What's hidden in your chromosomes?

DNA & Genealogy

DNA Success Stories

Family reunion stories in the media have always been very popular.  Just a few years ago many of the stories below - all resulting from DNA testing - would have been unheard of, perhaps even thought impossible.

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Books on Genetic Genealogy

Beginners to DNA testing for genealogy often ask how they can educate themselves to more easily understand the terminology, the science, the testing products and their DNA results.

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Tips for using GEDmatch

Those new to DNA testing for genealogy will soon become aware of GEDmatch.  Common questions asked in genetic genealogy groups once a member receives their autosomal DNA results include: "How do I upload my raw data to GEDmatch?", "How do I use GEDmatch once I have uploaded?", and "What does it all mean?".

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What is a Family Finder test?

A Family Finder test is a very simple DNA test that anyone of any age or gender can do.  It is called 'Family Finder' because it has the potential to find family.  Family Finder is very popular with genealogists (family historians) looking to extend their family trees and solve family mysteries.

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Projects at Family Tree DNA

Family Tree DNA hosts a large number of DNA project groups for the benefit of its customers.  Included are thousands of different surname projects, geographic projects, haplogroup-specific projects, lineage projects and private family projects.

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Establishing a DNA Interest Group

Thousands of genealogists have tested their DNA for family history purposes, but from my experience it seems that many are not members of DNA Interest Groups (DIGs) or even family history societies - they are going it alone, or getting their support entirely online.

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X-DNA's helpful inheritance patterns

When you test your autosomal DNA, your X-DNA is also examined and included in your raw data &/or match results.  When you match someone on your autosomal DNA and also share segments on the X-chromosome, the unique inheritance pattern of X-chromosomes can help isolate your common ancestor to particular lines of your ancestry.

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atDNA: Finding Matches on All Ancestral Lines

Everyone inherits autosomal DNA from their parents: 50% from each parent, which contains a random mix of DNA segments from their parents, their parents, their parents, back for several more generations.

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mtDNA: the Direct Maternal Line

Everyone inherits mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from their mother - through her mother, her mother, her mother, her mother, and so on - represented by the pink boxes on the pedigree chart below.

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Y-DNA: the Direct Paternal Line

All males inherit Y-chromosomes from their father - through his father, his father, his father, etc - represented by the direct paternal line as per the blue boxes on the chart below.

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Template for DNA match enquiry emails

Once your DNA results have been released, you'll be keen to start emailing your closest matches, especially if any of their surnames or places look familiar.  If you are new to genetic genealogy, follow the tips below to help you get a better response to your enquiries.

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What types of DNA tests are available?

For genealogical purposes, there are three main types of DNA tests that are available: Y-chromosome (Y-DNA) tests for the direct paternal line, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) tests for the direct maternal line, and autosomal DNA (atDNA) tests for finding matches on all your ancestral lines.

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Should I test my siblings too?

This is a question often asked and heard in the genetic genealogy community.  Should I test my siblings too?  The answer depends on the type of DNA test and the makeup of your family.

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Facial composition brings convict ancestor to life

William Bartlett

Family Reunion

Earlier this month I attended the 19th annual Bartlett Family Reunion in outer-suburban Melbourne.  It is a lively gathering of descendants of my Tasmanian convict ancestor William Bartlett.

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Genetic Genealogy Links & Resources

Once you start taking an interest in DNA testing for family history purposes, you will naturally want to find out more about how everything works - the test types, who to test, choice of testing companies, understanding results, taking it further, support groups, online forums, advanced tools, projects, etc.

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Introduction to Using DNA for Genealogy

chromosome browser

Buzzes of excitement have become apparent in family history societies over the last few years, as more and more genealogists are starting to use DNA testing as an additional family history research tool. 

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DNA Test Sales & Discount Offers

Occasionally there are sales or discount voucher codes available for the purchase of DNA tests for genealogy.  I will publish them on this page whenever I'm aware of good deals to share.

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DNA match email management


For those venturing into the fascinating world of DNA testing for family history, be prepared for the occasional influx of emails from prospective relatives.  Autosomal DNA tests such as Family Tree DNA's Family Finder test have the potential to find hundreds of matches, initiating many new contacts via email.

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Free access to Australian records at MyHeritage

MyHeritage Australian Searches

To celebrate National Family History Month, MyHeritage family history website is offering free access to Australian historical records from August 15th to 22nd - that's from today until next Friday, so get into detective mode for the weekend and the week ahead and start exploring!

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Do you recognise 'Pietro'?

The mystery Pietro in 1942

Pietro never knew he had a daughter.  Since her mother passed away, his daughter is now looking for him, even though he would be aged in his late 90s if he was still alive.  Pietro was in Naples in 1942/43, where he met his daughter’s mother, who loved him very much.

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What does a FTDNA test kit look like & how do I use it?

Have you ordered your first DNA test kit and are wondering what it will look like and how you will use it? Or are you considering doing a DNA test to help with your family research and want to learn more before you order - what's in the kit and how you physically take the test?

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How to order a Family Tree DNA test

DNA test kit envelope

So, you've decided to test your DNA or that of another family member?  Not sure how?  Well, once you've decided who to test and selected the appropriate test type, ordering the test kit is quick and easy.  Just follow these simple steps and your Family Tree DNA test kit will be ordered and on its way!

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Rev up your research with DNA!


Could your family history research use a bit of a rev-up?  A DNA test will spice things up a bit and get you following up some of those long-unfinished cousins' lines in your tree!

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Australian state-based genealogy resources

Qld criminal records

Australia’s state-based online information resources can provide vital records to help you grow your family tree or relocate living relatives.  If you are just starting your family history research, read about Australia's free national resources first, to locate records of any interactions your family may have had with the government - such as immigration, military service, naturalisation, and patent applications.  Also look for news or family announcements published in newspapers.

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Snipping Tool for Genealogy and more

Snipping Tool

If you are already an avid fan of Microsoft’s Snipping Tool, then this post is probably not for you - unless you want to see how I make use of it.  If, on the other hand, you have no idea what the Snipping Tool is, or you've heard of it but never used it, then you must read on! 

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ANZAC photos to share or identify

ANZAC soldiers

For ANZAC Day today, I decided to share two photographs from my family's photo collection.  Both photos originate from the same family album belonging to a cousin of my mother.  I have limited information about the soldiers in the photos, as the original owner is now deceased, but I would like to share them in case others can claim them as belonging to their families.

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Double-take your Census Records!

Census images

Was your ancestor enumerated twice?  Success in locating our ancestors’ families in the census returns generally falls into two distinct types: the majority of families that we find relatively quickly and easily (or with just a few tweaks of the search criteria), versus those ‘difficult’ few families that we just can’t locate in a particular census, regardless of how many times we try again, and again, using different search strategies.

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Social Media & Genealogy

Social Media Collage

Social media and social networking have changed the way genealogists network and carry out their research, compared with, say, 20 years ago.  Along with all the new technologies and resources available to us comes a lot more potential for new contacts, collaborations and discoveries.

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Tracking down Genealogical Treats on eBay

Genealogical treat found on eBay

Family historians and genealogists are always on the alert for new clues relating to their ancestors, so once all known memorabilia has been gleaned from extended families, a broader hunt and speculative searches can be implemented for:

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