What is “The Methodology” ?

The Methodology is the basic process used to conduct a search using DNA. It is encapsulated in Steps 6, 7, and 8 of our Search Process.

The Methodology  was developed, defined, and codified by Gaye Tannenbaum, Diane Harmon-Hoog, and Karin Corbeil and has since been updated and refined by Barbara Rae-Venter and our Team The Methodology is the core process used by all searchers. For a complete pdf Methodology for researching DNA results.

  1. Create a profile for the person you wish to identify (“unidentified person”) using information from your Official Info (Step 3) and Info from Those That Know (Step 4).  Be sure to include  possible birth year, place of birth, place of residence, occupation, number of siblings, eye color, hair color, etc. This may not be possible for everyone.
  2. Cluster your matches.  In your list of matches, “tag” members of the clusters. (Step 6)
  3. Review the members of each cluster for surnames in common.  (Step 6)
  4. Identify your closest match.  (Step 6) Build a speculative tree “back” to at least a generation past where you expect the MRCA.  For example, if you have an estimated second cousin match, the expected MRCA is the great grandparents of the match. (Step 7)
  5. Add shared / ICW matches and cluster members to the tree as you find connections. Tag the matches so that you can find them easily.  (Step 7)
  6. Identify the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) shared by the closest match and his/her shared / ICW matches and cluster members. (Step 7)
  7. Build the tree “forward” from the MRCA to the time period when you believe the unidentified person was born (Step 7)
  8. Repeat for more matches and on other clusters (Step 7)
  9. Determine where the descendants of the different MRCAs connect (Step 8)
  10. Identify one or more candidates for the unidentified person using the information in the profile.  Request confirmation testing as needed. (Step 8)