DNA is quickly becoming an important part of the study of genealogy. While DNA alone cannot be used for genealogical purposes, its combination with the two traditional sources for family history research — oral history and recorded documents — can reveal long-forgotten connections or break down oft-repeated family myths.

DNA Tests

The two DNA Tests used by family historians are the Y-chromosome (for male lines) and the mitochondrial (for female lines).  Common tests used for testing close relationships include paternity, maternity, forensic, grandparentage, reconstruction (close relatives), siblingship, and twin zygosity.

Testing Results

Different DNA tests are used for different purposes. It is important to understand the Test Results from various tests so you choose the right test to order.


DNA helps researchers understand surname development and usage both in the short term and in the long term. In the short term, researchers may find that “non-paternity” events lead to a modern surname being mismatched to the historical surname. In the long term, surname studies help understand the connection or non-connection between large groups of people and certain surname variations.

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