Do you know your ancestry history? Or, to put it plainly: Do you know who your relatives are, all the way to a few generations back?
While some people can trace their ancestry a few generations back, many others have no idea who they are related to. Others, such as those brought up in orphanages or by adoptive parents have no idea who their biological parents are.
The good news is you can get to know your ancestry line through a DNA test. However, when it comes to actually taking a DNA test, there are a number of things you need to be aware of.
1. Identify the Reason You Want to Take a DNA Test
Knowing why you want to take a DNA test is crucial since this will help you decide which DNA testing company to approach. Do you want to know your great great grandparents, your parents, and siblings, or do you want to identify whether you have some genes you don’t want to pass on to your children? Do you want to find out if you have certain genetic medical complications that may assist your doctor in prescribing a line of treatment?
Whatever your reason, establish why you want to take a DNA test before you go for testing.
2. The Size of a Company’s DNA Database
The size of a company’s DNA database will give you an indication of how vast its DNA deposit is. While choosing where to have your DNA tested, choose a company with the largest DNA database since this increases your likelihood of getting a match.
Of course, there is a likelihood that your match may be in a smaller database by another company, but you have better chances of getting a match from a company with a bigger DNA database.
3. Look for a Company with Many Years of Experience
If a company has been around for 35 years or more, then you can be sure its DNA database contains enough data to almost guarantee a match for your DNA test. In most cases, the older the database, the better.
4. Choose a Company that Conducts Biogeographical Ancestry
Besides knowing your ancestors, you may also want to know where they came from and their way of life. There are companies that take your DNA tests beyond the laboratory and research your lineage across continents. If you are looking for recommendations, CRI Genetics offers a variety of genetic testing services that should cover most of your essential needs.
You might also be able to understand the percentages of your ancestry, especially in a mixed race ancestry. For instance, it’s possible to know what percentage of you is German, French, African, etc.
5. Have Your Oldest Living Relatives Tested First
There is a likelihood that your oldest relatives will not be around for long. It’s important to capture their DNA as soon as possible as they may be closer to your DNA research questions than other younger relatives. They may also have more autosomal DNA from your ancestry of interest.
6. Have the DNA of Relatives Closest to You Tested
Close relatives have more DNA related to you than distant ones. For instance, first and second cousins are likely to have more DNA traceable to you than third cousins. The more closely related you are to a person, the higher the likelihood of establishing a DNA line that will lead to discoveries of your lineage.
7. Find out If Your DNA Testing Company Allows Clients to Download Their Results
Since you may want to run your DNA results against other databases, it’s helpful if your DNA testing company allows clients to transfer or download their raw DNA data. When you have your raw DNA data, you can share it with public DNA databases if you wish. Getting your DNA results into many databases increases your likelihood of finding a match.
Besides medical reasons, conducting a DNA test can open doors into understanding who you are and where you came from.