If you are looking to do a DNA test, you might be apprehensive. At the back of your mind is a desire to not only know your ancestry but a yearning, maybe even a hope, that you come from good seed. When you finally get your ancestry DNA test results, the journey towards a reality that could assuage your expectations or shatter them begins.
The results you now hold in your hands are not definitive—not yet. You have raw data, the basis for the rest of your ancestry journey. You can do one of two things at this stage. First, you can do nothing, which will not make sense since you went to a lot of trouble to get here, or, second, you can do the expected and start digging into your ancestry DNA data for answers that could reveal your next of kin, all the way down the family tree.
If you want to know what you can do with the ancestry DNA results you have just clicked through to, here are a few suggestions.
1. Explore Your Ethnicities
By visiting your main genetic ancestry page, you can find out more about your ancestry than indicated on the first page. This is the place you explore your genetic maps, migration routes, genetic communities and trace ethnicities you are likely to have originated from.
You inherit most of your DNA from your closest relatives. For instance, you inherit 50% of DNA from each of your parent, who also inherited a similar percentage from their parents. Since there is DNA loss as you go down the family tree, ethnicity results may not give you a complete picture of your ancestry. However, they can open the door to more exciting discoveries.
2. Construct Your Family Tree
Building a family tree helps you discover which among your ancestors contributed to your ethnicities. This is an exciting journey, which could spring exciting surprises along the way. Can you imagine finding out where your great-grandparents down to the fourth generation came from? Building a family tree can actually help you in this sleuth work.
3. Compare Your DNA against Genetic Markers
There are DNA companies who claim to compare your DNA results with thousands of genetic markers. While this may appear impressive to the uninitiated, it could actually end up skewing the results.
To get the most statistically likely estimation of your ancestry, consider using reputable companies such as CRI Genetics who compare your DNA with 642,824 specific markers, which are supported by credible scientific research as the most relevant for tracing ancestry.
4. Systematically Go Through Your DNA Matches
You should go through your DNA matches systematically for a number of reasons. These include getting to discover close relatives such as first cousins, siblings, aunts, uncles, etc that you never knew you had. You might even get to know relatives with precious family mementos that could shed more light into your history.
There are many reasons why you should thoroughly go through your DNA matches one by one. For best results, take your time and drill into each match to see what you can come up with.
5. Contact Your DNA Matches
Contrary to what you might think, contacting your DNA matches should not be a frightening experience. You will most likely encounter very helpful potential relatives. Some of them could even have a more elaborate family tree than yours that they have not posted online. You will never know if you will get help until you ask for it.
In some instances, you might be a solution to their own ancestry DNA search as some of them may have no idea whom they are related to (perhaps they are adopted). Whichever way you look at it, piecing together the puzzle of your family tree is an exciting adventure.