I haven’t even started writing about my DNA addiction. It began about four and a half years ago after my last living grandparent passed away. I realized if I wanted to understand the DNA craze, preserve this important family record, and use genetics to enhance my genealogy research, I shouldn’t waste any more time. I bought my mom a kit for Mother’s Day in 2014 and it snowballed from there!
I started with AncestryDNA, an autosomal DNA test—not that I quite understood what that meant at the time. It doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female. This type of test analyzes all of your chromosome pairs for your ethnic admixture and cousin matching. I very quickly found myself spending more money than I should buying DNA kits for other people! This has been so incredibly interesting and is a gift that keeps on giving!
Second, I took a mitochondrial (mtDNA) test at FamilyTreeDNA. I wanted to see how the results differed from the autosomal test and learn about my direct maternal haplogroup. I’m still waiting for a match that’s even remotely close!
Third, I took advantage of an Amazon Prime Day special to order the health+ancestry test offered by 23andMe. I’d been wanting to check out the health reports, but couldn’t justify the expense until they offered a 50 percent discount. Score!
I haven’t taken the other popular autosomal tests (FamilyTreeDNA’s Family Finder and MyHeritage) mainly because I had to rein in my DNA spending. Fortunately for those of us who love to explore our matches, both of those companies allow you to transfer in your raw DNA results from Ancestry or 23andMe.
With that, I thought my personal DNA test-taking days had come to an end.
Then genealogists started talking and writing about Living DNA. At first I didn’t think it had much to offer me. It sounded exciting that it could pinpoint your British origins, but the British origins I assume I have predate the American Revolution. There’s no recent English ancestry on any of my lines. Then I heard Living DNA is working on a Germany project. Hmm. My German peeps are a little more recent. But I still didn’t bite. Then during a recent appearance at the Houston Genealogical Forum’s Fall Seminar, DNA guru Blaine Bettinger told the audience Living DNA will soon launch cousin matching. Count me in! Could I find a Sansbury cousin across the pond? Some distant relatives to meet during some future trip to Europe? A match who’ll help me break through a brick wall?
I bought my kit during a post-Thanksgiving sale and it arrived a few days ago. This blog entry has been written during the 60-minute period I had to wait after eating and drinking so I could swab my cheek. Even though this is my fourth DNA test, I’ll ship this one off tomorrow with just as much excitement as the first!