Saturday, January 18, 2020

Day 18: Organize Your DNA Tests

DNA testing has become an important part of genealogical research, and just as with traditional research, it can be difficult to keep track of what you've already done and what still needs to be done. Let's think about all the kinds of information related to DNA testing that needs to be organized.

Do you have a list of research questions that could be helped by DNA testing? For each question, do you know what kind of test would need to be taken, and by whom? (Yes, you may want to go ahead and test some of your oldest relatives just because you may not have the opportunity later, even if you don't know just yet how you'll use that data.)

If you test relatives other than yourself, you need to track additional information. Have you contacted them to find out if they are willing? Have they responded? Have you sent them documentation as to what might result from their testing? Have they given written permission to do the testing and to use their results (with or without limitations)? Do you have those signed documents and have you filed those where you can easily find them again in case there are any future questions from them or their heirs?

Have you sent them a test? Have they taken it? Have they sent it to the testing company? Has the testing company received it? Has the testing company completed processing and provided you with results? Have you shared those results with the test taker? Have you reviewed the results?

Whether you use a spreadsheet or note-taking software to keep track of all of this information, it's important that you organize it. It can be frustrating to lose track and wonder if you remembered to order a test for someone. Save yourself some headaches and you can spend less time worrying about these details and spend more time enjoying analyzing the results and breaking through brick walls.

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