Family / Relatives

Any of the recommended genetic genealogy tests, including the $79 Family Finder test, can produce a list of people who share significant amounts of DNA with you. All but the most speculative of those matches must have ancestors in common with you.

Your match list may include a close relative, i.e. a parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, or first cousin. Now that the databases have grown to include a few million people, this is happening more often.

Even if you only see matches to more distant cousins, i.e. second, third, or fourth cousins, you may still be able to identify your birth family. While your biological family tree may still be blank, many of your DNA matches will be genealogists with extensive family trees.

By contacting your matches, exploring their trees, and using various online resources, you may be able to trace a branch of your relative’s tree to the time and place of your birth. While this process can require considerable effort, many adoptees and search angels are happy to share the methods, tools and tips that have already solved countless adoption mysteries. See the DNA Resources page.

Once you find a possible close relative, you can use the Family Finder test to confirm your discovery. Unlike a paternity test that can only confirm a parent-child relationship, Family Finder actually measures how much DNA any two people have in common.

So even if a parent is unavailable or unwilling to test, you can confirm your biological connection by testing a sibling, aunt, uncle, grandparent, first cousin or even a second cousin. The test can even distinguish full siblings (two parents in common) from half siblings (one parent in common).

Ancestry / Ethnicity

Many adoptees grow up wondering about their ethnicity. Dark skin, for example, might reflect ancestry from Africa, Spain, Latin America, the Middle East or southern Asia.

The Family Finder test includes a myOrigins report that breaks down your overall ethnic makeup into percentages by regions of the world. Your DNA is compared to that of 22 population clusters and your top clusters are displayed in a chart and map.

In addition to the satisfaction of finally knowing your roots, such results can sometimes be an important clue in identifying your birth parents.

Health / Medical

Once you have identified your birth family, you will have an opportunity to learn about health conditions experienced by your parents. This will finally let you answer those questions about family medical history that doctors have been asking your whole life.

Another approach is to see what your own DNA says about your inherited risk for genetic disorders, your carrier status for diseases that could pass on to your children, and your probable response to certain drugs.

One simple, inexpensive approach is to download the raw data from your Family Finder test and have it analyzed by Promethease. For just $5 you can see if your genetic risk for various health conditions is higher or lower than average.

If DNA analysis indicates a greater risk for a particular disease, do not panic. Genetics only accounts for a portion of the risk. Factors such as diet, exercise, obesity and smoking also come into play.

Just knowing your genetic risk can get you to assert more control over your health. Lifestyle changes may offset inherited tendencies. Plus, the added genetic information can also let you and your physician schedule appropriate screening tests.