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Roots Revealed: 20 Do s and Don ts of DNA

Roots Revealed Saturday, January 10, 2015 20 Do's and Don'ts of DNA

79 comments:

As a veteran researcher of 20 years, I think this is an excellent article and needs to be shared. I resorted to dna to test my parents (and myself) to linearly extend my already completed family lines beyond the late 1700's. Thank you and I will definitely share!

Pratiquement certain qu'il va apprécier sa lecture. Merci d'avoir partagé!

You are the TRUTH, Melvin!

As always, you are on point. Sharing with my genealogy group.

You are spot on! Thanks for this post. The number of people who have tested and fail to communicate *at all* is truly astounding! Good luck with your searching :)

You hit it on the mark!!

Excellent as always Melvin!! I would like to add another one.

That's a GREAT suggestion!!

Excellent advice. I have made changes to my profiles because of this post. Thanks!

Speaking of haplogroups, where can this information be found? Ancestry.com used to provide this information. Does 23andme provide haplogroup with genetic results?

Yes, 23andMe provides your haplogroups. If you are female, you only have a maternal haplogroup. If you are male, you have a paternal and a maternal haplogroup.

Good to know - thanks!

Fabulous list. It should be included with every DNA test.

Excellent list! You've really nailed it. We're all in this together.

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See Non-Paternity Event at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-paternity_event

I would label maternal differences as Non-Maternal Events although I don't think that language exists. Nonetheless, good point Chicago.

Sorry my ID looked weird, trying it again. I wrote the above comment

Very helpful information, thank you Melvin!

Great list of tips! It's amazing how we're connected through DNA and other relationships. Genealogy is a mysterious, yet eye-opening adventure.

Thanks great information. NOW how do you look up adoptive parents? My great aunt was on the orphan train according to obituary and my grandfather and brothers went to family or slave I found a census he was a ward to a snyder.

With my roots going all the way back to an ancestor in Jamestown, VA not long after it was founded I wouldn't be surprised if an American of African ancestry would also be my kin. Some of my ancestors in VA, MD and KY were slave holders, but these people had small to medium sized farms, not huge plantations, so as far as I can tell, not many slaves. Were an African-American DNA match to contact me, I'd welcome this "mystery cousin" and help him/her to find the shared ancestors. Bring on the mystery! I'm up for the challenge!

This is a wonderful post. I've seen in shared in several Facebook groups I am in and shared it on my own page as well. I hope everyone that has tested or is thinking about testing reads it. And I see there are some points I need to pay more attention to myself. Thank you.

Your list gave me much food for thought, and especially reminded me to be overly courteous to others. In a DNA discussion at my local library, I was reminded to add my results to ? website. I couldn't write it down and forgot it. You have provided that website name and reminded me to do it. Yes, I will provide a link to this page when I copy these rules and see them posted at my library genealogy department. Thank you so much for providing them.

Thank you so much for posting this. It's one of the best posts I have recently read. "Show me a family tree!" I love that one!

You had some interesting points but some of your do's/don'ts are awfully one sided. Simply based on some of the communications I have received there should be several more

1) Please do not assume my goals from DNA testing are the same as yours. Therefore, if I choose to keep my tree private, to not add additional information onto a profile, or upload my results to another website that is my choice and it should be respected. Demanding I upload my results to gedmatch solely to help you is rather presumptious.

2) Being rude and bullying in written communications will never give me the inclination to help you. Calling me names or making assumptions as to my character will get you zero help. I can guarantee you that harrassing me with never ending e-mails will not change my mind,

3) Please understand that genealogy is not my life so if I do not answer immediately or can not provide you the level of help you think I should accept that and take what I can give you.

This is a new frontier for genealogy, vilifying those who do not embrace it the same extent as you will not further the cause.

Thanks Karen for sharing additional tips! Based on your additional tips, which are great, you seem to have had some bad experiences with other genealogy researchers. That's rather unfortunate. The online environment puts us in contact with a number of lunatics who don't know how to communicate and are demanding. The delete and block options are golden!

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My maternal grandmother's father was born in 1842 in St Vincent and Grenadines. One or two of more recent generations have tight curly hair and I wonder if this arises from some African or indigenous connection. His mother was probably the daughter of a dubious slave owner. For all intents and purposes I am standard Anglo-Saxon.

Would a DNA test help to resolve this or do I need a straight line of females?

An autosomal DNA test will detect if you have African ancestry. You match even be a DNA match to someone who can help to solve this mystery. Good luck!

I don't like how autosomal tests are presented and marketed. The tools available to analyze data are terrible. I have complained loudly to FTDNA about its misleading focus on surnames in the Family Finder interface. I had to write my own code to at least take my matches out of FTDNA and group them together by chromosome and segment. As I write this GEDMATCH is presenting me an error as I try to log in.

Good information. I am just starting to do DNA testing on my family. This helps a lot with me understanding the process. I have been able to go back five generations and still getting hits from other people. I do have a question. My seventh generation great grandfather Richard Terry when I put him in ancestry or data bases it takes me back to St. Anna, Jamaica. I do not have a lot of paper trail because some of the records have been lost. So I am not sure if that is were they came from. If I go by the family stories then it might be a chance. This is my brick wall right now.

Very good advice Melvin.

I've been researching my ancestry since 1980 and have a huge tree on Ancestry.com.au - over 36,000 people, comprising the ancestors of all my grandchildren as well as my second husband.

Since organising DNA tests with 23andme for my brother, my son, his father and me, my addiction has taken on a whole new perspective and I'm loving making contact with all our many DNA relatives. There's not one who doesn't get an invitation and I keeping inviting the new ones who join.

I seem to have a great many adoptees who are very keen to find out where they fit in to the scheme of things, and I try especially hard to help them. The thing I stress is that even if they don't know their ancestry, if they match closely in the same spot on the same chromosome, the chances are that if I can make a match with someone and we know we share the same common ancestors, then they will be the same ancestors for the adoptee. Even if they can't find the route down from that couple to themselves yet, it is possible to do it by following the descendants of all their children. By following this method with other close matches on other chromosomes and getting different sets of common ancestors a pattern will begin to emerge where the line will begin to hang together and make sense.

Aldgate, South Australia

Thanks EVERYONE for your responses/feedback/suggestions!

Add: Keep your profile name the same across the various DNA testing sites. If you are XYZ on 23andme, then be XYZ on Ancestry, FTDNA, and Gedmatch and any other similar site. This makes it much easier to track a match across sites and to their family tree. You may triangulate with people on one site that are not on another site.

About Private trees - it is very easy to create a tree that has only your pedigree or a tree where all media has been removed. It would take 3 minutes using any family tree software (some have free 30-day downloads). Download your tree from Ancestry, upload it to your software, then from within the software, export as a gedcom file choosing the option pedigree only or deselect add media. Then upload this tree to Ancestry; make this tree public.

Thank you for writing your highly informative article based on so much personal experience. I do not have any living parents or grandparents, no siblings or children. I pretty much know my ancestry on my father's side back to the mid 1700's, but on my mother's side only her mother and father as they were immigrants from Eastern Europe. My fear is that I'll hear from people who don't speak English! I do not know how to speak any other language than English. Like you say, not to be rude, but what to do if people contact you and you can't communicate with them? Doing your DNA seems to be something that consumes more than just taking the test and sending it in and reading your results, a person has to be committed to it all from beginning to end; and that could take up more time than some of us bargain for from what I can see. Thank you so much.

Hi Linda. I wanted to suggest that if someone contacts you who doesn't speak English, Google has translation services which are helpful in enabling you to understand what the person may be saying. It isn't perfect (and there are other sites which also offer translation services for free), but it should give you a good idea what is being said, and allow you to compose a response. HTH,

Thank you Melvin for this informative article! I'm starting a search for my bio dad from scratch and have barely any info to go on, but I believe your suggestions will aid me in researching and understanding my DNA results while I build a rapport with matches in the process of locating my father! Blessings to you.

Excellent article on DNA. It hit all the points.

Thank you so mush for writing this EXCELLENT post. So many people just do not understand what having their DNA run entails. I have shared your link on my Facebook page and hope others also spread your words.

DNA solved two of my brick walls. This is an excellent article that everyone should read. and follow. Thanks.

I only just discovered your blog today, thanks to a link to it on FB. This is a really excellent post about DNA, a subject I am currently trying to understand. My mother, two brothers, my husband and I have all taken tests. From 3 different companies I might add. This was very helpful and I can't thank you enough.

I too am a blogger and I will be adding your blog to my list of blogs I follow at www.michiganfamilytrails.com

Thanks Melvin. I will print this out. Your list is accurate abd very helpful. I Have done or not done about all of tgese. It is good to know I am on the right track. Thank you again.

Thanks Melvin. I will print this out. Your list is accurate abd very helpful. I Have done or not done about all of tgese. It is good to know I am on the right track. Thank you again.

Thanks Melvin. I will print this out. Your list is accurate abd very helpful. I Have done or not done about all of tgese. It is good to know I am on the right track. Thank you again.

Thanks Melvin. I will print this out. Your list is accurate abd very helpful. I Have done or not done about all of tgese. It is good to know I am on the right track. Thank you again.

LMBO! This is so awesome! May I attach this link to all the profiles I manage?

Sure. go ahead. Thanks!

Excellent post. I haven't done the DNA testing yet, but I've been thinking about it. Now I know how to make it a good and possibly productive experience. Thank you.

Excellent post. I haven't done the DNA testing yet, but I've been thinking about it. Now I know how to make it a good and possibly productive experience. Thank you.

I would like to comment: "Don't do DNA until you've tried to put your tree together." COME ON. for an adoptee, that is impossible when records are sealed.

Your third comment came from no. 7. You didn't see the last sentence in no. 7 or you just wanted to be super negative. Oh well.

For an adopted person, I would suggest that you take the initiative to do as much with the information the other person provides before you reach out to them. If they are on GEDMatch, with their kit number, you have enough information to see what chromosomal segments you share and also to cross-reference your matches with their matches to see who you have in common. Then you can look at your common matches and see if others share that same segment of DNA. You can also use the chromosome painter to see where geographically that particular segment may have come from. Then, you can look at their Gedcom trees (or request to see their Ancestry tree) to find common ancestors or even a common location.

I agree with every point you made. It is really frustrating when I contact 2nd and 3rd cousin matches and they don't respond to my email. I just don't understand it, especially when I am as polite as I am and provide as much information as I can to our possible connection. It's even worse when they haven't worked on their family trees past their grandparents.

Many adoptees are going this route and some are met with the attitude that they have "nothing to offer" to their matches. This is in addition to the usual "no one in OUR family. " Biracial adoptees get a double whammy.

My name is Charity Dell, and I have been doing a family ethnography project for several years. My brother, mother and I have tested with DNATribes, AfricanAncestry and FTDNA. These tests have enabled me to put together a portrait of the various ethnic groups--African, Middle Eastern/Western Asian; European--that constitutes both our maternal and paternal lines. A friend gave me a tip about the Hebrew/Israelite/Jewish origins of many of our African ancestors--this was certainly born out in the genetic testing of our family. Apparently, many of us African Americans descend from Sephardic Jews

who fled Portugal after the Expulsion of 1492--many of the Portuguese Sephardim

married African women after fleeing to the Senegambia region, Cote D'Ivoire, Nigeria, Cabo Verde Islands, Brazil and the state of Georgia (after 1735). I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has discovered similar genetic evidence in their family lines, and/or anyone with Portuguese family surnames, such as Andrade, Coutinho, Barreira, Silva, Lopes/Lopez, Mendoza, Pegues, etc. I can be reached at CelestialChoir@gmail.com. Thanks/obrigada!

I am reading this blog for the 1st time,even though I 1st met Melvin in Nov 2016. My tree information doesn't swing your way & I don't expect my DNA will either. But I deeply appreciate the historical movement info you provided. It's more info to share with others who may hit a brick wall in those regions of the world.

How can I to learn more and more available and effective skills ?

Thank you for your so cool post,it is useful,i love it very much. Please share with us more good articles.

The main focus concerns the diagnosis of hereditary diseases

Every paternity establishes a special relationship. This not only means a lifelong emotional bond, but also includes extensive and ongoing legal obligations. As large as the scope of that relationship is, the questions can be just as excruciating if there are any doubts about the Paternity Test, DNA Relationship Test and Identity Proofs. Unlike the mother, as a general rule, the father is naturally often left with his suspicions unless he decides to take a paternity test.

I just received results from 23and me and also share large sums of dna with Jamaicans and Dominican Republic. My grandparents were born in Charleston, South Carolina. I always felt there was a connection.

I just received results from 23and me and also share large sums of dna with Jamaicans and Dominican Republic. My grandparents were born in Charleston, South Carolina. I always felt there was a connection.

Just now found via Twitter this excellent list. I would add - don't force your findings on your family. Not all findings are things some people want to hear. Also, don't be disappointed at not having famous relatives. Most stories of the lives of "average" people turn out to be pretty interesting and often compelling.

Just now found via Twitter this excellent list. I would add - don't force your findings on your family. Not all findings are things some people want to hear. Also, don't be disappointed at not having famous relatives. Most stories of the lives of "average" people turn out to be pretty interesting and often compelling.

Thanks Melvin for this realy good article!

Another great post Melvin, thanks for taking the time to write it.

very informative. I did my DNA test with Ancestry awhile back and recently uploaded it to GEDmatch. Their relationship predictions are somewhat different from each other and some are correct. Which prediction do you follow?

This was excellent. I'm looking to get my DNA test and this was helpful. thanks!

Thanks for sharing such informative post.

EXCELLENT post.Thanks for all your efforts that you have put in this.

Thank you for your time and sharing, from my own experience of 4 years at this, it is very time consuming. Julie

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Thanks for visiting and commenting on Roots Revealed!

About Melvin

WELCOME! I've been conducting historical and genealogical research since I was 19. It is a lifelong journey. This blog combines my passion for writing and genealogical research. I am currently the author of three books, Ealy Family Heritage: Documenting Our Legacy (2016), Mississippi to Africa: A Journey of Discovery (2008) and 150 Years Later: Broken Ties Mended (2011). I appeared on the NBC show, “Who Do You Think You Are,” as one of the expert genealogists in the Spike Lee episode (2010). I give workshops and presentations on historical and genealogical subjects. I'm a graduate of Mississippi State Univ., receiving a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering. In pursuit of a career change, I earned a Master of Arts degree in African-American Studies from Clark Atlanta Univ. (2008) and later completed graduate courses in Archival Studies. I have worked as an archivist while residing in Atlanta. Federally employed, I now reside in the Washington, D.C. area.

Special Note Ealy Family Heritage, Documenting Our Legacy

Need a great example on how to write and organize your family history research? Order this book! You're an Ealy and you want to learn about the family history? Order this book! Click image for details.

Mississippi to Africa: A Journey of Discovery, 2nd edition

The second edition is now available at MississippitoAfrica.com. Click image.

150 Years Later: Broken Ties Mended

Click image to see the book trailer and to learn more about this fascinating and monumental story.

AAHGS Award

Melvin was awarded the 2016 Paul Edward Sluby, Sr. /Jean Sampson-Scott Meritorious Achievement Award in October 2016. This is the second highest award that is bestowed by the Afro-American Historical and Genealogy Society (AAHGS) upon either an organization(s) or person(s) who has exhibited distinguished performance through a significant and measurable contribution to African American history and/or genealogy within the past two years.

NEW WEBINAR! Click pic to view.

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"Mending Broken Ties: Reconstructing Family Trees Sawed by Slavery"

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