DNA Books

Here are some books about DNA that we love. Happy reading!

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DNA Memoirs

Normal Family: On Truth, Love, and How I Met My 35 Siblings

by Chrysta Bilton


This riveting, nuanced memoir about unforgettable individuals thrown together by chance and DNA tells a story of nature, nurture, and coming to terms with one’s true inheritance.

Why we love it: Chrysta was conceived by a sperm donor and has dozens of half-siblings that she invites to a party. It’s part memoir, part exploration of the uncharted and unregulated territory of sperm donation.

The Lost Family

By Libby Copeland


In The Lost Family, journalist Libby Copeland investigates what happens when we embark on a vast social experiment with little understanding of the ramifications. She explores the culture of genealogy buffs, the science of DNA, and the business of companies like Ancestry and 23andMe, all while tracing the story of one woman, her unusual results, and a relentless methodical drive for answers that becomes a thoroughly modern genetic detective story. Gripping and masterfully told, The Lost Family is a spectacular book on a big, timely subject.

Why we love it: This book looks at the impact of home DNA testing on the American family using true stories.

The Foundling: The True Story of a Kidnapping, a Family Secret, and My Search for the Real Me

by Paul Joseph Fronczak


This is the inspiring and page-turning true story of a man who discovered he had been kidnapped as a baby—and how his quest to find out who he really is upturned the genealogy industry, his own family, and set in motion the second longest cold case in US history.

Why we love it: A compelling and beautifully-written story about the author finding his birth roots.

The Stranger in my Genes

By Bill Griffeth


Bill Griffeth, longtime genealogy buff, takes a DNA test that has an unexpected outcome: “If the results were correct, it meant that the family tree I had spent years documenting was not my own.” Bill undertakes a quest to solve the mystery of his origins, which shakes his sense of identity. As he takes us on his journey, we learn about choices made by his ancestors, parents, and others, and we see Bill measure and weigh his own difficult choices as he confronts the past.

Why we love it: Bill takes a DNA test and finds out the man who raised him was not his biological father.

I Know Who You Are: How an Amateur DNA Sleuth Unmasked the Golden State Killer and Changed Crime Fighting Forever

by Barbara Rae-Venter


“I Know Who You Are” captures both the exhilaration of the moment of discovery and the sheer depth of emotion that lingers around cold cases, informing Rae-Venter’s careful approach to her work.

Why we love it: It’s a true crime read focusing on investigative gentic genealogy cases.

DNA Fiction

Morton Farrier, Forensic Genealogist Series

By Nathan Dylan Goodwin

Why we love it: The investigations of U.K.-based genealogist Morton Farrier always lead to fascinating historical stories–and sometimes dangerous places for Morton himself. Especially inspiring for genealogists is that Morton’s research process is part of the story. Recent novels incorporate DNA evidence, too.

Venator Cold Case Series

By Nathan Dylan Goodwin

Why we love it: This cutting-edge series follows the life and casework of Madison Scott-Barnhart and a small team of forensic investigators who use real-life investigative genetic genealogy techniques to bring violent criminals to justice.

Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery SERIES

By Steve Robinson

Why we love it: In each book of this series, Jefferson Tayte is a genealogist who is hired to help solve various crimes. He usually ends up becoming a target of the villain, who knows Jefferson is hot on their trail.

The Blood Detective

By Dan Waddell


From the author of the bestselling Who Do You Think You Are? comes a haunting crime novel of blood-stained family histories and gruesome secrets.

Why we love it: Dan is a great writer and storyteller!

A Spanish Sunrise

By Boo Walker


A widowed father and his young daughter embark on a life-changing journey in a heartening novel of family and second chances by the bestselling author of The Singing Trees.

Why we love it: It’s a great story about a father and daughter going on a journey together to heal.

How to Use DNA

The Genealogist’s Guide to Y-DNA Testing for Genetic Genealogy

By David Vance


Written with humor and a genealogist’s experience, The Genealogist’s Guide to Y-DNA Testing for Genetic Genealogy is sure to become a well-thumbed reference for every genealogist looking to break through the mysteries of Y-DNA!

Advanced Genetic Genealogy: Techniques and Case Studies

By Debbie Wayne Parker and Blaine Bettinger


Advanced Genetic Genealogy: Techniques and Case Studies helps intermediate researchers move up to the next level and advanced researchers apply the new DNA standards and write about DNA.

Why we love it: A great workbook to get practice using all types of DNA results.

DNA for Native American Genealogy

By Roberta Estes


Written by Roberta Estes, the foremost expert on how to utilize DNA testing to identify Native American ancestors, DNA for Native American Genealogy is the first book to offer detailed information and advice specifically aimed at family historians interested in fleshing out their Native American family tree through DNA testing.

Why we love it: This book gives anyone with suspected or known Native American DNA much needed support in their genetic genealogy work.

More About DNA

Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science

By Kim TallBear


Who is a Native American? And who gets to decide? From genealogists searching online for their ancestors to fortune hunters hoping for a slice of casino profits from wealthy tribes, the answers to these seemingly straightforward questions have profound ramifications. The rise of DNA testing has further complicated the issues and raised the stakes.

Why we love it: This book highlights the concerns of Indigenous peoples with DNA.

DNA USA: A Genetic Portrait of America

By Bryan Sykes


Crisscrossing the continent, a renowned geneticist provides a groundbreaking examination of America through its DNA.

Why we love it: This book is essential for understanding the cultural landscape in the U.S. testing scene.

For the Kids!

My First Book About Genetics (Dover Science For Kids Coloring Books)

By Patricia J. Wynne, Donald M. Silver


Learning is fun with this entertaining and informative book about genetics. Forty-six illustrations are accompanied by easy-to-read captions explaining that genes are “chemical instructions” necessary for living things to stay alive and reproduce.

Why we love it: Perfect for kids ages 8 and up, this book describes what genes control and how they are passed along from one generation to the next, genes and DNA, genes and proteins, genes that turn on and those that turn off, genes that protect us from harmful bacteria and viruses, and genes that scientists transfer from one kind of living thing to another.

My Family and Me: A Family History Fill-In Book

By Cara J. Stevens


Get to know your family! This fun, colorful activity book designed for families to complete together will help parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and others share their stories. This activity book is an excellent choice to share during homeschooling, in particular for children ages 7 to 9 who are reading independently. It’s a fun way to keep your child engaged and entertained.

Why we love it: This family history activity book is perfect for genealogy fans, nontraditional families, and anyone looking for a fun activity to bring family members closer together. An excellent resource to use for family history projects at home and at school.

Me and My Family Tree

By Joan Sweeney


Where am I on my family tree? A beloved bestseller that shows children how to understand their place among their relatives, now refreshed with new art from Emma Trithart.

Why we love it: In this edition of Me and My Family Tree, with new art by Emma Trithart, a young girl uses simple language, her own childlike drawings, and diagrams to explain how the members of her family are related to each other and to her.

National Geographic Kids Guide to Genealogy

By T. J. Resler


This lively guide will get you started on researching your family’s past and let you in on the newest and most up-to-date technology for genealogy research. Get tips on how to interview family members, create a family tree, and much more. Fun facts, lists, and sidebars offer additional tips and bring the dusty past to vivid life!

Why we love it: Inspired by the growing ancestry and DNA-testing crazes, this guide helps readers dig into the past and learn more about their own family history.

Roots for Kids: Finding Your Family Stories

By Susan Provost Beller


Roots for Kids: Finding Your Family Stories celebrates all the wonderful stories and family traditions that make you who you are and that tie your family, past and present, together.

Why we love it: Each beautifully illustrated chapter ends with an activity related to the subject of that chapter. Younger children will have fun doing these activities with their parents, while older children can work on them on their own.

Inspired to learn more about your own family history with DNA? Find out what you need to know about DNA testing for family history with our FREE guide