DNA testing does not take the place of good old fashioned genealogy research, but enhances it. DNA testing can help break down brick walls and confirm your paper trail. For the best results you should expand your research to include all collateral lines back about five or six generations. This will keep you busy while you’re waiting for your test results.
Types of DNA Testing
There are three types of DNA testing used for genealogy: Y DNA, Autosomal DNA, and Mitochondrial DNA. Before testing decide what it is you wish to discover in order to determine which test to take and which family member to test. The two most commonly used DNA tests for genealogy are Y DNA and Autosomal DNA.
Y DNA is found only in men and traces your direct paternal line (father’s father’s father). Y DNA results match you with others who share your direct paternal origins (and maybe your surname). Y DNA testing is available only through Family Tree DNA. You have the choice of testing 37, 67 or 111 markers. The more markers tested, the better the results, but you can start with 37 and upgrade later if you have a match that you want to investigate further. You can also upgrade to another type of DNA test at Family Tree DNA without having to send in a new DNA sample. If you’re female, recruit am uncle, brother or cousin to test.
Males who carry the surname FORSYTH (or any of the various spellings of that name) are encouraged to test their Y DNA and join the FORSYTH SURNAME PROJECT. By purchasing your DNA test kit through this link, you automatically join the project and receive a discount on the price of the test kit:
The administrators of this project are Carolyn Forsythe Smith and Marsha Richardson, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Autosomal DNA (atDNA) is found in both men and women and is the DNA contained in your chromosomes. You receive about 50% of your atDNA from each parent. Test results provide your estimated ethnicity and connects you with others who share your atDNA for about five or six generations in the past. All three major companies (Family Tree DNA, Ancestry, and 23 and Me) provide this type of DNA test. (Beware of other testing companies with similar sounding names that may not deliver the desired information.)
Mitochrondrial DNA (mtDNA) is found in both men and women and traces your direct maternal line (mother’s mother’s mother). This test is only offered at Family Tree DNA. MtDNA is not always helpful to genealogists because it mutates so slowly that someone with whom you are an exact match might share an ancestor long before any paper trails. Mitochondrial DNA is most helpful when used to prove or disprove a connection.
THE THREE MAJOR GENEALOGICAL DNA TESTING COMPANIES
Family Tree DNA - https://www.familytreedna.com/
Offers all three types of genealogical DNA tests
Ancestry - http://www.ancestry.com/
Autosomal DNA testing only
23 and Me - https://www.23andme.com
Autosomal DNA testing only
It is highly recommended that you upload your Autosomal DNA results to GEDmatch - https://www.gedmatch.com
This site allows those tested at different companies to compare their results in one database, and offers tools not available through the testing companies.