Juggling DNA Test Results

A Family Finder match is like a very clear little piece of a very blurred bigger picture.
A Family Finder match is like a very clear little piece of a rather obscure bigger picture.     Photo: Geoffrey O’Keefe

Some people manage many kits – 15 or 20 or more.  My hands are full with two.

Perhaps it’s because I want to identify every match before I move on.  But that’s mad. There are changes in the DNA Test market all the time, and there is always some legislation or ethical guideline under consideration which might make it harder in the future for us to DNA test – especially those of us in other countries.  I should just get on and test everyone.

I am also very aware of the passage of time.  My father and father in law are both in their seventies.  They are fairly active but not as healthy as they once were.  Deep inside I still feel as if I’m just out of my teens and as if my parents have a lifetime ahead of them.  But they don’t.

So why haven’t I asked them to test?  Mostly because I’m afraid they’ll say no.  I’ve told them about my own test and my results.  They are interested.  But I think they are interested in the usual way – the ‘what is my interstate daughter doing now?’ way.  It’s not a genuine interest in their past.  In fact, I think they border on considering my hobby to be inappropriate.  Let sleeping dogs lie and all that.

Which is not as short-sighted as it initially seemed to me.  My son’s test has revealed one surprising fact which I will carefully blog about once I have discovered the whole story and ensured that everyone is happy with it. Our immediate ancestors were not without their secrets.

Writing this blog is in part for them – my extended family, in the hopes I can whet their appetite.  It has worked, but on friends not family.  I have several friends now testing which is wonderful.  But I do want family data.

The other issue is the cost.  I’m a bit jealous of these Americans with their $49 test at Ancestry.  That’s not available to Australians.  It costs about $130 AUD to purchase a Family Finder test from FtDNA, and another $10 for return postage.  I’m waiting for someone to discover a vital reason to test Australians which might subsidize it – or better yet, a Genealogical DNA Test service to start up here!  I don’t think that will happen anytime soon due to the ethics concerns. Most of the people I know can accept what goes on in other parts of the world as long as it stays there.  No, I don’t see DNA testing becoming mainstream here for some time.  Better to take a second job to fund my desire for  a complete DNA  record of all family members.

So now I have two tests.  Across those tests, I have now 390 matches and my son has 310.  After beginning with 16 pages of matches, his test populated quickly over the following few weeks. About half of his matches, presumably, are through my side and also amongst my match list.  The rest are new names and once again a bunch of family trees with no obvious connection.

I was getting used to this now – heaps of matches which I can’t identify.  What I have come to realize is that Family Finder is finding family within 8 Generations, not 6. To make use of a Family Finder test I need to get back to 1700 on each side. I was feeling pretty complacent being back to the 6th Generation on all sides but my three brick walls!

I went back to the paper tree again.

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