UPDATE 10 June 2018: it’s on my To-Do list to update this sometime this year. Till then, I have to add Leah Larkin’s wonderful new how-to for copying your AncestryDNA raw data to other companies, so you can find matches who tested elsewhere. See

Leah Larkin, “How to Transfer your AncestryDNA Test to other databases,” TheDNAGeek blog post, 9 June 2018 (

Pair that with “What’s New in Autosomal DNA Transfers,” TheDNAGeek blog post, 12 Sep 2017 (, which Leah keeps updated, to keep track of what company’s data can be transferred where.

A sampling of resources for beginning genetic genealogy

(All links shown were accessed/verified in Feb 2016 unless otherwise noted.)

Testing companies for DNA for the purpose of genealogy
FamilyTreeDNA: The autosomal test is called Family Finder. (A discount is available for the Y-37 test by using

Think about what you hope to accomplish. Are you looking for distant cousins who might have photos, documents, or leads on your ancestors? Are you trying to track your direct paternal line back, possibly hundreds of years? Are your recent ancestors from another country? Is ethnicity what you’re most interested in? Are you or a close relative an adoptee looking for biological family? Do you want health reports? Is the tester unable to spit in a vial but may be able to do a cheek swab? Does the company you’re considering sell kits in your country? The answers to these questions will help you decide which company is a best fit for you. For a quick comparison of the different autosomal options, see:

After you test, consider putting a copy of your DNA data in free third-party sites, so you can look for matches with people who tested at a different company who also shared this way.

GEDmatch: see my initial blog post here:
DNALand: See Randy Seaver’s blog post here: It offers links to more information, and walks you through the process.

Learn more:

Useful charts

More things you might want to be aware of:

Continuing education

Blogs (good for beginners)

Webinars, videos, presentations, and courses

For an excellent blog post on educating yourself in genetic genealogy, see Debbie Parker Wayne, “Becoming a Genetic Genealogist,” Deb’s Delvings Blog, posted 12 January 2016 ( : accessed 3 Feb 2016).

Here are some examples of opportunities to pursue more education:

Books and articles

  • Aulicino, Emily D. Genetic Genealogy: The Basics and Beyond. Bloomington, Ind.: AuthorHouse, 2013
  • Bettinger, Blaine, and Matt Dexter. I Have the Results of My Genetic Genealogy Test, Now What? (free!)
  • Bettinger, Blaine. The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy. (Family Tree Books, 2016.)
  • Bettinger, Blaine and Parker, Debbie Wayne. Genetic Genealogy in Practice. (National Genealogical Society, 2016.)
  • Hill, Richard. Several books, all good…
  • Kennet, Debbie. DNA and Social Networking: A Guide to Genealogy in the Twenty-first Century. Gloucestershire, UK: The History Press, 2011.

Genetic genealogy – standards/code of ethics

As genealogists who use DNA in our work, we have standards and a code of ethics to adhere to. Note: these are OUR standards, for genealogists, not the standards for the testing companies. The full document is here:

(c) Ann Raymont 2016