It’s National DNA Day!

It’s National DNA Day! Eight weeks have passed since the RootsTech family said goodbye for another year. We hailed from 49 states and 55 countries, almost all of which have now been locked down or citizens asked to stay home due to the novel coronavirus, commonly referred to as COVID-19. It’s historic.

Here at the Single Leaf, I’ve been reflecting on the past, the present, and the possibilities for our future. There have been revolutionary changes in the genealogy industry. From the many digital images now readily available to us, with more to come, and DNA results creating another accessible record set, we have the greatest opportunity to accurately record the history of our people and some of us have been given this time to contribute more than we would be able to otherwise.

At RootsTech I gave a presentation titled, “Ethical Considerations Using DNA Results.” In summary I stated, “As a community, we will determine whether genetic genealogy is a treasure chest or Pandora’s box.” Later that day, Scott R. Woodward, Ph.D.,  former president of Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF), gave his presentation titled, “Practical and Ethical Issues Associated with Genetic Testing.” Without consultation, we landed on the same page, which is confirming since we come from backgrounds of different disciplines.

“As a community, we will determine whether genetic genealogy is a treasure chest or Pandora’s box.”

DNA results have contributed to solving, resolving, and revealing many mysteries from the past and in the present. I wrote a post about considerations before testing that I won’t replicate here, but there is information I would like to pass on to you in a timely manner.

What is National DNA Day?

National DNA Day “celebrates the completion of the Human Genome Project in April of 2003 and the discovery of DNA’s double helix in 1953.” There are some fun activities you can do to learn more about the genome, especially if you find yourself homeschooling at this time.

DNA Testing Discounts for DNA Day!


Yesterday 23andMe posted a DNA deal we’ve come to love and appreciate. The Ancestry + Health service is now $149, regularly $199. It is the only company approved by the FDA to provide health information. The company has also revised its Neanderthal Report based on the latest science. The Ancestry + Traits service is regularly $99, but is on sale for $79. Both provide access to cousin matching. This offer ends April 26th. If you have already tested with 23andMe, you might also consider participating in the on-going COVID-19 study. “The major goal of 23andMe’s COVID-19 study is to uncover genetic risks associated with severe outcomes of infections by SARS-CoV-2,” as stated on their website.

AncestryDNA is not providing a direct discount this year but is providing three months’ access to family history record collections for $1 with kit purchase. They also have an on-going Ancestry COVID-19 study. If you have tested with AncestryDNA, please consider participating.

Family Tree DNA is the only company of the genealogical five that provides comprehensive testing for y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA. The company also has Family Finder that provides autosomal (atDNA) results. Y-DNA testing starts at $99, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) full sequence testing is $139, and the Family Finder test is $49 until April 26th.

LivingDNA has its test on sale for $69, regularly $99. I missed having David and Hannah at RootsTech this year to learn of any updates, but the test offered is based on the People of the British Isles project and more. If you want to know specifics of where in the British Isles your people hail from, this is a test I recommend that you investigate.

MyHeritage is offering its DNA test for $39, regularly $79. This is another autosomal test that helps to determine ethnicity and provides cousin matching. The company’s sale ends April 30th.

I cannot forget Wisdom Panel! This company is for the dogs in your life! The essential kit is regularly $99, and the premium kit is $149, but the company is offering a $10 discount code, “DNADAY2020,” on either kit. If you have a mutt, if you’ve rescued a puppy, this test provides clarity to your dog’s breed and their family tree for four generations in addition to other information. Let me just say I found my dog’s results fascinating, informative, and helpful!

National DNA Day is a time to celebrate the advancement of our knowledge about life. We face unprecedented times, and with this type of knowledge, we can address our present global concern, and more, for an unparalleled future.

It is my prayer that you and yours are healthy, safe, and happy! Some people are busier than ever; some are not. Some have had their income reduced or lost employment. Some are struggling with separation from loved ones. Others have lost the ones they love. My deepest concern and sympathies to each and every one who finds themselves in these situations. It’s not an easy time; it’s been devastating.

I’ve read online that some who have been given additional time at home are overwhelmed with the opportunities currently available. I *do* appreciate all that is being offered gratuitously, but to keep from being overwhelmed, don’t look outward, look inward. Ask yourself, “What do I want to focus on? What do I want to learn? What skill do I want to develop?” If one subject you want to focus on is DNA and genealogy, today is your day! There is a lot to consider going forward. Make this time count!

Note: This post is written for your information only. Always read terms and conditions of any website you access or in preparation for any DNA test you take. Understand by what laws, beyond the terms and conditions, each test is governed. 

© 2020 Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

RootsTech 2019 Playbook for the Hail Mary of Genealogy—DNA

RootsTech is coming to the Salt Lake Convention Center February 27 through March 2, 2019 and preparation is a key to success. Now is the time to take advantage of early registration discounts!

When it comes to RootsTech, the largest genealogy conference in the world, consider the specific goals you want to achieve at the conference. If one of your goals is to learn more about DNA testing and genetic genealogy, this playbook is for you!

RootsTech offers sessions targeted to those who are rookies and those with a little more experience. DNA testing and genetic genealogy can be the “Hail Mary” that wins your Family History and Genealogy Bowl!

Why DNA?

There are three reasons individuals test their DNA for genetic genealogy: 1) to learn ethnicity estimates, 2) to connect with genetic cousins for reunions or for information about their common heritage paper trail, and 3) to discover personal health information. In the past at RootsTech, there have been opportunities to learn all you need to make informed decisions for each of these scenarios.

This year RootsTech is scheduled to offer about 35 sessions covering genetic genealogy, with a few pre-registration lab classes, to inform and educate participants on this timely topic. Although it has not yet been announced, the Expo Hall has hosted five genetic genealogy companies in the past. If they return, representatives will be available to answer your questions: 23andMe, AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA, LivingDNA, and MyHeritage DNA.


1. Create a list of your questions. First, write down any DNA questions you have at this point. When you have finished reading this post and its associated links, review your questions to see if you have discovered your answers. If not, organize them and bring them to RootsTech. You will then be prepared to ask these questions in any session where the presenter offers a time for Q&A, or you can bring your questions to the Expo Hall to have your questions answered by representatives of the different DNA companies. Clear, concise, and thoughtful questions are always easier for the experts to answer.

2. Define your goals. Ideally, your first question is “why.” Why do you want to take a DNA test? What do you hope to learn? What genealogical problem do you want to solve? Who might hold the genetic key(s) to solving your proverbial brick wall? Remember that DNA is only one type of evidence. It does not stand alone to prove your lineage. Knowing why you are testing and who you want to test will help you determine what type of tests (see below) to purchase and the quantity of kits, too! Vendors at RootsTech have the reputation of offering the lowest prices on DNA kits at the conference, although the actual prices have varied from year to year.

Be aware that pre-registration for DNA lab sessions is required.

3. Become familiar with the 5 DNA companies typically represented in the Expo Hall. This is the most time-consuming part in preparing for RootsTech. If you are planning to test your DNA as a result of what you learn at this conference, become familiar with the 5 DNA companies and what DNA tests are offered by each. Also understand the legal notices for each company, such as their terms of service and privacy policies. Each company’s legal notices are different. Presenters have their own vested interests as employees, affiliates, and business owners and may only cover a portion of relevant material in any given session. Time is limited. Not all companies may be represented in each session you attend. Understanding the legal notices before coming to RootsTech frees you to make informed decisions at the conference. Most, if not all, companies will offer special pricing on their kits at the conference. Many individuals test with more than one company.

A Note About Terms and Conditions

As individuals learn more about genetic genealogy, questions arise. Some of them are legal and are best answered by an attorney without a vested interest in the business of genetic genealogy or even within the genealogy community. Opinions vary throughout the genealogy community and beyond. Each company has its own terms of service and opportunities to opt in or opt out of research studies and to allow degrees for sharing your genetic information. One common question is, Who obtains the rights to my genetic information? It is a good question to ask each company you consider testing with because you must be comfortable with their answer.

4. Create a DNA testing game plan. Creating a DNA testing plan will provide focus, save you money, and give you the best chance of answering your research questions. Be familiar with each of the 3 DNA tests used for genealogical purposes, and be confident that the kit you order will answer the family history question you want answered.

There are 3 tests offered for genealogical purposes:

  • Autosomal DNA, atDNA, is the collaborative DNA from all of your ancestors, male and female, that recombined to define you. It is the DNA from which your ethnic origin estimates are derived as far as scientists and others in related fields can currently determine. These estimates are subject to modification as the reference panels on which the results are based are modified. All 5 companies offer this test. Some companies identify matches to the X chromosome. One good question to ask each company is, How many SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) are tested by your company? [1] The more SNPs, the more comprehensive the results. This is the DNA test that assists you in finding living cousin matches with others who have tested.
  • Y-chromosome DNA, Y-DNA, is the DNA that defines paternal lineage and is inherited only by males; it is passed down from father to son. It provides positive identification of the biological paternal family and outlines the migration pattern of direct paternal ancestors (from son to father, to father, etc.) as far as science can currently identify. Testing for yourself, it is defined by the top line of your traditional pedigree chart. It is a male-only test, so females must find a male descendant of that particular lineage, such as a brother, father, paternal uncle, or paternal nephew, to test for this information. Family Tree DNA is the only major company to offer this as an independent test for genealogical purposes. There are also many surname projects administered through Family Tree DNA.
  • Mitochondrial DNA, mtDNA, is the DNA inherited by all of a mother’s children, but passed on only to the next generation by females. It identifies the maternal migration pattern (from son or daughter to mother, etc.) as far as science can currently determine. Testing for yourself, it is defined by the bottom line of your traditional pedigree chart. Family Tree DNA is the only major company to offer full sequencing of the mitochondrial genome for genealogical purposes.

DNA results are just another source like vital records, censuses, probate or land records. They can assist in extracting one’s biological heritage. It is important to note that a DNA test may or may not provide the answer to your question, or it may provide an answer that leaves you or others in your family uncomfortable. Expectations of extending your lineage must be managed. Not all individuals who take a DNA test find generations of ancestors. Many online trees contain misinformation, and DNA testing is not a short cut to obtain a verified pedigree. In addition, an individual must be prepared to accept that an identified living cousin through DNA may not want to have contact or establish a relationship with the one tested.

Not all individuals need DNA testing to answer their family history questions. But, DNA testing offers those who have unanswered questions, such as adoptees, amazing results in extending their biological pedigree. It is a source that relies on the permission of family members to obtain. All people who test must agree to the legal notices, such as terms of service and privacy policy, of the company they select for testing. These policies are different for each company and are best read in an environment conducive to understanding the terms so read these documents in the coming months.

Genetic genealogy is an exciting and developing field. It can provide answers to family mysteries. It has brought joy to many and sorrow to a few. It is a topic worth learning about so you can make an educated decision about how DNA testing can potentially help you strengthen your family relationships among the living and add to your family tree. One book that I recommend to you for foundational information is The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy by Blaine T. Bettinger. It is available on Amazon. Although you pay no additional fee, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Not registered for RootsTech? There are ongoing 4-day pass giveaways through November. If you register now and win, RootsTech will reimburse you at your rate of purchase. Find a list of current giveaways at Conference Keepers. For information about The Single Leaf RootsTech 2019 Giveaway, subscribe to this blog. :-)

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is for information only. The final decision to act upon this information is your own and you take sole responsibility for all outcomes.

Note: People ask me why I do not use the term “Super Bowl” in genealogy football. For the record, “Super Bowl” is a registered trademark of the NFL and, for the love of the game, I wouldn’t want to infringe upon it. :-)

[1]“A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP, pronounced snip) is a DNA sequence variation occurring when a single nucleotide adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C), or guanine (G]) in the genome (or other shared sequence) differs between members of a species or paired chromosomes in an individual.” International Society of Genetic Genealogy. “Single-nucleotide polymorphism”. ( accessed September 30, 2018).

About RootsTech

RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch, is a global conference celebrating families across generations, where people of all ages are inspired to discover and share their memories and connections. This annual event has become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants worldwide.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am designated as an official ambassador to the RootsTech Conference and, as such, I am provided complimentary admission and other services to accomplish my duties. Nevertheless, I have been with RootsTech since its inception and with its predecessor for many years as a paid participant. As always, my coverage and opinions are my own and are not affected by my current status. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Copyright © 2018. Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

The @RelativeRace is On … @BYUtv

In case you missed it, Relative Race is a new show that premiered last Sunday, February 28th at 6pm MT on BYUtv. With 9 more episodes to go, the good news is that there is time to catch up by watching the first episode on If you like Amazing Race and family history, you’ll love Relative Race!

What is Relative Race? Those who attended RootsTech were the first to see the premier episode and the response was one of enthusiasm and anticipation!

I had the opportunity to visit with the Relative Race production team at RootsTech who explained the details. It began last year with an audition call for couples to submit an approximate 2-minute video introducing themselves and explaining why they would want to be on the show. Not all audition videos are available, but here is one example:

Four couples were finally chosen:

  • Anthony and Brooke Brown from Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Doug and Margo Engberg from Seattle, Washington
  • Bradley and Heather Randall from Phoenix, Arizona
  • Patrick and Janice Wright from Anchorage, Alaska

Each couple took AncestryDNA tests that discovered DNA matches throughout the United States and then the matches were verified by a researched paper trail. These findings defined the Relative Race route for each couple that spans from San Francisco to New York.

In Relative Race, each couple is given a team-colored rental car, a paper map, a $25 per diem, and a flip phone. No GPS here. No advantage to the technological native born; a possible advantage to the technological immigrants of today. Each couple must stay at the home of the newly acquainted relatives along the way!

Dan Debenham is passionate about Relative Race!

Dan Debenham is passionate about Relative Race!

Each team’s route is unique. Relative Race ensures fairness by estimating how long each team may need to complete a challenge and arrive at their destination each day. At the end of each leg, teams are ranked by subtracting their estimated completion time from the actual completion time or vice versa. It’s the difference that matters. The couple in last place for each leg receives a strike. If a team receives three strikes, they’re eliminated from the race. The couple ranked first at the end of the race wins $25,000.

At RootsTech the Relative Race production team discussed the adventure, the challenges, and the long hours spent making this show a reality. Some tough decisions were required in editing to allow the audience to actually feel like they are a part of Relative Race. It’s exciting. It’s emotional. It’s heart-warming. It’s funny. It can bring out a bit of road rage at times, but in the end these couples are introduced to family they have never met. At the end of the season, Relative Race will culminate with a “Where Are They Now” episode. I’m looking forward to it. I know from experience that these types of road trips are game-changing. If you haven’t seen it, I hope you’ll catch the first episode before Sunday 6pm MT. I have it on good word that this show gets better and better. For all of us watching, let’s enjoy Relative Race!

Follow @RelativeRace, @BYUtv, and @thesingleleaf on Twitter.

©2016 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.