects out there. Have you done any DNA testing for your genealogy research? What did you find out? I'd love to hear about your experiences!

* I am not being paid by for this review or for sharing my experience. I received the free test kit because I am a subscriber of I am sharing my experience and thoughts on my blog to help others learn about genealogy research and DNA testing.

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Reader Comments (9)

Last year I engaged in a very similar quest for ancestry discovery but also disease tests and I chose to send my awesome sample to which in some cases offers a cheaper solution to the same need. I still have to get any data on my paternal line since my dad hasn't take part in the program. So I'll have to purchase a new kit for him if I want to know more about my paternal line. Although these services could be seen as fancy stuff for modern freaks, I must say that looking at the results was and still is quite interesting and ultimately useful.

Who knows I might need a kidney some day and I'd like to have as many options as possible...

Nov 9, 2011 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterMaria

I ordered the same kit that you did and for the same reason. I think I paid $10 for the shipping. This is just too good a deal to turn down. My kit just arrived. I am getting ready to send it off. I was just looking at, trying to read up on this. offers several different DNA tests, the 33 marker Paternal Lineage test, the 46 marker Paternal Lineage test, and also the Maternal Lineage test.

What I cannot tell, is with this freebie... with this "just pay for the shipping" deal that has sent me: which DNA test are they going to run? What test is included in this offer? Do you know?

Nov 14, 2011 at 9:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Walker

I sent my kit in too and am still eagerly awaiting my "early 2012" results. I just wanted to comment that the dna test you submitted is not any of the kits currently offered on their website. It isn't just a freebie, it is a trial for them. Like we are test subjects, but don't have to worry about any scary side effects. But what i really wanted to say is that this is a new test and that even though you (and I) are females, it will test both our paternal and maternal sides. Yay!! I looked into it (very minimally cause I just don't understand much of it) but it sounds like this test is a type of "autosomal dna" try googling it :)

Jan 31, 2012 at 12:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Thanks for the information, Michelle! I did end up submitting the DNA sample (vs my dad) and can't wait to get the results!! I"m also a little confused by it all. I'm hoping once I get the results and have something to look at, it will all make more sense. I remember it said an email will be sent "early 2012", hopefully that's soon!

Jan 31, 2012 at 8:58 AM | Registered Commenterabbyb

Did you receive your results yet?

Mar 7, 2012 at 5:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterCeCe Moore

I did last night! Most of it makes no sense! Lol, more puzzle pieces that don't fit. How about you?

Mar 7, 2012 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Michelle, Did send you an email or something. How did they notify you? I got an email from them back on March 1st 2012 saying that my info would be ready sometime soon. That's all I have. I went to the DNA page and I can verify who I am in my Family tree... but there is no data there for me. I guess I am asking, How will I know when my data is ready? How did you know?

Mar 7, 2012 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Ohh I am so jealous, Michelle!! I also got an email from Ancestry on March 1st saying that my sample is in the lab! John- in th email it says we will get an email when our results are ready. If you can, let us know when you do! I will definitely be posting a follow up once I get the results!

Mar 9, 2012 at 8:17 AM | Registered Commenterabbyb

I got the email that said it was 'coming soon' too. and then late tuesday night this week they sent me an email and said my personal results were ready. I did send my test back immediately after i got it in the mail. I bet yours will be soon!

Mar 9, 2012 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

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