Setting Correct Expectations With DNA

Over the last few weeks I have seen so many posts on the internet about how disappointed someone was with the DNA test they took. It did not matter where the test was taken, people are just disappointed. The sad thing is, once you read why they are disappointed you know it’s because they have expectations that were rather large.

Some of these expectations:

  1. Finding a certain family member.
  2. The heritage make up is incorrect, the test lies.
  3. They did not get enough close relatives, or relatives are 4th cousin or further.

I will admit that I am no DNA expert. I usually find a friend who has more knowledge than me when I have an issue. But, to me the expectations listed above are not going to be met to 100% satisfaction, for most people. Lets take a look at each one.

  1. If you are looking for a certain family member, say a biological parent, there is NO guarantee that you will find that match when you get your results back. Most of the time, you will have to work with the matches you have to see if you can find where you connect. This is not easy. I have a few adoption connections within my results, its been about six months and I still have not found where they connect and who the biological parent would be.
  2. The heritage percentages should not be taken as gospel. Think of it as a party conversation. It’s fun to talk about, but none of these test are going to give you the exact heritage % that you are. I have heard that 23 and Me comes the closest to this. But, I have not taken this test so I cannot say. I will tell you this, I tested at Ancestry. I have uploaded my results to FtDNA, MyHeritage and GedMatch. On Ancestry, my Scandinavian is < 1%. Ff you look at MyHeritage, my Scandinavian is 22.8%. FtDNA has my Scandinavian at 11%. You can see the huge difference these companies.
  3. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that your relatives have tested. The only way to get matches is if the other family has also taken the same test. If you have not already done so, I suggest downloading your raw data and uploading it to other sites. The more ponds you have your DNA in, the better chances of finding the answers you are seeking. Also, stay patient. People test for different reasons at different times. While you wait, see if you can talk family members you know into testing (this will help you out in the long run as the other results can help you determine which family line a potential match can be related to). Also, take some time to read and learn more about DNA testing. There are many books out there on the subject, but please read current books as so much has changed over the years.

Hopefully, reading this will help you set your expectations for DNA testing that will not leave you upset once the results come in.



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