It is primarily used for comparing specific information about your heredity to DNA records of others to find out if you share lineage, belong to a certain ethnic group, or have origins in a certain country or region.
However, before paying for a DNA test, it is important to understand what kind of information you can and cannot find in the results.
What DNA Test Can’t Tell You…
First, you should understand that having a genetic genealogy test done will not reveal any personal medical information. It will neither violate your privacy of health records or serve as a substitute for a medical exam or advanced medical testing.
Information such as genetic diseases or disorders cannot be discovered through genealogical DNA testing. Genetic genealogy also cannot tell you the exact relationship that you have with a distant relative. For example, a DNA test cannot tell you that a specific person is your great-grandfather.
What a DNA Test Can Tell You…
While a DNA test cannot confirm that someone is your great-grandfather, it can confirm that he is not. It can also tell you how closely you are related by examining the amount of shared DNA and comparing it to what is expected for close relatives.
So a DNA test can give you the probability of certain family relationships and the degree of those relationships.
DNA testing can help people who have the same last name determine if they share a common ancestor. This can be done with a specific person whom you know or by taking part in a larger surname study.
DNA testing can help you discover what percentage of your ancestry comes from certain population groups and regions, as well as the migration patterns of ancestors. Finally, a DNA test can help an adoptee find a starting point for researching their biological heredity.
Providing Context For Genealogical DNA Test
On it’s own, a DNA test is not very useful. The results must be compared with something that adds meaning. It must be combined with other research and/or compared with other records of family members or existing genetic genealogy databases.
The popularity of genetic genealogy has resulted in several large genetic databases that genealogy companies use for research. You might be given a connection to someone whom you share a common ancestor with through this research.
This can be helpful to both of you, as you can exchange documents and family tree information to help each other with research.
When combined with traditional genealogical research, DNA Genealogy testing can be a powerful tool. It can help you break through mysteries, uncertainties, and “walls” that are getting in the way of your research. It can also help you find new leads and insights.