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…
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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.
How the most popular autosomal DNA tests are alike and how they differ. Which should you order?
Learn how DNA testing can find lost relatives, including unknown parents and siblings of adoptees and others of uncertain parentage.
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.
MyHeritage has announced a $49 sale price for their DNA test. As the most popular DNA test in Europe, this is a great test for any American with European ancestors. You will discover hundreds if not thousands of cousins. And innovative tools like Auto Clusters and Theory of Family Relativity will help you figure out how they are related to you. An ethnic ancestry breakdown is also included. This sale ends on October 21, 2019.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are many places where you can buy a DNA test online. See how to avoid misleading offers and counterfeit test kits.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Backstreet Boys formed their musical group more than 25 years ago and are still performing. Each band member did a DNA test with MyHeritage and their results are featured in this brief video.
Even the New York Times has covered the growing scandal of fertility doctors using their own sperm for artificial insemination of their patients. It's another example of how today's genetic genealogy DNA tests are uncovering secrets that people thought would be hidden forever.
Reviewing Current DNA Test Sales with Recommendations
Three keys for dealing with endogamy in autosomal DNA test results.
Now is a great time for men to order the Big Y-700 DNA test while it's sale-priced at Family Tree DNA. Yet most people don't understand this advanced test or what you can do with the results.
Maurice Gleeson does a nice job of explaining all that in this blog post.
My wife and I love listening to audiobooks. It's a way we can share a story and then discuss it together. Plus, we can listen while doing other things, like long car trips.
"Finding Family" is my award-winning personal story that traces my decades long search for biological family. In addition to the print and eBook editions, it is available as an audiobook on Audible and through Amazon. Here's an excerpt from a recent listener review:
"I loved this book, I listened to it on audio. Very well written -- easy to follow the story with various people and places, complicated topic made simple to understand. The author's sense of humor made me laugh out loud many times. I found myself talking back to him out loud, to cheer or encourage him along the way. The details he gives about how he did his research are great for generating ideas about how to search for your own family. Particularly in this electronic age, it's a great insight into how research was conducted before the Internet. It will trigger research ideas for modern searches. After completion of the book, I felt like a member of the family."
In addition to their DNA tests, MyHeritage offers 9.8 billion historical records from around the world and many other powerful features. I have found it to be especially useful in tracing ancestors outside the U.S.
You can create a family tree of unlimited size and enjoy Smart Matches to other users’ trees that reveal new information about your family history. You can try everything with a 14-day free trial through the following link.
If you conceived a child through a fertility clinic, you might want to confirm the child's parentage through one of the low-cost DNA tests available today. Or maybe you should avoid testing if you would rather not know.
This Ohio family did DNA testing and learned that the father and his daughter are not biologically related.
Previously on the Dr. Phil show, MyHeritage traced his family tree. In this later show, they have traced the family history of Phil's wife, Robin McGraw. You can watch that segment at the following link.
Some adoptees think they're too old to find their birth parents. And that may be true. But if you're still alive, there's always a chance you have biological siblings out there somewhere. This adopted woman did an AncestryDNA test and had great success.
Ancestry has added some nice new features for working with your genetic matches. No, I'm not referring to the innovative Thru-Lines feature. This is a batch of powerful touches that you might overlook. Blogger Kitty Cooper explains and illustrates them with examples.
We can only imagine how many U.S. servicemen fathered children while they were serving in Vietnam decades ago. Here's a case where the man's daughter moved to the U.S. and his grandchild found him through an AncestryDNA test
Decades ago, Helen Wierzbicki bore eight children over a 20-year period and gave ALL of them up for adoption. Now, thanks to two different DNA tests, six of them have been identified and four of them got together for the first time.
Many people are confused by the names we use for distant cousin relationships. We know what a first cousin is. But what is a second cousin or a third cousin twice removed? The following page from Family Search explains all this in an easy-to-follow way.
I recently received my results from the new Health+Ancestry test at MyHeritage. Some of it duplicates what I already learned from another test. Yet there are many unique findings and features of this report that are new.
This blog post explains in detail what the report looks like. I suggest you read it and then decide if the test is right for you.
Two half-brothers from Florida have reunited after discovering they are related through a genetic genealogy DNA test. Not only is there a family resemblance, but they both work in law enforcement. Be sure to watch the video.
Here is one of the most interesting and well-illustrated DNA success stories I've ever seen. It clearly shows how DNA and conventional genealogical research can work together to identify an unknown ancestor hidden by adoption. It comes from Jane's Genes.
I recently updated the web page that describes my strategy for tracing birth parents. This is the most effective yet least expensive way to "fish in all the ponds."
In fact, this testing strategy is the optimal one for anyone looking to expand or confirm their family tree.
DNA Quest is a pro bono initiative to reunite adoptees and their birth families through genetic testing. I am on the Advisory Board for this program, which is generously funded by MyHeritage.
Free DNA kits have been shipped out to participants who were selected to take part in the second round of DNA Quest.
The following blog post provides some interesting statistics and includes links to a few of the many success stories.
I got my publisher to create a 40% discount offer on my book 𝙁𝙞𝙣𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙁𝙖𝙢𝙞𝙡𝙮: 𝙈𝙮 𝙎𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙘𝙝 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙍𝙤𝙤𝙩𝙨 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙎𝙚𝙘𝙧𝙚𝙩𝙨 𝙞𝙣 𝙈𝙮 𝘿𝙉𝘼. If you would like to read my award-winning story and don't yet have a copy, you can order it at the link below.
The form will initially show the list price of $18.99. Enter the quantity and then type FindingFamily (one word) into the small box and click Apply. That will reduce the price to $11.39. The price includes free shipping to addresses in the U.S.
Here's one more case where an adoptee is reunited with a birth parent after taking a genetic genealogy DNA test. You can read their story and watch a video of their first meeting.
I was excited this morning to see that MyHeritage has refreshed the data for their Theory of Family Relativity™.
My wife and I and other family members are now seeing many new and updated theories that could explain how we and our DNA Matches are related.
By automatically searching the family trees of you and your DNA matches, this tool can often find one or more possible paths connecting the two of you. While Theories do not prove that a particular connection is responsible for a DNA match, they provide valuable clues to direct your research and save a lot of time.
This is clearly one of the coolest tools included with any DNA test. If you have not yet tested at MyHeritage, you need to consider it.
Maurice Gleeson is a genetic genealogist who helps connect adoptees and parents in Ireland. He shares this success story in his blog.
I was recently interviewed by Beyond 50 Radio about DNA Testing for Ethnic Ancestry. I explain the results and limitations of these tests and make some recommendations. I also try to manage expectations and put these tests in their proper perspective. Our discussion also touches on other aspects of DNA testing and finding families. You can listen at this link.
I give presentations on genetic genealogy both in-person and online. In addition to national conferences such as RootsTech and the National Genealogical Society, I love speaking to local libraries, genealogical societies, adoption support groups, retiree clubs, and service organizations. You can learn more about me and my presentations at the following link.
In addition to some openings in fall 2019, I am now scheduling for 2020. I live in Michigan and can easily drive to events in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Ontario. Personal talks in more distant locations involve additional travel expenses yet online presentations are a viable option anywhere.
If you schedule speakers for any kind of group, check out my speaking page and contact me to discuss a possible connection. Thank you! Richard Hill, DNA Testing Adviser.
DNA testing has changed the world for donor-conceived individuals. Many are finding their biological fathers and half-siblings (sometimes many, many half-siblings).
This extensive article in The New York Times covers DNA testing and the history of sperm donation and cryobanks.