Who To DNA Test or Not to DNA Test?



In my genealogy research, autosomal DNA has become one of my favorite subjects  and sometimes the most frustrating. Just because I’m still in the learning process as to what all the information and connections are about and there is much to learn and read.

One thing I’d like to tell you about is testing other members of the family. I believe there are folks out there that don’t realize that you need to test as many people as you can talk into or as many as you can afford. Why do you need to do this? Well, let me tell you about my experiences.

In the case of my mother’s Beaton side of the family, I tested my mom, a first cousin, a second cousin, two uncles and finally an aunt and it was my aunt who had the most Beaton DNA. Which tells me that I need to test that last uncle to see if he got more of the Beaton DNA than the rest of them.

On my mother’s Middlebrough side of the family I was concerned when my cousin from Australia, whom I’ve been collaborating with for several years,  didn’t come up as a match. I chalked it up to the fact that we are 2nd cousins 3 times removed and that the DNA wasn’t passed down to me. Well that’s correct and I don’t have to worry that there is a NPE as one of my second cousins 1 times removed has also tested and she was a match to my Aussie cousin.

So you get the idea and because we get half our DNA from Mom and half from Dad and this has been going on for generations that after a few generations the amount of DNA you have in common with a 2nd cousin 2 times removed is less than  1% or an average of 94cM and that the average. Of course there will be some that get less and some that get more.

Having both my sons tested really helped me understand this as there were people who were my 3rd cousins that one son might match but not the other. So my son; Jason is a match for a third cousin 1 times removed on the Vincent line but my son Jesse is not and alternatively my son; Jesse is a match for a third cousin 2 times removed on my Dad’s Clark side but Jason isn’t.  I know all this because I’ve tested my sons and my cousins have tested and I see visually how this works.

So what you need to do first is figure out which line will help you the most with the question you have and this will help you decide who you’d like to test or ask to test. I know what your thinking; testing is expensive and I can’t afford that. One suggestion I heard from noted genetic genealogist; Kitty Cooper when I was at Roots Tech 2016, is to barter with your cousins. So, what can you do for your cousin in exchange for them paying for a DNA test? Maybe it’s working out their family tree and giving them a copy or perhaps you can do their taxes. There are any number of ways that you can get someone to pay for a kit you just have to be creative.

Happy hunting.

Note: I’m not an expert on the subjects I write about I just have a keen interest. 

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