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Taking the Plunge On A DNA Test

The genealogical proof standard has always obliged us to do an exhaustive search for every ancestor. In the past decade, DNA testing has become widely available as a research tool to use in addition to older research methods. Today an exhaustive search means using DNA testing as part of a proof, and many genealogists have tested their DNA.

Although I know this, I still have not completed a DNA test myself. For privacy reasons, I have been reluctant to do so. I have worried about putting my results out there somewhere and about who might have access to this information. Would I open myself to discrimination if my test fell into the wrong hands? Could someone subpoena my results and use them against me in court?

After attending several seminars on DNA testing, it has now become clear to me that I would risk very little if I took a DNA test for genealogical purposes. In fact, I might learn a little more about my family.

I do have some puzzles in my heritage that a DNA test might help me solve:

  1. I have an unknown great-grandfather, a man who contributed 1/8 of my DNA. Having autosomal results on file with a DNA testing company could help me locate his family and identify him.
  2. The same goes for my mysterious German great-great grandmother, who contributed an additional 1/16 of my DNA.
  3. I am curious about my maternal line, reportedly from Finland but whose members resided awfully close to Russia. Is my maternal line truly Finnish, or do we have some Russian? A mitochondrial test could help me find relatives whose ancestors stayed behind when my Finnish great-grandmother Ada Alina Lampinen immigrated to America in 1905.

I have spent years trying to locate information on my unidentified ancestors with no success. DNA testing may be my only hope of ever discovering who they might be. Consequently, my desire to resolve these questions has finally overcome my inhibitions and convinced me to take a DNA test.

This week, FamilyTreeDNA has a sale on test kits. For a $70 savings, I just ordered an autosomal test and a mitochondrial test. Will I find answers to any of my questions after I submit my test results?

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