DNA testing has become widely available to people around the globe. A number of companies that specialize in this service have made it increasingly affordable and convenient. People from all walks of life and every income level can now afford to be tested and learn more about their racial and ethnic roots. This doesn’t mean that everyone needs a DNA test, or should get one. Here are some common reasons to consider ordering the test and submitting a sputum sample for DNA analysis.

1. Confirm Family Oral Tradition

Many if not most families tell stories about their ancestors, passing the tales from one generation to the next. Although these accounts remain generally the same, over time the details may change with each new telling, thereby losing important information about the family tree. An ancestry DNA test can help to confirm an individual’s origins, going back hundreds of years, to clarify and preserve the family record.

2. Connect With Extended Family

Popular DNA tests often include membership options, some free while others require a fee. Family trees can be traced and connected to other trees of extended relatives. A database of people from the same haplogroup, clan, or tribe, may be traceable through a DNA test with a high rate of accuracy, so that close and distant family members who have been tested by the same company and are part of the same database can be connected if they choose to be.

3. Track Family Geographical Origins and Migrations

Those who know their family originates from a certain part of the world can learn more about which specific region their ancestors migrated from. Sometimes the ancestral family’s migratory path through various parts of the world can be traced to show where they come from, possibly who they intermarried with, and where they are today.

4. Identify Unknown Ethnic or Racial Ancestry

Some people have no idea about their ethnic or racial background. Others have heard stories or researched partial information but would like to know more. A DNA test can provide more detailed facts about previous generations within a family to clarify or sometimes contradict information that has been determined from other sources. A person might be totally surprised or shocked to discover something unexpected in his or her DNA background.

5. Confirm Racial Or Ethnic Family Relationships

People who suspect they may be related but want to know for sure, for example, in case they are thinking about marriage, can find out through DNA testing. This may help settle estate conflicts and other issues where family relationships play a role.

A DNA test can reveal interesting results. At less than $100, it may be worth getting one to answer family kinship questions.

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Lance is a former professor of Business at USC and now spends his spare time writing for UpTrendCollege.com.