Are you new to DNA testing and trying to figure this all out?

Dear Newbies,

We live in an impatient world, where instant gratification is the expectation and the norm. 

Unfortunately, the analysis of DNA is in most cases not a magic bullet.  We need to wait for receipt of the test kit, then wait for the results to be processed and posted, then wait while we work the results to find a common ancestor.  All of this can take weeks, months, even years. Occasionally there is the rare DNA match of a close relative such as a half-sibling or even a parent, but those are much less frequent, although it has happened. 

The average adoptee/unknown ancestor search can take a minimum of 1,000 hours. Working on such a search for only one hour a day, 7 days a week, would result in 2-1/2 years of analysis.  A recent birth mother "DNA only" find took over 5 years and the birth father is still unknown.

I see so many people struggling and always the same question: "I got my DNA results.  What do I do now?".  There is no 1, 2, 3 bullet list on what to do next.  It's not an easy subject and it's like learning a new language. I don’t tell you this to discourage you, but to make you aware that there is more to DNA testing and results than most people realize.  But I can tell you this....once you start to grasp some of the concepts, you are hooked and you need to know more.  It's addicting. So yes, I confess.  I am a "DNA junkie".

I started looking into DNA testing about 5 years ago.  As an adoptee and not knowing who my biological parents were, I theorized that anyone who matched me on my DNA would be a cousin, albeit distant. Would it be possible then to find out the ancestry of these DNA matches knowing that somewhere in that maize of ancestors I would find mine too? At the time, it was only a theory but after speaking with others who thought that the same process could possibly help adoptees and others with unknown ancestors, I began to read everything I could get my hands on even before I tested.  I even went back to college and took courses in DNA and bio-chemistry.  I wanted to know what it was all about.  Most things I had to read two, three or even 6 times for it to soak into my brain and I could finally say “Oh, I get it now!”.  I subscribed to some mailing lists about DNA and genetic genealogy.  Initially, I had no idea what they were talking about.  Slowly, I was able to gain more information and eventually it all began to make sense.

Out of all of this, with Rob Warthen and Diane Harman-Hoog, a methodology and tools were developed to work these analyses. went online in January 2013 soon to be followed by  In August 2013 we presented the first class to teach others how to use their DNA to find those unknown ancestors.  From that first class on Autosomal DNA grew other courses we now sponsor…..Y-DNA Basics and First Look Intro classes on FTDNA, 23andme, AncestryDNA and Gedmatch.  We have taught over 900 people, many of whom have had great success in finding birth families and other DNA ancestors.

All the classes are online. They run from one day for the Intro classes to 4 weeks for the Basic Autosomal DNA class, and can be worked within your own schedule and time. A list of what we offer and instructions on how to sign up can be found here:

If you are truly interested in learning how DNA can help you, for a small fee please consider joining us.  Your success will be based on your own willingness to participate, learn from those failures, and put in a great deal of time to understand and get the answers. 

We at DNAAdoption and DNAGedcom wish you great success in this new era of finding families through DNA.

Karin Corbeil
Genetic genealogist
Project Admin - FTDNA Global Adoptee Genealogy Project;Unknown Fathers Project
Moderator Yahoogroups - DNAadoption, UnknownFatherDNA, AdoptionDNA_Tools
Board of Directors - 
Manager and teacher - DNAAdoption classes