Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Dear Randy: How Do I Cite My Autosomal DNA Test Results?

I received this question in email from a correspondent recently, and said to myself "Wow, that's a big question!"

I recalled that Elizabeth Shown Mills published a QuickSheet in 2015 about it - see my review at  Review - "QuickSheet: Citing Genetic Sources for History Research, Evidence Style*"  It was updated in 2019 - see, but I don't have it.

Elizabeth published QuickLesson 21: Citing DNA Evidence: Five Ground Rules on her website.

After reviewing the QuickSheet I have, I noted that there are several new features on the major DNA sites (AncestryDNA, 23andMe, MyHeritageDNA, FamilyTreeDNA, GEDmatch), but I will try to muddle through.  I chose to look at the following, and will provide only the Full Reference Note:

1) Ethnicity Estimate:

"DNA Story," database report, Ancestry ( : accessed 6 May 2020), for Randy Seaver, predicting 63% England, Wales and northern Europe, 23% Germanic Europe, 6% Norway, 5% Ireland and Scotland, and 3% Sweden.  


"MyOrigins," version 2, database report, FamilyTreeDNA ( : accessed 6 May 2020), for Randy Seaver, predicting 90% British isles, 6% Southeast Europe, and trace results from Finland, Oceania, North and Central America, and West Middle East.

2)  DNA Match Information With a Specific Person:

"DNA Matches," database report, MyHeritage ( : accessed 6 May 2020), for Randy Seaver and [name withheld], predicted 3rd to 5th cousin,, 44.7 cM on 3 segments; matches on chromosome 3 (6.9 cM, start-stop points 60348943-64328025), chromosome 4 (22.3 cM, start-stop points 71566-8483940), and chromosome 5 (15.4 cM, start-stop points 3994354-66504513); Common ancestors are Isaac Lanfear and Rosina Laun, documented relationship: 4th cousins 1x removed.


"DNA Relatives," database report, 23andMe ( : accessed 6 May 2020), for Randy Seaver and [name withheld], predicted 3rd cousin, 0.84% DNA shared, in 3 segments; matches on chromosome 1 (25.61 cM, start-stop points 3439468-58795833), chromosome 3 (23.07 cM, start-stop points 124873295-148530846), and chromosome 10 (13.45 cM, start-stop points 119589798-126054197); [name withheld] has no family tree, and there is no known documented relationship.

3)  AncestryDNA ThruLine:

"ThruLines for John Richman," Ancestry ( : accessed 6 May 2020), for Randy Seaver and [name withheld], 18 cM in 2 segments, predicted 4th cousin 1x removed, Randy Seaver and [name withheld] have large Ancestry Member Trees with sound evidence of each assertion.

Those are the three major results that I would use if I were documenting a DNA test in a client report or on my blog (which I haven't done yet!).  The QuickSheet has more options for other types of reports (whole genome, Y-DNA, myDNA, education, etc.).

Readers may disagree with me and I welcome suggestions for improvement. Obviously, I haven't used every DNA provider or test result in the above.

NOTE:  Robin Wirthlin published an article on Family Locket about DNA Source Citations.


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