DNA Test Results: What to Do With Them
So you’ve got DNA test results. Congratulations! But what should you do next with your AncestryDNA results, 23andMe results, MyHeritage DNA results, Family Tree DNA results or Living DNA results? Here are your next steps.
First, take a moment to appreciate the amazing science and technology that make this possible. Second, we’re glad you found us, because we’re here to guide you through your DNA discoveries.
1. Attach a family tree to your DNA test results.
Adding a family tree to your DNA testing results can dramatically improve your experience working with DNA matches, especially at AncestryDNA and MyHeritage. Sharing your tree allows their sophisticated tools to compare your tree with those of your DNA matches and theorize about how you might be related to each other. (It’s also just really nice, if you have a family tree, to share it with people who are genetically related to you.)
The family tree you attach to your DNA test results doesn’t have to be super detailed or go back many generations. Just start with what you know. Learn how to add your family tree to your DNA results.
2. Explore your ethnicity results—and understand their limitations.
Most people who do DNA testing for ethnicity have questions about their ethnicity estimates. Watch this quick video for a brief (but really awesome) explanation of DNA ethnicity:
Take a summary of that video with you with our free downloadable guide to your DNA ethnicity results!
3. Meet your DNA match list.
Your DNA match list is the most valuable part of your testing experience. It’s a list of other people who have tested with the same company who are genetically related to you. They’re your cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents/children, nieces/nephews….You get the idea.
Here at Your DNA Guide, we spend most of our time helping people connect with relatives, extend family trees, and explore unknown birth roots using their DNA match lists. Read our free tutorial on determining your relationships to your DNA matches.
You’ll probably want to reach out to some of your DNA matches. Chatting with them can be intimidating, but incredibly rewarding. Get our free downloadable guide to communicating with your DNA matches.
4. Take in any unexpected DNA test results.
Do you see something (or someone) that doesn’t look like what you expected in your results? Take a deep breath. Remind yourself that you don’t know everything about your relatives or their circumstances. Then ask yourself (just like you did when you first tested) whether you’re emotionally ready to learn whatever it is your DNA may be telling you.
If you are, it’s time to look closely at what you think you’re seeing. Go over your results again—carefully. Think of the various scenarios that may explain what you see, and be open to them. Consider asking an expert to review your results, especially if your discovery is emotionally important or may change the direction of your family history research. We provide one-on-one, confidential mentoring sessions to help you better understand what you’re seeing.
5. Keep learning!
Whatever your goals, we can guide you through the process of using your DNA to discover your roots. Pick a topic and keep exploring.