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Not for genealogists

Today is National DNA Day, a special day chosen by the National Human Genome Research Institute to honor two major developments in genetic research.

First, it honors the discovery in 1953 of the DNA double helix by Cambridge University scientists James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick1 (with a very large reliance on research originally done by English chemist and X-ray crystallographer named Rosalind Franklin who did much of the early data modeling2).

And, second, it honors the completion in 2003 of the Human Genome Project — the first time ever in history that we knew what the entirety of a human’s genetic code looked like.3

Which means, of course, that there are lots and lots of sales going on for DNA test kits for genetic genealogy.

The Legal Genealogist wrote about the key sales last week, and in that post urged folks to consider doing good for others while doing tests for themselves: by buying their test kits through the DNA Detectives Kits of Kindness Program, with a small percentage of the testing fee going to finance the purchase of test kits for people with special needs for DNA testing (adoptees, foundlings and the like) who couldn’t otherwise afford to test.4

And… sigh… I woke up this morning to at least two emails touting sales from companies that — well — let’s just say they’re not tests that are really good for genealogists.

One company — ConnectMyDNA — is one I wrote about as far back as 2012, in a blog post entitled “A DNA test not to bother with.”5 And my opinion of the utility of that test for a genealogist hasn’t changed one bit. Don’t bother.

The other — called GPSOrigins — is also greatly lacking in utility for day-to-day genealogy, and has other issues as well. I strongly urge anyone who’s even thinking of it to read Debbie Cruwys Kennett’s blog post, “A review of the GPS Origins test: four ethnicities and four reports.”6 Bottom line: don’t bother.

If you want to get a DNA test kit as a genealogist this National DNA Day sale period, stick to the big genetic genealogy testing companies: in alphabetical (and numeric) order, 23andMe, AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA and MyHeritageDNA (the last one being a newcomer and just getting off the ground).

As far as those other options… don’t bother.


  1. National Human Genome Research Institute, “National DNA Day” ( : accessed 20 Apr 2017).
  2. See Wikipedia (, “Rosalind Franklin,” rev. 12 Apr 2017.
  3. National Human Genome Research Institute, “National DNA Day.”
  4. See Judy G. Russell, “DNA Day sales for 2017,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 20 Apr 2017 ( : accessed 25 Apr 2017).
  5. Ibid., “A DNA test not to bother with,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 1 Apr 2012.
  6. Debbie Cruwys Kennett, “A review of the GPS Origins test: four ethnicities and four reports,” Cruwys news blog, posted 30 Nov 2016 ( : accessed 25 Apr 2017).
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