I am currently starting to research my family history and I am new to the process.

How should I go about the DNA testing process?

I would like to know my ancestry (80% Scandinavian, 16% European, 4% other).


2 Answers 2


"Resolution" of DNA testing is a good starting point to understand the limitations of DNA testing for determining the geographic origin of your ancestors. The accuracy of any 'admixture assessment' will depend on how well your particular ancestral mix is reflected in the user population of the testing company you choose; and all the companies are still in the progress of refining their assessments.

If you are just starting to research your family history, your money and time would be much better spent doing traditional research into the records of your ancestors; getting a DNA test done without any accompanying paper trail will make it impossible for you to work out how you are related to anybody who might show up as a match.

However, if you have elderly relatives, it's best to test them sooner rather than later (even if you don't have a paper trail) if you can persuade them to participate.

  • Thank you! My family actually started the traditional research years ago and dropped it but I actually have a family tree with names documented so now I need to pick up where my family left off. Feb 14, 2014 at 15:12

The type of DNA test you would need to have done is an autosomal DNA test. There are three types of DNA used in family history currently:

  • Y-DNA (for direct paternal lines),
  • mitochondrial DNA (for direct maternal lines), and
  • autosomal DNA (for all your lines). Autosomal DNA is simply all the nuclear DNA in your cells that is not on a sex chromosome (X or Y chromosome).

There are many companies with reasonable size databases, however for someone with mostly European ancestry, FamilyTreeDNA is probably the best company to go with. Since their database is by far the largest, you are more likely to get accurate ethnic percentages, and have most chance of finding matches with cousins. For details see: http://www.familytreedna.com/family-finder-compare.aspx

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