I have to tell you that at times when I work on my DNA kits I feel like I’m not looking at my tree but more like I’m in a forest. As with many things that I involve myself with, I tend to dive in, but slowly I’m learning.
When I originally became interested in family history I remember someone doing a talk about DNA and I thought wow… that’s way over my head. But now some 15 years later I am the keeper of 17 kits and I’m learning at a rapid pace.
It’s kind of a snow ball effect. You start with yourself; or in my case my dad. I started with Ancestry as at the time they offered the Y-DNA and the mtDNA kits. I got a few matches but not a lot. Then along came the autosomal tests and that’s when I got a bit carried away. By that time I’d moved my dad’s DNA over to Family Tree DNA (FTDNA.com) and so it was easy to add this test for him. I was attending Roots Tech and I’m always a sucker for a deal so I purchased a kit for myself as well. Then of course you need to have as many of the elderly family members tested while you are able and then you buy a few more tests to see if you can refine the matches to differentiate one line from another.
One of the funniest experiences I had was when I got the results for my own kit and my dad was a match. Somehow it had never dawned on me that it could be otherwise. But it was then that I realized that tests could give surprising results. I’ve had one kit for a cousin that although they should have been a match to my father, they were not. It was a tough discussion.
One of my uncles that I recently had tested jokingly ask me; “will I find out that I’m not who I think I am?” After the number of test that I have had done, my reply was; maybe. I think it’s important if you are getting people to do DNA kits for you it’s only fair that you warn them that it’s a possibility.
For some that do DNA their results are much like their tree. They have matches and those matches, match names in their tree. But for me, because I’m using the testing to not only confirm my tree but to also use it to see if I can get pass some of my brick walls, many of the names aren’t in my tree and I’m trying to figure out how they might fit in. So that leads to more kits to refine the results. So it’s wait for a sale and then try to identify which family member will give you the most bang for your buck.