My husband and I first had our DNA testing done in 2012 using an autosomal test offered by Ancestry. My two brothers and my 83-year-old mother tested the next year, which turned out to be the year before she died. Dad's dementia did not enable him to understand spitting into a vial. But earlier this year his 89-year-old brother tested. Currently, I administer the results of 11 DNA tests and another 6 are at the lab being processed. I still consider myself a DNA research rookie.
Several of the tests are first cousins on my maternal side. None of us know much about our grandfather, the family Gustav Lange (1888-1963), and more than half of my 11 Lange cousins are helping me in my research by agreeing to DNA test. I have uploaded Mom's raw DNA test results and a gedcom version of her tree to GEDMATCH.com because there is a group of Society of German Genealogy in Eastern Europe (SGGEE) members who share DNA with Mom who understand chromosome matching. I do not. Therefore, this post is about how someone with a limited understanding of DNA can use Ancestry DNA-related tools to further their research.
And I will attest to the success I've had using DNA even with a limited understanding of the science. Some successes:
- Confirming my 4X great grandfather Samuel Beard, (1750-1814) was the brother of Capt. David Beard and the son of Adam Beard (1725-1777), which proved my previous research and enabled me to have him re-instated as a Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) patriot.
- Identifying a new Beard cousin (descended through Capt. David Beard), whose uncle had written a book which described the family's wagon trip from Iowa to Colorado and California in the late 1890s.
- Learning about my previously unknown great great grandmother Barbara Ann Mitchell, who descended from Robert Mitchell "the Immigrant," who was alive and living in Londonderry, Northern Ireland during the Seige of Derry in 1688-1689.
- Having the opportunity to interview my first cousin once removed who was the son of Grandpa Lange's youngest brother about the family's experience during and between World War I and World War II
- Proving that I had correctly identified the siblings of my great grandmother, Caroline (Ludwig) Lange.
- Discovering a five times great grandfather was Robert Mitchell "the Elder" (1714-1799) and finding a book about one of his sons which included a personality profile about Robert Mitchell.
In order to take full advantage of what little I do understand about DNA, I needed to develop a process to follow when viewing, identifying, and managing the results of the tests as well as how I communicate with the people who have so graciously spit into the tube for me! I thought for my bi-monthly Worldwide Genealogy -- A Genealogical Collaboration, I would detail my DNA process.
Please click AncestryDNA for Newbies (Including Me) to learn more.