Why would you map your chromosomes?

The end goal of chromosome mapping is to be able to identify which ancestors were the source of your DNA, with as much granularity as possible.
So why would you want to do this?

  • For many genealogists, chromosome mapping is innately fascinating, since it provides evidence of the presence of our forebears within our own bodies. Discovering and recording which segments we inherited from different ancestors is an ongoing and addictive puzzle.
  • You can use known matches to help you identify unknown matches. As soon as you know which ancestor was the source of a specific segment, you will have a better chance of identifying any new DNA matches who share this segment. If you're lucky, some of your DNA matches will also be mapping their chromosomes so that you can work on the mystery from both angles!
  • Once you've visualized your matches, it becomes much easier to see overlaps and patterns, and many users have reported that DNA Painter has helped them to get through genealogical 'brick walls' by helping them to identify matches, which then leads them to information they didn't previously have.
  • For more information, please read the blog post Why map your chromosomes?

In the video below, Blaine Bettinger gives an introduction with some hands-on examples of how you map your chromosomes with DNA Painter.

Please note: chromosome mapping is most useful for those who have at least one known match. If you have no known matches and/or have unknown parentage, chromosome mapping might be something you want to try later on once you have some information to work with. For unknown parentage cases, people have reported great successes using different strategies that don't involve segments. If you're interested in exploring these, the following articles are recommended:

Next: Getting started