Southern California Genealogical Society

DNA Interest Group | DNA Testing

DNA Testing - Breaking down the Brick Wall!
By Alice Fairhurst

Have you hit a brick wall in your genealogical research? After looking for census records, vital records, property records, and internet sources, are you stumped? Sometimes DNA testing can help you make the breakthrough to earlier generations.

The objectives of DNA testing include:

  • To validate existing research.
  • To identify others who are related.
  • To determine if two people might be descended from a common ancestor.
  • To prove or disprove theories regarding family history or ancestry.

There are three main types of DNA tests that are useful for genealogical research.

  • The Y-Chromosome (Y-DNA) test (for males only) uses the Y-chromosome that makes a child a male. It follows the straight male line from son to father to grandfather to great-grandfather and back. It can never go through a female.
  • The Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test for either males or females uses the mitochondria that are in all human cells. It is transmitted from a mother to all of her children. It follows any person back in time through its mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, etc.
  • Autosomal DNA (Family Finder) tests DNA found on chromosomes 1-22 and compares your results to another person to predict how you are related. Males and females can take this test.

The simple test involves scraping the inner cheek with something similar to a toothbrush, depositing the results into a sealable container and returning the sample to the testing company in the envelope provided.

The SCGS Board of Directors partners with Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) to provide discounted prices for our members and their extended families. FTDNA is located in Houston, Texas and maintains the database and service center. The lab is at the University of Arizona and stored DNA samples have only the kit numbers, not names of testers. Samples are kept in a locked facility. The DNA tested there is not useful for medical diagnosis, paternity testing, or forensic tracking. You are issued a personal webpage with information on your DNA and shown who you match. Your results start arriving about 6 weeks after the test kit arrives in Houston.

For information regarding the DNA Interest Group contact Bonny Cook, (310) 375-8983 or Kathy Johnston, (310) 213-1207.

For information on the International Society of Genetic Genealogists (ISOGG) contact the ISOGG Southern California Regional Coordinator, CeCe Moore,

To join ISOGG (no dues) go to the website at

To order a DNA kit from Family Tree go to

powered by FreeFind

Los Angeles Area Resources

The Final Goodbye - Obituary Search Tips

Beginning Genealogy -Part 1
Beginning Genealogy -Part 2

Getting Started #1: First Things First

Getting Started #2: Organization

Getting Started #3: Vital Records Are Vital

Getting Started #4: Census Records

Getting Started #5: Correspondence

Getting Started: Hispanic Research

Point of View: Easy Does It-But Do It!

Point of View: It's Never Too Late for a Timeline

Point of View: The Hurrieder I Go

Point of View: State Censuses Fill the Gaps

Put It In Writing: Holiday Memories

Refresher Course: Archivists and Genealogists    

DNA Testing - Researching Outside the BOX!

Civilian Conservation Corps Records

Techniques and Tips - The Search for Free African American Ancestors

Techniques and Tips: African American Research Resources

Techniques and Tips: In Praise of Probate

Researching Dutch Ancestors

Back to Basics: Libraries: Pure Gold!

Back to Basics: Join the PERSI Generation

Back to Basics: Home and Family--That's Where It Starts

Back to Basics: Look for Other American Censuses

Back to Basics: Naturalization Research Can Pay

Back to Basics: There's a Clue Somewhere (Immigration)

Back to Basics: WPA Historical Records Survey

Back to Basics: Criminal Records

Back to Basics: Using a Research Log

Back to Basics: What's on Your Desk?

Were They Quaker? Shaker? Jewish? Mennonite? Baptist?

There's More to Family History...Than Names, Dates and Places

A Musical Legacy

Telling Your Story with Photos

Finding Anne-Marie

Back to Basics: City Directories

Local Resources - LA as Subject

Problem Solvers: Using newspapers effectively as a source for passenger arrival and departure lists

Norwegian Research

Federal Passport Applications

Taking a Second Look

Members Log-in