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.

Jul 23, 2021

What’s the Difference Between Pedigree Collapse and Endogamy?

If you're using DNA to trace your family tree, you need to understand these two important terms. Roberta Estes provides an excellent explanation and shows how they can impact DNA test results.

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Jul 22, 2021

DNA Shows Early Humans Slept Around More Than We Thought

You may have read that early humans in Europe interbred with Neanderthals. New DNA evidence reveals that humans in Asia did the same with Denisovans. And there may have been others.

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Jul 21, 2021

Who Has The Largest DNA Database?

This article answers that question and more about the five major DNA testing companies. GEDmatch too. Interesting details and some historical numbers.

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Jul 20, 2021

Free Genetic Genealogy Guide with 300+ Links

I just updated my "Genetic Genealogy Links" document adding dozens of useful links. Download the free PDF file and link directly to DNA-related books, tests, tools, articles, Facebook Pages, conferences, interviews, bloggers, and more.

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Jul 19, 2021

My Recommendation for Custom T-Shirts and More

I just received a hoodie with my business logo imprinted. It came from RushOrderTees and looks really nice. If you need custom t-shirts or other apparel for your business, team, or special event, this is the place to get them.

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Jul 19, 2021

Seven Siblings Reconnected through DNA Testing

“It’s just incredible what the DNA does... It has just become a really great tool that we all benefited from.” That's a quote from one of the seven siblings in this genealogical journey that brought them all together.

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Jul 16, 2021

Save 25% on "Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA"

My publisher has agreed to temporarily reduce the price of my book. Use this link. During checkout, look for “Have a coupon?” and enter DNA to get the 25% discount. 86% of readers on Amazon give it a 5-star rating.

Continue reading "Save 25% on "Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA""

Jul 15, 2021

Two Tricks for Finding Common Ancestors

AncestryDNA has the largest database and the most trees. But it does not provide detailed shared DNA segment information. Blogger Jim Bartlett offers two tricks for finding the common ancestor in spite of this limitation.

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Jul 14, 2021

9 Must-Have Books About Genetic Genealogy

Whether you're a newbie or a veteran at working with DNA tests, you can always learn more from the best authors in the field. Family History blogger Elizabeth Swanay O'Neal provided this list of recommended books. I've read most of them and concur with her selections.

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Jul 13, 2021

New Podcast on DNA Testing, Adoptees, and NPE Surprises

I, Richard Hill, have been interviewed many times about my pioneering use of DNA testing to find my birth family. This new podcast episode by Brianne Kirkpatrick of Watershed DNA is my favorite. We get into a wide-ranging discussion about adoptees, birth parents, and DNA testing. I invite you to listen.

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Jul 12, 2021

A Better Y-DNA Matches Page

If you have done Y-DNA testing at Family Tree DNA, you should log into your account and see the improvements to the Y-DNA Matches Page. This follows the recent update to their autosomal DNA results. This blog post explains what's new.

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Jul 09, 2021

The GEDmatch Education Page

GEDmatch is a mostly free DNA site built for genealogy research. You can upload your autosomal DNA data from any major testing company. They now have a curated list of educational content for both new and experienced users. See this page:

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Jul 08, 2021

Scientists Pursue the DNA of Leonardo da Vinci

Historians traced the genealogy of Leonardo da Vinci back 21 generations over 690 years. Now they're going to test the Y chromosome of living men in his direct paternal line for several fascinating purposes.

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Jul 07, 2021

Save 50% Digitizing Photos, Home Movies and More

In the past two years, I have used FOREVER to digitize and protect movies, videos, and thousands of photo prints. Right now they're running a 50% off sale through July 12. See this page and be sure to click "What is an item?" to see how they add up your order.

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Jul 07, 2021

Interesting New DNA Features at Ancestry

Ancestry has also been adding new DNA features to its website. Blogger Kitty Cooper covers some of them and shares a link to Ancestry's latest What's New Video. She also covers a new breakdown for people of German ancestry.

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Jul 06, 2021

Now You Can Confirm or Reject Theories of Family Relativity

One of the most powerful genetic genealogy tools is the Theory of Family Relativity on MyHeritage. It uses historical records and family tree profiles to suggest how you and a DNA match may be related. After reviewing a theory, you now have the option to confirm or reject it. Read about this and more in the MyHeritage Blog.

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Jul 05, 2021

New Features on Family Tree DNA Website

Family Tree DNA continues to invest in its genealogy platform and tools. The website has several new features and enhancements. Blogger Roberta Estes takes us on a detailed tour of all that's new.

Continue reading "New Features on Family Tree DNA Website"

Jul 02, 2021

A DNA Discovery Story Unlike Any Other

As the author of "Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA,” I love to read other stories about people using DNA tests to discover lost family. While all such stories have certain elements in common, each is a unique adventure.

Every time someone uses DNA testing to bypass deeply hidden family secrets, there are bumps in the road. Michael Blair faced many such bumps and attacked them head on.

Michael’s book certainly has the most eye-catching title. And I thoroughly enjoyed the entire story. He mixes genuinely heartfelt feelings with an irreverent tone that made me laugh out loud more than once.

Continue reading "A DNA Discovery Story Unlike Any Other"

Jul 01, 2021

As DNA Uncovers More Secrets This Family Keeps Growing

In the 1940s artificial insemination was rare. Yet one man began selling his sperm to various doctors. Today, DNA testing has uncovered 19 siblings who were never told about the circumstances of their birth. This article follows the discoveries and the aftermath. It even includes a detailed history of artificial insemination.

Continue reading "As DNA Uncovers More Secrets This Family Keeps Growing"

Jun 30, 2021

How to Assign Relationships to Ancestry DNA Matches

A recently added feature on Ancestry lets you assign relationships to known genetic matches. This blog post covers how to do that and how it can help your genealogy research. Examples are included.

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Jun 29, 2021

DNA Revelation Leads to Lawsuit for Medical Rape

DNA testing has uncovered many cases where fertility doctors used their own sperm to impregnate patients. In this case, the doctor himself tested on 23andMe so the parent-child match was an instant shocker. This article shows the actual test results, even the family tree.

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Jun 28, 2021

A Faster Birth Parent Search that Guarantees Success

Thousands of adoptees have turned to DNA tests to find birth parents that they hope are still alive. Most still face months or years of genealogical digging. Experienced researchers at Origins International can do this so much faster than you can. If they don't find your birth parent within 90 days, you pay nothing. Use this link to learn more and get a free case review.

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Jun 25, 2021

DNA Connects Siblings And a Photo Explains the Match

In this heartwarming video, a brother and sister happily discover each other and meet for the first time. What's unusual about this case is a photo that shows how his father and her mother knew each other.

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Jun 24, 2021

You Can Help Change How People Think About Adoption

Lorraine Dusky evolved from a secretive unwed mother to become a leading advocate for unsealing adoptee birth records. Her book "Hole in My Heart" is a classic in the adoption community. To reach a much bigger audience and change the way people think about adoption, she has created an expanded and revised edition. To be taken seriously for reviewing and library purposes, the book needs an index for the new facts and commentary sections. It also needs professional formatting. Lorraine has started a gofundme page to cover these costs. I read the description linked here and made a donation. I hope you will too.

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Jun 23, 2021

GEDmatch for Beginners

Andy Lee has a great series of videos on DNA testing. This one shows GEDmatch beginners four basic tools and the best order for using them. You can watch the video at this link and Skip Ads that play first.

Continue reading "GEDmatch for Beginners"

Jun 22, 2021

Original Birth Certificates: State-By-State Access

Many adult adoptees would love to get their Original Birth Certificate. But those records are sealed in most states. A few states now offer unrestricted access. This web page summarizes the access level by state and offers some tips for requesting access.

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Jun 21, 2021

DNA Test Leads to a Big Family Reunion

DNA testing revealed that this woman and her sister had different biological fathers. A search for her biological father identified several more siblings and lead to a big family reunion. NOTE: The text for this article leaves out facts covered in the video. Watch it if you can.

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Jun 18, 2021

Fine Tuning WATO to Solve DNA Puzzles

One of my favorite third-party DNA tools is What Are The Odds (WATO) at DNA Painter. Since the five DNA tests that report how many centiMorgans you share with matches have different matching algorithms, you need to make some tweaks for the most accurate results. Blogger Leah Larkin shows you how.

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Jun 17, 2021

5 Clues You May Have Native American Ancestry

Today, lots of people suspect they have Native American ancestry. Genetic genealogy DNA tests are just one possible way to check that. This article lists five different clues that may suggest further investigation.

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Jun 16, 2021

A Great Example of DNA AutoClusters in Genealogy

Today, some tools automatically cluster your genetic matches into groups that all have DNA in common. But you may not all share the same ancestor. This article is a great example of how such clusters can be used to solve genealogical puzzles.

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Jun 15, 2021

DNA Reunites 90-Year Old Mom with Her 70-Year Old Daughter

Seventy years is a long time to wait. Thankfully, a genetic genealogy DNA test helped connect this 90-year old woman with the daughter she placed for adoption 70 years ago. Their happy reunion was captured in loving detail by a professional photographer.

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Jun 14, 2021

Connecticut Adoptees Can Now Access Birth Certificates

Connecticut just became the 10th state to give adult adoptees full and free access to their original birth certificates. That's a basic human right that's still being denied in 40 other states. You can read more in this commentary by Lorraine Dusky.

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Jun 13, 2021

Father's Day Special Offers on AncestryDNA Test

The world's most popular DNA test is sale priced for Father's Day. Just $59 instead of $99. For just one dollar more, new and returning subscribers can add a 3-month World Explorer membership. Offers end June 20, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Use this link and then click See Offers.

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Jun 11, 2021

A Faster Birth Parent Search that Guarantees Success

Thousands of adoptees have turned to DNA tests to find birth parents that they hope are still alive. Most still face months or years of genealogical digging. Experienced researchers at Origins International can do this so much faster than you can. If they don't find your birth parent within 90 days, you pay nothing. Use this link to learn more and get a free case review.

Continue reading "A Faster Birth Parent Search that Guarantees Success"

Jun 10, 2021

Father's Day Sale on DNA Tests at Family Tree DNA

Get Dad a DNA test for Father's Day. Since he's male, a Y-DNA test at Family Tree DNA is a perfect option. Their Family Finder test is also sale-priced. The sale ends 6/20/21. See this link for prices.

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Jun 10, 2021

Mothers Demand Apology Over Forced Adoptions

The U.S. was not the only country that coerced pregnant women into handing over their babies because they were unmarried. Up to 250,000 women in Britain had to endure the same loss. Many of them are now asking for an apology from their government.

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Jun 09, 2021

New DNA Discovery: The Genetic Mutation That Separates Humans and Neanderthals

When modern humans crossed paths with Neanderthals about 50,000 years ago, we had an advantage that let us survive and thrive. Scientists may have just discovered the genetic mutation that separated humans from Neanderthals and all other primates as well. Read the article.

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Jun 08, 2021

Adopted Brothers Find 16 Siblings thru DNA Testing

Two boys, adopted together, had heard a rumor that they might have another brother. After a DNA test and some Facebook investigating, they located nine brothers, a sister, three half-brothers, and three half-sisters.

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Jun 07, 2021

How Accurate Are Genetic Genealogy DNA Tests?

The answer depends on what is being reported: matches to close relatives, matches to distant relatives, or regional origins. This article quotes CeCe Moore and explains the differences in accuracy. An attempt to compare the leading tests at the end is poorly done and includes an obvious error. Can you find it?

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Jun 05, 2021

Free Small Group Roundtables on DNA & Genealogy Topics

On Monday June 7, I will be hosting a roundtable discussion on Unknown Parentage DNA. It's part of the SCGS JamboFree special events. You do NOT need to be registered for the Genetic Genealogy Conference for JamboFree or to visit the Exhibit Hall. You just need to sign up for a free SCGS account. Use this link to sign in or sign up. Then choose Jamboree '21 to see the schedule. All times are Pacific Time.

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Jun 04, 2021

SCGS Genetic Genealogy Conference Begins Today

The virtual genetic genealogy conference sponsored by the Southern California Genealogical Society begins today. Roberta Estes is the first speaker at 5:00 pm Pacific time. My presentation "Genetic Genealogy Overview" will be at 11:15 am on Saturday. Registered users will be able to view any 10 or all 20 recorded lectures between Saturday and 10/3/21 (depending on which registration package you buy). Here's a link to the schedule.

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Jun 03, 2021

A DNA Match to Her Father Yields a New Family

DNA testing can lead to unexpected surprises. One of the biggest surprises imaginable is to get a match with a biological father. In this case, that surprise discovery resulted in a happy ending for all.

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Jun 01, 2021

How Each DNA Testing Site Could Be Better

Jonny Perl, the creator of DNA Painter, is a web developer and family history enthusiast based in London, UK. In this article he explains what each of the five major DNA testing companies could do to make their sites better for genealogists.

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May 31, 2021

One of the Best DNA Reunion Stories Ever

A DNA test leads an adopted woman to her birth mother after more than 50 years. And that's not the most amazing part of this story. Be sure to watch the video.

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May 28, 2021

A Really Basic Approach to Using GEDmatch

I wrote earlier about the new GEDmatch website. Blogger Kitty Cooper was a beta tester for the new site. In this article, she explains how the average genealogist can use the site without being an expert.

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May 26, 2021

New Photo Repair Feature at MyHeritage

Yesterday, I was invited to preview a new feature in the MyHeritage photo toolbox. Photo Repair automagically fixes scratches, tears, holes, stains and other damage on historical photos. This is in addition to their existing tools to enhance, colorize, and even animate such photos. Learn more and see several before and after examples in this blog post.

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May 26, 2021

Learn About Triangulation of DNA Matches

In genetic genealogy, you hear a lot about triangulating your matches. What does that mean and how do you do it? In this article by Diahan Southard, you can learn the basics, get some useful tips, and follow some examples.

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May 25, 2021

Early Bird Discount on Genetic Genealogy Conference Ends Soon

The big virtual conference on genetic genealogy that I wrote about earlier starts with live events on June 4-5. Then there are 20 recorded presentations on DNA testing topics to watch later. The early registration discount has been extended to May 31, 2021 by the host Southern California Genealogical Society. Use this link to register.

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May 24, 2021

DNA Reunites Identical Twins on Their 36th Birthday

DNA testing has surprised a lot of people. Imagine finding out that you have an identical twin. That's what happened in this case and a local TV station recorded their first meeting in this video.

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