Where we come from is a question is a rather existential question, but it is something a lot of people want to know, both for practical reasons and because they are curious. Fortunately, there are many different tools that we can use to learn more about our ancestors and thereby give us a better idea of who we are and where we come from. DNA testing is one of the most reliable of these tools, which is why many people turn to it when tracing their ancestry. When trying to understand where we come from, building a family tree can help us understand our families better and give us an appreciation of our roots.

Sometimes, it’s more than just curiosity that drives us to research our family tree. If you have been adopted, it could be important to find out more about your family’s history, in case there are hereditary health problems in your lineage.

It’s also an interesting exercise in research and detective work. The good news is that the internet makes researching a family tree relatively easy.

Tracing Our Origins

DNA testing is becoming commonplace for people who want to trace their ancestry. Popular sites like 23andMe offer DNA testing via saliva collection. Once your DNA sample is uploaded to the database, you can locate distant relatives and long-lost cousins.

There is a lot of information in our DNA. When we provide DNA samples to companies that do genetic sequencing, they break apart our DNA to look at specific locations for the arrangement of DNA building blocks (Thymine, Guanine, Adenine, and Cytosine). Some tests look at as many as 21 locations, trying to see if there are similarities between different DNA samples.

Once the process is complete, a report of how similar different DNA samples are is presented. From this, one can find matches that could help them better understand their ancestry and, therefore, help them build a better family tree.

Building a Family Tree

Building a family tree can be a great activity with kids Here, the kids can help build the chart and add graphics and other fun items to the tree while you do the research. Create a large chart in the shape of a tree with multiple branches. This provides a visual tool to help children see where they fit into the family.

When preparing your family tree, start by collecting as much information about your family as possible so that you can connect as many family branches.

Try to add as many relatives as possible. If you need to, it is a good idea to talk to your parents and grandparents to see what they can tell you about your family. Another good way of expanding the family tree is to go to a genealogy website. These usually have information on different families and can be a useful resource if someone else in your extended family is also trying to build a family tree. If they are, try to connect with them to see what insights they can offer.

On these websites, you might find overlaps and gaps in knowledge. If you find relatives that you do not have enough information about, it would be best to leave their space on the tree marked as “unknown”. This is so other people who might be looking at the same information can potentially fill it out for you.

Go Wider Instead of Higher

When building a family tree, a lot of people opt to go as far back in time as possible. These people are usually curious about their ancestry. For the best results, try to go six generations back. It is almost impossible to find accurate information past this point anyway. Next, concentrate on expanding these generations as far as possible. Siblings and spouses are the most important to look at when doing this. These connections are important because your DNA will most likely have come from one of these siblings or spouses.

Also, if you go as wide as possible, it becomes easier to find DNA matches.


Finding out where we come from could be a very informative exercise. Just ensure that you do not go down too far in the past and try to go as wide as possible.