DNA testing enables a tester to help confirm, or otherwise, the family links worked out by traditional birth/marriage/death research. It is also a primary way of discovering new family members and branches, or of them finding you. The places our ancestors called home are encoded in our DNA. DNA testing also reveals our ethnic background and the geographic regions from which we are likely to have originated.
There are a number of DNA testing agencies doing a range of tests. The basic test is the autosomal DNA test. This measures the unique structure of our 22 pairs of autosomal chromosomes. Using the large databases of the testing agencies, our DNA can be compared. The more DNA shared between you and another person, the more closely related you are.
The DNA testing agency I have used is FamilyTreeDNA. AncestryDNA is another testing agency with an even larger database for matching comparisons. Whatever agency you use I recommend that you upload your results to the GEDMatch website. This is a free, independent agency that can enable you to compare your results with people who have used other proprietary agencies and who have placed their results on GEDMatch.
In the Selwood tree I have confirmed I am genetically descended from a common ancestor five generations back up the James Selwood line and seven generations back along the Helena Jeffery line. This should also be true for all the James and Helena children born at Windley and Lumsden, Southland. There had been a slight doubt, at least in the mind of Neville Selwood, whether his father Henry, born two years before his parents got married, was the product of a James and Helena union. Neville could see the benefit of DNA analysis, not only for satisfying his own curiosity but also for the benefit of follow-up generations who could use his DNA results as part of their own DNA match-ups. Sadly, Neville did not live long enough to learn of the results of his DNA testing. As the manager of the late Neville Selwood’s DNA sample I can confirm that, yes, James Selwood was indeed the biological father of Helena’s first child born out of wedlock, and James did the honorable thing in marrying Helena in his own local Buscot church.
There are other DNA tests aside from the most popular autosomal test. I mentioned before that the Selwood name has been tracked back 13+ generations to 1387, but how much confidence could be placed in this assessment? A Y-DNA test which traces the male line Y-chromosome would be the way to confirm this but there would need to be an unbroken line of male Selwood/Sellwood/Sellard/Selwoode descendants. For our Selwood tree there would be a few male descendants of Henry and William Selwood who could do this, and I would encourage them to get a test carried out so that their DNA is on record.