DNA and Family History Discussion Group

The Meeting Group has been formed as an opportunity to learn about DNA testing and how it can help to research family history, to share experiences and to discuss possibilities and results. This is a fast moving area of family history and there’s a lot to understand so what better than a group of fellow family historians to share experiences and knowledge on how to make best use of these new tools in our research.


The Group is lucky to have the help of one of the leading speakers and researchers in the DNA and Family History field – Donna Rutherford. Donna has spoken at many family history events (you may have heard her talk at the Sandown Family History Show in August last year), RootsTech and at the Society of Genealogists and she is the force behind the DNA Help for Genealogy (UK) Facebook Group


This is a Closed (restricted access) Facebook Group but you can ask to Join.

We have just started to meet on-line using Zoom. Future meetings will be advertised on the East Surrey Family History website.

I have attached some presentations that we used at earlier meetings and a link to a couple of very useful online lectures that Donna Rutherford gave last year.

I have also listed some internet sites and Facebook pages you may find useful.


These presentations give an overview of the topic with examples of what you might see on the DNA websites. Please note that they were accurate at the time of production but the subject moves fast and the screen examples and the information in the presentation may now be inaccurate or out-of-date.

There is no sound on the first three presentations but I have added some Notes below.

Click on images to download the powerpoint presentations.

The X Chromosome

DNAxchromeEveryone one has an X chromosome and women have two X chromosomes. This paper explains the inheritance patterns of the X chromosomes and gives a worked example.

I’d recommend Blaine Bettinger’s book (see below) as the best aid to understanding the X chromosome.

Using Y-DNA test results

dna yMen have a Y chromosome which they inherited from their biological father. The Y chromosome mutates very slowly (many generations between changes).

This presentation explains how to use the information presented at FamilyTree DNA, the only company that currently performs Y-DNA testing. I have used worked examples to illustrate what the screens show and have suggested further research possibilities.

Autosomal DNA test?


This is an ‘early users’ presentation and introduces the ways you can see and explore your autosomal DNA test results.


The best place to find out about advances and changes in the DNA and Family History world, and to get help when you are stuck, is Facebook.

I recommend in particular the Facebook Page curated by Donna Rutherford called ‘DNA Help for Genealogy (UK).’ This is a Private Group so you need to request to be admitted.

To find this Page in Facebook, enter this URL


or enter the words ‘DNA Help’ in the search box and it should come up as an option.

Try reading the posts for a while and you’ll start to understand what people are talking about.

Donna has placed a couple of very informative, recorded, presentations on the Page which you can usefully pause and replay sections as often as you want.

Find these by selecting Media, then Videos.




Nb you need to Fast Forward 30 minutes to find the start of the tutorial.


This video recording is a ‘must-watch’!!



I have found these books useful.

The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy by Blaine Bettinger.


  • Publisher: Family Tree Books; 2nd edition (31 Aug. 2019)
  •  Language: English
  •  Paperback: 272 pages
  •  ISBN-10: 1440300577
  •  ISBN-13: 978-1440300578

 Tracing Your Ancestors using DNA Edited by Graham S. Holton.


  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Family History; Illustrated edition (17 Jun. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1526733099
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1526733092