Finding Unknown Relatives Through DNA Testing

A ton of us have gaps in our family trees. What do you really know about your paternal great-great grandfather? Or your maternal great-grandmother?

Some people can shrug off the unknown without a second thought, while others desperately need to fill in the gaps to get a better understanding of who they actually are. How many cases have you heard of, where an African American man, who believes he is 100% African American, suddenly finds out that he’s actually a ¼ European? This happens all of the time — so how do you find out more information about the part of you that you didn’t even realize existed?

First, you can start with checking the census. Census records and gravestones of the deceased can give a slight insight into unknown individuals. Or, you can turn to two innovations that are widely available: genome-wide genetic testing and methods to locate identical DNA segments that indicate that two or more people can be closely related.

With these two innovations, people can now discover previously unknown relatives — all because of DNA! Do you have any ancestors you’d like to learn more about?

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