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In Search of a DNA Match

My local Highlands Ranch Genealogical Society began its 2018-2019 season this week. At the meeting, we welcomed Mark G. Liverman of Pinewood Genealogy as our speaker. Well-known in Colorado genealogical circles as an expert on DNA testing for genealogy, he spoke again on this topic.

I sat in on this lecture because I wanted to refresh my memory on the fundamentals of DNA testing for genealogy. I need to dig more deeply into my family’s test results in the hopes of identifying some of my brick wall ancestors.

When I visited Nebraska last month, I found no clues in the county records to the name of one of my great-grandfathers. A DNA match will offer my only hope of learning who he was. Other descendants of his family would be my 2nd or 3rd cousins. This is a pretty close match, one I should be able to find if the right person does a DNA test.

How do I go about finding such a person? By taking DNA tests and reviewing the DNA matches.

I have DNA test results on file at Family Tree DNA. So does my late father.

My Dad also took a DNA test at 23andMe. This widens our test pool beyond those who have tested at just one company.

Neither of us tested with the big kid on the block, Ancestry.com. Twice they turned away Dad’s saliva sample, saying it was inadequate for testing. This is not an unusual response for someone in his 80’s. The elderly often cannot generate enough saliva for their test.

I have not tested with Ancestry yet, but perhaps the time has arrived for me to do so. My chances of matching other descendants of my great-grandfather or his parents are greatest there. They have a database of 10 million people. 23andme has half that many, and Family Tree DNA has fewer than a million.

As Liverman always says, chances of success in finding a match are greater if you fish in every pond.

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