Collecting your DNA
AncestryDNA sends kits to all fifty states in the USA and more than thirty other countries. Once you order the DNA Kit, it should arrive within a week.
The AncestryDNA kit includes a saliva collection tube, a funnel, a cap with DNA Stabilizing solution, a collection bag, and a return mailer box that is prepaid. The package includes instructions. Many DNA testing services will ask for a cheek swab, but ancestry DNA collects your saliva instead.
The first thing you should do when you receive the kit is to input its unique code into AncestryDNA’s database. You will need to activate an online account with AncestryDNA so you can collect your results with ease.
There is a 15-digit activation code on the collection tube, and you will need this number to activate your account. This code keeps your sample anonymous but allows you to track the progress throughout the testing process.
It is important to note that you cannot eat, drink, or smoke anything within 30 minutes before you spit your sample into the tube.
Once you are ready, you have to spit until the amount in the tube reaches the line. Using the funnel helps improve your aim. When you have reached the fill line with liquid (not just bubbles), you screw the cap tightly onto the tube.
The cap for the funnel is DNA stabilizing, meaning that it will release a solution to preserve your DNA before it arrives at the lab. Shake the tube once it is shut. You should shake it for at least five seconds so that the solution evens out.
Once you have your tube set, you will seal it in the collection bag, put it inside of the collection box, and mail it back to the lab.
What Will be Measured
The human body has 23 chromosome pairs that are shared with the parents’ family going back about seven generations before your birth. Twenty-two of these pairs, numbered by size, are used by AncestryDNA in the autosomal DNA test. The other pair determines your sex.
This test identifies your genetic cousins and other close relatives who have taken the same test. Unlike some other services, the primary testing kit does not report on the genetic health conditions that you inherited from your ancestors. The accuracy for finding fourth-degree cousins is almost 90%. As with all such DNA tests the more distant the relationship, the less certain you can be that the predicted relationship is real. Yet AncestryDNA takes an additional step called phasing that eliminates many false positives.
AncestryDNA works well to find your ethnic origins by comparing your DNA to that of groups of people from all over the world. As more genetic samples are collected, the more accurate the results will be.
How Fast Do Results Come Back?
Results are presented in a well-packaged report of all your information. The process takes some time, but the wait is worth it once you have your detailed data available and stored for reference.
It can take anywhere from six to eight weeks to receive your results from the lab. Some other DNA services claim to take four weeks, but six is the standard.
Your place in the DNA database will never expire. The company suggests that as they collect more samples, your ancestry results will become more accurate. Plus, you will continue to see more genetic matches as more people take the test.
How to Read the Results?
Your results are delivered through your online dashboard. The interface is straightforward, and the company truly makes use of effective data visualization. There are two primary sections. First is the Ethnicity Estimate.
AncestryDNA categorizes the world into 363 major regions and ethnicities. Your chart will show what percentages of your DNA is from these regions. You are likely to find traces of multiple areas considering that families have migrated at increasing rates over the past few hundred years.
Results will include an interactive ethnicity map feature where you will learn where your ancestors most likely lived. The colors on the maps will match the colors on your chart. You can zoom in to find more details. Many people will also see one or more Genetic Communities that report more recent migrations based on the family trees of your genetic matches.
If you have any questions at all, their online Support Center is one of the best you will find anywhere.
AncestryDNA and Your Family
The second major section at AncestryDNA lists your DNA Matches. Most people will see thousands of matches ranked by how closely related they are to you. Since AncestryDNA has the biggest database by far, you will probably find more genetic cousins here than anywhere else. Just remember that relatives who chose a different testing company will be in a different database. That is why we recommend that adoptees and serious genealogists take all the leading tests.
One of the great tools exclusive to AncestryDNA is ThruLines. If you put a family tree on Ancestry, link it to your DNA results, and mark the tree public or private but searchable, you can use this tool. It will predict HOW you are related to many of your matches by showing the common ancestors you share and the probable paths connecting you to them. These are fantastic clues for doing genealogy research and expanding your family tree.
You can extend your familial network by reaching out to living relatives through the built-in messaging systemYou will have to opt-in and allow other members to see your results. Your relatives would have had to do the same for the algorithm to have the ability to match you. Your siblings will have DNA results that are very close to yours if you have the same two parents, but they will not be precisely the same. Taking this test, along with your family members, will be interesting because you may find that you have different genetic cousins beyond the second cousin level due to the randomness of DNA inheritance.
Your kids can be tested at any age, as long as you can get them to spit enough into the collection tube. Parents or legal guardians are given the right through AncestryDNA to decide if this kit is appropriate for children who are under their care.
Your whole immediate family could take a test to grow your family tree and share exciting results. If you wish, you can manage other member’s results through your account. Each test that you want to manage has to be associated with its own account.