Your DNA Guide—the Book

The ultimate do-it-yourself manual: DNA for family history

Your DNA Guide—the Book takes you step-by-step through the various ways of using DNA to answer questions about your origins. Do you want to learn how you are related to one of your DNA matches? Turn to page 37. Or who your 2X great grandmother is? Page 23. You get the idea.

As you progress, you’ll learn relevant DNA concepts in plain English. You’ll check your progress and get new guidance based on your results at each stage. Are your matches unresponsive? We’ve got ideas. Did you just realize your great-grandparents are first cousins? We’ll help you figure out how that affects your research. (It does.)

This powerful, hands-on, step-by-step approach is based on Diahan’s 20 years of experience in the genetic genealogy industry and especially in the past five years, as she has helped individual clients make DNA discoveries. She realized that while each person’s situation may be unique, there are similar paths to follow for particular kinds of questions. She organized them in this book so you can read them for yourself.

Praise for Your DNA Guide—the Book:

[Diahan’s] friendly, familiar tone could convince anyone that they can figure out this whole “DNA thing,” and with Southard’s clear, step-by-step instructions, they can. – -Mary Kircher Roddy, FGS Magazine

“It’s definitely not a ‘big overview of DNA testing’ book, but instead a ‘let’s get down and dirty and solve a brickwall problem’ book. And we definitely need a book like this.” – Drew Smith, The Genealogy Guys Podcast and Genealogy Connection Podcast

“Diahan Southard is…funny and down to earth. Her presentations are always filled with color and graphics and explain the sometimes overwhelming topic in a simple and easy way to understand. She’s put her style into her first book on DNA.

This book is unique. My first thought was this is just like the choose your own adventure books I used to read as a kid. It’s almost like having Diahan there to hold your hand while you work your way through your matches and find your family!” – Cheri Hudson Passey, Carolina Girl Genealogy

Print edition $49.99 USD

The hands-on, mark-it-up-with-sticky-notes-and-highlighters print edition

Shipping is only available in the U.S. and is free

Customer Reviews

Based on 8 reviews
Janet Lancaster
A DNA Guide to an Initial Genealogical Search

I appreciate your honest/realistic comments about possible research results with DNA. The flipping from front to back spoiled my train of thought until I put tabs on some pages. The "What You Need to Know" should be part of the forward to the book. Many, but not all, of your in-depth explanations would better serve your learners if they were placed with the topic instead of in the back of the book. One reading just won't do it - I use it as a reference myself, and I plan to give a copy s a gift.

Thanks for your feedback, we will look into those changes for future revisions!

Michael Foisset
Your DNA Guide the book

Very good information.

Glad you're enjoying the book!

Betty Weller

Very Informative!!

Thank you! I'm so glad to hear you enjoy it.

Wanda Bynum-Wilson
your DNA guide the book "step by step plans"

I hoping to get started the week of 6/20/2022. Delayed due to illness.

Feel better soon! Don't hesitate to reach out to us if you run into any questions.

Sonia Murray
Truly excellent!

The chart on page 182 has identified a DNA match as a half aunt and other matches as half first cousins, proving once and for all that her father was not adopted. I can't thank you enough!

That's wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing your expereince with us!

Ebook version (PDF) $16.99 USD

Portable, accessible from anywhere, with clickable links to navigate in the book

Available to everyone, including outside the United States

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
Diane Howdeshell
DNA e-Guide Book

I love the eDNA Guide Book. It is such an important reference book for genealogy. I am thrilled with it, and use it almost every day.

Thanks for your review! SO happy to hear that it's been so helpful to you!

Steve Marsh
Steve's review - A work in progress

I purchased this e-book as a retirement gift for myself. I retire on 7/29. I did read a little bit of the book. I do like how it jumps around from place to place. It makes you feel like you don't need to read it from end-to-end. I am sure I will get a lot out of of this book. 25-year brick wall breakdown, here I come!

What a great idea! Be sure to keep us updated about that brick wall!

Irwin Goldberg

Great knowledge

Thank you!

Wendy Miles
Elusive 3rd Gt. G'Parents

I had already found my Paternal Gt.Gt.Gparents also 3rd Gt. G'Parents via his wife.[my Gt.Gt.Paternal G'Mother] all in or around Liverpool, Lancashire.
I have G.G.G'Fs death certificate,sussed from it being the only one which matches his apparent age in 1841- his mariner background & the year of death before 1851.
I have not had any matches which may suggest his birth correctly or the name of his parents. One recent match has an almost identical version of my tree on one site but with an added son, which does not compute to real life facts as I have so far found, mainly on Liverpool OPC.&later censuses.

Due to my many interruptions in my home carer life, I have not read the entire book.Continual I'net dropouts when I change pages-or try to- has been a big hold up too.
I have created several trees for various matches to try to find a link but so far they do not pan out.Fine for recent years but not further back.
many people also are very evasive or protective of their privacy, some even give wrong clues as to family.

I have 'rented' a posssible 3rd Gt.G'Father & his wife, he is of the same area is a mariner childrens names almost identical to those of 2GGParents & has same Christian name.
One young man has this same couple but his families down from them differ to mine. He has had info from his Father so I tend to think he may be more correct, BUT he mentions that we have no DNA connection. I seem to remember reading that this is not a problem due to the way DNA disports itself.

I'll keep on reading & planting trees to see what I can pick from those branches.

Thanks for your review, we appreciate it! Best of luck with the rest of your research!

Robin Helmond
Worth a Try

I must be getting old, or something. I am finding it difficult getting much out of the book. I appreciate the descriptions of the various aspect of DNA, but actually putting it all together is proving more difficult.
I got onto this book by reading Diahan’s description of the Leeds method, which I followed easily. If only the book was the same.
But maybe I should concentrate harder, and follow the detail. I will give it a go.


Hi Robin, Thanks for your feedback! For best success with the book we recommend reading it with a specific research question in mind, then following the prompts in each section directing you to which section to go to next. This gives customized step-by-step instructions on how to solve your case specifically. If you have questions about how to move forward, you can also reach out to us directly at and we would love to help you!