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.

How do I subscribe to DNA Testing Update?

You don't even need an email address. It's easy to set up an RSS feed using the buttons at the bottom of the column on the left. If you're not familiar with RSS, click on the question mark above the RSS graphic to learn everything you need to know.

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 11, 2019

Act Now to Get a Recommended DNA Test for Just $49

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.

Continue reading "Act Now to Get a Recommended DNA Test for Just $49"

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"

Aug 29, 2019

DNA Results for The Backstreet Boys

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.

Continue reading "DNA Results for The Backstreet Boys"

Aug 28, 2019

DNA Tests Expose Fertility Doctors Using Own Sperm

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.

Continue reading "DNA Tests Expose Fertility Doctors Using Own Sperm"

Aug 27, 2019

Current DNA Test Sales

Reviewing Current DNA Test Sales with Recommendations

Continue reading "Current DNA Test Sales"

Aug 24, 2019

Endogamy and DNA

Three keys for dealing with endogamy in autosomal DNA test results.

Continue reading "Endogamy and DNA"

Aug 23, 2019

Understanding the Big Y-700 DNA Test

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.

Continue reading "Understanding the Big Y-700 DNA Test"

Aug 21, 2019

Listen to "Finding Family" on Audiobook

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."

Continue reading "Listen to "Finding Family" on Audiobook"

Aug 20, 2019

Free 14-Day Free Trial to Everything on MyHeritage

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.

Continue reading "Free 14-Day Free Trial to Everything on MyHeritage"

Aug 19, 2019

Ohio Family Sues Fertility Clinic After DNA Test

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.

Continue reading "Ohio Family Sues Fertility Clinic After DNA Test"

Aug 15, 2019

MyHeritage Traces Ancestry of Dr. Phil's Wife

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.

Continue reading "MyHeritage Traces Ancestry of Dr. Phil's Wife"

Aug 14, 2019

82-Year Old Adoptee Finds Her First Family

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.

Continue reading "82-Year Old Adoptee Finds Her First Family"

Aug 13, 2019

New AncestryDNA Match Features Explained

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.

Continue reading "New AncestryDNA Match Features Explained"

Aug 12, 2019

𝗗𝗡𝗔 𝗨𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝗮 𝗩𝗶𝗲𝘁𝗻𝗮𝗺 𝗩𝗲𝘁 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗩𝗶𝗲𝘁𝗻𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀𝗲 𝗗𝗮𝘂𝗴𝗵𝘁𝗲𝗿

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

Continue reading "𝗗𝗡𝗔 𝗨𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝗮 𝗩𝗶𝗲𝘁𝗻𝗮𝗺 𝗩𝗲𝘁 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗩𝗶𝗲𝘁𝗻𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀𝗲 𝗗𝗮𝘂𝗴𝗵𝘁𝗲𝗿"

Aug 08, 2019

Six of Eight Adopted Siblings Identified through DNA Tests

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.

Continue reading "Six of Eight Adopted Siblings Identified through DNA Tests"

Aug 07, 2019

Understanding Cousin Relationships

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.

Continue reading "Understanding Cousin Relationships"

Aug 06, 2019

Navigating Your MyHeritage DNA Health Reports

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.

Continue reading "Navigating Your MyHeritage DNA Health Reports"

Aug 05, 2019

DNA Reunites Two Brothers--Both Policemen

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.

Continue reading "DNA Reunites Two Brothers--Both Policemen"

Aug 01, 2019

A Fascinating and Well Told DNA Success Story

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.

Continue reading "A Fascinating and Well Told DNA Success Story"

Jul 30, 2019

My Strategy for Tracing Birth Parents with DNA

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.

Continue reading "My Strategy for Tracing Birth Parents with DNA"

Jul 26, 2019

Updated Stats and Stories from DNA Quest

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.

Continue reading "Updated Stats and Stories from DNA Quest"

Jul 23, 2019

40% Off My Book Direct from Publisher

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.

Continue reading "40% Off My Book Direct from Publisher"

Jul 19, 2019

Mother and Daughter Reunite After 44 Years

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.

Continue reading "Mother and Daughter Reunite After 44 Years"

Jul 18, 2019

Updated Theory of Family Relativity at MyHeritage

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.

Continue reading "Updated Theory of Family Relativity at MyHeritage"

Jul 16, 2019

Irish Mother Finds Her Son...60 Years Later

Maurice Gleeson is a genetic genealogist who helps connect adoptees and parents in Ireland. He shares this success story in his blog.

Continue reading "Irish Mother Finds Her Son...60 Years Later"

Jul 15, 2019

Listen and Learn About Ethnic Ancestry DNA Testing

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.

Continue reading "Listen and Learn About Ethnic Ancestry DNA Testing"

Jul 09, 2019

Need a Fun, Informative Speaker on DNA Topics?

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.

Continue reading "Need a Fun, Informative Speaker on DNA Topics?"

Jul 05, 2019

Sperm Donors Can't Stay Secret Anymore

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.

Continue reading "Sperm Donors Can't Stay Secret Anymore"



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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.