Y DNA testing is a great way to explore your paternal family line. Here’s a quick get-started video tutorial and two essential tips for taking a YDNA test for family history.
Y DNA testing is a specific type of genetic genealogy test that can help answer questions about your direct paternal line. Follow these 3 steps to start your Y DNA journey!
1. Watch this quick tutorial video on Y DNA.
2. Have the right person take a YDNA test.
Because of the way Y DNA is inherited, only genetic males can take a Y DNA test. If you are not a genetic male, or if you’re looking at someone else’s paternal line, you’ll have to look for a willing tester who IS a genetic male descendant of that male line. For example, if you’re a woman exploring your dad’s line, you can have a brother test (if you share the same biological dad) or your dad’s brother (by the same father), or a son of a brother of your dad, etc.
The genetic genealogy testing company that does Y DNA testing is Family Tree DNA.* Testing 37 markers can produce meaningful results, but if you can afford to test 111 markers, that’s even better. (You can always upgrade your test later to include more markers.) Purchase a Y DNA test now.
3. Join a Y-DNA family project.
After you have your test results, join a Y DNA family project to compare your Y DNA to that of other men who share the same male lineage. You can often learn more about the surname(s) most commonly associated with that Y DNA signature. You may see others who match your Y DNA and may share an ancestor with you.
An often overlooked benefit of the family project is your ability to see all of the people who are sharing your surname, but do NOT share a direct paternal line with you. This list can be a gold mine, as it can save you hours of wasted research barking up the wrong tree. Any ancestor represented in the surname project who does not share Y DNA with you is not your ancestor! It doesn’t matter if their name is spelled just like yours, or that they named all of their eldest sons Solomon, or that they lived in the same county as your family. THEY ARE NOT YOUR FAMILY. So you can move on and find other, more valuable, leads.
Learn to Do the DNA—and Let Us Help!
Wherever you are in your YDNA testing journey, we can help you. That’s what we do. Learn more about YDNA in our free Why the YDNA Mini-Course. Learn the many ways YDNA might help you answer your questions about your family history. The Mini-Course is an excerpt from our YDNA for Genealogy Course, which takes you deeper into understanding Y-haplogroups and using them in genealogy research (as well as other topics such as YDNA matching, surname project participation, and when to use Big Y).