DNA for Family History
A SIMPLE VIDEO EXPLANATION of how DNA works and how it is passed down through our family.
Types of DNA Tests for Family History

You have three choices of DNA tests, each with its own unique purpose.

YDNA – Essentially, if you want to know about a male ancestor, you need to find a direct male descendant to be tested. So if I want to know about my 3X great grandfather Morris Mitchell, I need to find Morris’s son’s son’s son, etc. until I find a living male with the Mitchell surname who can be tested on the Y chromosome DNA (mtDNA) test at Family Tree DNA.

mtDNA – If I want to know about a female ancestor, let’s say Mary West, I need to find Mary’s daughter’s daughter’s daughter’s etc. child (male or female) to take the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from Family Tree DNA.

Autosomal DNA – For any ancestor, male or female, who is fewer than 5 generations from you, you can take the autosomal DNA test at either Family Tree DNA, AncestryDNA, 23andMe, or MyHeritage to find out more about that individual. Remember with the autosomal DNA that you always want to test the oldest generation first. So anyone who does not have both of their parents living should take the autosomal DNA test.

Companies that can Test DNA for Family History

There are several companies that test DNA for family history including:



Video Lecture at WDYTYA
Autosomal DNA - a step-by-step approach to analysing your atDNA matches (Maurice Gleeson)
DNA Tutorials                                         

Here are links to Lost Cousins series of DNA articles kindly shared by Peter Calver who says if you're ever tempted to order a DNA test from a company not mentioned in those articles please get in touch first, as you're likely to be making an expensive mistake!


Understanding DNA #1: your genetic inheritance

Understanding DNA #2: mtDNA myths

Understanding DNA #3: the truth behind DNA tests

Understanding DNA #4: how DNA is inherited

Understanding DNA #5: choosing the right test

Understanding DNA #6: choosing the right company

Understanding DNA #6: choosing the right company (continued)

DNA Relationship Chart.png
CLICK to view and download Chart