DNA Testing Update

Welcome to DNA Testing Update, my blog that keeps you up-to-date with what's new at DNA Testing Adviser. I’ll tell you about…

  • New or updated articles on the website

  • Significant news from the genealogy and adoption search communities

  • DNA testing tips for paternity, genealogy, and adoption search

Most of my posts are deliberately brief. You can read my latest posts below; but you can also have DNA Testing Update delivered directly to your computer.

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Dec 11, 2019

100 Adoptee-Authored Books from the Decade

The Adoptee Reading site has published a detailed listing of 100 adoptee-authored books from the decade 2010 thru 2019. This includes both fiction and non-fiction titles with cover images, summaries, reviews, and links to find the books on Amazon. If you have any interest in the adoption experience, you will find this to be a wonderful resource. My book, "Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA," is included for 2017, the year of the new publisher edition.

Continue reading "100 Adoptee-Authored Books from the Decade"

Dec 10, 2019

GEDmatch Acquired by Verogen

Many of us genetic genealogists have uploaded our raw DNA data to a third-party site called GEDmatch. It is incredibly useful. GEDmatch has now been acquired by a company called Verogen that promises many improvements.

Blogger Roberta Estes does a nice job explaining the situation. She and I have both accepted the updated Terms of Service. All users need to make a choice when they log in next time.

Continue reading "GEDmatch Acquired by Verogen"

Dec 09, 2019

DNA Tests Reunite Family After 64 Years

A 64-year old man in Montana got to spend Thanksgiving with his birth mother and four siblings in Oklahoma. It all started with a first cousin match on AncestryDNA.

Continue reading "DNA Tests Reunite Family After 64 Years"

Dec 05, 2019

Everything to Know about The Leeds Method

The Leeds Method is a way of clustering your DNA matches by color. Dana Leeds came up with the idea and others have found ways to make it easier or more powerful. Dana has created a web page with links to her posts about the method and the automated tools based on the method.

Continue reading "Everything to Know about The Leeds Method"

Dec 04, 2019

Customized DNA-Themed Gifts for the Holidays

You can use the results of a family member's DNA ethnicity test to create personalized shirts, hats, mugs, posters, etc. Designs include colored maps, trees, and helixes. Part of your purchase goes to Youth Celebrate Diversity. Just browsing the catalog is fun. Check it out now.

Continue reading "Customized DNA-Themed Gifts for the Holidays"

Dec 03, 2019

What is GEDmatch? A Nice Summary

If you're into genetic genealogy, you need to learn about a website called GEDmatch. You can upload your raw data from any of the most popular autosomal DNA tests and enjoy many useful tools. This blog post provides a nice summary.

Continue reading "What is GEDmatch? A Nice Summary"

Nov 27, 2019

How to Track the Sales on DNA Tests

From now through Cyber Monday, DNA tests will be at their lowest prices of the year. For a convenient way to check the prices on all my recommended tests 24/7, see this web page. I also provide sale shopping tips and a brief summary of what makes each test worthwhile.

Continue reading "How to Track the Sales on DNA Tests"

Nov 26, 2019

Print Your Geno DNA Results Before They Are Lost

If you did a Geno DNA test through the Genographic Project, you must act to save your results. The public participation phase will end on June 30, 2020. After that, your results will no longer be available on the website. Fortunately, they make it easy to print your results once you log into your account. Do it now before you forget. If you have purchased a kit but not yet submitted it, see this link to the FAQ page.

Continue reading "Print Your Geno DNA Results Before They Are Lost"

Nov 22, 2019

Watch "The Missing Piece" -- a DNA Reunion Story

If you have not yet watched this excellent documentary, it is available now on YouTube. It follows two women, adopted separately from Korea, who find each other through MyHeritage DNA tests.

Continue reading "Watch "The Missing Piece" -- a DNA Reunion Story"

Nov 19, 2019

More Adoptees Finding Family thru DNA Testing

Since I identified my birth family in 2007, thousands of adoptees have been using genetic genealogy tests to find birth parents and biological siblings. Since 2016, Blaine Bettinger has surveyed over 3,000 adoptees to measure success rates. Read all the charts in this latest summary to see how testing choices have evolved and how success rates have increased.

Continue reading "More Adoptees Finding Family thru DNA Testing"

Nov 16, 2019

Looking Back on the Victory for Adoptees in New York

Starting in January 2020 adopted individuals born and adopted in New York will be able to have a copy of their original birth certificates with the names of their biological parents, if so listed. That's because Governor Cuomo has signed the bill that passed the legislature earlier.

This fight went on for decades. Here's an emotional and historical glimpse from Lorraine Dusky, an early pioneer in the New York battle.

Continue reading "Looking Back on the Victory for Adoptees in New York"

Nov 14, 2019

My Free DNA Testing Strategy

Take advantage of these free DNA testing offers.

Continue reading "My Free DNA Testing Strategy"

Nov 14, 2019

Check Your Ethnicity Estimate on AncestryDNA

Over time, the leading DNA tests add more reference populations and tweak the way they compare our DNA to them. AncestryDNA just rolled out an update. For my family the changes seem to be in the right direction. You may or may not think so. Log into your Ancestry account and look. If you have other family members to test, take advantage of the current sale prices.

Continue reading "Check Your Ethnicity Estimate on AncestryDNA"

Nov 13, 2019

Two Birth Fathers Share Their Experiences

We read a lot about adoptees and birth mothers. But what about the men who discover an adult child they never knew? Genetic counselor Brianne Kirkpatrick shares a guest post from two such men in her Watershed DNA blog.

Continue reading "Two Birth Fathers Share Their Experiences"

Nov 12, 2019

How an African DNA Test Can Measure or Confirm African Ancestry

Learn about the best alternatives for an African DNA test. Get answers about African heritage or help with African American Genealogy.

Continue reading "How an African DNA Test Can Measure or Confirm African Ancestry"

Nov 07, 2019

A More Balanced View of Adoption

November is National Adoption Awareness Month (#NAAM). For many, it's a time to celebrate adoption. But we need to remember that adoption is a journey that lasts a lifetime. Adoptee Laureen Pittman has written a thoughtful opinion piece that examines the big picture of adoption. Everyone should read it.

Continue reading "A More Balanced View of Adoption"

Nov 06, 2019

Take Advantage of MyHeritage Education

Check out the MyHeritage Education site. A large selection of articles and videos will help you understand the MyHeritage features and tools that help you make the most of your genealogy research. One of the filters lets you just see a list of DNA topics.

Continue reading "Take Advantage of MyHeritage Education"

Nov 05, 2019

Shared Centimorgans: See How You’re Related

With the current sales (see my recent posts) many more people will be discovering genetic relatives. Each of those DNA tests will show you how much DNA you share with each match in a unit called centiMorgans. This blog post shows you where to find that number and how you can use it to see how you might be related.

Continue reading "Shared Centimorgans: See How You’re Related"

Nov 04, 2019

Understanding the Ethnic Ancestry in Your DNA Test

That's the subject of my presentation this Saturday (11/9/19) at the Western Michigan Genealogical Society meeting in Grand Rapids. Join me at 1:30 p.m. in the Ryerson Auditorium of the Grand Rapids Public Library. See this link for details.

Continue reading "Understanding the Ethnic Ancestry in Your DNA Test"

Nov 01, 2019

Current DNA Test Sales

Reviewing Current DNA Test Sales with Recommendations

Continue reading "Current DNA Test Sales"

Oct 31, 2019

Get Personalized DNA-Themed Shirts and Gifts

I just discovered something cool. You can use the results of your DNA ethnicity test to create personalized shirts, hats, mugs, posters, etc. Designs include colored maps, trees, and helixes. Order a unique gift for yourself or a family member. Part of your purchase goes to Youth Celebrate Diversity. Just browsing the catalog is fun. Check it out now.

Continue reading "Get Personalized DNA-Themed Shirts and Gifts"

Oct 30, 2019

Diahan Southard To Speak on DNA in Michigan

If you're a Michigan resident like me, you might want to attend the Fall Family History Event at the Michigan Library in Lansing on November 9th. The featured speaker is Dahann Southard who will give several presentations on DNA topics during the day. I have heard her speak a few times and she does an excellent job. This annual event is sponsored by the Michigan Genealogical Council and I was a speaker there several years ago.

Continue reading "Diahan Southard To Speak on DNA in Michigan"

Oct 29, 2019

Using AutoCluster with Ancestry’s Custom Groups

The DNA testing companies are adding features that make it easier to work with our genetic matches. And third-party developers are creating additional innovative tools. In this blog post my friend Dana Leeds describes a clever way of using some of these tools together.

Continue reading "Using AutoCluster with Ancestry’s Custom Groups"

Oct 28, 2019

How DNA Testing Helps Genealogy Research

Here's a detailed example of how DNA tests can supplement conventional genealogical research to identify ancestors. This search even employed some third-party DNA tools.

Continue reading "How DNA Testing Helps Genealogy Research"

Oct 25, 2019

DNA Test Reunites Woman With Son She Thought Died In Childbirth 30 Years Ago

A pregnant young girl is told by her mother that the baby she bore had died during delivery. Then 30 years later she learns through DNA testing that her son is very much alive.

Continue reading "DNA Test Reunites Woman With Son She Thought Died In Childbirth 30 Years Ago"

Oct 23, 2019

Adoption Reunions in New Book "Before and After"

I loved Lisa Wingate’s bestselling novel "Before We Were Yours" about the black-market baby business at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. This new book follows fifteen survivors who set out to trace their roots and find their birth families. I have not read this yet but I plan to do so soon.

Continue reading "Adoption Reunions in New Book "Before and After""

Oct 22, 2019

DNA Painter Instructions and Resources

One of the most popular tools today for serious genetic genealogists is DNA Painter. Blogger Roberta Estes is a big fan of the tool and has written several detailed posts about the many things you can do with DNA Painter. This post provides an overview with links to more details.

Continue reading "DNA Painter Instructions and Resources"

Oct 18, 2019

Babies are Still Being Sold Today

If you watched "Taken at Birth" you saw how a doctor was selling babies fifty years ago. Times have changed and the methods have changed. But it still goes on. See this article.

Continue reading "Babies are Still Being Sold Today"

Oct 16, 2019

Compare Autosomal DNA Tests for Genealogy and Adoption Search

How the most popular autosomal DNA tests are alike and how they differ. Which should you order?

Continue reading "Compare Autosomal DNA Tests for Genealogy and Adoption Search"

Oct 16, 2019

Finding Lost Relatives Through DNA Testing

Learn how DNA testing can find lost relatives, including unknown parents and siblings of adoptees and others of uncertain parentage.

Continue reading "Finding Lost Relatives Through DNA Testing"

Oct 14, 2019

Kiplinger Article on DNA Testing for Genealogy

I was one of the people interviewed for this article on the popular Kiplinger website. Like almost every other article on genetic genealogy, it's not perfectly accurate. But it's an interesting overview in any case.

Continue reading "Kiplinger Article on DNA Testing for Genealogy"

Oct 08, 2019

Bringing the Dead Back to Life

Genetic genealogist and actress Avangelene Von Whipple is interviewed in this article. She shares her own fascinating journey into DNA testing. Then she tells how she helps others find their biological families. It's a good read.

Continue reading "Bringing the Dead Back to Life"

Oct 07, 2019

"Taken at Birth" Airs This Week on TLC Network

Here's another TV special that uses DNA testing to uncover decades-old secrets. The six-hour special will share the untold stories of the “Hicks Babies,” the name given to more than 200 newborn babies illegally sold or given away from the back door of a small-town Georgia clinic run by Dr. Thomas J. Hicks during the 1950s and 1960s. It begins on October 9th at 9/8c.

Continue reading ""Taken at Birth" Airs This Week on TLC Network"

Oct 04, 2019

Watch "A New Leaf" This Saturday on NBC

Many fans of "Who Do You Think You Are?" have asked for a similar genealogy show featuring everyday people. Ancestry has listened and a new series is launching this Saturday morning (10/5/19) on NBC. You can read about "A New Leaf" on this blog post.

Continue reading "Watch "A New Leaf" This Saturday on NBC"

Oct 03, 2019

Abandoned Baby Finds His Family 75 Years Later

In 1944 Richard Cole's mother rented a room in a downtown Atlanta hotel under a fake name. She then left her baby in the room and disappeared. Thanks to DNA tests and genetic genealogist Gerri Berger, Richard has found his birth family.

Continue reading "Abandoned Baby Finds His Family 75 Years Later"

Oct 01, 2019

Sperm Donors Can No Longer Remain Anonymous

Sperm donation clinics now have to confront the fact that it is no longer possible to guarantee anonymity to their clients. Instead, genetic genealogy sites are giving customers the genetic clues they need to identify biological parents on their own.

This article discusses the history of the sperm banking industry and how clinics are coping with the new reality of consumer DNA testing.

Continue reading "Sperm Donors Can No Longer Remain Anonymous"

Sep 30, 2019

Need a DNA Test in a Hurry?

When you order a genetic genealogy DNA test, it can take a couple weeks for the test kit to arrive. Then you send back your sample and wait another few weeks for the results. I see that 23andMe now offers a VIP Service for anyone who can't wait that long.

The package includes two Health+Ancestry tests, overnight shipping, and priority lab processing. You also get premium customer support and a 30-minute phone call to walk you through your ancestry results. This package also makes a super gift for a couple you know.

Continue reading "Need a DNA Test in a Hurry?"

Sep 27, 2019

Watch MyHeritage LIVE 2019 Lectures for Free

MyHeritage held its second annual user conference in Amsterdam. There were many great presentations on DNA and genealogy. Now we can watch any of the lectures online for free and without the long plane ride. See this page for a list of topics and links for viewing.

Continue reading "Watch MyHeritage LIVE 2019 Lectures for Free"

Sep 20, 2019

Buying a DNA Test Online

There are many places where you can buy a DNA test online. See how to avoid misleading offers and counterfeit test kits.

Continue reading "Buying a DNA Test Online"

Sep 20, 2019

Genetic Genealogy for Jewish Ancestry

Tracing Jewish ancestors can be challenging for many reasons. DNA testing can certainly help. But genetic matches will project as closer than they really are due to endogamy. This tutorial on YouTube has a lot of good tips on the subject. An ad will display first but you can quickly skip it.

Continue reading "Genetic Genealogy for Jewish Ancestry"

Sep 18, 2019

Registration Opens for RootsTech 2020

RootsTech is the largest family history conference in the world. RootsTech 2020 will take place on February 26–29 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Registration has just opened.

I attended the 2019 conference and found it both enjoyable and educational. It's not something in my budget for every year, so I'm not planning to make this next one. But if you are a genealogist and can afford the cost of registration, airfare, hotels, and meals, it's something you should experience. You can learn more at the following link.

Continue reading "Registration Opens for RootsTech 2020"

Sep 18, 2019

Woman Finds Her Cord-Blood Donor thru DNA Test

I found this to be a fascinating story. It only affects a tiny percentage of people. But it's a remarkable side effect of today's home DNA tests.

Continue reading "Woman Finds Her Cord-Blood Donor thru DNA Test"

Sep 17, 2019

Big Changes Coming to DNA Land

DNA Land began as an academic research project through Columbia University. That project is ending and the individuals behind it have acquired the rights to the website. They will relaunch DNA Land on October 1 as a for-profit entity.

If you have an account there, your account and data will be permanently deleted on 9/30/19. You can download your data and take screenshots of your reports through September 29th.

If you wish to participate in the new commercial venture, referred to as DNA Land 2.0, you can create a new account and upload your data starting 10/1/19. I have not seen any details about the costs or benefits of the new for-profit entity. See this link to the FAQ page.

Continue reading "Big Changes Coming to DNA Land"

Sep 13, 2019

Genealogists: Get Your Free DNA Account at MyHeritage

MyHeritage now has the fastest-growing DNA database. And you can upload raw data from other autosomal DNA tests for FREE at the link below.

After your data is processed, you can see your DNA matches and contact them for free. You can upload a family tree for free. You can use Auto Clusters and their Theory of Family Relativity for free.

if you wish to use the chromosome browser or see your ethnicity estimate, there's an optional $29 unlock free.

Like Ancestry, MyHeritage offers subscriptions to their billions of genealogical records. But subscriptions are also entirely optional.

I have personally found enormous value in my DNA matches there and the innovative tools they include for figuring out probable connections.

Continue reading "Genealogists: Get Your Free DNA Account at MyHeritage"

Sep 11, 2019

Watch "The Missing Piece" -- a DNA Reunion Story

MyHeritage announced that "The Missing Piece", the original documentary that had its world premiere this past weekend at MyHeritage LIVE in Amsterdam, is now publicly available to watch online.

The Missing Piece is a powerful and inspiring film about hope and discovery. It tells the incredible story of two sisters, both abandoned as children, overcoming insurmountable odds to discover who they are and where they come from. It's about 30 minutes long and you can watch at the link below.

Continue reading "Watch "The Missing Piece" -- a DNA Reunion Story"

Sep 10, 2019

Woman Meets Father and Then Sister on Same Day

It is now common for adoptees to discover their birth families through genetic genealogy DNA tests. This case stands out because the 58-year old adoptee meets her father and they board a plane together to meet her sister.

Continue reading "Woman Meets Father and Then Sister on Same Day"

Sep 09, 2019

Creating Your Genetic Family Tree

You may have heard that everyone has two family trees. a genealogical (traditional) tree and a genetic (DNA) tree. Here's a brief article that clearly explains the difference and provides some useful tips for genealogists.

Continue reading "Creating Your Genetic Family Tree"

Sep 06, 2019

Announcing a New Version of My Guide to DNA Testing

Several years ago, I created the original Guide to DNA Testing as a Kindle eBook. This field is always changing and I have just uploaded Version 3.1 with several important updates. It's available on Amazon for just $3.99.

This is the clearest introduction to genetic genealogy anywhere. I tell you what DNA testing can do for you. Then I describe and compare the major genetic genealogy tests. I summarize their purposes, strengths, and limitations. Then I provide links to educational resources and amazing third-party tools that can save you hours of time researching your ancestors.

If you're trying to convince others to test, this Guide provides the basic knowledge necessary for them to feel confident about the value of testing.

Here is the Table of Contents:

*Who Am I?*What DNA Testing Can Do For You*How Do I Get Tested?*Why People Are Confused About DNA Testing*How DNA Passes Down The Family Tree*Autosomal DNA Testing*Comparing The Autosomal DNA Tests *Three Common Questions About Autosomal DNA Testing*Other DNA Tests Worth Considering*Your Overall Testing Strategy*Where To Learn More

Why No Print Version?

I only offer the Guide as an eBook for two reasons. First, the field of DNA testing changes so rapidly that I need to periodically update the information. That is not practical for a printed book.

Secondly, much of the value of this Guide lies in the dozens of links to recommended DNA tests, books, support groups, and third party resources. In my eBook you simply click to go there. In a printed book you would have to accurately type a long URL for every place you wanted to check.

Continue reading "Announcing a New Version of My Guide to DNA Testing"

Sep 04, 2019

Tree Charts for All on DNA Painter

Many genealogists are enjoying the various tools at DNA Painter. Now, everyone can create a family tree there, either manually or by uploading a GEDCOM file, and turn it into a chart form that helps identify gaps in tree completeness. You don't even have to be a subscriber to the site. The Legal Genealogist, Judy G. Russell, explains all this in her recent blog post.

Continue reading "Tree Charts for All on DNA Painter"

› DNA Testing Blogs

How an RSS Reader Can Simplify Your Life

My blog will appear in RSS readers. If you're not sure why you need one, read this article in Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter.