Is there any point in having one of those DNA tests done?

Just wondered if anyone has done one of those Ancestry type DNA tests and if they produce any worthwhile results, or are they a waste of money?

I was born before my mother married. My birth fathers name is not on my birth certificate although I know the town he is from. I was adopted by the man my mother married. But I also know I have a sister out there and she has children. She was also born before marriage but unlike me she was given up for adoption.

Ive been thinking of trying to trace her but have very little to go on so wondered if there is any point in doing one of these DNA tests. 

Has anyone used one and would you recommend giving it a go?
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  • FlugelhornFlugelhorn Forumite
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    you never know - she may have done a test and be looking for he birth family and there may be other relatives of your father out there. ancestry has the biggest database - I have tested and found the results fascinating
  • edited 25 May at 10:06PM
    turnitroundturnitround Forumite
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    edited 25 May at 10:06PM
    Thank you for the reply. Im a bit confused about the tests though. Maybe I'm expecting the wrong thing. I just looked at the Ancestry website and it shows you can expect results showing ethnicity etc. I'm not concerned to find out if I'm 20% French, 40% British etc. Nor am I interested in who my ancestors were really, I just want to find out if there are any matches out there that could be siblings/cousins etc.

    Am I expecting too much from the tests?
  • theoreticatheoretica Forumite
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    From your DNA they can definitely tell you things about yourself.  They will be reluctant to promise anything about relatives, because one person may find several people who share their DNA have done the test while someone else will have nobody.  It's a chance.


    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
  • RASRAS Forumite
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    Hi, the ethnicity thing is pretty popular in the US where Ancestry really got going. After all, it's a huge melting pot and sometimes knowing the ethnicity of a match helps place them in your tree. And if you know your mum is likely to be 90%+ British and you turn out to be 25% Spanish, you might want to look at the other matches who also have Spanish blood?

    It's probably a good idea to start by joining the Adoption Contact Register Adoption records: The Adoption Contact Register - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) as if your sister was looking for her birth family she might also register there.

    There are people on Ancestry who didn't know that one or more of their parents wasn't biologically related until they tested and have no close relatives on the database to help guide them. Two of my more interesting matches joined 18 months and over two years after I did. It's taken time to work out the connections. In both cases, someone related to the match had an undeclared relationship outside marriage.

    So you might find nothing initially, and then some-one pops up who is closely related. Or not.

    It would be really good to test yourself and someone on your mother's side of the family.  And to do a bit of research so that you know her family at least back as far as your great grandparents. www.familysearch.org. and www.gro.gov.uk are both free and useful, as is freeBMD, if you are looking in England or Wales. Your local history library may have free access to Ancestry or findmypast.

    I realised very early on how two "matching" 2nd cousins fitted in to my tree, because I'd done enough research. The shared matches with them identified other people on the same side of the family. Which gave me clues as where not to look when sorting out the other close matches who weren't related to them. 

    If your mother is still alive test her, as most of the people with whom you don't share a match are related to your father. If she's not alive or interested, and you've a half-sibling from her marriage, or a cousin on her side, you share 25% DNA on average. Which means that the people who don't share a match with both of you , on average are twice as likely to be related to your father as your mother. You just put a little coloured dot next those related to your mother and concentrate on the others to find your father's relatives. 

    And it may also help to search for those people whose family trees mention the town he lived in, then check their trees. Some of the ancestors lived there in 16C, but others may have been resident there last century and worth exploring.

    And you can download your DNA from Ancestry as a zipfile and upload it into other databases to extend your search. They may offer free uploads occasionally, or you can pay a reasonable one-off fee. Some people are on multiple sites, but you can find additional matches who aren't on Ancestry.

    And do make sure your attach your results to an email address you use regularly, or forward to your phone, so you pick up that alert in 3 years time. I actually got a reply from someone today who I messaged in March 2019!


    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • turnitroundturnitround Forumite
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    Thank you so much for that reply. Very helpful. 
  • edited 26 May at 10:25AM
    northwalesdnorthwalesd Forumite
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    edited 26 May at 10:25AM
    A friend of mine found a half sister (from his dad's side) that he didn't know he had. That was from an Ancestry DNA test.
  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    Ancestry often have special offers at times of the year like the run-up to Father's Day. Look out for that. 
  • FlugelhornFlugelhorn Forumite
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    Thank you for the reply. Im a bit confused about the tests though. Maybe I'm expecting the wrong thing. I just looked at the Ancestry website and it shows you can expect results showing ethnicity etc. I'm not concerned to find out if I'm 20% French, 40% British etc. Nor am I interested in who my ancestors were really, I just want to find out if there are any matches out there that could be siblings/cousins etc.

    Am I expecting too much from the tests?
    With ancestry you get given a list of people who match and then you can find out who also matches each other ie family clusters
  • edited 26 May at 8:06PM
    Housebuyer1983Housebuyer1983 Forumite
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    edited 26 May at 8:06PM
    Just wondered if anyone has done one of those Ancestry type DNA tests and if they produce any worthwhile results, or are they a waste of money?

    I was born before my mother married. My birth fathers name is not on my birth certificate although I know the town he is from. I was adopted by the man my mother married. But I also know I have a sister out there and she has children. She was also born before marriage but unlike me she was given up for adoption.

    Ive been thinking of trying to trace her but have very little to go on so wondered if there is any point in doing one of these DNA tests. 

    Has anyone used one and would you recommend giving it a go?
    Absolutely! I found out who my biological father was… and my cousin had tested so now have found my aunts, half siblings (9 and counting!) and 3 cousins, 6 little nieces! I even now have photos of my grandparents which is something I love. I couldn’t believe it my half siblings many are in the same town and friends with people I know. My father was a sperm donor so it was the only way really and now every Christmas I seem to get a new sibling who’s tested 🙂 Also my test covered medical issues and that’s been very useful to know although of course it’s entirely your choice and you can opt out of this. I would say though be aware this may be a lot for them to take in and can ruffle feathers. I’d say around one in three siblings have been excited to know me, one indifferent, one not interested at all/ hostile. Also that this can shift with time but don’t take it personally. It’s been worth it for me so would say go for it. 

  • edited 26 May at 9:49PM
    DoozergirlDoozergirl Forumite
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    edited 26 May at 9:49PM
    I used one just to find out ethnicity for my husband and I, but my story is like yours  - dad not on my birth certificate either - and I started a family tree because I got curious.  I can see my paternal grandmother is on there and I have filled in gaps that I didn't know about my dad and his ancestors.   

    Turns out that I'm more of a Londoner than I thought I was.  I'm not really interested in meeting anyone but the DNA info does mean that I know that I'm on the right track with the family tree - once you get up a couple of generations you will have shared DNA.  If you don't, you're barking up the wrong tree. 

    I'm glad I've done it.  Maybe some more info will be forthcoming in the future, but for now I'm glad that I'm starting to know where I've come from and some of the stories.  

    The fact that you're thinking about it means that you probably will get something out of it.  
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
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