Trace Your Family History Through DNA
Well the simple answer is yes you can. You can uncover lots of interesting facts about your close and distant family from your DNA.
If you recently watched the Ant and Dec (which one is which?) program, Ant and Dec’s DNA Journey then you will have seen how they uncovered all sorts of information about their respective families and even discovered that they were distant cousins.
As soon as you take a DNA test to uncover your family history the door is open and can’t be closed again, so be prepared.
There is a chance you could uncover things that could unsettle you or change your perception of your immediate family. Beyond that is an opportunity to learn more about yourself and your family through DNA.
Here’s how you would get started on your DNA Journey
Firstly choose a DNA company to produce your results.
One of the best is Ancestry, they have the largest database and will allow you access to your raw data but more on that later. Other companies include 23andMe and My Heritage.
The process with both Ancestry and the other providers is very similar and extremely easy to get going.
1. Order the kit.
2. Once it arrives take your sample (usually a swab around your mouth)
3. Return the sample in the prepaid envelope provided by all the major companies.
4. Your DNA will be analysed (with Ancestry that is against more than 700,000 genetic markers)
5. Within 6-8 weeks you’ll receive an email with a link that will take you straight to your results.
Once you have this you can dive and start your family research.
What your DNA can show you
1. Your origins. This is the bit you see on the adverts. 10% Irish 10% English 20% Scandinavian etc. This can be eye opening if you think you are from one place but turn out to be predominantly from another.
2. It is useful tracing your parents through DNA. For example if you’ve never met one of your parents but have been told that they are from a certain country, this test can prove or disprove that theory.
3. It can show you relatives who have also done DNA tests, this can show you close matches you didn’t know you had but can also confirm that someone who you think is a close match but isn’t.
4. You can contact you matches and find out more about them. You can do this via the platform so no personal information is received, this can be one of the most useful aspects of Family DNA tracing.
How we use DNA for Family History
We can manage your login details and look at your best matches. From that we can use our genealogy skills to look for people not on your DNA platform and work out who you are and who your parents are. It works really well. Of course once we do find any matches you are placed in the care of our Intermediary team who are here to help and support you when it comes to gaining contact with any potential matches.
Raw data is the information from your DNA Sample that can be downloaded. You can then take it and upload it to other DNA sites. Ancestry are one of the only companies that allow you to do this with your DNA.
You can also upload it to sites that look at your health and help you to make improvements with it.
The truth is we are all related, so it was no surprise to see Ant and Dec, two lads from Newcastle being distantly related.
Stephen Fry mentions this point in an amazing video. You have two parents, four grandparents, eight great grandparents, sixteen great, great grandparents and thirty two great, great, great grandparents.
Each generation you go back doubles your amount of relatives, 64, 128, 256, 512 and 1024. If each generation represents 25 years in time then it doesn’t take many generations to make you realise just how many family members we have and how diverse we are and how we are all related. It’s fascinating stuff.
I hope this has helped you uncover the facts and answer the question, can you trace your family history through DNA?