At Your DNA Guide, we help you turn DNA test results into meaningful family connections. Our dedicated, expert team provides free to full-service genetic genealogy education. Whether you’re an adoptee, a genealogist or just curious about your biological roots, we’ll help you formulate good DNA questions, take the right test, understand ethnicity results, identify and contact matches, deal with unexpected results, and address any other issues that may come up.

We want to be YOUR DNA Guide. What can we do for you? Send us your questions. Look for answers to common DNA questions on our website, in our plain-English video tutorials, in quick DNA reference guides and via our personal mentoring and expert research services. You can even book Diahan Southard as a speaker for your next event.

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Meet the Your DNA Guide Team

Diahan Southard

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After getting bitten by the DNA bug as a high school student, Diahan went on to study at Brigham Young University where she earned a bachelors degree in microbiology. She worked before and after graduation for the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, one of the first efforts to create a correlated genetic and genealogical database.

Growing up with the budding genetic genealogy industry led her to found Your DNA Guide, where she provides personalized, interactive experiences to assist individuals and families in interpreting their genetic results in the context of their genealogical information. That means she can take you step by step through any kind of DNA test in a way that you will understand—and even enjoy!

Diahan has been pleased to lecture around the world to national and local audiences of hundreds (or handfuls!). You will walk away from her presentations inspired by her fun, upbeat energy. You might also be surprised to leave feeling that you really can do this DNA thing! This is because she has a passion for genetic genealogy, a genuine love for people, and a gift for making the technical understandable.

Diahan is the author of several quick guides on genetic genealogy, a featured writer for Family Tree Magazine, a regular contributor to Genealogy Today, a former contributor to Genealogy Gems, and contributor to several other publications.

While she truly enjoys enlightening minds of genealogists everywhere, her greatest DNA contribution is her three children. To them she devotes the majority of her time and energies as they are ages 16, 14, and 11. She feels it is a true gift that she can be a stay-at-home mom and a work-from-home business woman. Of course, this would never be possible without the unwavering support of her tall and handsome husband who holds down the fort in south Florida as she travels and lectures across the world.

You can follow Diahan on Twitter at @DNAdiahan. The best way to contact her is via email at guide@yourDNAguide.com. She can also be reached by phone at (724) 484-3344.

 

Christi Jacobsen

Christi knew when she was in high school that she wanted to go into genetics, so she started working in a genetics lab her senior year. She then attended Brigham Young University. She worked for Dr. Scott Woodward as a student lab assistant on ancient DNA studies and helped collect samples for the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation.

She graduated with her B.S. in Molecular Biology in 2003 and started working for Sorenson Genomics, where she helped develop genetic tests for the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, African Ancestry, Relative Genetics, and Gene Tree.

Starting in 2008, she took some time off to raise her two girls. Even though she wasn’t working full time she continued to stay in the genetic genealogy loop, teaching and helping at conferences.

For the last year, Christi has been helping people with their genetic genealogy. She enjoys helping people discover more about themselves through their personal genetics. When she isn’t geeking out over DNA test results she likes hiking, mountain biking, and traveling with her family.

You can reach Christi at Christi@yourDNAguide.com

 

Katie Ritchie

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Katie has always gravitated to science and chose her field of study at an early age. She has an B.S. in Microbiology. During college at Brigham Young University, Katie worked for Dr. Scott Woodward, a pioneer in the field of genetic genealogy. Katie, like Diahan and Christi, was there from the beginning of this amazing field!

She became an early employee of the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, the first entity to use DNA for genealogical purposes. Christi worked in the field for 10 years—through the lifespan of the Foundation—until it sold in 2012 to Ancestry. After this, Katie took time off to spend full-time with her kids.

Katie enjoyed the diverse hats she was able to wear over the years working in a growing company from the start. She dabbled in sample collection, DNA extraction, laboratory work, web development, interacting with users, DNA marker development for Y-chromosome and mtDNA testing, sample quality control, coordinating samples for additional testing, supervising sample storage, and overseeing all analysis of genetic test results and ensuring they were accurately stored in the database.

For a time, Katie was in charge of what was then called "Special Cases," which is essentially what testing companies like Ancestry, LivingDNA, 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA (affiliate), and MyHeritage all do today.  Genealogists with specific questions that could be answered with genetic information came to SMGF.  Katie oversaw the whole process, from sending the sample collection kit to the participant, to getting the samples tested in the lab, to interpreting the results, and finally writing a report to send to the genealogist. She enjoyed it so much and was sad when the Foundation grew too large to continue its work in Special Cases. She is excited to help you with your Special Case!

You can reach Katie at Katie@yourDNAguide.com or by filling out the form on our Contact Us page.

 

Jayne Ekins

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Jayne has 19 years of experience in the field of genetic genealogy. She has been a part of nearly every stage of driving the discovery process forward: field specimen collection, marker selection and assay design, data management and computational processes, analysis and algorithms, and investigating population-level research questions. She has lectured throughout the United States and international venues on the applications of molecular biology to elucidating ancient and recent genealogical connections. She has authored and co-authored many peer-reviewed scientific publications, as well as general articles on genetic genealogy.

She had the extraordinary experience of being mentored by Dr. Scott Woodward and his visionary team that took shape in the earliest days of this burgeoning field. It is a pleasure for her to see the accelerating developments in genetic genealogy, and the wide accessibility and application it has for the average human curious about their origins.

 

Sunny Morton

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The newest member of our team, Sunny Morton is the Your DNA Guide Content Manager and a Contributing Editor. You may have read her work in Family Tree Magazine (US), seen her powerful RootsTech presentations, or heard her on Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems Podcast. Sunny has authored hundreds of how-to and news article for the global genealogical community over the past 12 years, as well as How to Find Your Family History in U.S. Church Records (co-authored with Harold Henderson, CG), Story of My Life A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy and Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites. We use her award-winning writing and editing talents to help us put more of our expert advice into plain English and publish it on our blog.