DNA prep - 7 Day plan
Come learn about DNA testing! Why should you take one? Should you test someone else in your family? What kind of tests are available and what to do after you have purchased one. You learn all of this and more in manageable pieces. These 7 days prepare you to participate in our full 21 day DNA experiment. Just do these 7 days at least a month before you want to do the DNA experiment so you can get your results back in time.
To gauge the benefits of connection, we have created a short pre-survey, you will also take a post-survey at the end of the 7 days.
Why do a DNA test?
Through a DNA test you can discover so much. DNA doesn’t change because you want it to. This means that what you learn you will know is true. DNA can’t be faked, like a document, or changed, like a story. This makes DNA an excellent way to prove things, like who you are related to or what your ethnicity is.
You should also explore another question: Why wouldn’t you want to take a DNA test? Like stated above, DNA doesn’t lie. You may find out something you didn’t know before. There’s an emotional toll that can occur if the results are something other than what you were expecting. You may have siblings you don’t know about. Your parents and siblings may not be your blood parents or siblings. The family members you connect with may have stories about loved ones that are hard to hear. Make sure you are ready for unexpected revelations.
Ask yourself if you are ready for the unexpected. What about your family?
What do you want to learn?
There are so many things you can learn from your DNA, with new ways to test coming out all the time. Here’s quick list of things you can learn when you take a DNA test:
* What areas of the world your ancestors were from
* What diseases you may have or have a chance to get in the future
* Discover new living relatives
* Build your family tree
* Break through your or other’s brick walls in your family history research.
* Help others know where they are from
* …and more!
Write down a list of what you would like to learn from taking a DNA test. The list above can help you think about your reasoning. Try to add more details to your reasoning then what is listed above.
What type of test?
There are three main commercial DNA tests right now. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. What test you will want to buy will depend on what you want to find out. Here are the three main tests and a short description of what they test for and what you can get out of the results.
Autosomal: one of the most popular tests. This test looks at your DNA on both sides of your family back to your 5th great grandparents (about 4 generations back)! It is the most general test you can take. Through this test you can see where your family is from and receive a list of people you share a part of your DNA with (family members!) and how closely related you are.
MtDNA (Mitochondrial): both men and women can take this test, but it tests for your direct maternal line (child > mother > her mother > her mother and more.) This test can tell you more about your ethnicity, but can’t tell you how closely related you are to someone.
YDNA (Y-chromosome): only males can take this test as it will test the direct paternal line (son > father > his father > his father and more). This test will show results from further back in your tree than an autosomal test.
Go through your list of what you want to find out, from yesterday and write next to each one which test would most likely give you those results.
Who to test?
When buying a DNA test you may not think about the other people that would be better to test then you. Since DNA tests have limits on how many generations back it can test, you can go further back in your tree if you test your oldest living relative.
Ask the relative if they would be willing to take the DNA test for you, before sending them the DNA test. When asking, include why you want to test their DNA. This will give them a common goal to work with you on. Respect your relative’s privacy by answering all their questions about what will happen with their DNA (this can be found on the company’s website).
Today, decide what relatives you would like to ask if they would take a DNA test for you. Gather their contact information.
What company to use?
There are many companies that will test your DNA for health and/or genealogical results. Each company has its advantages and disadvantages. The company you buy from will depend on what kind of test you want and the results you are looking for. Here’s a quick run down of the DNA testing companies:
Ancestry: has the world’s largest consumer DNA database and is widely used in the United States. They have over 1400 ethnic regions to compare your DNA to. They integrate your DNA results with your family history trees and information, which helps you build your tree with your DNA matches.
23 & Me: is most known for testing people wanting to know about their health. They do have a large database. 23 & Me has 45 ethnic regions they can compare your DNA against. Since most people are interested in their health information they tend to test a different group than the other companies. 23 & Me doesn’t have many tools for family history research.
Living Tree DNA: is what you want when your research focuses on the UK area. They have 21 local spots around England and they have the best ethnic report for the British isles. The autosomal test will give you a little background on your paternal and maternal origins. They are still growing their genealogical database and tools.
FamilyTree DNA: offers all three basic DNA tests; autosomal, MtDNA, and YDNA. They also offer a cheek scrape instead of just spit. FamilyTree has 90 ethnic regions to compare your DNA to. They will list who you match DNA with in their database. FamilyTree DNA also has genetic studies/projects that you can participate in. They are Location Groups, Haplogroup Projects, Surname Projects, and Autosomal Groups.
MyHeritage DNA: most users are located outside the United States. They have 2000+ genetic groups and 42 ethnic regions to compare your DNA to. MyHeritage will tell you who you share DNA with and how those matches are related to each other. Their genealogical trees are advanced.
Today, decide which test and company you are going to test with. Call your relative and ask if they will take the DNA test.
Buy the test
Now that you know what test you will buy and what relative will take the test (if not you), you will need to buy the test.
Today, buy your DNA test and get it coming your way.
What should I do next?
It takes up to 2 months after the lab receives your test for you to receive your results. While you wait on your results, you can get a head start by building your family tree. You should create your tree on the company site you are testing with. When you get your results back you will be ready to jump right into exploring your family connections and creating bonds with your ethnic regions. Be sure to watch for your email that announces your results are in!
When you receive your DNA results make sure to use our DNA plan to explore your results and get the most out of them!