NextGen Genealogy

The DNA Connection

by David R. Dowell


Covering all three major categories of DNA testing for genealogical purposes, this book gives genealogists and other readers expert guidance on how to use this powerful and evolving tool.

Print Flyer

November 2014

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 173
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Adult Services and Programs/General
  Reference and Information Services and Tools/General

DNA testing can serve as a powerful tool that unlocks the hidden information within our bodies for family history research. This book explains how genetic genealogy works and answers the questions of genealogists and individuals seeking information on their family trees.

Now that DNA testing for genealogical purposes has existed for nearly a decade and a half—and been refined and improved during that time—it has established its value among family history researchers. It is now becoming accepted as another tool in the kit of well-rounded genealogists. This book covers this fast-growing application of genetics, empowering genealogists to apply this information to further their research. It will also enable general readers to understand how genetic information can be applied to verify or refute documentary research—and to break down frustrating walls that block the discovery of ancestors.

The book describes the three major categories of DNA testing for family history research: Y-chromosome tests for investigating paternal (surname) lines, mitochondrial tests for investigating maternal (umbilical) lines, and autosomal tests for exploring close relationships. Expert genealogist David Dowell provides guidance on deciding which test to take and identifying which members of your family should be tested to answer your most important genealogical questions. Readers will also learn how to interpret the results of tests and methods for further analysis to get additional value from them.


  • Presents an overview to genealogical principles and an introduction to DNA testing for nonexpert audiences
  • Explains how genetic genealogy can provide data from within our bodies that tells us about who we are, who our ancestors were, and what characteristics our descendants may have
  • Addresses key legal and ethical issues regarding DNA testing
  • Describes the accepted protocols of DNA collection, handling, processing, evaluation, and interpretation that make DNA information more reliable than the other kinds of genealogical information
Author Info

David R. Dowell, PhD, is an author and genealogist who has been researching his family history since the 1960s. He is the manager of two surname DNA projects and was an academic librarian for 35 years at Iowa State, Duke, Illinois Institute of Technology, Pasadena City College, and Cuesta College. The former chair of the Genealogy Committee of the American Library Association, Dowell belongs to the Southern California Genealogy Society, the New England Historic Genealogy Society, the National Genealogy Society, and the International Society of Genetic Genealogists. He holds multiple degrees in history and in library science and served as a special investigative officer in the Air Force. His blog, Dr. D Digs Up Ancestors, is at

Table of Contents


  • Preface
  • Chapter 1: What is DNA? Family Information inside Our Cells
    Chapter 2: Who is the Father? “guY” DNA
    Chapter 3: Who is the Mother? “umbilical” mtDNA
    Chapter 4: Who is Closely Related? atDNA
    Chapter 5: What is the X Factor? A Different Inheritance Pattern
    Chapter 6: What is Extreme Genealogy? Haplogroups
    Chapter 7: Is it Ethical? Balancing Technological Possibilities with Human Values
    Chapter 8: How do you continue to document your family story? Continuous Learning
  • Glossary
    Further Reading



    "NextGen would be a good introductory book . . . . I came away with a good understanding of DNA and why genealogists want to use it. Mr. Dowell is a good writer, and has written an excellent DNA book for those who are utilizing this set of information to establish family lines."—Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

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