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February 28, 2009

DNA Genealogy - The Kit Arrives

The big day had finally come. The Family Tree DNA kit arrived first (probably because I ordered it a few weeks before my husband ordered his DNA kit). I was ready to have my brother come up and take the test so we could have our McGinnis Y DNA tested.

The kit was very user-friendly, instructions for use were easy to understand but we hadn't realized that my brother would need to collect 3 samples. As well, the instruction sheet (DNA COLLECTION METHOD) stated that scraping of the cheek for sample cells had to be done before eating or an hour AFTER eating and drinking. Each sample had to be collected 3 to 4 hours apart.

That was tricky logistically as my brother had only come up for the day and somehow we had to get those 3 samples taken before he had to head back home (an hour and a half drive). For anyone who has the collection kit in their own home it is not a big deal.

Family Tree DNA kindly provided 4 simple drawings showing opening the kit, scraping one's cheek, inserting the sample into the collection tube and sealing it. The instruction leaflet was 8 easy to understand steps.

My brother vigourously began scraping the inside of his cheeks for the required 60 seconds. Since the leaflet stated "A great scape gives us a great sample" he scraped quite forcefully to the point where his cheeks bled! That was overkill.

The next scrape was 3 hours later and unfortunately I forgot to start a timer for 60 seconds. So my poor brother scraped for almost 3 minutes (it's amazing how one's sense of the passage of time can be so wrong!) before we realized it was well past the 60 seconds required.

After all our little goofs, we were set. We had all the tubes inside the provided plastic bag with our kit number. We sealed it, my brother signed the release form and we put everything in the self-addressed envelope to be mailed.

Then we sat back and waited. And waited. And waited. It seemed to take forever but of course DNA testing, like good cooking, requires time and patience! It can't be rushed. Approximately 5 to 6 weeks later we got our first email from FamilyTreeDNA saying our first set of markers was complete. That was pretty exciting!

I had, after a lot of reading, decided on what DNA project(s) to sign up for on FamilyTreeDNA so I'll talk about that process in my next post.


Mary said...

I am anxious to follow your progress. I had my brother's DNA done a couple of years ago and haven't yet found what I consider to be a close match, but I admit to not knowing very much. We've had 37 markers tested and the closest match so far is a distance of 2....8-10 generations. I guess that's close in genealogy time ;-)

Laura said...

I too am anxiously following this DNA process. I'm still trying to figure it all out. I look forward to reading the rest.

I wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for a Kreativ Blogger Award. I'm sure this has made its way through the blogs, but I wanted you to know how much I have enjoyed your blog.

Nochipra said...

Looking forward to hearing about the DNA results. I have never really understood how it worked but am looking into it. Good luck:)