Are you new to DNA testing? Today, there is a lot that can be learned from a tiny tube of saliva, which essentially contains your genetic blueprint. If you’re just getting started on your genetic genealogical journey, it can be worth the effort to familiarize yourself with the lingo used in the industry and the many resources available to you. For example, learning the difference between a Y-DNA test, an mtDNA test, and an autosomal DNA test can make all the difference when you’re trying to break through a “brick wall” in your family history.
What other DNA vocabulary might you encounter when you’re studying the ins and outs of genetic genealogy? Well, besides the basic cellular vocabulary, such as nucleus, mitochondria, and chromosome, you may find yourself interested in taking a deeper dive and learning the difference between STRs and SNPs and what they’re used for in genetic genealogy. You may also find yourself wondering about mutations and markers, or other terms like nucleotide, polymorphism, and haplogroup. There’s so much to learn and discover. But the most wonderful thing about all of this is that you don’t have to know all of this or be a genetic scientist to benefit from the DNA testing available today.
Another exciting reality for those who are interested in learning more about genetic genealogy is that there are many resources now available to help you make some headway when your research starts to become more difficult. In his presentation at RootsTech 2018, Jim Brewster from Family Tree DNA offered up a variety of suggested projects to join that can help you sort out the questions you’ll inevitably have along your genetic genealogy journey. And best of all, they’re free to join. Here are some examples of project types you might be interested in:
- Surname projects
- Haplogroup projects
- Geographical projects
- Lineage projects
An additional resource that you may be interested in is the Family Tree DNA Learning Center (FTDNA). Brewster informed attendees that this is a place they can visit to read articles and participate in webinars, among other things.
There’s also ISOGG, the International Society of Genetic Genealogists, a group of citizen-scientists which Brewster highly recommended. Available on their website is a wiki that provides definitions, terms, and articles. You can also join their Facebook page, which is a great place to take your questions and receive answers from the genetic genealogy community.
If you prefer more direct help, sit down with a professional that can help you break down your brick walls. You can pay for the services of for-hire genealogists, such as Your DNA Guide, Diane Southard.
With access to all of these great resources, you’ll find your comfort level in the wide world of DNA and genetic genealogy in no time!