Genealogist, Jen Baldwin, on using Findmypast DNA results to inform traditional family history research

The Findmypast DNA test reveals where in Britain and Ireland your DNA is most commonly found. Your test results only scratch the surface, however, of what you can potentially discover about your ancestors. When used in conjunction with historical records, it's possible to not only learn who they were, but also what their lives were like.

Using my own test results as an example, I discovered my DNA is most commonly found in the British Isles. Thankfully, my genealogical research and DNA results align in several areas. I have already proven my connection to Devon and the London area, for example, shown as the Southeast region in my subregional results. One of the areas that interests me the most, however, is the genetic tie to the North Wales region.

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My family's oral history tells me that my 4th great-grandparents emigrated directly from Wales to North America. Their time in New York was short - they both died within 10 years of arriving.The story is full of clues, but being able to trace their lives via documentation has been difficult because of their short time here. I can now use my genetic results to refine my research plan and narrow down the scope of what I'm looking for. Because my results indicated northern Wales specifically, I'll start the process by looking there.

Do the same for the subregions listed in your test results and then follow two simple steps.

Step 1: Create a Timeline

Write down what you already know about your ancestors and then see what records are available to you from the sub-regions listed in your DNA test results.Thanks to Findmypast's A-Z of Record Sets you can easily filter to only see collections from the sub-regions your DNA comes from.

  • Access the A-Z of record sets on Findmypast via the search menu on the site's nabber (the bar that runs across the top of the screen). It's at the end of the list of search categories. All of Findmypast's individual record sets are listed on in the A-Z and sortable by category, subcategory and the number of records in each collection.
  • To zone in on the record sets relating to your DNA sub-region use the 'showing records from' filters.
  • Select England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales and you'll see an additional list of each country's counties.
  • Choose a county and the displayed list of record sets will update to only show record sets that cover that particular region. They can include national as well as local resources.

Alternatively, from your Findmypast homepage, simply click the DNA sub-regions in your results chart to search selected records from those areas.

Step 2: Get Researching

For example, my research plan will be modified to really focus on what immigration between Northern Wales and New York was like during that era. I'll ask pertinent questions such as where they were most likely to depart from and arrive to. Once they arrived in New York, what were the logical first steps they would have taken?

This is far before the mass record collection system of Ellis Island - or any other port - began, so the materials will have to be collected from a variety of sources to help me further understand their experience. Do the same for the sub-regions that show in your test results.

Findmypast is the best place to trace your British and Irish heritage and as such is the perfect partner to help you look further into your sub-regional British Isles DNA results. The record collections on Findmypast will give you so much more than names and dates for your family tree. They'll help you understand who your ancestors were, what made them tick and how they made their way in their communities and the world.

What are you waiting for? Buy your Findmypast DNA kit today.