What is a Genealogy DNA Test?
A genealogical DNA test could help you find genetic relatives and expand your genealogy research. It is another tool you can use to find family members who know more about your family. It does not replace your paper research - it's another set of data.
For more introductory information on the types of DNA tests, have a look at DNA Basics, part of the Getting It Right Series.
The International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) is the authoritative site on all things to do with DNA testing for Genealogy. Their Wiki has a huge amount of useful information, including for those new to DNA testing.
It is important to know what you want to get out of doing the DNA test. DNA does not lie and some people get unexpected results which become life-altering.
Gail Riddell discusses these in her presentation slides:
Who to Test?
Most people test themselves. There are other people in your family who can improve the information you can receive from DNA testing.
Always ensure that family members are fully informed and give willing consent before doing a DNA test.
- Your parents (or grandparents) - you only inherit half of your parents' DNA. Testing them will get you all of their DNA.
- The oldest person available in your family such as (great) aunts and (great) uncles. Aunts and uncles will have a different set of DNA to you. Like your parents, they will have more DNA from their parents than you will have.
- Your siblings - they will have inherited a different set of DNA from your parents (unless you're identical twins).
How to Test
DNA Sample Collection
There are two main types of DNA sample collection:
- The Cheek Swab method where the user gently scrapes the inside of their cheek
- Saliva method where the user spits into a tube.
Older people find producing saliva difficult so may prefer a cheek swab.
Further resources about what to do once you've received your results is available for NZSG Members on our DNA - Your Results page. Not a member? Join here!