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Best DNA Ancestry Test 2017: 23andMe vs Ancestry vs FTDNA vs Geno 2.0

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Family Tree DNA logo
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Ancestry DNA logo
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National Geographic Genoproject logo

Who are you? Where did your ancestors come from? Do you have relatives that you never knew about? These are some of life’s biggest mysteries, and thanks to scientific breakthroughs over the last few years, you can now fill in more of your ancestry puzzle than ever before. Yes, we’re talking about the magic of DNA testing, which has added an exciting element to tracing your family’s roots. How? Through a home DNA test that you can order online, easily administer yourself and send in to get your individual genealogy DNA tested. Here, we examine just what these at home DNA tests involve, the kind of information you can learn, and which is the best DNA ancestry test for your personal needs.

What Exactly is a DNA Ancestry Test?

When you order a home DNA ancestry test, typically you’ll get either a cheek swab or saliva test, which are both easy to follow and submit to the lab (they give you a sample container in each kit). What’s more important than how you administer the test is the part of your DNA that’s being examined by the lab. Each service we review here offers something a little different. Here’s a breakdown of the three types of genealogy DNA testing.

Autosomnal DNA Testing

The main focus of autosomal DNA testing is to find matches with other individuals based on a certain amount of shared DNA. Testing can’t predict exact relationships, but you can expect to find matches as far out as 5th cousins and in some cases even further. Sites like AncestryDNA analyze shared DNA and give you your matches as well as how much DNA you have in common.

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) Testing

mtDNA tests both males and females along their direct maternal line, examining genetic markers on your mtDNA, which is passed down from mother to child each generation. This testing reveals your direct maternal deep ancestry and which haplogroup you belong to. All humans descend from Mitochondrial Eve, who lived an estimated 200,000 years ago in Africa. Her descendants are organized into different branches called haplogroups. mtDNA test results predict your mtDNA haplogroup.

Y Chromosome DNA (Y-DNA) Testing

Only males can take a Y-DNA test (you might recall from biology class that women don’t have a Y-chromosome). The Y-DNA test traces direct male-line ancestry — the majority of the Y-chromosome is transmitted from father to son with very little change. Each male’s Y-DNA test results are compared to other males’ results to find out their most recent common ancestor (MRCA) in their direct patrilineal lines. Most testing companies will provide this information. While females can’t be Y-DNA tested, you can have your brother, father, paternal grandfather, paternal uncle or paternal uncle’s son (your cousin) take a test for you.

Benefit of mtDNA and Y-DNA Testing

You can do a deep dive into your ancestors (we’re talking thousands of years back), which you can’t do with Autosomnal DNA testing. All services we review here include DNA testing for ethnicity, so you can get a clearer picture of where in the world your ancestors came from. The world is separated into about 25 different regions, and you’ll get an approximate percentage of your inherited DNA from each region.

Best DNA Ancestry Test Winners

We chose our best DNA ancestry test winners for 2017 based on a number of factors, including: the types of tests they offer, how many people are included in each site’s DNA database, the extent of ancestry information you can find from each test, cost, availability of online community forms, ability to contact genetic matches, customer support and genealogy resources on each website. And now, on to our genetic testing reviews!

Family Tree DNA Review

#1

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Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) is the clear winner of best DNA ancestry test if you’re committed to serious genealogy research or if you want to learn as much as possible from your DNA testing. Family Tree DNA is the only service that offers all three types of test: Autosomal, Y-DNA and mtDNA testing, and the test is a simple cheek swab. They also give you the ability to transfer your data from other services and store your results for 25 years. You get the email addresses of your matches and are able to join targeted genealogical projects within their network. What’s missing? Although not related to ancestry, you don’t get medical-specific DNA results, like with 23andMe. But if your focus is on your family roots, FTDNA is the best way to go.

Pros

Cons

  • Competitive pricing for DNA Autosomnal test
  • Only site to offer Autosomal DNA, Y-DNA and mtDNA testing kits and a good variety of bundled packages
  • Website supports targeted DNA genealogical projects
  • Stores your DNA sample for 25 years
  • Provides trusted privacy for your test sample
  • You receive email addresses for your genetic matches
  • Chromosome browser tool to compare shared chromosomal segments
  • Allows uploading of raw DNA results from 23andMe, Ancestry DNA and Geno 2.0
  • Excellent online community forums and customer service
  • Provides biogeographical ancestry analysis
  • Database (766,000+ people) isn’t quite as large as other services

Pricing

  • $99 Family Finder Autosomnal DNA Kit (cheek swab)
  • $69 mtDNA Plus DNA Kit
  • $199 mtDNA Full Sequence Kit
  • $169 Y37 Markers
  • $268 Y67 Markers
  • $359 Y111 Markers
  • $9.95 shipping

Coupon Code

Family Tree DNA often has time sensitive coupons, find and share them here!

Read our in-depth FamilyTreeDNA Review

Ancestry DNA Review

#2

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AncestryDNA, part of the wildly popular genealogical site Ancestry.com, is our number two pick for best DNA ancestry test. The company offers affordable pricing, an extremely active online community, large DNA ancestry database and access to millions of family trees and billions of historic records via the Ancestry website. They analyze your simple saliva test at more than 700,000 genetic markers to find your genetic matches and give you a breakdown of your ethnicity. AncestryDNA suspended its Y-DNA and mtDNA testing, however, so you don’t have the ability to drill down as deep into your genetic profile and ancestry as you can with FTDNA, which still offers those tests.

Pros

Cons

  • Competitive pricing for Autosomnal DNA test
  • Largest database — 1.4 million people
  • Reliable security for DNA test samples and results
  • Excellent online community forums and customer service
  • Provides biogeographical ancestry analysis
  • Stores your DNA sample indefinitely
  • Can connect with genetic matches via anonymous email and Ancestry.com message boards
  • Doesn’t offer separate Y-DNA or mtDNA testing
  • No targeted genealogical DNA projects available to join on website
  • Can’t upload raw DNA data from other services
  • No chromosome browser available to compare shared chromosomal segments

Pricing

  • $99 DNA testing kit (saliva sample)
  • $9.95 shipping
  • Results available in 6-8 weeks

Coupon

AncestryDNA often has time sensitive coupons, find and share them here!

Read our in-depth AncestryDNA Review

National Geographic Geno 2.0 Review

#3

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The Geno 2.0 Next Generation comes in third as our choice for best DNA ancestry test. The test is part of the National Geographic Genographic Project, a scientific effort to analyze historic patterns in human DNA across the globe. How does it work? You purchase and submit your simple cheek swab test, their lab runs its newest advanced DNA testing, which identifies thousands of mtDNA markers for direct maternal lineage, examines Y-DNA markers for direct paternal ancestry and analyzes more than 750,000 other ancestry-informative markers to reveal your ancestry’s regional affiliations. The Geno 2.0 Next Gen test is expensive, and their database is relatively small which limits your research abilities. But the great thing about this test is that FTDNA allows you to upload your Geno 2.0 results into their database for free, so you can find your relatives and get additional insight on your ancestral origins. And you get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re contributing to a global historic genomic project. You can even learn if you have Neanderthal DNA in your genome — pretty cool, huh?!

Pros

Cons

  • Offers autosomnal and full mtDNA testing (but limited Y-DNA)
  • Test samples saved securely for privacy
  • Contributing to a globally targeted genealogical DNA project
  • Excellent online community forums and customer service
  • Provides biogeographical ancestry analysis
  • DNA test is expensive
  • Much smaller database at 200,000 (but you can upload to FTDNA)
  • Can’t upload raw DNA data from other services
  • No chromosome browser
  • No website support for connecting with genetic matches

Pricing

  • $199.95 DNA testing kit (cheek swab)
  • Free shipping
  • Results available in 8-10 weeks

23andMe Review

23andMe logo

View on Amazon | Visit Website

Although 23andMe didn’t make our top three, they’re still worthy of consideration. 23andMe has been providing home DNA tests since 2007, but recently they’ve placed more of a focus on medical DNA testing. The result for DNA ancestry testing? 23andMe still conducts autosomnal DNA ancestry testing, but overall the service isn’t what it used to be for genealogists. First, 23andMe raised the price of their DNA test from $99 to $199, but the ancestry side of testing hasn’t changed. The upside? You can get medical DNA results from 23andMe, and you can’t from the other best DNA ancestry test providers we’ve reviewed here. The downsides? If you’re looking for ancestry results and related services, 23 and Me is limited compared to its competitors. Their website isn’t as user-friendly; they cap the number of matches they report to you at 1,000 (other services are unlimited). Also, matches must give prior approval to share their genomic information.

Pros

Cons

  • Large database of 1 million people
  • Test samples and results are secure for privacy
  • Provides chromosome browser to compare shared chromosomal segments
  • Provides biogeographical ancestry analysis
  • Stores your DNA sample
  • Very expensive pricing for DNA Autosomal test
  • Doesn’t offer Y-DNA or mtDNA testing
  • No genealogical DNA projects available to join on website
  • Can’t upload raw DNA data from other services
  • Genealogical community forums are lacking compared to our top two choices
  • Harder to connect with genetic matches (they must approve sharing contact information, and members say many don’t)

Pricing

  • $199 DNA testing kit (saliva sample)
  • $9.95 shipping
  • Results available in 6-8 weeks

You Never Know What You’ll Discover

Watch this heartwarming story from the Katie Couric Show about what one man discovered from his AncestryDNA test.

Is Your DNA Ancestry Sample Protected?

Yes. The testing services reviewed here all have strict privacy policies in place to protect your DNA sample from being misused — you can find these policies on their websites. And in 2008, the U.S. passed the Genetic Information and Non-Discrimination Act to protect citizens from having their genetic information used against them for health insurance or employment purposes.

A Big Piece of Our Collective Human History

Whether you’re searching for living relatives or want to know where your ancestors originated from, a DNA ancestry test is a fun way to find out more about what made you who you are. With nearly three million genetic ancestry profiles conducted since genetic genealogy became commercially available in 2000 and a growing interest in DNA ancestry, we can all learn more about our shared human evolution. If you’re not already researching genealogy online, you may want to check out our Best Online Genealogy Software comparison article for our recommendations.

What do you hope to discover about your relatives and genetic makeup through DNA testing?

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.


About Sally Jones
An international traveler since she was under 10 years old, Sally loves exploring the world’s mysteries first hand. Her favorite destinations? Greece and the British Virgin Islands. She grew up learning to question, explore, and discover new things and ideas — it’s probably why she went into journalism as a career! She loves what the Internet has brought to research and exploration, but she still hits the ground to travel whenever she gets the chance.
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99 Comments on "Best DNA Ancestry Test 2017: 23andMe vs Ancestry vs FTDNA vs Geno 2.0"

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Neely
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Neely

If my daughter’s DNA is tested to determine her heritage will it also show that info for myself and my husband?

Jo Hanna
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Jo Hanna

I had two DNA tests done, one with Ancestry and one with FTDna. They turned out quite differently. Whereas, ancestry gave me 48% Italian Greek and 2% trace from Asia minor ( my father is southern Italian) FTdna gave me instead a 24% middle eastern origin including from North Africa and no mention of Italian Greek. Also Ancestry gave me Scots (British isles) and Irish ( my mom’s side) with small Scandinavian percentage- not mentioned at all in FTDna. They just said western and central European. Why the large disparity?

Hack
Guest
Hack
Did the 23andMe DNA and still cannot figure out things. My Haplogroup is K1a1b1. Long long ago I was told that we are Ashkenazi Jews but this haplogroup does not confirm this. I have family that were killed in different camps during the holocaust, they are Jewish. This DNA test has left me wondering why I even did the 23andMe. I did this so that I could know more about me and my family more, is it even worth it to go to another company. Will I waste more money by having another DNA test. My father died a few… Read more »
bill brock
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bill brock

I just want anyone that is researching family tree dna to know, it takes them 4 days to process a single kit for shipping …even though this has nothing to do with their quality (I will find this out much later…much much later). I bring this up only because if they can’t seem to process an order any faster than that, what is the chance that they mess up your dna sample, or confuse it with someone else, or forget to do it all together. Take this into consideration when deciding which company to use.

Laura
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Laura
Great article! Wish I’d seen this before I started purchasing DNA kits for myself and my family. Currently my father and I are both in the 23AndMe database. My uncle in Italy is quite interested in doing the test so I’ve been trying to find the best way to get the 23AndMe kit to him in the small town that he lives in. Do you know if these tests are offered in Europe? I first tried to purchase the kit directly through 23AndMe but wasn’t able to get it sent to my uncle’s address. So I called 23AndMe about it… Read more »
Hoss
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Hoss
First tested with Ancestry.com, best site for beginners. You can research and build your family tree with related civil records, and other trees. You then can link your DNA kit to your family tree. This allows Ancestry to correlate other clients DNA / tree matches, shared matches and geographical maps. Best of all you can shut off your paid-membership after a month and start it up again at a later date. Ancestry left me with further questions to regions I had no knowledge of, so I uploaded to GEDMATCH (free) and paid for a transfer fee of $30 dollars to… Read more »
Sadie Cornelius
Guest
Sadie Cornelius

Hoss thanks for sharing your experience with us!

HCS
Guest

I want to confirm the genealogy that has been passed down by my family and also understand if I have propensity for certain diseases. Would the 23 and Me or Family Tree be better? If I have my daughter tested instead would that confirm my ancestry as well as that from her father? Thank you.

Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones

Hi! Thanks for your question. 23andMe is the only at-home DNA test that will give you health-related results. To answer your second question — no, you would need to both get tested, since everyone’s DNA is different.

Wil V
Guest
Wil V

What advantage do I have if I purchase the y-111 through FTDNA as oppose to y-67 or y-37?

Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones

Hi Wil! There is really no advantage to test more markers, unless you’re part of a project’s subgroup where you’ve already matched to several other members. I know it’s confusing. Check out FTDNA’s advice at https://www.familytreedna.com/faq-markers.aspx.

Dee
Guest

Which DNA company is the best at finding detail geographical regions of my ancestors and possible famous relatives?

Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones

Hi Dee! 23andMe, Ancestry and FamilyTreeDNA can all give you an ethnicity breakdown with geographical regions. Finding famous relatives requires a lot of genealogical research, which is separate from taking a DNA test. Check out our article Best Online Genealogy Software at https://www.exploringlifesmysteries.com/myheritage-vs-ancestry-vs-findmypast/ for more information. Thanks for your question!

David
Guest
David

Dear Sally, my wife was born from an out-of-marriage union. She knows absolutely nothing about her father. She’d like to know what genetic predispositions and tendencies he left her. Most important for her are medical, mental, and other related tendencies. Her mother had a stroke at 55 and my wife is now 53. The stroke left her mother in a nonverbal state, so she cannot get any information there. My wife is not trying to find her father, only to understand what genetic input he left her. Recommendations?

Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones

Hi David! Currently 23andMe is the only at-home DNA test that will give you health-related information.

David
Guest
David

Thank you so much! This is very helpful.

David

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

There is also DNA Fit.

Evey Mae
Guest
Evey Mae

I am interested in getting as much information as possible but it is also very important that I can use this to connect to a family tree as this will also be used for family tree genealogy projects. I do have an ancestry account as well but which company should I use to get detailed genetic information and the ability to add info to ancestry?

Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones

Hi Evey Mae! If you already have an Ancestry account, I’d recommend getting the Ancestry DNA test if you want to connect your results to a family tree. If you get a test done from another provider, you won’t be able to upload your results to Ancestry.com. Good luck with your DNA hunt!

Hplo
Guest
Hplo
How much would you recommend just WAITING a few years to have these tests done? It sounds like they are constantly improving, their databases are getting larger and larger, and they are probably decreasing in cost. The technology can only improve over time, as the databases fill with more people and the discoveries become greater. What is the likelihood that these tests which cost $199 now might cost $20 with better results in ten years or so? If they are likely to improve a lot and cost less, I think the best option is to wait, since none of these… Read more »
Amalee
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Amalee
I’m sorry if my questions have been asked before, but I’ve been doing research for this and its all a little overwhelming. I’ve got two questions: (1) Aside from 23&Me, which other service provides health information along with family/ethnic information? (2) Do these companies really work with the pharmaceutical and insurance industries (to study our results)? (Apparently through some loophole in GINA.) Also, is these an opt out option to allowing these companies access to our information? It’s something I heard, but I can only verify to a degree. I want to know 100%. Although I love the idea of… Read more »
Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones

Hi Amalee, Currently 23andMe is the only at-home DNA test that provides health information as well as family/ethnic information. The companies that we’ve reviewed here have strict privacy policies and do not share your results with pharmaceutical and insurance industries. Each company has a lengthy privacy policy on their website, and I’d encourage you to read each one to understand exactly how your information is protected!

Lmt Lmt
Guest
Lmt Lmt

From the information given here, it looks like I can’t, even with my brother’s saliva, get information from my father’s side of the family. Is that correct?

Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones

It depends on what kind of information you’re looking for! Can you give me a few more details, i.e. are you male or female? Are you looking for ethnicity and/or genetic matches?

future2
Guest
future2

My 15 year old Cambodia adopted daughter is interested to learn more about her ethnicity, which test would you recommend?
Thank you, in advance.

Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones

Hi. Thanks for your question! I’d recommend the basic mtDNA test from any of the companies we’ve reviewed here.

Joseph Arnold
Guest
Joseph Arnold

Hi Sally. I’m trying to figure out what nationality my father’s side is. I never met him and don’t know much about him could you help direct me to what type of test I should get and from what company.

Albert
Guest
Albert
Hello Sally, I am still a little bit confused on which company to choose. Could you give me your opinion? I am a male interested on knowing my Genetic background from both my dad and my mum lineage since they are from different places but they are both western European. I would like a test that told me how much % of my DNA comes from the different places of Europe (like for example 30% Scandinavian, 40% British… or something like this) I would be very frustrated if the test only said “Western European” or something like this. What would… Read more »
Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones

Hi Albert, Thank you for your questions. Unfortunately, none of the 3 main testing companies (Family Tree DNA, Ancestry, and 23andMe) can give specific and accurate information on which countries in Europe your ancestors came from. If you already know which western European countries your parents are from, you already know a lot more than any company can tell you at this point. The tests’ predictions are continental rather than country specific. “Western European” is all they can tell you.

Tracee Clay
Guest
Tracee Clay
I’m thinking of the 23andme, but I am not sure if this test could show that I have relatives living in France or near France. While my grandfather was in Europe (WWII vet) he fathered a child(ren) with a French woman. My mother and her siblings heard their grandmother mention that there was a letter asking them to fly the child(ren) to the U.S. but the children were never flown here. So, now that my grandfather is deceased, would there be anyway to find out who they are if they’re still living or if they have children is there a… Read more »
Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones

Hi Tracee, Interesting family history! Unfortunately DNA testing won’t help you find relatives in France. At the present time DNA testing for paternity or research on ancestry is illegal in France. Good luck with your quest!

ashton ashton
Guest
ashton ashton

23andme is the most accurate. Family tree dna no.

ashton ashton
Guest
ashton ashton

I used ancestry dna family tree and 23andme and 23andme was by far the most accurate. Ancestry 2nd. Family Tree was a complete joke no where near.

Tracee Clay
Guest
Tracee Clay

23 and me states, “Some genetic ancestry services only provide autosomal DNA analysis or charge you separately for the maternal and paternal haplogroup information. 23andMe includes all of these for a single price. I might go with this one instead.

Sadie Cornelius
Guest
Sadie Cornelius

Tracee, thanks for sharing and please let us know how it goes!

Amanda Evans
Guest
Amanda Evans

I am interested mostly in finding out what my parents genetic backgrounds are. If I use my brother’s DNA sample, will I be able to see what my results from both my mother and father are? From the research I have done, 23andMe shows the maternal and paternal halpogroups. Will the halpogroups show the genetic and cultural background?

Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones
Hi Amanda, Thanks for your questions! First, if you use your brother’s DNA sample (as opposed to your own), it’s only useful if he gets a YDNA test (male line only, father to son, etc.) That will only give the background for the direct male line. And Family Tree DNA is the only company in our reviews that offers that type of testing. Unless you have a DNA sample from one of your parents to compare with your and your brother’s autosomnal DNA, no DNA testing company can break down your DNA into across-the-board father’s versus mother’s genetic background. Ancestry,… Read more »
Kpsych
Guest
Kpsych

My 3 grown children are all very interested in this process. I am considering ordering the kits for Christmas. Do full siblings get almost identical results? Would 23&me be the best choice because it will give individualized medical data as well as (probably) similar ancestry data? Thanks!

Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones

Thanks for your questions!
Siblings get 50% of each parent’s DNA. It’s unlikely that it will be the identical 50% for each full sibling unless they are twins. See the chart at the bottom of this link for a better understanding. http://isogg.org/wiki/Autosomal_DNA_statistics. To answer your second question — 23&me is your best choice if you want individualized medical data, but you won’t get the same level of ancestry results as you would with other DNA tests we’ve reviewed here. Good luck!!

GigiHawaii
Guest
GigiHawaii

I am considering having my 2 adopted siblings DNA analyzed for their personal information. They have recently found their mother and other siblings but there still is a lot of mystery about their full ethnicity. I want to use a site that is certifiable so if they need to verify their ethnicity for any legal reasons that the test results will be valid. Which one would suffice that?

Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones

Hi Gigi,
Unfortunately, the ancestry DNA testing we’ve reviewed here aren’t considered legal by the U.S. court system. We recommend you search for DNA testing centers in your area that are legally certified. Best of luck to you!

ekw
Guest
One thing to note about uploading DNA results to Family Tree DNA is that they currently don’t accept AncestryDNA 2.0 test results. I had my DNA tested through Ancestry since I’m already a member and I figured if I had the test done with them (while they were running a $79 special and using a free shipping promo code) I could reap the benefits of both Ancestry and Family Tree DNA (by uploading my raw autosomal data). I got my Ancestry DNA results in June 2016 (one month and two days after they received my sample) and immediately went to… Read more »
Sadie Cornelius
Guest
Sadie Cornelius

Thanks for sharing your experience and good to know about Gedmatch too! We will check them out and consider adding them in our next update of this article. Thanks again for reading and giving your first-hand experience with DNA testing!

Mana Capo
Guest
Mana Capo

Why when it comes to DNA test and you have some degree of native American, they circle the whole American continent as if it were a single genetic compound, when in reality there is a big genetic difference lets say between an Aztec than a Maya (nose, face, body etc) or an Apache from an Inca or Skimo and a Comanche, when in Europe (a smaller territory than the Americas) there is a big difference lets say between an Iberian than from an Italian and a Greek, which are very close from each other.

James Wolfe
Guest
James Wolfe
Hummm, I am curious about ancestry. After all, have done the other sites, as been of majority British / European ancestry they’re utterly useless except to identify a handful of colonist relatives. Supposedly it has a large UK database, however, as someone who knows more than breadcrumbs about the family history I am wary. After all, there are countless “trees” on that site in which accuracy is nothing more than a pipe dream. Even “trees” that have been proven inaccurate by outside research [such as the popular Acadian families] are still lauded on ancestry as been accurate. Nor will I… Read more »
Rui Rocha
Guest
Rui Rocha

Hi Sally, I am Portuguese and I am supposed to have a British ancestor as my grandfather used to say so. My British ancestor would be a my great great grandfather. As he didn’t marry my great great grandmother he appears as unknown. I would like to do a DNA test to find out if I have a strong percentage from the UK/Ireland. In addition, I would like to find some close relatives (up to ten generations). Which one you think is more suitable for me?

Many thanks
Rui

James Wolfe
Guest
James Wolfe

Well for one DNA testing DOES NOT cover to ten generations. Shows the legitimacy of this author when she doesn’t even cover that little piece of information. You may get 6 generations, if lucky, however, past four generations [so great-great grandparents] the relationship accuracy rapidly decreases. That’s of course not counting the fact DNA only identifies what sections you and the relative shares, therefore, you get half the picture. If you have siblings testing them too would assist.

Christopher Poole
Guest
Christopher Poole
Mr. Wolfe, you are mistaken on nearly every single point you made in this comment and a couple others I see with your name on them. When you purchase something like the Ancestry membership, or service, it tells you that you must check for accuracy and do research yourself, which is very easy. You sound like one of the people who purchased access to the data willy-nilly, without understanding how it works, then started complaining within 24-48 hrs that you didn’t know everything you wanted to know about your family tree. You weren’t buying a full family tree. If you… Read more »
Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones

Hi Rui, Thanks for your question! Since you want to get your DNA tested and investigate your ancestry and current relatives, I’d recommend going with AncestryDNA. They have the largest database of potential matches for you to compare your DNA, and they have a large UK/Ireland database. FamilyTreeDNA is also a good choice. Good luck with your genealogical endeavors!

Mr Neutron
Guest
Mr Neutron

One ought to be very, very wary of these tests, particularly 23andme, after reading this:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/23andme-is-terrifying-but-not-for-the-reasons-the-fda-thinks/

I’ll pass, thanks.

Hiroku
Guest
Hiroku

Thanks for the deceptive review om Family Tree DNA!
The customer service is slow as molasses almost to the point of non-existence. The service is absolutely ridiculous, they do not give you your origins but rather a match up with one of their other clients in the DNA database. Unless you are an orphan or adopted this service is utterly useless – even if you are their database is so small that your odds of finding a relative is marginal at best.

Judi DeQuaker
Guest
Judi DeQuaker

Thank you for sharing that! Does anyone have a what is best test recommendation? Looking for full genetic nationality including American Indian.

Hiroku
Guest
Hiroku

I had a good experience with 23andme. It is $99 if you only want ancestry and $199 (I think) if you want both medical and DNA. If you buy it through Amazon you can save the shipping fee.

Sadie Cornelius
Guest
Sadie Cornelius

Hiroku, thanks for letting us know we updated and included a link to Amazon the review above!

Sadie Cornelius
Guest
Sadie Cornelius

Hiroku, sorry to hear you had a bad experience with Family Tree DNA, that’s definitely good to know and appreciate the feedback for our readers. We will definitely take that into consideration as we update our article in the future too. Thanks for reading and sharing!

Hiroku
Guest
Hiroku

Unfortunately, I only looked on Yelp after the purchase – but it reflects my sentiments.

John Keller
Guest
John Keller

23andMe is hands down the best. But higher cost for higher quality.

Sadie Cornelius
Guest
Sadie Cornelius

John, thanks for sharing your experience! Agreed, sometimes you pay for what you get so sometimes the higher price is worth it!

Heather
Guest
Heather
Ancestry.com is 6-8 weeks from the time the lab receives your DNA, not when they actually received your DNA back in the mail. When they receive it back it still has to transfer it to the lab so total time is about 9-11 weeks. If your lucky. In my experience, I followed the instructions on the package and 2 weeks after my DNA was in the lab was told they could not read it and would send me a new kit (that would take 10 days). Then I have to send it back and go through the whole waiting period… Read more »
Millie
Guest
Millie

O wow! My husband and I just got our results in. Took only a month. From the time we ordered till we got our results. Waiting that long would have drove me crazy!

Sadie Cornelius
Guest
Sadie Cornelius

Heather, wow that’s a long process and I’m sure you are anxious to know the results! Thanks for sharing your experience with us and our readers.

Heather
Guest
Heather

Sadie, your welcome. I’m happy to share my experience. I have to honestly say that I have truly lost interest in the process. My mom has done our genealogy, I was curious to know my percentages, but not enough to go through what they have put me through. It’s another company that has lost the knack of good customer service this day and age.

SeattleCobra
Guest
SeattleCobra

Ancestry.com is owned by the Mormon Church. Minus one for that. I’m not giving my money or DNA results to a right wing religious fanatical group that believes in crazy stuff like the Planet Kolob. The only reason they’re so good at it is the fact they’ve been marrying their first cousins repeatedly for over two hundred years.

LwoodPDowd
Guest
LwoodPDowd
Some of your information is incorrect. The items that stood out the most to me: 23andme includes some y and mt markers, While ftdna offers y and mt for an extra fee, there are none in their base kit. Without an ongoing Ancestry.com membership, I have been unable to contact DNA matches. Based on her account name I could identify which one of my matches was my aunt. She never received any of my messages for contact, and when I contacted support they told me a paid ancestry account would be required. Having to continue to pay ancestry to get… Read more »
Judi
Guest
Judi

So what do you recommend? My boyfriend wants to find out how much Souix Indian in his bloodline. Do you feel 23andMe is best bet then?

Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones

Hi LwoodPDowd,
Thanks for your comment! While 23andMe does include some Y and MT markers in its results, they don’t offer the separate Y and MT testing that FTDNA does. FTDNA’s separate Y and MT testings are much more in-depth than Y and MT marker results you’d get with 23andMe’s Autosomal DNA test alone.
Thanks for reading our reviews!
Sally

LoveCoates
Guest
LoveCoates

Hmmm, I read this but I’m still not sure which services to order. Since Family Tree DNA allows you to upload from other services, wouldn’t it make sense to get a test from a different, cheaper service (or a service with a robust community like Ancestry) and upload it to Family Tree DNA? When uploading to Family Tree DNA from another service do you get its Y-DNA and mtDNA results, or can you only get those with specific tests?

Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones

Hi, and thank you for your question. It’s the specific Family Tree DNA tests that will only give you the Y-DNA and mtDNA results. If you take Ancestry’s DNA test, for example, the test itself doesn’t examine those genetic markers in depth. So even if you upload Ancestry’s DNA test results to Family Tree DNA, you won’t have the more specific Y-DNA and mtDNA analysis in your results. It’s too bad you can’t upload Family Tree DNA results to Ancestry’s massive database! Let me know if have any other questions.
Sally

Pat Wintersteen
Guest
Pat Wintersteen

Sally, I am still lost. I feel like I have to be a geneticist to decide which company to test at. All I want to discover is the most detailed geographical map of genetic history. I could care less about finding even more relatives than I already have. What company and what test(s) do I take?
Confused.

Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones
Hi Pat, I know it can be confusing! While there’s a lot you can learn with DNA testing, there are still plenty of limitations. Predictions of ethnicity from Family Tree DNA, Ancestry.com and 23andMe are going to be general rather than detailed. I’d recommend the autosomnal test. Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder test is what I’d recommend. Ancestry is more interested in connecting relatives and trees, so I’d avoid that if finding relatives is not a priority. The FTDNA raw data can be uploaded to GEDmatch, and they have several different programs that predict ethnicity. Good luck in your search!
Pat
Guest

thanks Sally!!! But doesn’t 23andMe give me more detailed COUNTRIES in Europe and not just “Western European” result that Family Tree DNA results show? I mean, I don’t need a DNA test to know I am “Western European”. Which company test shows the exact countries of my ancestry, not the continents?

Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones

Hi Pat, DNA tests alone can’t give you specific countries; only regions within a continent. Check out this article at Family Tree Magazine that helps make it easier to understand the myths of DNA testing vs what it can actually tell you. http://www.familytreemagazine.com/article/dna-fact-or-science-fiction. This should help clarify some common misconceptions about DNA testing!

Pat Wintersteen
Guest
Pat Wintersteen
Thanks Sally. I see what you are saying…..the biogeographical results are unreliable. The more I learn about DNA testing, the less I like it. What I am doing is purchasing a test for a relative as a Holiday gift. What I am trying to ask, though I admittedly have not well articulated, is….of these testing companies that you show “Provides biogeographical ancestry analysis” which Company gives more “narrowed-down” “most localized” “zeroed-in” results on their maps? I have seen some examples that give results in rather small areas, like very Northwestern Europe while others only show Western Europe. Much appreciated. What… Read more »
Lynn
Guest
Lynn

Hi Sally, I’m adopted and I honestly want to just know what I’m made of…Not necessarily find any relatives. Any recommendations?

Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones

Hi Lynn and Pat, If you’re only interested in biogeographical ancestry analysis (a percentage breakdown of where in the world you come from), then currently 23andMe’s autosomal test is your best bet. 23andMe’s ethnicity results tend to be more accurate (but not by much) than Ancestry and FamilyTreeDNA, and they will drill down to more specific areas within a continent. But you’ll still not receive single countries, i.e. France/Germany is as close as you’ll get. I hope this helps!!

Sara Van Wey
Guest
Sara Van Wey

Hi Sally,

Thanks for the great article. It was perfect timing as I’m looking into getting a DNA test done. I’m not so much curious in finding relations, just in my genetic background. I was wondering if you could tell me if one of the companies breaks down European ancestry better than another (Maybe without doing the super expensive combo options at FamilyTreeDNA)? I know I may just get a broad “Western European” answer and wasn’t sure if one company would be more specific in the break down.

Thanks so much,

Sara

Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones

Hi Sara,

Thanks for asking! We know it’s a difficult area to understand! We’d recommend getting your DNA ancestry testing done with either Ancestry.com or Family Tree DNA (FTDNA). Then once you have your results, you should upload them to GEDmatch.com, a free genealogy online service that has several different population prediction programs to help you drill down into your European ancestry. One thing to note: with Ancestry.com’s DNA testing, you can upload your results to both FTDNA and GEDmatch.

Ken
Guest

Great Info! Ms. Sally Jones, like Sara, I’m just interested in finding out about genetics and heritage. You recommend Ancestry and FTDNA. For FTDNA does their $99.00 test suffice for this? Thanks so much.

Sara Van Wey
Guest
Sara Van Wey

Thanks so much for the response, Sally. I’ve been doing a ton of research online to try and find the best company for this and in my research it came out 23andme as the best option for European ancestry. You don’t believe this is the case though? I will certainly look into Ancestry and Family Tree.

Thanks,
Sara

Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones
Hi Sara, Another great question — you’ve been doing your research, for sure! At the moment 23andMe probably has the best predictor compared to Ancestry or FTDNA, but all services are in very early stages. 23andMe costs twice as much as the others, and their main concern now and moving forward is health-related DNA. If cost isn’t a concern for you, 23andMe is a good choice for now based on existing databases (compared to Ancestry and FTDNA). But keep in mind, GEDMATCH updates their ancestry predictions regularly, and FTDNA plans to update theirs shortly. It’s unclear about 23andMe’s plans to… Read more »
Sara Van Wey
Guest
Sara Van Wey
Sally, Do you know when FTDNA will be updating their ancestry predictions? I was leaning toward FTDNA after I read your comments, but if 23andMe is better at this point, maybe I should go that route after all? Though I was thinking the MtDNA might be kind of fun to take and then share it with my Mom and Aunt. I’m hoping to get the test done in the next few months; any idea of FTDNA will be updated in that time frame? I appreciate you taking the time to get back to me with all these questions. At some… Read more »
Sharon Farrell
Guest
Sharon Farrell

Sara, my great-grandmother’s name was Van Wey. First name Sally. Married Michael Farrell from Pennsylvania. First time I’ve ever seen that name anywhere.

James Wolfe
Guest
James Wolfe

Christ – get the cheapest testing done & import it to the website gedmatch. Gedmatch gives a far superior breakdown ethnically than any paid company can. Best yet – it is free.

chcurtis
Guest
chcurtis

Garbage in, garbage out – a good tool for comparing data isn’t any good if the data isn’t accurate. What you say makes sense ONLY if all the testing services do the same tests, with the same precision. Maybe they do – that’s why I’m reading this, to find out the differences between the services. But I’m not sure that the “cheapest testing” will yield the best data.

MarkP
Guest
MarkP

I was told that my family is related to Ben Franklin’s family and wondering if I could find out through a DNA test? I’ve used Ancestry sites to track down as much of my family history as possible but still not able to track the connection. Wondering if this could help me figure out the possibility.

James Wolfe
Guest
James Wolfe

If you are going off assumptions, as in you haven’t found any paper trail indicating such, it is unlikely. But been “related” to “famous people” is a very popular claim. More often than not it is just wishful thinking. If you are blibbering about haplogroups been the same that means even less than nothing.

Sally Jones
Guest
Sally Jones

Hi Mark,

A great question that’s pretty common when it comes to what DNA ancestry tests can tell you! Unfortunately in your case, a DNA test won’t give you the answers you’re looking for. Your DNA would have to be compared to that of a known descendant of Benjamin Franklin or his siblings or cousins. And since so many generations have elapsed, the random drift of DNA in each generation might end up with no shared DNA, even if there were a connection.

Best of luck to you in your genealogical research!

Sally

SeattleCobra
Guest
SeattleCobra

Huh… well I did not know that. Thanks for correcting me. I thought FamilySearch owned Ancestry.

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