National Genealogical Society

Educational Courses

Continuing Genealogical Studies: Genetic Genealogy, Autosomal DNA

Debbie Parker Wayne is a nationally recognized lecturer, educator, and full-time researcher experienced in using DNA analysis and traditional techniques for genealogical research. Her DNA research focuses on client projects and on research into her own family project that includes Y DNA, mtDNA, X DNA, and autosomal DNA studies. Her publications include a column on using DNA analysis for genealogical research in NGS Magazine.

What Will I Learn

Within this intermediate course, Continuing Genealogical Studies: Genetic Genealogy, Autosomal DNA, the focus is primarily on concepts and techniques for genetic genealogy. The concepts taught in this course cover the analysis of the data no matter how the data is accessed.

Please Note: Step-by-step instructions for performing the procedures with specific tools are not included. Users can access a specific website’s help, learning center, or frequently asked questions (FAQ) sections to find the pertinent usage instructions. Familiarity with Excel or another spreadsheet program is needed to understand how to accomplish some steps.
The course has seven modules that provide instruction, examples, self-correcting quizzes, a glossary, and a bibliography for future reference.

The course consists of seven modules:

  • Module 1: atDNA and X-DNA Inheritance
  • Module 2: DNA Test Results and Your Match List
  • Module 3: DNA Segment Analysis Concepts and Tools
  • Module 4: Detailed Segment Data Analysis
  • Module 5: atDNA Admixture Estimates
  • Module 6: Raw DNA Data
  • Module 7: Introduction to Third-Party Tools

Upon completion, a student can understand:

  • how autosomal DNA (atDNA) and X-DNA are inherited and how DNA recombines; 
  • what the atDNA test results are and how to use them for genealogy;
  • the first steps to be taken to identify the likely common ancestor with your genetic cousins found through DNA testing;
  • how company matching thresholds can affect your list of cousins with matching DNA;
  • how to use the tools most commonly provided by the DNA testing companies;
  • how admixture predictions are created from atDNA test results and why the predictions vary from company to company; and
  • how to begin using more advanced tools for analysis of atDNA test results including:
    o spreadsheets,
    o GEDmatch featured tools,
    o DNAgedcom featured tools,
    o other tools to explore.

    To learn more about Continuing Genealogical Studies: Genetic Genealogy, Autosomal DNA, see the course syllabus.


    Since the courses under the Continuing Genealogical Studies category are cloud-based, you need either a computer or tablet with an Internet connection to access the lessons, examples, exercises, and quizzes. No software or material is loaded onto your computer or tablet.

    To optimize your online learning experience, the Canvas system uses the current version of a number of different browsers. To check for your browser compatibility, please see for further information and details.

    NGS grants a license to an individual to take the course shown above. This grants the individual a personal, nonexclusive, nontransferable right to the course materials for that student's personal educational use only. All students work independently.


    Continuing Genealogical Studies


    Non members

    Genetic Genealogy, Autosomal DNA



    How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Course?

    Unlike continuing education courses, the Continuing Genealogical Studies series courses have no set time or date for attendance. These courses are geared toward individuals who have a variety of schedules. Upon registration, you have access to the course for six months from the date of registration. For those who need extra time, a one-time extension of three months is granted by contacting the NGS Course Administrator.

    Certificate of Completion

    Continuing Genealogical Studies series are independent learning courses and not eligible for a certificate of completion.

    Please note: The National Genealogical Society is not a licensing body, so no certification or accreditation is implied. For more information about certification or accreditation, please see Becoming a Professional Genealogist.

    When Can I Start the Course?

    Please allow three business days to receive an e-mail from NGS confirming registration and providing log in instructions. It is followed by a second e-mail from the NGS Education Department <[email protected]> linking you to the registration page.

    Refund and Cancellation Policy

    All purchases of courses are final. No refunds or credits are available.


    Before you register for the course, please read the Continuing Genealogical Studies: FAQs. If you have further questions, please contact the NGS Course Administrator at [email protected].


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