Use the “big three” DNA companies, AncestryDNA, 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA“Family Finder” and get your DNA into as many databases as you can afford. These are all autosomal DNA tests – don’t bother with MtDNA or Y-DNA tests for now.  Take note of the kit numbers and passwords that you get when you purchase the tests.

AncestryDNA.com now has a larger database than FamilyTreeDNA.com (FTDNA) or 23andMe.com; you can upload your AncestryDNA results to FTDNA for free. MyHeritage also offers DNA tests.

The autosomal DNA tests are around $99, but often going on sale for about $59 or $69 before Christmas (starting in November), Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and also in the summer.

If you are ordering a DNA test, consider going through CeCe Moore’s site, she gets a small commission to offset her volunteer work.  http://www.yourgeneticgenealogist.com/p/affiliate-links.html

Short video “ADOPTEES RECOVERING THEIR HERITAGE THROUGH DNA TESTING”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLm1LImExaU

Before You Contact Your Matches – See our articles about Preparation and Reunion Tips on this website (under Resources/Articles).

If you have taken a test with AncestryDNA, read this guide before you start contacting your matches: Adoption, Autosomal DNA Results & The Road Ahead   https://sway.com/eRT6GJTv1BeidAEf

Letter to a Birth Parent  http://thednageek.com/letter-to-a-birth-parent/

Genealogy – If you are a parent, or a child with one known biological parent, create a family tree GEDCOM and attach it to your DNA tests.

Getting Started in Genealogy – An excellent ‘how-to’ guide to genealogy (family tree research) that will help you avoid errors:  https://www.americanancestors.org/education/learning-resources/read/getting-started

Analyzing Your DNA Matches

You can trust any articles by CeCe Moore and Blaine Bettinger.

For more matches and comparison tools upload your DNA results to www.Gedmatch.com  for free – the best triangulation tools there require payment of $10.  MyHeritage.com also accepts uploads from other companies (for free).

The Facebook sites below contain links and ‘how-to’ guides for DNA testers who are trying to find birth relatives with the main testing sites.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DNADetectives/  DNA Detectives (with CeCe Moore) has a mix of exciting reunion success stories and struggles, as people learn how to use DNA matches to figure out their families and connect with them. Learn and take hope!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/geneticgenealogytipsandtechniques/

The DNA Geek http://thednageek.com

X-match tips, x chromosome charts  http://www.genie1.com.au/blog/63-x-dna

Getting Cousins to Test  http://blog.kittycooper.com/2014/02/getting-cousins-to-test-blaines-rootstech-talk/

Introduction to DNA Painter, by Blaine Bettinger https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyjcJxywTZI&t=513s

Don’t be discouraged if your matches are in the 3rd cousin range or more distant. More people are taking tests all the time, and you may get a closer match to work with eventually.

updated March 18, 2018