Genetic Genealogy

Air Date:
Heard On The Larry Meiller Show
DNA Strand

DNA is helpful in solving mysteries and your genetic ancestry is one of them. Our guest will talk about DNA testing to find ancestors and to find birth parents. She will also talk about DNA testing companies and answer your questions.

Featured in this Show

  • As DNA Testing Becomes More Popular, Expert Says Some Services Are More Accurate Than Others

    Having your DNA tested to find out about your ancestors has become very popular. And more and more companies are popping up offering this service, but some may not be as accurate as others, said Mary Eberle, a genetic genealogist and DNA expert.

    To find your results, each company compares your DNA with that of others in the company’s database who have also had their DNA tested. The more people who have tested with that company, the more accurate your result, she said.

    “When you do DNA testing, you get two types of information. One is your ethnicity estimate and that can be used to find out who your ancestors were,” said Eberle. “And then you also get a match list – a list of people who have tested at that same company and who have similar DNA.”

    Eberle, who has been doing genetic genealogy for 30 years, recommends three different companies. Each have been around for a while and have large data bases. To find the most relatives, test with all three, she said.

    “I recommend that people start out at Ancestry,” she said. “They have the biggest data base, over 2 million people.”

    If you decide to go further, her next suggestion is to go to Family Tree DNA. If you transfer your Ancestry results to their database, they will give you a $60 discount.

    “You’re fishing in two ponds by using both, so you have better results,” Eberle said.

    The third company Eberle recommends is 23andMe. They do similar testing and also offer some health testing.

    Pricing for the tests normally starts at $99 and goes up depending on the company and the type of testing you want. When you place your order you will receive a kit in the mail with instructions and basic equipment for getting a cheek swab or a saliva sample. Results take six-to-eight weeks, depending on demand.

    There are also third-party DNA sites that give you access to all three databases if you share your results with them, such as GEDmatch and DNAGedcom.

Episode Credits

  • Jill Nadeau Host
  • Jill Nadeau Producer
  • Mary Eberle Guest

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