20 May 2019

Genetic Genealogy Abbreviations and Terms Quick Reference

Now available, Practical Genetic Genealogy Abbreviations and Terms Quick Reference laminated guide.

I was asked to compile a laminated quick reference guide for DNA and genetic genealogy abbreviations and terminology. Even though the ISOGG Wiki and other online sources contain much of this information, it seems many people prefer to have the information available in a laminated guide.

This quick reference guide has several advantages over online access.
  1. The definitions needed by genealogical researchers are in one easy-to-access place.
  2. Both beginner and intermediate level terms are included.
  3. These are clearly-worded definitions that are easy for non-biologists to understand. I often receive praise for being able to explain DNA in a way that is easy to understand and I tried to continue that tradition here.
  4. An image of my gingerbread men used to explain DNA inheritance patterns is included. I am constantly asked to provide color versions of this image to students. The image has two couples on the top row, a male and female child of the couples on the middle row, and four grandchildren on the bottom row. A "Y" represents the inheritance path of the Y chromosome through the family. An "O" represents the inheritance path of the mitochondrial DNA through the family. The left half of the gingerbread bodies represent one autosomal chromosome (for example, chromosome one) inherited from the father. The right half of the gingerbread bodies represent the corresponding autosomal chromosome inherited from the mother. The colors of the autosomal DNA represent randomly recombined chromosomes and the colors can be traced back to the great-grandparents not shown on the chart. The colors make it easy to see fully identical regions (FIR) and half identical regions (HIR) of DNA shared by the siblings in the bottom row.

The quick reference sheet is currently available from Books and Things (http://www.mygenealogybooks.com/) priced with shipping included.

All statements made in this blog are the opinion of the post author. This blog is not sponsored by any entity other than Debbie Parker Wayne nor is it supported through free or reduced price access to items discussed unless so indicated in the blog post. Hot links to other sites are provided as a courtesy to the reader and are not an endorsement of the other entities except as clearly stated in the narrative.

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Genetic Genealogy Abbreviations and Terms Quick Reference," Deb's Delvings, 20 May 2019 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2019, Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist®, All Rights Reserved


  1. Debbie this is wonderful! I have so many people ask me why do I need another person tested for DNA. Well, now I can show them this chart and maybe they will understand.

    1. So glad this is useful for you, ru. The blog post at http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/2017/10/dna-analysis-random-is-most-important.html also has a great chart showing the different amounts of DNA four siblings each share with a known fourth cousin (4C). The image labelled "GEDmatch Shared atDNA Matrix, Siblings to 4C" shows siblings share between 12.4 and 52.1 cM with the same 4C! The gingerbread men show exactly why this happens.

  2. I love your gingerbread people! Great image to understand inheritance patterns!

    1. Thank you, Dana. This is one of my creations I have been proud of over the many years that I have been using it.

  3. Just in time! My husband just doesn't get what I do, and here you've given me the resource I need to explain to him. Thanks, Debbie!