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Envelopes and dna testing

In the genealogical world, it's common to hear "I wish I tested my grandmother's DNA before she passed". This is the next best thing.

Scientists have been able to extract DNA from envelopes and stamps for some time. But it's been difficult, expensive and time consuming. Results have been used for forensic crime solving rather than genealogy. We've developed a optimised process that aims to extract sufficient DNA from envelopes from your loved ones. We then create an autosomal DNA raw text file you can use to match the DNA with other relatives on genealogy sites. 

We do not guarantee we will be able to extract DNA from the envelope/s you provide. Some people do not have sufficient DNA in their saliva. If the item has been exposed to moisture or sunlight the DNA will be impacted. The older the letter, the more difficult it will be, as DNA may degrade over time. There is also a risk of contamination of the DNA after years of handling by others. You can't even be sure who you think sealed the item did indeed lick the envelope, seal or stamp. 

We ask you in the first instance to email a photo of the envelope, postcard with stamp/s or aerogramme (front and back) to us at info@totheletterDNA.com. We will do a visual assessment of the item. If it appears suitable for attempting to extract DNA, we will notify you via email.

We do not always extract sufficient DNA from every item we test. You can view examples of items we've tested on our Examples page. From these examples you will see there is no way to determine 100% from a visual inspection whether the item will yield sufficient DNA - we have success and failure on items that appear pretty much identical in age and condition. Some items simply do not have sufficient DNA to enable progressing to the step of creating the file you need for genealogical purposes. You should be aware of this prior to placing an order with us.

You will have to pay for the extraction process regardless of whether we are able to progress your item. We will refund to you the remaining amount you have paid if we are unsuccessful in obtaining sufficient quantity and quality DNA. More information is available about this on our buy page. As there will be some envelopes and stamps that are not successful in yielding sufficient DNA, we do not seek to make a profit on the extraction process. We charge you only the base price for this service. 

The funds will be returned to you through the payment method you used. Please note that if you are not making a payment in Australian dollars, the funds will be returned to you at the exchange rate applied by your payment gateway applicable on the day the funds are returned.

We will return your remaining envelope, postcard or aerogramme to you after testing is complete, unless you request otherwise.

Click here to check out our envelopes FAQs.