Are you looking to unlock the secrets of your family tree? DNA testing can be a powerful tool to help you discover more about your ancestry. But how do you use it to its fullest potential? To find an unknown parent or grandparent, start by classifying DNA matches into groups. Many companies help you perform this classification through a shared function or “in common with” to show you the matches that share DNA with each other. When an entire group has matching DNA, it can mean that they all share a common ancestor.
This will help you and your family members learn about the possible results, both positive and negative, of DNA tests. This seems simple enough, but the same genetic relationship can result in several different genealogical relationships. A mitochondrial DNA test provides information about the maternal line (the line that goes from mother to mother). The more markers, the higher the resolution of the test and the matches you receive will be closer in a genealogical period of time.
But has the “calculator” arrived that can simply build your family tree for you? What would it take for testing services to do it automatically for you? You have to manually feed it a good amount of data, but then the tool automatically calculates your possible relationships with DNA matches, which are all related to each other through a shared ancestor or pair of ancestors. And if that's not enough, dozens of companies are now offering to test your DNA to help you learn more about your ancestry. This is especially true from the perspective of people who take DNA tests with the (wrong) expectation that the results will include a complete family tree. You have to find the right DNA matches (probably among thousands and perhaps scattered among analysis companies) and find out their genealogical relationships with each other.
For example, two couples who share 70 cM but are 50 years apart will have a very different genealogical relationship than two couples that have the same amount of DNA, but are of a similar age. If you're interested in learning more about your parental line (the line that goes from father to father), get a Y DNA test or ask a male in your family to have one done. Beyond that, the amount of atDNA that is inherited from a specific ancestor may be too small to make a definitive identification. Considered as a DNA tool, it shows the parts of the MyHeritage family tree that are relevant to the relationship you are expected to share with a matching DNA sample.
The analysis of a direct descendant of a woman can identify a haplogroup of mitochondrial DNA and help determine common female ancestors. Men and women can perform a mitochondrial DNA (or mtDNA) test to find out where their maternal line comes from. But how do you use this information to build your family tree? The first step is to identify which type of test is best for your research goals. If you're looking for information about your maternal line, then an mtDNA test is probably best for you.
If you're looking for information about your paternal line, then a Y-DNA test is probably best for you. Once you've identified which type of test is best for your research goals, then it's time to start collecting data from other people who have taken similar tests. You can use this data to compare your results with theirs and see if there are any similarities between them. If there are similarities between two people's results, then it's likely that they share some common ancestors.
You can then use this information to build out your family tree and trace back generations of ancestors. DNA testing can be an invaluable tool for genealogy research, but it's important to understand how it works and how to use it properly in order to get the most out of it. By understanding how genetic relationships can result in different genealogical relationships and by using tools like shared functions or “in common with” tools, you can start unlocking the secrets of your family tree.