Social Networking Meets Genetic Genealogy

By Diane Haddad Premium

The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF), the nonprofit arm of Sorenson Companies, has combined two of the latest genealogical developments — DNA testing and online social networking — in its partnership with the GeneTree <> Web site.

Users can sign up for a free GeneTree account and create home pages with photos, family trees, multimedia files and, naturally, DNA results. All ancestors automatically get Web pages, which families can add to.

A tool called DNAvigator searches the SMGF mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test results database for matches to yours, then compares the associated lineages and their locations, and presents the results in an “intuitive visual representation” (see an example below). Matching users can get in touch through GeneTree. (You can search SMGF’s free mtDNA and Y-DNA databases on your own, too, at <>.)

GeneTree charges $99 to $149 for mtDNA tests, which both men and women can take (see page 46 for more on genetic genealogy). At press time, Y-DNA tests weren’t yet available. The site used to offer paternity testing, but Sorenson’s Identigene division has taken over that business.

GeneTree users who’ve donated DNA samples for inclusion in SMGF databases could get their test results for just a processing fee. Those who requested test kits anytime before Oct. 22, 2007, and sent in their samples before Nov. 22, are eligible. That includes participants back in the early days of the project, when it was hosted by Brigham Young University, says SMGF spokesperson Peggy Hayes. Learn more by calling (800) 344-7643 or e-mailing SMGF at

From the March 2008 issue of Family Tree Magazine