Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     The most recent addition to the popular “Genealogy at a Glance” series focuses on an expanding facet in the field of family research. Genetic Genealogy Basics by Angie Bush furnishes the simple facts about DNA to help genealogists better understand the three different types of testing, what their results may mean, and how they can be useful in locating unknown relationships.

     Contrary to common belief, DNA testing is not the final word in determining your ancestry. Instead, it is most effective when used in conjunction with documentation concerning family relationships, as it can be effective in validating or disproving them. DNA results can also be utilized to test hypotheses about ancestors for whom little or no documentary evidence exists.

     Bush divides her data into three main sections. First, she provides a simple overview of the three types of DNA tests: Y-DNA, mtDNA, and atDNA (autosomal DNA, the most popular type utilized by genealogists). Then she explains which type is right for you (for example, only men can take the Y-DNA test because only males have a Y-chromosome). Designed to give a panorama of all ancestors, the atDNA test supplies general information regarding ancient ancestral places of origin and ethnicity. She also points out that these genetic tests are not the same types as those used in paternity or criminal investigations.

     Next, the author describes testing companies and what you can expect from them. Only companies that provide a list of “genetic cousin” matches based on DNA analysis are featured. In this manner, you may be able to identify and get in touch with previously unknown relatives who may know additional information about your family.

     Finally, Bush discusses how the raw data is interpreted through the use of numbers and letters. Then she tells about haplogroups and what their designations mean. As she mentions, raw data become significant when the results of one individual are compared with those of other individuals who took the same type of test.

     Nearly 3 million people have already taken DNA tests to discover further details about their heritage. When one watches television series like “Finding Your Roots” and “Who Do You Think You Are,” it appears that most people are pleased with what they have learned about their pedigree. But Bush warns that DNA tests have the potential to uncover information that may be upsetting. Anyone who may have difficulty dealing with unsettling facts may be wise to forego DNA testing.

     Following the standard format of the series, Bush condenses into four laminated pages the fundamental details pertaining to a complicated and fascinating topic. Like the other “Genealogy at a Glance” publications, Genetic Genealogy Basics is a handy, compact guide that will aid family researchers in their understanding of DNA testing, its advantages, and its restraints.

     To the guide's price of $8.95, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $4.50 for one item and $2.50 for each additional copy; for FedEx ground service, the cost is $6.00 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional item. The guide (item order 846) may be purchased by check, money order, MasterCard, or Visa from Genealogical Publishing Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, MD 21211-1953. For phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website .

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