Some adoptees are lucky. They just do one or more of the recommended genetic genealogy DNA tests and uncover a genetic match to a parent, sibling, or another close relative. That is actually happening more often as the databases get bigger.
Many more of us will have to start with distant cousin matches. Getting from there to the identity of our birth parents will take additional steps. Success will require education, assistance and maybe some specialized online tools. Read on for our list of screened and recommended DNA resources.
Many of us learn best by reading. Fortunately, there are now several excellent books available to educate us about genetic genealogy. Most of them at least address the use of such tests by adoptees.
Richard Hill, Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA
A member of the GAGP Advisory Committee, Richard was a pioneer in the use of DNA to find his biological family. Read his book for both education and inspiration. Available in both print and Kindle editions.
Richard Hill, Guide to DNA Testing
This 99-cent Kindle Short Book is deliberately brief with the most easy-to-understand introduction to genetic genealogy. NOTE: You do not need a Kindle device to read Kindle books. Amazon offers free Kindle reading apps for computers, tablets and smartphones.
Blaine T. Bettinger, The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy
This 240-page book is the most complete and up-to-date resource on genetic genealogy. While some material is too advanced for raw beginners, you will want this comprehensive book on hand as you work your way through the DNA testing process. Available in both print and Kindle editions.
David R. Dowell, NextGen Genealogy: The DNA Connection
This is another recent textbook on genetic genealogy. Unfortunately, this great book is priced like a textbook. If it’s too costly for you, I suggest you ask your local library to purchase the book. Available in both print and Kindle editions.
Emily D. Aulicino, Genetic Genealogy: The Basics and Beyond
This is another recent book on genetic genealogy. Although it’s not as tightly written as the above books, it has good information and plenty of examples. Available in both print and Kindle editions. The Kindle edition is a real bargain.
EDUCATIONAL WEB SITES
As DNA technology advances, new tests, new methods, new features, options and pricing changes will not be incorporated into previously published books. Web sites are more flexible for adding current news and you will want to check out the following web sites:
International Society of Genetic Genealogy
The ISOGG website contains the most comprehensive set of information on genetic genealogy. The site includes a great Wiki where you can look up information on any particular DNA subject.
Family Tree DNA
Our DNA testing partner has many educational resources on its website. Use this link to FamilyTeeDNA, and hold your cursor over Resources at the top. Click Learning Center to browse topics of interest or click Forums to participate in discussions with other users. If you are logged in, you can also check the GAGP Activity Feed from within your FTDNA account.
DNA Testing Adviser
GAAP Advisory Committee Co-Chair Richard Hill began building his site for adoptees and genealogists in 2008. Major sections include Genealogy, Adoption, Ethnicity, Paternity, Health, FAQs and DNA Books.
PRIVATE FORUMS AND MAILING LISTS
These are the most interactive resources for asking questions and getting help from search angels and other adoptees. Some of the best are on Facebook, which can be useful in many ways for adoptees in search of family.
NOTE: All these groups are restricted to those accepted for membership. Only members see posts. So discussions are more private than on a public web site.
This Facebook group founded by CeCe Moore has solved countless adoption mysteries. They also have a Kits for Kindness fund that can sometimes provide free DNA test kits for adoptees with financial need.
Korean American Adoptees
This Facebook group is specifically for Korean American adoptees living in the United States. Join the group, ask questions, and apply for a free DNA test.
325 Kamra, Inc.
This organization works to reunite people with their Korean families through DNA testing. Korean adoptees living outside the United States can qualify for a free DNA test. Membership fees support DNA testing of Korean mothers and/or biological relatives who relinquished or lost children to international adoption.
Another very active web site for adoptees, Search Squad deals more with conventional search than DNA testing. But all adoptees should be aware of it.
DNA Adoption Group
This Yahoo mailing list is extremely active with experts in all areas of DNA and adoptee searches. TIP: With any of the more active mailing lists choosing the Daily Digest mode is a good strategy to keep your inbox from being buried in messages.
Unknown Fathers DNA Group
This Yahoo mailing list specializes in helping people who are using DNA to search for unknown fathers from any situation, not just adoption. https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/UnknownFathersDNA/info.
This Facebook group is not specific to adoption. But it provides a great forum for learning and getting answers to your specific questions.
THIRD-PARTY DNA TOOLS
Once you start getting DNA matches, these free or mostly free web sites can play an important role in discovering more genetic matches and helping you connect the dots from distant cousins to immediate family members.
This site accepts data from all of the autosomal DNA tests. If you have only done some of them, you will uncover additional matches here. Even if you have done them all, this site has many useful tools to analyze your DNA.
This site was created by adoption search angels, genetic genealogists, and IT professionals. You learn a powerful methodology and gain access to custom tools that make it easier to implement. They also offer some reasonably priced online classes to help you get the most from your DNA testing.
This sister site of DNA Adoption has more documents and tools to interpret the results of DNA tests.