If you and your family have been thinking about DNA testing but don’t know how to get started, check out The Family History Guide for step-by-step suggestions (Project 8 for FamilySearch, Project 7 for Ancestry, and Project 7 for MyHeritage). The modern trend to discover the past and further family history research using this incredible new technology is an idea whose time has definitely arrived! According to Diahan Southard (see DNA Testing at Family Reunions), these days it “seems to be very difficult to have any discussion on family history without mentioning three little letters: D-N-A.” She explains that while “family history enthusiasts and serious genealogists are flocking to testing companies like AncestryDNA to help them further their family history efforts, there
are plenty of other individuals being tested who have never considered researching their family’s past. This trend reveals a nearly universal interest in what our own DNA holds, and it may be just the thing your family needs to invigorate your family history research and bind even the most skeptical among you to a common pursuit of documenting your family.”
The Family History Guide Project 8 Goals include: 1: Basic Genetics and Research 2: Learn about DNA Testing 3: Take a DNA Test 4: DNA Matching 5: Ethnicity and Family Relationships 6: DNA Research Tools 7: Adoption and DNA 8: Help with Questions
Consider getting together with your extended family to discuss if and when you may want to get testing done, who will be tested first, and how to go about using the results in aiding your family history research. Diahan Southard suggests testing the oldest generation first and explains that “not everyone needs to be tested if your focus is on family history. Remind your family that testing the oldest generation first is key to helping preserve the genetic record of your ancestors. Anyone who does not have both parents living should have an autosomal DNA test completed. Gather up your cousins and pool together resources to make sure that Grandpa, Grandma, and Great-aunt Ida are all tested…Test the kids, too…if one of your goals is to spark interest in family history among the younger generations, seeing their names listed among other biological relatives might be just the thing to help them feel connected to their past (or to that sibling they just can’t believe they are related to). Of course, with DNA testing, as with any other kind of investigation into our past, there is always the chance of finding out something unexpected, so please be sure the child is old enough to understand what DNA testing is all about.” Planning a gathering for this discussion is an activity that will launch your family on a journey of discovery that just may help solve family history mysteries, open doors to extended research opportunities, and unite your family in remarkable ways.