Before the 1940 census came out, genealogists on Facebook were buzzing about a new DNA test Ancestry.com has been teasing but hasn’t yet released.
Blaine Bettinger, who shares his expertise on on using genetic genealogy for family history research on his The Genetic Genealogist blog, tried out the new test for Family Tree Magazine. In this guest post, he explains what it can do for your family tree:
With each year, it seems, genealogists get new tools for examining their family trees. 2012 has already given us the 1940 census to spend countless hours with, and now Ancestry.com plans to launch a new autosomal DNA test, AncestryDNA, later this year.
Autosomal DNA tests examine thousands of locations throughout your genome, and that information is used to estimate the percentage of the genome that’s derived from regions around the world (called “admixture”). Test results also can help you identify genetic cousins by comparing your DNA to all other DNA in the companys database.
AncestryDNA offers both admixture and matching, which they call Genetic Ethnicity and Member DNA Matches:
- Genetic Ethnicity: This calculation is based on roughly 22 populations around the world from proprietary and public databases, with more likely to be added.
- Member DNA Matches: This tool shows the individuals with whom you share DNA through a common ancestor. You also receive an estimate of the predicted relationship range (such as third cousin, fourth cousin). This tool also offers what I believe is the most interesting aspect of the AncestryDNA test: the automatic comparison of matches family trees.
In other words, if John Doe and I share DNA, AncestryDNA will compare my family tree to his (if he has a public tree on Ancestry.com) to determine whether any surnames or even individuals overlap. If there are overlaps, both users will be notified.
As someone who’s spent many hours comparing family trees looking for common ancestors with genetic cousins, I believe this tool will prove to be very useful.
AncestryDNA is currently in beta and isn’t yet available for purchase. No pricing information is available yet.
Disclaimer: This information is based on the beta version of the AncestryDNA test. Accordingly, results and features are subject to change before the full launch of the test. Further, I received a complimentary test from Ancestry.com in order to evaluate the product.