Saturday, October 26, 2013

Exciting New World of DNA Family Matching
We recommend that adoptees who have difficult cases to solve and very little non-ID information participate in a DNA study to narrow down their search for families. These are all "non-invasive" tests (i.e., not blood-related) using cheek swabs or spit samples.  In particular, we recommend three companies/sites:

First, Cost here is $100. This is an autosomal DNA (atDNA) test which factors DNA from both of your parents.  You will be placed in their databases and matched with relatives from close to distant cousins.  This one has by far the largest number of participants, more than 3 million as of 2017.  It is most effective when you know at least one side of your ancestry, for example, if you know who your mother is and are searching for your father. You can build a family tree for your mother to sort out matches. which offers a variety of tests. The one most frequently used is the "Adoptee - Family Finder" which will identify both maternal and paternal possible relatives. The cost is $99.  Other valuable tests on this site are the Y-DNA for males only (father's father's father's father) and mtDNA (mother's mother's mother ...).  You can also upload your raw data from Ancestry to this site for a low price of $20 to unlock all matches. Cost is $100 plus postage for genealogy report, or $200 for genealogy and medical reports.  
If you want to expand your search efforts even further, there is a free site (donations accepted) you can load your raw DNA data to called, which will allow you much higher levels of comparison with your matches.
Whichever company you choose, we recommend you join search and support groups on Facebook. There are DNA experts, genealogists and Search Angels there who will help you understand the very confusing information. Be prepared for a long, steep learning curve, but each day will bring more interesting insights into your biological family and genetic makeup.
Each of these sites has very good introductory videos and webinars. Also look for blogs like CeCe Moore's Your Genetic Genealogist and Richard Hill's DNA Testing Advisor for help.