Is your family related to other families bearing the same or a similar name?

The DNA-analysis has become widely known through the paternity tests. In these tests the Y-chromosome exclusively conveyed by the father is closely examined and compared with the chromosome of the child. If they are identical, the test person is identified as the father.

On the other hand, out of the genetic material the so called mitochondrial DNA is conveyed exclusively from the mother to the children. Therefore, it is possible to identify the mother of a child by comparing the genetic material.

In an old cemetery the mortal remains of a dead person whose name is written on the gravestone may be unearthed. In this case, the genetic material of the mortal remains may be compared with that of living persons of the same name in order to prove or disprove a supposed relationship.

If through an archaeological excavation the mortal remains of unknown dead people are found, it is also possible to compare their genetic material with living people with a view to discovering a possible relationship. In such cases, however, one has to face the problem of tracing back the direct ancestors to the place of domicile in question. Supposing that, with a high degree of likelihood, the dead ancestor was buried in the cemetery of his domicile, such a comparison of the genetic material does in fact make sense.

If the outcome of an investigation of a broader geographical area shows that in historical times there were clans of the same name in various places, the question of relationship is to be examined. If today these ancient clans do not exist any more in these places, they either became extinct in historical times, moved to other places, or found entry into other families via female lineage. In any case, there is no way to trace them back today. However, if these ancient clans do still exist in the places in question, a relationship may possibly be examined. As a first step, exponents of those family members still present today have to be traced back to the ancient times under examination by way of church registers and other suitable documents. Some unknown new clan member in historical times, an illegitimate child whose father is unknown, or the use of very often identical forenames may hamper or even disrupt the investigations into the direct line of ancestors. However, if the representative of the clan still living today proves to be a direct descendant of the historical clan, his genetic material can be compared with people of the same family name living today in order to ascertain a possible relationship. As genealogical research is normally carried out via the male lineage, tests of this kind exclusively examine the Y-chromosome conveyed by the father. If some kind of relationship of the living representative of the clan with other living persons, showing no signs to have dwelled in this place, can be ascertained, the assumption is that there must be a common ancestor before the historical time documented.

The various case examples clearly show that in genealogy DNA-analysis serves as an additional auxiliary means that is only applied after all suitable traditional archival means have been analyzed. Researching the last millennium under question by foregoing the traditional archival examinations in favour of DNA-analysis exclusively, would not be in accordance with the integrity of scientific working methods.

Service package 10


The IRgH offers to shed light on aspects of possible relationship based on DNA-analysis.

In this case, the DNA-analysis will not be carried out by the IRgH, which, instead, will work together with a well-respected laboratory. The IRgH functions as a coordinator and advisor. The amount of work in this case varies depending on the historical research to be done additionally before a DNA-analysis. For this reason, only the charges for a DNA-analysis can be given (with two different quality standards), but not the costs for additional research that may prove necessary. However, the IRgH will be pleased to offer overall charges that are acceptable to either side.


  • DNA-anylysis quality standard 1: CHF 239  
  • DNA-anylysis quality standard 2: CHF 129  
  • All-inclusive charges for additional preliminary research according to arrangement