DNA Can it help me find my ancestors?

Learning about DNA has been a difficult journey, but I am trying. I am moving slowly so be patient with me.

In 2013 I did an autosomal test with 23&ME and uploaded that to Family Tree DNA.  Then I took a mtDNA test and those results came in at FTDNA.

mtDNA goes up your mother’s line to her mother’s mother etc.  The chart below shows the yDNA up the left side which is the son to father line. This usually follows the surname of that line and is easier to trace.  mtDNA follows daughter to mother to mother etc.

In December 2014, I decided to take the Ancestry DNA test.  My understanding is that it has the largest database for DNA so it will be interesting to see what happens.

Ancestry’s test does give you matches and percentages of your ethnicity.  I am 64% Great Britain, 22 percent Ireland and 7% Europe West.

DNA Chart yDNA and mtDNA

DNA Chart yDNA and mtDNA

I have researched as far as Emma Ward Brown whose mother maybe Sarah Paine Ward in the records for Middlesex County, Ontario. The time period is 1818 to 26 May, 1857.

This means I have my mtDNA from me to my mother, Marjorie Boardman MacDonald. Marjorie to her mother Ethel Brown. Ethel’s mother Sarah Paine.  This would make Sarah my 2nd great-grandmother.

A sibling agreed to take the Family Finder test (autosomal) and a yDNA test.  The Family Finder is what we will use to compare the two of us.  We are close.  This is with Family Tree DNA.

Meanwhile I have been reading through Kelly Wheaton’s online course “Beginners Guide to Genetic Genealogy.”  It is very good and free.


Recently, I started to read the book: The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy, by Blaine T. Bettinger. It is very good. It also costs $29.95 but maybe you can get a good deal online. Mr. Bettinger states that there is your genealogy tree that you research and there is your DNA tree because of the way that DNA is passed on from generation to generation.

Here is the link to 23&Me.  They have my Ancestry composition as 99.6 European. 74.6% British and Irish, 8.5% French & German, .09% Scandinavian, .1% Finish. With .3% Iberian etc. They have placed me in the H Haplogroup.


23&ME only does autosomal.

Here is the link to Family TreeDNA.  My mtDNA Haplogroup is H3k1a. I did their full mtDNA sequence in March 2014.  I keep getting emails that I have new matches.  I also did their Family Finder (autosomal) in November of 2013.  They give my Ancestry as 73% British Isles, 17% Western and Central Europe and 10% South Europe.

I had my siblings DNA tested for mtDNA and we are the same. Males can inherit their mothers mtDNA but they cannot pass it on. My sibling also did a Family Finder at FTDNA so he can connect up to cousins through that test which I administer for him.

Family Tree DNA has all types of DNA tests and they also have DNA projects like the Brown DNA project and more. https://www.familytreedna.com/public/BrownDNAStudy/default.aspx?section=yresults

Males only have yDNA, they also have mtDNA from their mothers but they cannot pass the mtDNA on.


Ancestry DNA and they do only autosomal testing.


There are other companies that provide DNA testing and you can study them as well.  There are also 3rd party websites like Gedmatch and YSearch that let you upload to them for further matching options.  I am still learning and will let you know.

So I am learning and growing in my knowledge. If you wish to contact me do so at this email: bjmcdonell@gmail.com.

Updated March 8, 2016


2 thoughts on “DNA Can it help me find my ancestors?

  1. Laurie Field (McIntosh)

    hi I am trying to get ahold of Carrie McIntosh in order to connect on the McIntosh family tree, if you have any info, that would be great.

    1. BJ MacDonald Post author

      Laurie: Welcome. I am sorry to say that I have not done much on Carrie’s father’s side. Frankly I don’t know that much about Carrie’s life except that she maybe married an Emil Peterson? Her father William McIntosh was the man who took over the estate of Esther King, Isabella’s mother in 1895. I am currently building a tree at Ancestry that is private at this time but eventually it will be made public. The search engine suggests that his parents are Daniel McIntosh 1821 Springfield, Ontario to 1880 Burnside Lapeer Co., Michigan and a Mary Jane McEown 1826-1908, born Aylmer, Elgin Co., Ontario and died Detroit. Daniel’s father is listed as William McIntosh born 20 April 1795 in Inverness, Scotland and died 1 Sep 1869 in Malahide Twp., Elgin, Ontario. This is from the Harris Family Tree at Ancestry.com by a debrawakeling1 and she seems to have lots of sources. You can get to Ancestry.com with a library card at the library for free or if you belong to a local genealogical society. I will be in Inverness in May 2018…I add McIntosh to the list. Bonnie


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