Wednesday, September 16, 2015

How interested are people in DNA testing?

We spent the past week visiting my husband's relatives in southwestern Ontario and that included the Schultz family reunion as well as smaller visits with individual/groups of cousins. At every group we talked about testing in particular Family Finder but also mentioned 23 and Me as well as AncestryDNA. They all have particular displays that are exceedingly useful and I have tested at all of them. My husband has only tested at National Genographic 1.0 and FT DNA but he could extend his testing if that appealed to particular groups of his family.

We tend to really push autosomal testing as I rather think that that will eventually become the leading test for people to do in order to learn about all of their ancestry. But yDNA is also useful and we do mention that as well. Less so mitochondrial DNA but its value is great especially in the case of minimal information on your direct female line.

Our groups were variable in age so we tried to include reasons to test at any particular age. Testing siblings we really emphasized as I have learned so much from having results for three of my siblings and another is in the process which leaves me only one living sibling that has not yet tested. The other sibling that passed away in 1997 (my eldest brother) has a daughter and at some point I would like to test her (and her mother) to see if I can phase him out of their results.

I am still in the process of phasing our parents' DNA and waiting now for this next set of results. Testing siblings has become the new norm for DNA testing. There is so much to learn from your closest relatives especially when your parents have passed on. AncestryDNA is doing us a real favour by presenting our data as phased and I hope that eventually the other companies will provide that ability as well.

So how much interest did we stir up in DNA testing? Well I would say that three different groups are certainly considering doing testing for my husband. The benefits are enormous to his studies. He is the last of his direct family except for his children/grandchildren and his brother's children/grandchildren/great grandchildren. As we save up our nickles it would be nice to test his brother's descendants if they are willing as well. He also has first cousins and half first cousins although no success with testing them to date. These other groups are second and third cousins.

Once I have done all the testing on my siblings then I can start saving my nickles to test my cousins. I only have second cousins and half second cousins as my nearest cousins and have approached them on occasion to see if I could persuade them to test for particular lines. On my mother's side I have had good luck testing Pincombe and have three cousins now who have tested and the lastest tester matches my sister at 101 Centimorgans so is a really good match for a third cousin once removed. I suspect that we may have another matching line but have not yet found it. Another tester has a Pincombe/Pincombe marriage and so is also a really good result although strongest thus far with my brother although I have another brother testing that I think will be an even stronger match.

The matches that we do have can not always be rationalized into particular lines but I think that will improve as more and more of my closer known cousins test.

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