Who should we test?

Genetic genealogy is growing steadily as genealogists discover what a useful tool DNA-testing is. Learning about DNA genealogy soon raises the question:

Who is the most important person to test?

Everyone in your family, or among those you know that are the last living descendant of their direct paternal or maternal line should have their DNA secured for the future, by having their Y-DNA or mtDNA analyzed.

Most important is the elder generation – four tests from your four grandparents can tell you much more than one test for yourself. Look through who is available in your family, and check up which direct paternal and maternal lines they represent.

Ideally all possible Y-DNA and mtDNA-lines from Norway should be tested and “archived” for the future.

Result lists for such tests are published and available for genealogists on the Norway DNA project website. It has information about the earliest known ancestor in the direct line that is tested:

Y-DNA is used to map and verify direct paternal lines, back to the same common male ancestor, see list of Y-results

mtDNA is used to map and verify direct maternal lines, back to the same common female ancestor, see list of mt-results

Gender of the person chosen for testing:

It is often more useful to submit a test (sample) for a male, since only men have Y-DNA. It will usually be more economical to have a male to a combination analysis for Y-DNA and mtDNA than testing two different people.

  • Y-DNA for direct paternal lines can only be tested by men (Y37 or Y67 recommended)
  • mtDNA for direct maternal line can be tested by anyone (FMS, full sequence, recommended)
  • autosomal DNA (Family Finder) for closer relatives in any line can be tested by anyone

If you are female you do not have a Y-chromosome to test, but your father and brother has it and represent your direct paternal line. Send inn a sample from one of them if you can.

As a woman your own mtDNA can be analysed. Your brother, your maternal uncle and your son will also represent your direct maternal line and have the exact same mtDNA as yourself. Either of these three will normally be a better choice for submitting a sample than yourself, since you will then also have the opportunity to also do a Y-DNA-analysis on the sample at the same time, or later as an add-on.

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In our page about Practical help (Norwegian only for now) we write about:

  • how to administrate tests for others
  • how to upgrade an existing account with additonal analysis for a sample submitted earlier

Do you need guidance?

Do you have a genealogical challenge and wonder if DNA can be used to find answers? Are you unsure who to ask for a sample to look into the case?

The administrators of the Norway DNA Project can be contacted by email to advise in specific cases.

It will help if you can describe the situation as detailed as possible:

  • which living people are available for testing
  • which relationship do they have to the line in question, with details of male and female ancestor lines

Remember complex lines via combinations of male- and female ancestor lines are difficult to test beyond 4-5 generations back to a common ancestor. It is an advantage to trace all direct-line descendants for possible testing: everyone in direct paternal line if the question is about a male ancestor, and everyone in a direct maternal line if the question is about a female ancestor.


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