by Phillip G. Goff, GGFA Director of Genetic Genealogy

When researching family tree mysteries, my genetic genealogy time is typically allocated about 90% to autosomal DNA (“atDNA”), such as the test, and the balance to YDNA analysis. If you have not checked out the three-part blog, “I’ve Taken a DNA Test on Now what?” by Jennifer Alvarez, I suggest you seek it out for tips on how to get the most out of your autosomal DNA test.

atDNA is a powerful tool for all of our lineages while YDNA is the gold standard for one lineage. For example, when researching one’s great-grandparents, genetic genealogy rests on atDNA for seven of the lineages.1 For the unbroken male lineage of your father’s father’s father’s lineage, atDNA remains an important tool, but YDNA is a must for your genetic genealogy kit.

Family Tree DNA is the leading provider for nearly all consumer-based YDNA tests while YSEQ offers specialized YDNA testing. In late July 2023, Family Tree DNA announced two major enhancements to its YDNA platform:

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These YDNA enhancements at Family Tree DNA will further the reconstruction of all Gough/Goff family trees going back to the time of the adoption of hereditary surnames. Globetrekker shines light on the geographical origins of Goff/Gough families, while YDNA haplogroups in Family Finder will help identifying new Gough/Goff family tree branches.

Phillip Goff is the co-author, along with Roy L. Lockhart, of The Four Goff Brothers of Western Virginia. Since 2004, he has run the Goff/Gough Surname DNA Study, which today has about 400 participants.

1Mitochondrial DNA (“mtDNa”) can be used for one’s mother’s mother’s mother’s lineage, but the precision is generally not of genealogically relevant granularity.

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