Last week I received an email from Ancestry.com 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 Ancestry.com 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: Ancestry.com 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 Ancestry.com 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 ancestry.com for this review or for sharing my experience. I received the free test kit because I am a subscriber of Ancestry.com. I am sharing my experience and thoughts on my blog to help others learn about genealogy research and DNA testing.