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One identification per company

What a difference in just a few short years…

It was just 24 years ago — barely one generation in genealogical time — that one of America’s foremost genealogists sadly noted that “DNA testing… is not available for general use.”1

Nobody on the planet would say that today: the last set of figures The Legal Genealogist saw suggest that there have been more than 38 million consumer DNA tests by the major genealogical testing companies by the end of 2021.2 That’s total tests, of course: there have been fewer individual testers, since many test at more than one company or take more than one kind of test.

And for those of us who’ve been using DNA for as much of that time as we could, a lot of the shine is off this shiny 21st century research tool. In part, that’s been because the low-hanging fruit has been collected: the easy answers DNA offers already found. In part, it’s been because of the invasion of the genealogical space by unanticipated — and unconsented-to — law enforcement uses, the polarization of the genealogical community over those uses, and the much greater difficulty of trying to work with cousins now that there are so many concerns over non-genealogical uses of data.

But here at the start of a brand-new year,3 I’m resolving to try to rekindle a little bit of my own joy in this tool. I’m resolving to at least try to identify my top who-is-this-person match at each of four testing companies where my autosomal DNA can be found.

DNA goals

At 23andMe, that will be match PN,4 a predicted third cousin with whom I share 1.68% of my DNA, or about 125 cM. This one should be easy: the shared matches, listed surnames and locations point clearly to a set of shared second great-grandparents, Gustavus and Isabella (Gentry) Robertson.

At AncestryDNA, that will be match EL, a predicted 2nd – 3rd cousin with whom I share 125 cM. This match has only an unlinked tree, and none of the surnames point to a particular line. The locations and shared matches, however, suggest this could be another Robertson cousin, so that’s where I’ll focus my efforts first.

At MyHeritage DNA, I’ll be looking at match JS, a predicted 3rd – 4th cousin with whom I share 67.5 cM. Shared matches strongly suggest this is yet another Robertson cousin — not surprising, since those Robertson second great grandparents had 11 kids, and they have left a truly prodigious number of descendants.

And at Family Tree DNA, my top as-yet-unidentified match is PC, a predicted 2nd – 4th cousin with whom I share 85 cM. There, the shared matches suggest this is likely on the Gentry side of this line but — yeah — the same general group of prolific folks.

So that’s my goal for this year: to identify each of these four and how we fit into each other’s trees.

What’s your goal for 2022??

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “The 2022 DNA goals,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 9 Jan 2022).


  1. Helen F.M. Leary, “Evidence Revisited: DNA, POE, and GPS,” OnBoard 4 (January 1998): 1-2, 5; online, Board for Certification of Genealogists ( : accessed 9 Jan 2022).
  2. See Leah Larkin, “Looking Back, Looking Forward: 2022,” The DNA Geek, posted 1 Jan 2022 ( : accessed 9 Jan 2022).
  3. Even if it feels way too much like a sorry continuation of the last unending months of pandemic gloom thanks to unvaccinated unmasked covidiots…
  4. In keeping with the ethical constraints of the field, matches who have not consented to disclosure of their personal identities are anonymized. See Genealogist’s Code of Ethics, Board for Certification of Genealogists ( : accessed 9 Jan 2022) (“When working with DNA test results of living people, I will not publish personally identifying information without each test taker’s consent”).
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