Have you used DNA test results to help with your genealogy research? Maybe you’ve heard that you can verify ancestors with DNA. Or perhaps you have formed a hypothesis about a brick wall ancestor’s parents and would like to confirm it. You may want to identify the biological parents of a recent relative who was adopted.
What is the best way to go about using DNA test results to meet these objectives? What tool could help you make discoveries? It may seem overwhelming to know your next step.
Robin Wirthlin, our genetic genealogist, has created two decision-tree style flowcharts called DNA Process Trees. The charts help you make choices in DNA research planning. DNA Process Tree 1 is designed to help you verify genetic connections to ancestors or confirm a hypothesized relationship. DNA Process Tree 2 can aid in identifying an unknown parent or solving misattributed parentage.
What exactly will the charts tell you to do? First of all, they will remind you that you need to have a research objective. For example, with process tree 1, your objective should be either to verify a genetic connection to a family member or confirm a hypothesized relationship. Knowing exactly what you would like to do with your DNA results will help you actually use them.
Once you’ve settled on a research question or objective, you will start with step 1 – determine which living individuals would be most beneficial to test to get the most information. Robin shares a simple DNA testing strategy to help you get your results in the most databases.
Once the results are back, you are ready to move to step 2 – separate DNA Matches into genetic networks. If you haven’t done this before, there are many ways to do it! In the decision tree, you can choose to create the networks manually or automatically, and Robin lists several tools that can help you do either one.
Now that you have your matches separated into networks, Robin guides you through the process of determining how much DNA you share with matches, figuring out the relationship with the DNA match, creating a chart, evaluating family trees of your matches, and identifying the most recent common ancestor (MRCA). Additional steps are included to help with pedigree triangulation and segment triangulation.
The back of the charts include useful tips, definitions, tree-building tools, resources, and a DNA research tree example created with Lucidchart.
We know you will find immense value in using these charts to guide your DNA research. Thank you, Robin, for creating such a wonderful tool!