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  • Writer's pictureRicki King

Are you taking a DNA test? Suddenly Family podcast is a must-listen first.

Before you take that DNA test, I recommend you listen to the new podcast Suddenly Family especially, if you are only taking the test to find out your ethnicity. Suddenly Family is an excellent podcast that presents the good and the bad of DNA test results.

You may be opening a can of worms or secrets that you can not put back in the box. When asked about taking a DNA test and which company to use, I always stress the negative aspects of what you might find. I caution a person to think hard about what they will find out about themselves and family members. A DNA test reveals more than your ethnicity.

Say a brother or uncle has an unknown child out in the world. Your DNA may find that child. If this were to happen, would your brother want to know? Would he want anything to do with that child? Is it up to you to tell your brother about the child or tell the child your brother is his father? These are questions to consider and what you will do if it happens.

Maybe your mother or aunt was adopted or gave up a child for adoption. You will find these unknown facts. How will the adopted child feel if they were never told they were adopted? Why was the child given up for adoption? Was it incest or rape? Does the birth mother want the child found or anything to do with it if found? I suggest telling immediate family members you are taking the test. Mention these scenarios and ask if they want you to know if one of these things happens or something else.

These scenarios are why you want to listen to the Suddenly Family podcast before taking that DNA test. The host Samuel Burke talks to real people who have taken DNA tests and have had shocking results. Samuel Burke speaks to the person about how they felt, their family felt, and how the unexpected results changed their lives. In one episode, the host talks to his father about his results. The podcast brings home why you need to stop and think about what your DNA test results may reveal beyond your ethnicity.

Each podcast episode is about a half-hour long, and currently, there are eight episodes. I have been listening to the podcast the last few days as I walk my dog. As I walked, it got me thinking about want I did not know when I asked my family to take DNA tests. I did not have my family take a DNA test for our ethnicity results but to confirm my family history research. I had done the paper research and was thinking will a DNA test help find or point me in a new direction.

After listening to Suddenly Family, are you still wanting to take a DNA test? I am no expert on DNA or science. Over the years, these are the recommendations I have heard and will share with you. Remember, the test does not tell you who your family is. You will need to do the research.


1) If you are adopted and are looking for your birth family. Take the Ancestry DNA test because you will get the most match results. Because of their advertising, a lot of people have taken this test.

2) If you want to know more about your health, take the 23andMe DNA test.

3) If your interest is in information from your direct male line. I suggest taking a Y-DNA test with FamilyTree DNA. The male Y-chromosome does not change over time.

4) If your interest is in information from your direct female line. I suggest taking an mtDNA test with FamilyTree DNA. The mtDNA is only passed down through the mother and does not change much over time.

There is other autosomal DNA test besides Ancestry and 23andMe. Look at which test will work best for you. If most of your relatives are overseas, maybe MyHeritage DNA is a better fit. There are other DNA tests only found overseas.

DNA day is April 25th. Most DNA companies will be running a sale.

Whatever you decide, there is always a sale on a DNA test coming up. Have your decision made before there is a sale. You will be able to buy a DNA test with knowledge of which one is best for you. I have taken DNA tests with a couple of companies along with my Mom. I have split my siblings between the two testing companies to find as many DNA relatives as possible.

DNA results are not shared among testing companies. If Person A test with Company C and Person B test with Company D they will not find each other. Depending on what you are seeking, you may need to test with several companies.

I will say I do not recommend you test children under the age of 18. I believe you are taking away their legal right to decide the full range of what if's. Also, I think you never know what the future holds for them, and they can not truly make an informed decision as a child under 18. I am 54 years old, and I do not understand everything, so how can you expect a 12-year-old to understand. Yes, as their parent, in essence, you are sharing their DNA when you take a DNA test. I know that, but their DNA is not exactly the same as yours.

When you do take a DNA test, please create a family tree. It does not need to be huge. You can create a tree that only includes you, your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. The names of living people are not shown. Your family tree will help us, DNA test-takers who want to further our paper research. Also, answer an email request from a DNA match. Your answer can be as simple as I don't know anything or yes, I would love to help you. If you do not want anyone contacting you turn off the share feature with this turned off matches will not see you match them.

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