Need Help with Your Family Tree DNA Results?

I administer a private group project at Family Tree DNA named DigiDeena Students.  The project is free to join and can be used in conjunction with a DNA consultation to streamline the accessibility of your DNA test results during the review.  For instructions on how to join this project, follow the steps in the Instructions to Join DigiDeena Students Group Project at FTDNA.

Looking to Purchase a DNA test?

The 3 major companies who offer testing for genetic genealogy include AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA and 23andMe.

To learn more about the testing companies, visit their websites by clicking on their logos below.  If you already know which testing company you want to use and which test(s) you want to purchase, you can complete your purchase directly on the testing company’s website.

Family Tree DNA






If you aren’t sure which test(s) you want to purchase for yourself or a family member, contact me.  I offer packages that include the DNA test kit(s), interpretation when the results arrive, and tips on how to best use the tools on the testing companies’ websites.  These packages help you understand what you need to know to make the most of your DNA test results.


Looking to Learn More About DNA?

I regularly educate on genetic genealogy topics.  To attend one of my upcoming standalone classes or class series, visit the Calendar to see classes displayed in a grid, or the Class Schedule page to see classes displayed in a list.


DNA with DeeNA

DNA with DigiDeena logoDNA with DeeNA is a 6-month series that focuses on genetic genealogy as a research tool. The course covers the 3 main types of tests, how/why to use them, navigating the 3 major testing companies’ websites and third-party tools, and how to analyze and make use of DNA matches to genetic cousins. Each class is independent but may build on knowledge from previous classes.


Genetic Genealogy Overview

Class 1 will provide an overview of the 3 main types of DNA tests that are useful for genetic genealogy, including Y DNA, mitochondrial DNA and autosomal DNA. Discussion will include cost of testing as well as ideas for motivating family members to test. A foundation in ethical and legal issues will be provided, including Genetic Genealogy Standards. How DNA testing fits into the Genealogical Proof Standard will be discussed, including the difference between the genetic vs. genealogical family tree.

Y DNA and Mitochondrial DNA

Class 2 will provide an in-depth discussion of Y DNA and mitochondrial DNA:

• How does each test work?
• What research questions can each test answer?
• How do I decide who to test?

The class will provide an overview of haplogroups and the phylogenic tree. Discussion will include the benefits of joining a surname or haplogroup project. Concepts such as SNP testing will be covered in brief.

Autosomal DNA and X DNA

Class 3 will provide an in-depth discussion of Autosomal and X DNA:

• How does the test work?
• What research questions can the test answer?
• What inheritance patterns are followed?
• How do I decide who to test?

The majority of class time will focus on the two main components of an autosomal test: ethnicity estimate and “cousin” matches to others in the testing company’s database. How to make sense of these matches using triangulation and chromosome mapping will be demonstrated.

An introduction to advanced or scientific concepts will be covered in brief:

• How DNA is measured (Centimorgans or Megabases)
• Identical by Descent (IBD) vs. Identical by State (IBS)
• Phasing matches (maternal vs. paternal)
• Fully Identical Regions (FIR) vs. Half Identical Regions (HIR)
• The effect of endogamy on relationship prediction.

Overview of Major Testing Company Websites

Class 4 will provide an overview of the major testing company websites:

• Family Tree DNA
• AncestryDNA
• 23andMe

Demonstration of the various tools and features will highlight the most important information for genealogists on each site. Discussion on National Geographic’s Genographic 2.0 Project will also be covered.

Third-Party Tools and Databases

Class 5 will provide an overview of numerous third-party tools and databases that can be used for functions beyond what is provided by the testing company websites:

• GedMatch
• Snavely Tool
• DNA Gedcom
• Kitty Cooper’s Chromosome Mapper
• Genome Mate
• Haplogroup Prediction Calculators
• Promethease
• Spreadsheets
• Ysearch
• Mitosearch
• GenBank

Special Cases and Resources

Class 6 will contain a discussion on special cases such as adoption or unknown parentage, possibly including a case study. General resources for further study will be provided:

• Blogs
• Books
• Classes

The series will conclude with a discussion about the future of genetic genealogy.



Deena Coutant is a professional who uses modern technology to facilitate successful search, storage and sharing strategies for family historians in the digital age. Deena is passionate about preserving family history, photos, stories and memories. Through her company, DigiDeena Consulting, she provides genealogical education and research services, DNA analysis, family tree debugging and design, and photo organization and digitization services. For more information on services, please call 720-445-5380 or email



This course is currently not scheduled.  Check back for future class series dates.

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