What’s in the DNA?

“The greatest history book ever written is the one hidden in our DNA.” – Dr. Spencer Wells

I have long wanted to test my DNA, and that of my husbands, to see what clues and interesting discoveries we can learn. I may be the only family historian I know who hasn’t yet had their DNA tested by one of the several companies that offer the service. That changes now!

Currently, the the main companies offering testing are 23andMe, AncestryDNA, and Family Tree DNA. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. I won’t get into those here as plenty of other knowledgable genealogy bloggers have already discussed these. You may want to visit
The Legal Genealogist or The Genetic Genealogist for reviews and general information on DNA testing for genealogy. If you really want to get serious, check out the International Society of Genetic Genealogy.


At some point I hope to do a DNA test from each. Particularly Family Tree DNA as there is a specific Garrison/Garison Family DNA Project connecting descendants to Gerrit Jansen van Oldenburg who was an original settler in New Amsterdam and the founder of the Garrison/Garison line in the New World. As it requires a male ancestor to test the YTDNA, I will have to rely on dear Dad to verify this lineage.

The reason I went with AncestryDNA for this experiment is simple. 20% off! Who doesn’t love a sale? They often offer the kit at a discounted rate, usually around Christmas, Father’s Day, July 4th, etc. While the kit isn’t terribly cost prohibitive, if you are like me, you want the best deal you can find! If you are thinking about ordering one, you may want to wait until one of these holidays to see what discounts they are offering.

So, back to our kits. They come in simple, attractive packaging. There are easy to follow directions that even I couldn’t mess up! You will login to your Ancestry account to activate your kit with the code provided.

DNA Kit Front

Having recently done a DNA cheek swab for BetheMatch.com (really, you should sign up to be a bone marrow donor-it’s super easy and could save a life!) I expected there to be a set of long, Q-tip like sticks. Um, yeah-that sounds totally scientific!

Close up of tube and cap.
Close up of tube and cap.
Instead of swabs, there was a tube with a funnel for collecting saliva. Upon collecting the saliva in the tube, you remove the funnel and insert the cap with a blue stabilizing solution that ensures accurate lab processing. Insert the tube into the provided collection bag, and mail in the postage pre-paid box that is included with the kit.

AncestryDNA will take 6-8 weeks for processing. There are several questions regarding both our family trees that in which I hope this will shed some light. While it won’t necessarily prove any one particular ancestor, it should help confirm ones that are proven and maybe help reveal new ancestry origins have yet to be uncovered. I can’t wait to share our results!

Copyright © 2015 Beth Wylie and Life in the Past Lane. All rights reserved.

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