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Thread: DNA tests

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    Great Pumpkin NutmegCT's Avatar
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    DNA tests

    I wondered if anyone here has used a home DNA test. Something like:

    https://www.cvs.com/shop/homedna-anc...prodid-1710192

    On this morning's news, a woman in Hartford used one of the tests, and said she discovered her long-lost brother, who had been adopted at birth by a family down in Florida.

    I thought those home DNA tests only showed general ancestry lines - UK, France, northern Africa, east Asia, etc. Didn't know they'd link you to specific individuals in your blood line. Almost seems a bit scary.

    Any experiences here?

    Thanks.
    Tom M.
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    Darth Vader Bayless's Avatar
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    Re: DNA tests

    We did one a couple of years ago and got the results you suggested. But I do get an occasional email from them about people who might be related. I have not pursued them so can't say how legit they might be.
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    Re: DNA tests

    You must've missed this story in the news:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/27/h...genealogy.html
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    Re: DNA tests

    Quote Originally Posted by TR3driver View Post
    You must've missed this story in the news:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/27/h...genealogy.html
    Agreed, and the companies could sell results? Another issue is that I have read elsewhere the concern that having DNA information and not declaring that to insurance companies could result in denial of benefits - and declaring information could result in denial of benefits. I am not interested.
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    Jedi Knight
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    Re: DNA tests

    I haven't used on, but my youngest brother did a couple years ago now. To setup the story, my father was adopted back in the early 1930s. While we knew who the birth mother was, a blood relative, we had no information on the father since dad never wanted to know the details. Fast forward to 2018, my brother and sister in law adopted from China several years before and my niece wanted to know about her ancestry since she was literally left on the orphanage steps. So they did it together. For her it provided general information on the region of China and such, but no pointers to relatives. For my brother,he got a hint pointing to an older lady down south. When he contacted her, he discovered a number of those also listed were her close relatives. Since everyone that would need to be tested is deceased, we can't tell exactly but she'd be either a 1st cousin or half sister to my dad. She doesn't know details either, it seems to have been before her time and no one of her father and his brothers ever mentioned it. Frotunately she was very open in sharing information so we have photos of the 3 brothers, their parents and a few of her and her kids/grandkids to add to the family "archives".

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    Great Pumpkin DrEntropy's Avatar
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    Re: DNA tests

    I see no compelling reason to add personal DNA to an inter-relational database, searchable for a fee, just to satisfy curiosity. And it's backwards; anyone allowing their information to be added to the list should receive money for it, not be charged to do it.

    This whole ancestry thing is overrated IMHO. Humans have demonstrably roamed the planet for a few million years, it's more than likely we are ALL related. I see the whole thing as a contemporary form of tribalism. We're all just the newest leaves on the tree of humanity.
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    Great Pumpkin NutmegCT's Avatar
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    Re: DNA tests

    Mike - "For my brother,he got a hint pointing to an older lady down south."

    What kind of info about that lady was shared by the DNA outfit? That's what I'm wondering about. General ancestry - no problem. But on a specific person ... how could that info be shared?

    Thanks.
    Tom M.

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    Re: DNA tests

    I had my DNA tested more than a decade ago as part of my research in genealogy. At that time private DNA testing was almost exclusively done to find matches to other individuals. This testing was (and largely remains) a "male only" thing. The markers are good for finding matches along paternal lines but not maternal. A woman will learn very little about her ancestors by having her DNA tested.

    When I had testing done the results did not tell you where your ancestors came from. That's a relatively recent development.

    Why did I have the testing done? Tracing my Lawson ancestors I hit a wall with my 3rd g-grandfather and I thought the test would help find connections. Sadly it did not. Over the years I have found a few matching individuals. However, for the most part we all tie back to the same 3rd g-grandfather where I hit a wall.

    Am I leaving myself open for abuse of my DNA results? Perhaps. Am I worried? No. If big brother or a scammer want my DNA results for any reason I am sure they could find it other places and other ways (ever donated blood?)
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    Re: DNA tests

    I won't do it. I feel like this is simply a way for the government to have a database of our dna.
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    Great Pumpkin NutmegCT's Avatar
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    Re: DNA tests

    I don't feel the need to have a DNA test, but certainly understand that some folks find it interesting and useful.

    But I still wonder how a DNA test could tell you about a possible connection to a specific person. I know there are many reports of "finding my long lost cousin" (or similar) - but how did the two actually make contact, when the test only shows a general ancestry?

    I assume (always dangerous ...) that the test results you get don't include "And here are the names, addresses, emails, and phone numbers of people you may be related to."

    yikes
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    Re: DNA tests

    Tom, I think if you fill out your family tree info and somebody else has also done the dna test and filled out their family tree info that is the way they can make the connections. My sister has done extensive research on our mothers side. Some of the people that contacted me were from that side of the family.
    I submitted mine to see if we could get further back on my fathers side than our gggrandfather that we've bee unable to find his parents.
    I'm not that concerned with my dna being out there, I've given enough blood over the years that it is probably somewhere else by now.
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    Great Pumpkin NutmegCT's Avatar
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    Re: DNA tests

    Thanks Bob. To me, the issue isn't the DNA service seeing possible connections. It's that the service seems to share the connections.

    Say, you mention "some of the people that contacted me ...". How did those people know how to contact you? That's what I wonder about.

    Thanks.
    Tom M.
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    Yoda dklawson's Avatar
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    Re: DNA tests

    I started a reply and deleted it when I realized it was too long.

    Suffice it to say that there are different types of DNA tests and the ones you see on TV these days are mainly the "where are your ancestors from?" type. Those are not used for genealogy.

    For genealogy you take a Y-chromosome DNA test which determines a numeric value for various "markers" which are passed from father to son. Those markers change SLOWLY with naturally occurring mutations (not a third leg mutation... just a normal change). The more markers you have that match someone else's markers, the better the chance that you two are related and share an ancestor.

    The DNA test sites typically support surname research groups. If you opt into one of those groups your results are sent to that group administrator who adds the results to a large spreadsheet. As a member of the group you will be able to see how your results compare to other participants. If you and the other person have opted in, you will be able to contact each other by email and share information.

    I understand the concerns people have about DNA tests. They are not for everyone. However, when you've reached a dead end in your family tree the Y-chromosome tests can help you find (and/or correct) connections to others.
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    Yoda dklawson's Avatar
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    Re: DNA tests

    Quote Originally Posted by NutmegCT View Post
    Thanks Bob. To me, the issue isn't the DNA service seeing possible connections. It's that the service seems to share the connections.

    Say, you mention "some of the people that contacted me ...". How did those people know how to contact you? That's what I wonder about.

    Thanks.
    Tom M.
    You wrote your post while I was typing so some of this will be redundant.

    The other people (doing family history research) will only be able to contact you if you opt in to share your matches and contact information with others.

    If you do NOT opt in to share your contact info and test results you will get very little from the tests. The lab will send you a document or file that lists the numeric values of the Y-chromosome marker test you paid for. Without sharing your results and contact information it will be up to you to compare markers manually with others in a surname research group. You will not be able to contact a matching individual directly (they are only identified by kit number). You would have to contact the group administrator who would probably tell you to share your data if you want contact information for a person matching you.
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    Great Pumpkin NutmegCT's Avatar
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    Re: DNA tests

    Thanks gentlemen. This is the first I've heard you have to opt in for the personal connection actions. Sounds good to me.
    Tom M.
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    Re: DNA tests

    Tom, pretty much what Doug said. Iím in Ancestry and agreed to share my info. There is a message feature where you can contact other people when Ancestry gives you a list of possible relatives, who have also agree to share their info.

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    Re: DNA tests

    Quote Originally Posted by NutmegCT View Post
    Mike - "For my brother,he got a hint pointing to an older lady down south."

    What kind of info about that lady was shared by the DNA outfit? That's what I'm wondering about. General ancestry - no problem. But on a specific person ... how could that info be shared?

    Thanks.
    Tom M.

    About all I can tell you is that she had done one of the ancestry.com tests as did my brother so she was "in the system" so to speak. I don't really know the specifics of how they match it all up but I assume if she hadn't, along with a number of her family, then there wouldn't have been a match generated. What my brother got was an email address for her and the note that she was a possible close relative based on the test results. But no specifics as to exactly how or what matched.

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    Yoda dklawson's Avatar
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    Re: DNA tests

    OK... now we have to bring up X-chromosome tests. No matter what you have heard, women gain almost no information from DNA testing. Their tests typically are limited to matching family relationships within one generation (parents, siblings, and maybe first cousins). A woman having her DNA tested will not learn who her distant ancestors/relatives are.

    As for the Ancestry link/leaves... I don't use Ancestry. A LOT of their family trees I have seen do not include sources. It's great to say you are related to George Washington but what chain of proof do you have (wills, deeds, court proceedings, family bibles, etc.)? A lot of the trees on Ancestry are copied from person to person without anyone every finding, checking, or even listing sources. I won't use any information without sources and I'm certainly not going to PAY Ancestry for such undocumented trees. I have been tempted to join Ancestry to use their online indexes to legal documents and census records.

    Also, I don't believe the link/leaves that Ancestry gives you are based on DNA. It is my understanding that they are based on the tree you submit. They are comparing your tree to those submitted by others looking for people with matching (or close) names and dates to people in your tree. This practice invites people to circulate misinformation.
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    Yoda waltesefalcon's Avatar
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    Re: DNA tests

    Doug, I've used Ancestry in the past when it was having a free month promotion. It's been about ten maybe even fifteen years now but I found some interesting things on it that were documented scans of the census and a birth certificate for my grandad (turns out he was born a town over from where I thought he was). I think much of this was dug up by a cousin of mine that is seriously into genealogy but the site at least provided me with easy access to the information.
    Cheers,
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    Yoda dklawson's Avatar
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    Re: DNA tests

    Walter, your experience echos what I was trying to convey in the last sentence of my second paragraph above. I have been tempted to use Ancestry for their indexes to documents.
    Doug L.
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