Which DNA test should you take? It depends on what you’re looking for

Credit: Special

Credit: Special

People often ask me which DNA test they should take. Before I can answer, I have a couple of questions of my own.

Among them: What are your goals? Are you doing this just to chat about your ethnic makeup? Do you want to find relatives through DNA matches so you can learn more about your genealogy? Are you adopted and looking for your birth family?

It’s important to think about what you’re trying to accomplish. The information provided by the four major testing companies, and the ease of use, varies a bit. I recently made a chart of my total number of DNA matches at the major four sites. At Ancestry.com, I have 65,000 matches, while my late mother has 112,000, so it may be a generational thing. At MyHeritage, I have 13,000, while at FamilyTreeDNA I have 8,700 in the autosomal test (FamilyFinder) area. At 23andMe, you’re only given access to your top 1,500 matches. It is my least favorite site because of difficult steps and because I have had the least amount of communication with the people I match with. If you really want to see the most number of matches, Ancestry.com has to be used. For Ancestry.com and 23andMe, you must take their tests (both spit tests) because you can’t copy your DNA into those sites. You can copy your DNA from either of them to FamilyTreeDNA or MyHeritage, both mouth swab tests.

Welsh heritage

“Welsh Genealogy” is the latest in the Genealogy at a Glance series by the Genealogical Publishing Company. Written by John Rowlands, a well-known expert on Welsh genealogy, and Beryl Evans, it covers the basics of Welsh research sources in four laminated pages, including four key websites. It is available for $10.95, plus any mailing charges, from the publisher. Go to genealogical.com.

Texas online conference

The Texas State Genealogical Society Family History Conference will be virtual November 4 and 5 with lots of nationally known genealogy experts speaking. To get details and register, go to TxSGS.org. Taped lectures will be accessible for several months. This is a great opportunity to “attend” without leaving home.

Contact Kenneth H. Thomas Jr., P.O. Box 901, Decatur, Ga., 30031 or kenthomasongenealogy.com.