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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Jun 17, 2019

Watch A Great Film Now for Free

Join us for the FREE Digital Premiere of the quirky new #PBS documentary Thank You For Coming, which follows filmmaker Sara Lamm’s #Genealogy journey to find her biological father after learning she was #DonorConceived as an adult.

Watch now for FREE at the following link.

Continue reading "Watch A Great Film Now for Free"

Jun 17, 2019

Let's All Help New York Adoptees Today

A bill — A54941 / S3419 2— is pending in the New York State Assembly (the lower house of the New York legislature) that would give New York adoptees and their descendants the right to obtain their original birth certificates. So many members of the Assembly have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill that it is sure to pass once it reaches the Assembly floor.

It has already passed the New York State Senate (the upper house) by a vote of 56-6, and Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he will sign it if it reaches his desk.3

But the last day of this session for the New York State Assembly is Wednesday, June 19th — and unless the bill is brought to the floor for a vote by then, the bill can’t be acted on this year. It wouldn’t get a chance again until next year.

The Speaker of the Assembly is Carl E. Heastie, and he will decide whether the bill comes up for a vote. If that dark curtain is to be pulled back for New York adoptees, he must bring the bill to the floor by Wednesday.

Please contact Honorable Speaker of the New York State Assembly Carl E. Heastie and ask him to let the Assembly vote on the adoptee birth certificate bill A5494. Here is his contact information:

• Phone: 518-455-3791

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/CarlHeastie

• Email: Speaker@nyassembly.gov

Thanks to Judy G. Russell, the Legal Genealogist, for providing this information.

Continue reading "Let's All Help New York Adoptees Today"

Jun 14, 2019

Ancestry ThruLines to Replace DNA Circles

I was at RootsTech 2019 when Ancestry announced several new features, including ThruLines and MyTreeTags. I find both features to be extremely useful for genealogy.

ThruLInes helps find possible explanations for many of our genetic matches by comparing DNA and family trees. An earlier feature, DNA Circles, was designed to do the same thing.

Ancestry announced this week that DNA Circles will be retired this summer. If you wish to save anything from that feature, I suggest you do it now.

The following link goes to the initial announcement about the new tools. Ignore any "Coming Soon" text as these features are working now.

Continue reading "Ancestry ThruLines to Replace DNA Circles"

Jun 13, 2019

Compare All the Current Sales on DNA Tests

Right now, all my recommended DNA testing companies are having sales through Monday, 6/17/19. You can compare all the sales on the Current DNA Test Sales page of my website.

While the excuse for the sale is Father's Day, you can order kits for anyone. All the kits have a long shelf life, so stock up now while prices are low.

Continue reading "Compare All the Current Sales on DNA Tests"

Jun 11, 2019

Another Unusual DNA Adoptee Case

The number of different paths for finding an adoptee's biological family through DNA testing is fascinating. Blogger Kitty Cooper gave a step-by-step account of this case in DNA Success Stories.

Continue reading "Another Unusual DNA Adoptee Case"

Jun 10, 2019

𝗛𝗮𝗹𝗳-𝗦𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝗥𝗲𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗔𝗳𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗠𝘆𝗛𝗲𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗗𝗡𝗔 𝗨𝗽𝗹𝗼𝗮𝗱.

Thousands of people who did other DNA tests are taking advantage of the free upload offer at MyHeritage. Just download your raw data from AncestryDNA, 23andMe or Family Finder to your computer and upload it to MyHeritage. Lots of people have found lost family by doing this, including the ones in this story.

Continue reading "𝗛𝗮𝗹𝗳-𝗦𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝗥𝗲𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗔𝗳𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗠𝘆𝗛𝗲𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗗𝗡𝗔 𝗨𝗽𝗹𝗼𝗮𝗱."

Jun 07, 2019

AncestryDNA Test is Just $59 for Father's Day

Every genealogist and adoptee should do the AncestryDNA test. And right now it is sale priced at just $59.

With over 15 million users you are sure to find many previously unknown genetic relatives. Some of them will have information about your common ancestors that you lack.

Ancestry's innovative ThruLines tool can help you figure out how you are related to your matches.

This test also includes one of the better ethnic ancestry breakdowns.

Finally, raw data from the AncestryDNA test can be downloaded to your computer and uploaded for free to several other key databases.

This test is a bargain at $99 and a steal at $59.

Continue reading "AncestryDNA Test is Just $59 for Father's Day"

Jun 06, 2019

40% Off My Book Direct from Publisher

I just 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 personal adoption search and reunion 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"

Jun 05, 2019

Genographic Project to Shut Down Consumer Database

The National Geographic Society has announced that their Geno 2.0 DNA Ancestry kits are no longer available for sale. The Genographic website will be taken down December. 31, 2020. Your results will be available for viewing until then, but not after that date.

Depending on which version of the Genographic test you’ve taken, you may be able to transfer your results to Family Tree DNA for free.

Everything depends on where and when you tested. Roberta Estes explains all this in a recent blog. If you tested with the Genographic Project, follow this link to see your options.

Continue reading "Genographic Project to Shut Down Consumer Database"

Jun 04, 2019

New Family Tree DNA Sale: My Recommendations

Good news. Family Tree DNA has announced a Father’s Day sale on their Family Finder test and ALL their Y-DNA tests and upgrades. Sale prices are good through Monday, 6/17/19.

𝗪𝗵𝘆 𝗬𝗼𝘂 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗢𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗙𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗹𝘆 𝗙𝗶𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝘁 𝗝𝘂𝘀𝘁 $𝟱𝟵

Family Finder is one of four autosomal DNA tests that currently provides you with a list of genetic matches. Since there’s not a lot of duplication among the databases, you need to fish in all the ponds for comprehensive coverage. You never know which test will yield the breakthrough matches you seek.

Yes, you can transfer in raw data from one of the other three tests and only pay a fee of $19 to access the great tools that come with Family Finder. But you will get many more matches if you do the test directly. That’s because the customized chips used by each company no longer look at the same DNA locations. The overlap between companies is much smaller and Family Tree DNA wants to limit the false matches that can occur from too much interpolation.

Secondly, when you order Family Finder directly, the price includes storage of your DNA sample for up to 25 years. That lets you order other tests in the future without submitting a new sample. That is especially critical for older relatives who might not be around for future testing.

If you’re in my age group, we ARE the older relatives. I want my children to have the flexibility of continuing genetic genealogy research into our family.

𝗪𝗵𝗶𝗰𝗵 𝗬-𝗗𝗡𝗔 𝗧𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗬𝗼𝘂 𝗢𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿?

Testing a man’s Y chromosome is a great way to research any direct paternal line. Here are the price cuts during this sale:

Y-37 $129 instead of $169

Y-67 $219 instead of $268

Y-111 $299 instead of $359

Big Y-700 $499 instead of $649

If you can afford it, order the Y-67 test. It is becoming the sweet spot where many men are testing. But in many cases Y-37 will still be adequate.

Ordering extra markers will NOT yield additional useful matches. Extra markers do provide more resolution in case you get too many close matches at a lower number of markers. If you’re one of those who gets too many close matches at 37 markers you can order an upgrade to 67 later. But it may cost you more overall than ordering 67 in the first place depending on upgrade prices at the time.

Relatively few men have tested 111 markers so it’s overkill most of the time. There are exceptions of course. If that’s you, then go for it.

Big Y-700 is a fascinating test for anyone who wants to be on the cutting edge of Y chromosome testing and can afford it. Yet is not likely to solve average genealogical puzzles for the average user. Again, if you are the exception, it’s a great time to save a lot of money.

𝗢𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗮 𝗕𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗹𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗗𝗲𝗮𝗹 𝗼𝗳 𝗔𝗹𝗹

TIP: If you bundle Family Finder and a Y-DNA test, you will save another $10 on your order.

Continue reading "New Family Tree DNA Sale: My Recommendations"

Jun 03, 2019

New Recommended Book: The DNA Guide for Adoptees

I just ordered and received a great new book for adoptees. While I have not yet had time to read it thoroughly, I have reviewed the detailed Table of Contents and skimmed several sections.

If you are an adoptee or anyone else trying to discover and reconnect with lost biological family, this is the step-by-step manual that can guide you every step of the way.

One of the authors is Brianne Kirkpatrick. I serve with her on the Advisory Board of DNA Quest. So I know she is eminently qualified to write this guide.

You can get the book now at Amazon through the following link:

Continue reading "New Recommended Book: The DNA Guide for Adoptees"

May 31, 2019

My Choice for the Best Deal in DNA Testing

One of the four most popular DNA databases is MyHeritage. If you or your family members have already done a DNA test with another company, you can download your raw data from that company to your computer. Then you can upload the DNA data to MyHeritage and receive DNA Matches for FREE.

Receiving DNA Matches and contacting them is free and unlimited. Thanks to MyHeritage’s wide international reach and availability in more than 40 languages, you will have an excellent chance of being matched with relatives who live in other countries in addition to matches in the United States.

If you wish to use any of their great tools for working with your matches, you can pay an OPTIONAL one-time unlock fee of $29.

That will give you access to the Chromosome Browser, the Ethnicity Estimate, family trees posted by your DNA matches, and other innovative tools for working with your matches.

Continue reading "My Choice for the Best Deal in DNA Testing"

May 30, 2019

Half-Sisters Reunite After 63 Years Due to DNA Test

Since I reunited with my birth family twelve years ago, the pace of DNA-driven reunions has accelerated. That's driven by new, lower-priced tests and far bigger databases.

This particular story is about two half-sisters, adopted separately. They had both searched unsuccessfully for years. Then independently each did a MyHeritage DNA test.

Continue reading "Half-Sisters Reunite After 63 Years Due to DNA Test"

May 29, 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"

May 28, 2019

See How DNA Passes Down YOUR Family Tree

I just discovered a cool tool called Exploring Family Trees. This lets you see your family tree in an interesting way. It even shows what percentage of your autosomal DNA and X DNA would be expected to come from individual ancestors.

Rather than send you there directly, I''m linking to the blog post where I learn about it. That will give you a nice overview.

Continue reading "See How DNA Passes Down YOUR Family Tree"

May 27, 2019

Two Easy Steps to Help Victims of Violent Crime

More than 50 cold cases of murder and rape have been solved in the past year by law enforcement use of the GEDmatch.com DNA database. Dangerous people have been locked up and victims and their families have found closure.

Recently, this important tool was crippled when GEDmatch reversed course and opted out the 1.2 million users.

Please join me in taking the following steps: 1. If you have not already done so, download your raw data from one of the DNA testing companies and upload it for free to GEDmatch Genesis. 2. Log into your account and click the pencil icon next to your name. Change your Access to Public, with Law Enforcement access.

The reasons behind the change are complex yet understandable. For a clearly written summary of this situation read the following article.

Continue reading "Two Easy Steps to Help Victims of Violent Crime"

May 26, 2019

Save $50 on 23andMe Health+Ancestry Test

23andMe has a Farther's Day sale on their Health+Ancestry DNA test. It's just $149 through 6/17/19.

You get 125+ online reports on your ancestry, traits and health. That's in addition to all the genetic matches you will see from their ten million users. This includes your maternal haplogroup plus the paternal haplogroup for men. Sale ends 6/17/19.

Continue reading "Save $50 on 23andMe Health+Ancestry Test"

May 24, 2019

Free Access to Military Records for Memorial Day

MyHeritage is offering free access to U.S. military records now through 5/28/19. Use this link to search while it's free.

Continue reading "Free Access to Military Records for Memorial Day"

May 24, 2019

Half-Price Webinar Subscription Offer

Legacy Family Tree Webinars is a great educational resource on genealogy and related subjects. Until May 28, 2019, new subscribers can access the entire webinar library for a year at half the regular price. Instead of $49.95, it's only $24.98.

You get unlimited access to more than 900 classes and all the syllabus materials. This is such a good deal that I just ordered it myself. See this page for details and the coupon code.

Continue reading "Half-Price Webinar Subscription Offer"

May 23, 2019

Father's Day Sale on Living DNA Test

With a Father's Day sale price of just $79, this is a good time or order the Living DNA test. It provides a breakdown of your overall ethnic ancestry AND identifies the haplogroups of your maternal and (for men) paternal ancestry.

The ethnicity report does a nice job of breaking U.K. ancestry into 21 sub-regions.

They are currently doing sub-regional research in Ireland and Germany. Those of us with Irish or German ancestry will see even more refined ethnicity breakdowns in the future.

Living DNA is not yet a good source for finding genetic matches. But they are testing a feature called Family Networks. Anyone who tests now will benefit from new features as they roll out.

Continue reading "Father's Day Sale on Living DNA Test"

May 22, 2019

Update on German Project at Living DNA

All of the DNA testing companies are working to make their ethnicity estimates more detailed. Here's a good example of one company, Living DNA, working on that for one region, Germany. This sub-regional breakdown will not show up in our results for awhile. But this is a good reminder that ethnicity estimates are fluid and will change over time as the science behind them gets better.

Continue reading "Update on German Project at Living DNA"

May 21, 2019

$59 Sale on MyHeritage DNA Test Extended

MyHeritage has extended the sale price for the DNA Ancestry test to June 2, 2019. This is a test that I find to be extremely useful for genealogy.

Features I love include Auto Clusters, the Theory of Family Relativity, and the Chromosome Browser.

This sale is timely because MyHeritage just introduced a Health+Ancestry option that reports many genetic health risks, including heart disease, breast cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

That test sells for $199. But if you buy the Ancestry test at the sale price of $59, you can upgrade to the health test later for $120. That makes the total price just $179.

Continue reading "$59 Sale on MyHeritage DNA Test Extended"

May 20, 2019

New Health + Ancestry DNA Test Announced

MyHeritage just announced a new DNA test that includes genetic health reports in addition to the ancestry information already available. The new MyHeritage DNA Health+Ancestry test provides comprehensive health reports for conditions affected by genetics. This includes unique Polygenic Risk Reports for heart disease, breast cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

The test sells for $199 in the U.S., the same as the 23andMe test. Yet it uses cheek swabs, which many people find easier than spitting into a tube. Plus, MyHeritage has the most strict privacy policies of any home DNA test.

Users who have already purchased the genealogical (ancestry-only) MyHeritage DNA test can upgrade to receive health reports for $120. I will order the upgrade today and write about it after I receive my results.

The new health kit is available globally except in a few countries that do not allow health-related consumer genetic testing. It is available in all U.S. states except New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, where separate laboratory certifications are required and are currently being pursued.

NOTE: They need a DNA sample to do this. If you have only transferred data into MyHeritage for the ancestry features, you will need to order the full test.

For more complete information on this new test, read the press release at the link below.

Continue reading "New Health + Ancestry DNA Test Announced"

May 19, 2019

New Informed Consent Terms at GEDmatch

The third-party DNA database known as GEDmatch has changed its Terms & Conditions for the better. For the last year, the site has been mined by law enforcement to help solve cold cases of murder and rape.

While most users are happy to help, all users were opted in to law enforcement matching unless they took steps to opt out. Now, the new default is opt-out. Users must act if they wish to opt in.

This is what privacy advocates have been asking for. For more details on the changes, read this excellent blog post by The Legal Genealogist, Judy G. Russell.

Continue reading "New Informed Consent Terms at GEDmatch"

May 16, 2019

The Best DNA Tests for African Ancestry

Many African Americans and others are using an African DNA test to get answers about their ethnic ancestry. Typical questions include the following:

How much of my genetic heritage is African? What regions of Africa do my ancestors come from?

Where does the remainder of my heritage come from?

Is my African ancestry from my father’s lineage or my mother’s?

Do my physical features reflect African ancestry or something else?

Fortunately, there are several reasonably-priced African DNA tests that can answer these and other questions about one’s ethnic ancestry.

The tests all use home test kits and sample collection is easy and painless. Depending on which company you use, you might wipe some cells from inside your cheek with a little swab or spit some saliva into a tube. No blood is required.

I have updated my recommendations for anyone interested in an African DNA test. See this page on my website.

Continue reading "The Best DNA Tests for African Ancestry"

May 14, 2019

“Who Do You Think You Are?” Returns to NBC

The Emmy Award-winning documentary series “Who Do You Think You Are?” is moving back to NBC. The series started on NBC in 2010 but was cancelled after three seasons. Since then it has run on the TLC network. The return to NBC is good news since more people will be able to watch it.

May 10, 2019

Review of "Finding Family" in Eastman's Newsletter

In today's issue of Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter (EOGN) there's a good review of my book, "Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA." I wrote this book to share my personal adoption story and my groundbreaking use of DNA testing.

Bobbi King does the reviews for Dick Eastman. She writes "Mr. Hill has the rare talent of telling his family research and story interestingly enough to keep the reader engaged. He covers many years of searching, but moves the story along nicely."

Continue reading "Review of "Finding Family" in Eastman's Newsletter"

May 08, 2019

More Good Results on DNA Success Stories

Several new success stories have been posted recently in the Facebook group DNA Success Stories.

This group is different in that every post must be a success story. That way these stories are not lost in a flood of questions and discussions. Comments on each story are welcome.

If you would like to read these inspiring stories or post your own success story, you need to Join the group. There are no requirements but it may take volunteer admins some time to see and approve your request.

Continue reading "More Good Results on DNA Success Stories"

May 07, 2019

Current DNA Test Sales

Reviewing Current DNA Test Sales with Recommendations

Continue reading "Current DNA Test Sales"

Apr 29, 2019

Gourmet Origins Project at MyHeritage

MyHeritage invited six top French pastry and chocolate artisans to explore how their roots have influenced their culinary creations. Could some of the creative inspiration be rooted in their family history? MyHeritage has an entire site devoted to the chefs' ancestors, ethnic origins, and family stories.

Continue reading "Gourmet Origins Project at MyHeritage"

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GENEALOGY TIP: Building an accurate family tree is time consuming. You can outsource the job to an expert at Legacy Tree Genealogists.

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.