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    DNA Testing

    If I impose upon the community of Reunion genealogists; I have been thinking about getting a DNA test, firstly for genealogy research to discover my roots and secondly to uncover any markers for health and pre-disposition to disorders. From a genealogical perspective my two concerns are reliability and accuracy. I presume these would come from comparing my DNA results to an extremely large database of others the testing lab would hold. The other is from a medical perspective is privacy and again accuracy. Privacy is important in incidents such as a pre-disposition to a certain disease that an insurance company would love to get their hands on as an example.

    Does anyone have any experience with these tests that they can share! Is there a testing lab that can handle both? I have done a rather limited serach on this but weeding through the hype and marketing brochures have left me confused.
    Last edited by HJKeats; 26 March 2015, 07:57 AM. Reason: copy edits
    IMac (macOS Mojave 10.14.2)
    Reunion 12

    Re: DNA Testing

    If you search this forum you'll find this question asked by me along with some of the responses. I decided a year ago that even though there are some privacy issues, I wanted to know what a DNA test would tell me. No one can use DNA information to steal from your bank accounts as far as I know, but you are giving your DNA to private companies. Privacy policies can change any time, and the company can be bought and sold any time.

    I believe something like 6-8% of people who test find out that they or someone in their family is not related by blood to the person they thought they were. That is something to be prepared to learn.

    Genetic genealogy is still fairly complex, and you have to work to find results. To make it work you need a very well documented and extensive family tree. DNA will tell you that someone named Jane Smith who tested with the same company you did shares X percent DNA with you and so is likely your 2nd, 3rd, or 4th cousin. It does not tell you she is your mother's GG grandmother's sister's GGG granddaughter; you and Jane need documented trees to tell how you are related. This often entails exchanging information with the people you match.

    People will give you their opinion on the three major testing companies. Family Tree DNA is mostly about genetic genealogy and is now the only one to offer Y DNA and Mitochondrial DNA testing. (Turnaround on results has grown longer and longer for various reasons; they do the National Geographic's DNA work, for example.) Ancestry probably has the largest database, and they try to make it easy, but some people are dissatisfied with their "black box" approach. 23andMe has a large database, but people often test there for the health information and are not interested in genealogy at all. Getting response from matches can be a problem.

    Two useful websites

    And the DNA-Newbie email list will overwhelm you with information.

    Gilbert - Fulcher - Hackney - Harvey - Holmes - Hall
    in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and beyond.


      Re: DNA Testing

      At the moment, 23andMe cannot provide health results until they get back in the good graces of the FDA. Once that happens - which may take months or years - I imagine all those who tested during this period will get health reports.

      There may be other companies that ONLY do health testing but I suspect it's a lot more expensive than $99 for these genetic genealogy companies' tests, and it won't be useful for genealogy.

      Be prepared to be overwhelmed by technical jargon and science if you want to go any deeper than simply contacting your matches one by one. It's possible to use this effectively to break down genealogical brick walls - but it requires a fair amount of study up front.

      I respond to queries on the DNA NEWBIE Facebook page and I am usually recommending that people start with and wait for the results from that. Then download the raw data from the sequencing and transfer the file to for $39 and to for free. Later they can get a new test for $99 from That way you have the broadest selection of potential matches.