Online DNA tests are a waste of money

Some people have responded to advertisements for services that offer to do DNA tests as an aid to finding one’s ancestors, but a recent test has showed that they are a waste of money, and won’t unlock your family history.

Which? reports:

Expensive online DNA testing services are a waste of money that won’t unlock the secrets of your past, Which? Computing can reveal.The magazine submitted the same two DNA samples – one male and one female – to four web-based DNA testing companies.

The companies –, DNA Solutions, Oxford Ancestors and 23andMe – claim they can use the DNA to reveal someone’s ancestry and chart their heritage.

But the services – which cost between £75 and £510 – provided little more than a piece of paper mapping their origin.

You can read the full report here.

I can imagine that it might be possible to determine whether or not you are really descended from a particular ancestor, to confirm your research in other sources, but even if you know where your great great great grandparents are buried, are you prepared to dig up their bones to find out?

And sometimes graves have been reused, so can you be sure that you’ve found the right bones? Even today one reads about insurance scams where people have taken out an insurance policy, and then kill a person at random to claim on the policy, and fake their own death. That kind of thing could give future genealogists enough midleading clues without trying DNA tests!