Fun with Genealogy and A DNA Test!

By Chris and Laurie Kemp, CSAs

Eun with Genealogy and DNA Tests Twin Cities MNLooking for something fun that will keep you busy for hours and you can do from your home? Join one of the online genealogy sites and start putting in your family tree. Then order one of their DNA kits and send in a sample.

What can you learn by putting in a little family history?

  • Find the ship your family sailed on to America
  • Find an ancestor who was in the civil war
  • Find a distant cousin that lives in your town
  • Find the town your family was from in the old country
  • Maybe find some distant relatives that still live there!

Finding other people that are researching the same family’s tree is a great way to meet people. Striking up a conversation and exchanging stories by email can be fun and enlightening. Seeing how your family got to where you are now can be an enjoyable treasure hunt. And what a legacy to leave your family.

What can you find using DNA?

One result that DNA tests will tell you is where some of your ancestors may have lived. An example might look like this:

Great Britain 39%
Ireland/Scotland/Wales 22%
European Jewish 14%
Europe South 11%
Europe West 5%
Iberian Peninsula 5%
Several other 4%

These are of course just estimates based on a sampling of your DNA compared to that company’s base sample. You can actually up load your results to another DNA site and your result percentages are likely to vary. A sibling’s results will also vary some from what you see since the testing company is only sampling your DNA.

The company will also provide you with DNA matches. With each of those results they will give you their confidence level as well as the likely degree of relationship. For us it correctly suggested who our sisters and some known cousins were. This gives us greater confidence that when the estimate that someone is a 5th – 8th cousin, that they actually might be that, even if we cannot figure out how we are related. We found thousands of matches around the world.

We have learned some fun information and you can too. If you would like to explore what you can find about your ancestors, here are a couple of resources you could try.  Both these sites have some things you can do for free and some that you need to be a subscriber to see. Start out with the free option and see if it is something you want to pursue!

www.ancestry.com

www.myheritage.com

 

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