You have done an ancestry DNA test and the results are in. You stare at them seeking to decipher what they mean. A few interesting things pop out, begging further interrogation. Now that you have your raw data, it is time to “go fishing” to see what you can learn about your relatives, your ethnicity, or to commence your family history research.
To get the most bang out of the results you now have, you will find the following tips highly useful.
1. Scrutinize the Ethnic Admixture Report
This report includes various groups from which your ancestors came. While the report is not very useful, it nonetheless helps in guiding your genealogical research. For instance, you can compare it with your documented family tree to establish whether it corresponds with what you expect or whether further investigation is required.
2. Focus on DNA Match Lists
While the ethnicity admixture report may not be extremely useful, DNA match lists are very handy when researching your family history, establishing connections, and learning more about your heritage. It is a wise idea to attach your family tree to your profile to maximize your genetic genealogy test results. When people see your family tree, they can search for potentially shared ancestors and assist you in making connections with close cousins.
If your family tree is attached to your ancestry DNA test results, the system will automatically alert you of genetic cousins with similar ancestors in their trees. This fast tracks your search for relatives.
3. Collaborate with Genetic Cousins
Once you have established a shared heritage with your closest cousins, it’s time to connect with them. Since you share genetic material with these cousins, it means you have shared DNA from a recent shared ancestor. It is likely that your genetic cousins have photos, documents and exciting stories told and retold about your shared ancestor.
They may also have more information than you do. It is important to collaborate and communicate with them through various online platforms. In your communication, ask them what they know about your family to help you fill gaps in your family tree.
4. Confirm Your Family Tree
Establishing a relationship with known genetic cousins is evidence that you can use to confirm or discard your documented genealogy and put to rest the issue of your family history. If you cannot identify a relationship with a close genetic cousin, chances are that either their family history or yours is erroneous. The reason for this error could be an undocumented adoption or a wrongfully attributed paternity, which connects you to hitherto unknown lines of your family history.
Establishing how you are related to genetic cousins helps you organize and manage your genetic genealogy research. Once you have identified a sufficient number of relatives, you can start grouping them into known and unknown relationships.
5. Generate a Genetic Network
You can group genetic cousins based on genetic relationships and other supporting information. Generating a genetic network that comprises groups of genetic cousins and how they are related, helps you begin the journey of identifying various families in your genealogy. The relationships may be through distant ancestors that you were not aware of.
Some of your genetic cousins may refuse to corporate with you. However, you can still establish your relationship based on how they are related to your other known cousins. Most testing companies provide you with the ability to see the relationships between your genetic cousins.
Receiving your ancestry DNA test results is not the end of your journey. In fact, it’s just the beginning of an exciting journey that is likely to bring you face-to-face with relatives you never knew you had or even take to places you never would have imagined in a million years you had relatives there.