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2014 DNA retrospective

Here we are, in the last days of 2014, so it’s time to stop for a moment, and reflect.

DNAAnd, yes, The Legal Genealogist really does know it’s Monday and not Sunday, but hey… I had something else that I just had to write about yesterday.1

So… what were the top DNA stories for the year?

Let’s do the Top 10 countdown:

At Number 10 for 2014:

DNA Q&A: what test (7 December): “There are always a lot of reader questions about what DNA test to take and who to test for the best results for genealogy. The Legal Genealogist’s standard answer is: test everyone you can afford to test, with every test that might provide the answer you’re for. But in case that by itself isn’t helpful, let’s look at specific reader questions and why specific tests might provide solutions to their problems.”

At Number 9:

The value of the tests (10 August): “It’s an understandable question these days, with all the emphasis on autosomal DNA and finding cousins out there with whom to share our research efforts. ‘Is there any value any more,’ people sometimes ask, ‘in doing any DNA testing other than autosomal?’ … But let there be no mistake on the answer whatsoever: Oh, yes. Yes, yes, yes.”

At Number 8:

Sibling rivalry (9 March): “(B)ecause of that random jumbling process, even brothers and sisters do not have exactly the same autosomal DNA. One might get more DNA from, say, their paternal grandfather than the others; another might get more DNA from their maternal grandmother. So the only way to find as many matches as possible — and to find the very best matches — is … yep, you’ve got it … ‘Test as many people as you can.’”

At Number 7:

Finding father (30 November): “‘Which DNA test do you recommend,’ (reader Katie) asked, ‘if I’m trying to find out who my father is?’… (N)obody who grew up knowing something about the person whose name gets entered in the first box on the paternal side of a family tree chart can really understand the power of Katie’s question. It’s so much more than ‘who is he?’ It’s also ‘who am I?’”

At Number 6:

X marks the spot (5 January): “So there’s a brand-new tool at Family Tree DNA this week to help with our autosomal DNA analysis. And boy is it going to take some getting used to… What we were handed was a way of directly comparing one person’s X-DNA against another person’s X-DNA.”

At Number 5:

When less is more (7 October): “AncestryDNA yesterday outlined its plan for a new matching system which it expects to roll out by the end of 2014. And it’s going to come as a big surprise to a lot of users, especially those of us who have any colonial American ancestry (and who therefore have these long match lists at AncestryDNA): Our numbers of matches are about to drop like a rock. And that, folks, is going to be A Good Thing.”

At Number 4:

Admixture: not soup yet (18 May): “The Legal Genealogist wants everyone who’s ever taken a DNA test that provides a set of ethnicity or admixture estimate percentages to repeat after me: ‘It’s not soup yet.’ And it may never be.”

At Number 3:

Changes at AncestryDNA (20 November): “So yesterday was the rollout of the changes in matching systems for folks who’ve had DNA tests at AncestryDNA. And, as usual, there’s good news and bad news in the changes. Enough to warrant breaking with The Legal Genealogist‘s usual Sunday-for-DNA rule to comment today.”

At Number 2:

Why, Ancestry? Why? (8 June): “Anyone who has paid attention to the DNA offerings at in recent months couldn’t have been surprised by the announcement this past week that Ancestry was discontinuing its YDNA and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) tests and — going forward — will only offer the autosomal test under its AncestryDNA brand.” And, in fairness, I have to include the post Ancestry responds (13 June). Even if I don’t agree with the reasoning one bit.

And the Number One DNA post for 2014:

2014: Most bang for DNA bucks (6 April): “In 2012, The Legal Genealogist led off a Sunday DNA blog by asking ‘how do you get the most bang for the DNA buck?’ And then followed that up last year with an update after prices tumbled for autosomal DNA tests. And it’s time now for another update. Because the technological changes particularly at 23andMe mean the old recommendations don’t work any more.”

On to 2015…


  1. Judy G. Russell, “Angels among us,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 28 Dec 2014 ( : accessed 28 Dec 2014).
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