Ancestry.com’s DNA Ancestry
site has emerged from beta
offering Y-DNA and mitochondrial tests (ranging from $149 to $199) and promising Ancestry Member Tree users will soon be able to add their test results to the information in their trees. Public trees
are searchable, so theoretically, you could find the name of a candidate for your great-grandfather, take a DNA test and see if you’re a match to his descendant.
DNA Ancestry seems user-friendly, with streamlined test ordering, and genetic genealogy information (including sample test result reports) linked on the right side of the home page. You also can listen to Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, Ancestry.com’s chief family historian and co-author (with Ann Turner) of Trace Your Roots With DNA
(Rodale, $14.95), talk about genetic genealogy on NPR.
People who get tested with DNA Ancestry are automatically notified of matches in its DNA database. You’ll be able to enter results from other labs in the database, which isn’t yet available but will be free.
Of course, you’ll want to take the site’s marketing with a grain of salt. An ad on Ancestry.com says “Looking for your ancestors? Just say ‘aah.’” Kind of gives the impression you take a test and boom, you know your missing ancestor’s name and place of birth.
Yes, you might take a test and immediately learn you unquestionably match a cousin who knows your family history back to the Dark Ages. But we’re not to the point where that’s possible for all. You’ll probably need to plug your test results into several databases before finding a match, and those matches may be iffy enough that you have to do more genealogical research before you can say for sure whether and how you’re related.
You can get more details on DNA Ancestry on its FAQ page
. Look in an upcoming Family Tree Magazine
for our article featuring answers to genealogists' pressing genetic genealogy questions.