How a Family Ancestry Test Works

Have you ever wondered about your cultural roots?  Would you like to feel closer to your ancestors?  Do you want to confirm the information that you have obtained about your family tree?  Your DNA may hold the key to answer each of the above questions and more.  A family ancestry test, also known as a genealogical DNA test, examines a person’s unique genetic code at specific locations and determines his or her genealogy or personal ancestry.  Although this test is not meant for medical use, it can provide individuals with peace of mind and can aid in family history research.

Family Ancestry

Test Procedure

One reason that genealogical DNA tests are so popular is because they can easily be conducted at home.  Taking the test is usually a simple and painless process.  A DNA sample is usually collected by a cheek-scraping procedure.  In some cases, it may also be obtained through spit-cups, chewing gum, or mouthwash.  After the DNA has been collected, it must be mailed to a certified testing lab for analysis.

There are three types of tests that a lab may conduct with your DNA in order to determine your ancestry.  Autosomal (atDNA) tests test for all ancestry.  Y-Chromosome (Y-DNA) tests are able to test a male along his direct paternal line.  Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) tests can test both males and females along their direct maternal line.  Each laboratory may have its own unique method of testing DNA in order to determine the ancestry of individuals.

How are Test Results Used?

Once a lab has obtained the test results for your specific type of test, a DNA profile is completed.  Your DNA profile is compared against hundreds of global populations and approximately fourteen anthropological regions with collectively known and scientifically validated genetic information.  This information is obtained from a large selection of highly credible scientific publications and organizations that specialize in genetic research.  Various calculations and algorithms are used to determine your strongest DNA ancestry.  Your genetic information is measured against the above information in order to determine the likelihood of a match.  The information is then compiled in an easy to understand format that allows you to learn about your DNA genealogy.

Displaying Your DNA Test Results

A DNA ancestry map displays the results of your genealogical DNA test in a clear and concise way.  This service is not available through all DNA laboratories and so it is advantageous to work with a DNA laboratory that will prepare a map for you so that can understand your results.  DNA ancestry maps are broken down into three major sections: Population Matches, Native Region Matches, and Strength Indicators.

Population Matches: Your DNA is measured individually against a large selection of worldwide populations with known DNA profiles.  A population match map will show a variety of populations from various anthropological regions and will indicate how strong of a match you have with each population.  Colors such as green, yellow, and red, as well as various shapes are used to display the strength of your match.  Dispersion population information is currently shown for the following five special anthropological regions: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, European Americans, Asian Americans, and European Australians.

                Native Region Matches: A native region map is compiled using a completely new set of calculations from those previously used.  It uses anthropological data to determine which native regions you have the strongest links with.  The data on this map is displayed using various colors to show the strength of matches.  By obtaining a native region map, you can learn more about your “deep roots” rather than simply learning about migration patterns.

Strength Indicators: Your “strength indicators” are displayed on a bar graph and they give you a good graphical representation of the cumulative strength of all the populations in your matched regions.  This graph also shows you how strong your connection is to each region, in comparison to one another.  This allows you to delve deeper into your exact origin.

How Can I Get Started?

If you would like to find out more about how to discover family ancestry and rejoice in your origins, consider having a genealogical DNA test completed today.  The easy and pain free testing procedure allows you to quickly receive your results by mail.  Your results will be compiled in an easy to understand and graphically beautiful display.  You can then proudly display your ancestry maps in your home for years to come.


  1. This would be helpful for those that are adopted. To learn more about their background.

  2. This is a good idea especially for someone that is adopted or for the person that knows very little about their family history.

  3. I like that genealogical tests do tend to keep details at bay and make more general conclusions. The specific site offers genetic predisposition testing, which really isn’t ready for public use – in the end, it tends to make people worried over nothing because a lot of what they look at (cardiovscular disease, for instance) often have few,currently undetermined, or inconsistent genetic aspects.

  4. This is so interesting! I’d like to do this so I can find out about the past!
    Jasmine P recently posted..MY HOLIDAY WISH LIST & GIFT SHOPPING

  5. Jenn Oldaker says:

    This thought has always crossed my mind.. Mainly because my grandpa is from Italy originally, he was born there but moved to the states when he was little with his family. I would love to know more about their roots!

  6. jenifer moore says:

    thank you for sharing

  7. Cheyenne Basile-Keef says:

    i’ve always wanted to do this!

  8. I’ve always thought that creating a family tree would be so much fun. I do not know a lot about my family history but would love to! I think it is important to know this history for my kids. When my dad died suddenly in 2012, I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to give them all the information they should have about my side of the family. I am glad that there is another way to find this.

  9. Tiffiny Palm says:

    Wow! This is pretty cool. It is amazing how they have figured this all out with just using DNA. Would be great to get more ancestry background on my family!

  10. This would be somewhat interesting to see although I am unsure if for the cost it would be worth it unless a bunch of siblings would all pitch in since it is so generalized. The results would be very similiar . For some it might answer questions though..

  11. I can understand why people may want to do this. I wouldn’t.I’m sure it’s all supposed to be secure but, a lot of times information can and does get into the wrong hands.

  12. Jennifer Hiles says:

    This is amazing. I love that you can do it at home. I have been very curious about my family tree and this sounds like a neat way to satisfy that curiosity!

  13. David Smith says:

    This might be interesting since I was adopted. It could show that I was genealogically from Alaska and maybe something about my genetic ancestors. Also since my son was also adopted, it might show what his genetic roots are too.

  14. Heather Smith says:

    This is fascinating to me! We finalized our adoption this year of a pair of siblings through foster care. Although we do know some about the birth family, this might be helpful technology for my children in the future so they can learn more about their ancestry. Just fascinating! Thank you for sharing!

  15. This sounds pretty interesting, but it seems to me that it would be wiser to at least try to trace a family tree before doing this. Thanks for sharing!

  16. I would love to learn about my ancestors.

  17. sherry butcher says:

    I know my father’s parents are from Germany and it sure would be good to learn about them. TFS.

  18. How much do these tests cost? How do you know if the lab you are sending it to is legit? It would be interesting to know these things but could also be scary!

  19. Wow! So interesting! This would be so cool to do and learn about my ancestry. I think it would also be helpful to those who were adopted. Thanks!

  20. Katherine Brown Requilman says:

    That is so awesome I had no idea. I know I am part Irish and part German but I was told there is a possibility I am also part Indian that would be so cool to find out if that is true or not.

  21. This is interesting. I am interested in family genealogy.

  22. Nena Sinclair says:

    This is something I would love to check into! My background is Scottish and Icelandic.

  23. It’s amazing what can be done with DNA testing these days. How interesting!

  24. This is an awesome idea! Thank you for sharing it.

  25. I would love to find out more about my family tree…but I am pretty sure a lot of nuts would fall out :)
    Cyndee Wells/Rude Mom Blog recently posted..Donners of the Dead by Karina Halle #CoverReveal

  26. ghassan alsaleh says:

    happy hollyday

  27. Adrienne L Rudolph says:

    this was very interesting to read about, thank you for sharing

  28. Sandra McFadden says:

    This was interesting to read. How helpful would this be to someone who was adopted. Thank you so much for sharing.

  29. I always wondered how this worked! Thanks for the info!

    gayle | grace for gayle
    I’m a #Previvor
    gayle @ grace for gayle recently posted..perfect power in imperfect weakness.

  30. Very interesting idea. I watched a series on PBS last year that included something similar where they tried to fill out the family tree of some famous people/celebrities and almost everyone had bid surprises in their families when they got the results of ancestry testing.

  31. Robin Smith says:

    This was very informative and something to consider if you wanted to search for your roots especially if you were adopted or only knew one of your parents.

  32. This is pretty interesting….I would love to find out about my dad’s father. He never knew him, and we have no information for him…I’ve tried an ancestry website, and got nowhere due to lack of information. :(

  33. Jacquie Evans says:

    Wow! I would love to do this. I have no idea where I’m from or who my ancestors were. Just 2 names on a birth certificate. It would be nice to get some kind of information.

  34. This testing has come so far in what seems like a short time since they found out how to do this. Very interesting.

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