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Questions to ask yourself before you take a DNA test

Updated: Jul 27, 2021

It seems like everyone in the world has taken or plans to take a DNA test. With the current NASDAQ listing of 23andme.com (ME), DNA is out of the realm of the scientists and mingling with the general population. DNA tests are exciting! As a person who has done 4 DNA tests with different companies, I am an admitted DNA geek. If you are thinking about getting your DNA tested, you need to identify your personal goals before you spit or swab.


Ask yourself these questions before you sign up;

  1. Why do you want to test your DNA? Are you curious about your ethnicity? Looking to fill in missing holes on your family tree? Do you want to see what your DNA says about your health?

  2. Are you prepared for your family myths and lore to potentially fracture? My family told me that I was 25% each of French, German, Swedish and Norwegian when I was growing up. After I took DNA tests at different companies I found our family is more diverse than previously believed. The Scandinavian was there for sure, but where did all the British come from, and Spanish?

And then this surprise in my trace ancestry.. Indigenous American.

This amount is small but it says that somewhere on my mother's side, we had a Indigenous American ancestor. I have not been able to identify her (I am pretty sure it was a female) but have an idea after researching my family tree.


3. If you find out something that potentially changes your world, like an illegitimate cousin, previously unknown close relative, or that one of your parents isn't your parent, then what? This is the biggest question of all that you need to answer before you take a DNA test. Are you prepared to be "surprised" in a bad way?

My first surprise was a very distant cousin that was the result of an affair. Not too hard to digest that, since we were barely related.

My second surprise was a 2nd cousin that I had never heard of before, and with the extent of our family research, I should have known who her name. I reached out and found out that my great, great-uncle, who was a criminal and a conman, had an affair with her grandmother and their son(her father) was my great-uncle and my mother's cousin. We met her and she is a lovely person, who appreciated the information about the family.

The 3rd surprise was again, a 2nd cousin who was unknown to me before the test. This person was the child of a daughter that had been given up for adoption by my great-aunt. That family has not wanted to meet with any of us, and that is their choice. My mother wants to welcome them back into the family, so that decision was rough on her.


Situations that families believed were buried long ago and will never be exposed, can surface with DNA. You have to prepare yourself by asking these questions before you take the test. Are you ready?

(If your DNA test results create more questions than answers, reach out to us for a 2 hour DNA consultation.)

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