DNA Testing - Breaking down the Brick
By Alice Fairhurst
Have you hit a brick wall in your genealogical research? After looking for
census records, vital records, property records, and internet sources, are you
stumped? Sometimes DNA testing can help you make the breakthrough to earlier
The objectives of DNA testing include:
- To validate existing research.
- To identify others who are related.
- To determine if two people might be descended from a common ancestor.
- To prove or disprove theories regarding family history or ancestry.
There are three main types of DNA tests that are useful for genealogical research.
- The Y-Chromosome (Y-DNA) test (for males only) uses the Y-chromosome that
makes a child a male. It follows the straight male line from son to father
to grandfather to great-grandfather and back. It can never go through a female.
- The Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test for either males or females uses the
mitochondria that are in all human cells. It is transmitted from a mother to
all of her children. It follows any person back in time through its mother,
grandmother, great-grandmother, etc.
- Autosomal DNA (Family Finder) tests DNA found on chromosomes 1-22 and compares
your results to another person to predict how you are related. Males and females
can take this test.
The simple test involves scraping the inner cheek with something similar to
a toothbrush, depositing the results into a sealable container and returning
the sample to the testing company in the envelope provided.
The SCGS Board of Directors partners with Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) to provide
discounted prices for our members and their extended families. FTDNA is located
in Houston, Texas and maintains the database and service center. The lab is
at the University of Arizona and stored DNA samples have only the kit numbers,
not names of testers. Samples are kept in a locked facility. The DNA tested
there is not useful for medical diagnosis, paternity testing, or forensic tracking.
You are issued a personal webpage with information on your DNA and shown who
you match. Your results start arriving about 6 weeks after the test kit arrives
For information regarding the DNA Interest Group contact Bonny Cook, firstname.lastname@example.org
(310) 375-8983 or Kathy Johnston, email@example.com
For information on the International Society of Genetic Genealogists (ISOGG)
contact the ISOGG Southern California Regional Coordinator, CeCe Moore, firstname.lastname@example.org.
To join ISOGG (no dues) go to the website at www.ISOGG.org.
To order a DNA kit from Family Tree go to http://www.familytreedna.com/group-join.aspx?Group=SCGS.