DNA Stories: A Tale of Two Sisters (VIDEO)

If you're one of the many who's curious about all the cheek-swabbing that seems to be going on in genealogy-related TV shows ranging from HBO's Family Tree to PBS's Finding Your Roots and TLC's Who Do You Think You Are?, you might want to watch this video to learn more.

Genealogists use three main types of DNA tests to peek into the past -- Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), and autosomal DNA. This particular video features mtDNA which focuses on the direct maternal line of your family tree. Whether you're male or female, you got your mtDNA from your mother, who got it from her mother, who got it from her mother, and so on. So every one of us is a living representative of that branch.

A Tale of Two Sisters shows how genetic genealogist Bill Hurst made clever use of this kind of DNA testing to solve a long-standing history mystery in his family. If you find yourself getting bit by the genealogy bug, it might be worth pondering whether this same approach could help knock down a brick wall or two in your own research.