The 5 Best DNA Tests for Ancestry in 2019 - Which Testing Kit is Best & How to Choose

Best DNA Test for Ancestry

How to Choose the DNA Testing Kit That's Best for You

For centuries, genealogists have relied on oral and written records to trace their family trees. But around the year 2000, the age of genealogical DNA testing was launched. This provided genealogists and family historians with an opportunity to use well-established scientific methods to prove relationships and ancestry.

Compared to paper records, which may be incomplete or inaccurate, DNA testing is precise. But is it right for you?

And if so, which test is right for you? How do you take it? How much does it cost? Which company should you use?

Summary and our verdict:

Here are the best DNA tests

Updated: May 2019

  • :  best for cousin matching, most geographic regions for ethnicity
  • (see promo) best autosomal test on a budget
  • :  best for serious genealogy, YDNA and mtDNA tests
  • :  best for genetic health screening, not genealogy
  • :  best for roots in British Isles

If you've read all the DNA test reviews, and are still confused, read on. This guide will give you the answers you need to those and many more questions. But first, here's a comparison table of all the services mentioned in this article:

I've done the hard work...the best DNA tests for 2019

AncestryDNA

MyHeritage

FamilyTree DNA

23andMe

LivingDNA

Website

Our Rating

Price

See latest price
(see promo)

Standard (Autosomal Test)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Y-DNA Test

No

No

Yes

Included

Included

mtDNA Test

No

No

Yes

Included

Included

Collection
Method

Saliva

Cheek swab

Cheek swab

Saliva

Cheek swab

Stores Results

Indefinitely

25 years

25 years

Indefinitely

Indefinitely

Chromosome
Browser

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Raw Data
Upload

No

Yes

Yes

No

Not yet

Database Size

5 mil

1.4 mil

850k

1 mil

None

Health Info

No

No

No

For extra fee

No

Geographic
Regions

350+

42

24

150

80 - in depth for UK

Genealogical
Community

Yes

Yes

Yes

Limited

No

Contact Matches

Anonymous email/ forums

Email

Email

Limited

No

* Prices may vary; check websites for the latest prices before ordering. In addition to the cost of the test, most companies charge $10-12 for shipping. We earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post which help support this site.

* Prices may vary; check websites for the latest prices before ordering. In addition to the cost of the test, most companies charge $10-12 for shipping. We earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post which help support this site.

DNA Testing Buyer's Guide

What is DNA?

Before we jump into DNA testing, let’s talk about what DNA is.

DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is found in every living cell everywhere. It is a long chemical chain that tells our cells how to grow and act.

DNA is divided up into chromosomes, or major blocks, which are in turn divided into genes.

Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes (46 in all) arranged in a double helix.

We each get 23 chromosomes from our mother and 23 from our father.

In humans, the 23rd chromosome is either an X-chromosome or a Y-chromosome, and determines if we are male or female.

Women have two X-chromosomes, while men have one X-chromosome and one Y-chromosome.

It may sound a little confusing, but this is important to understand, because there are different types of DNA testing.

Types of DNA Tests

There are three types of DNA tests used in genealogy.

Each one works a little differently, and tells you different things.

Naturally, that means that each one has its advantages and disadvantages.

Autosomal DNA Tests

Autosomal DNA is that DNA that does not contribute to gender; in other words, the first 22 pairs of chromosomes.

Because it does not rely on the 23rd chromosome, autosomal DNA tests can be done in both men and women with the same results.

What is an autosomal DNA test?

Autosomal DNA tests examine single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), or the different “shapes” of individual nucleotides, small chunks of DNA.

Genealogical autosomal DNA tests examine about 700,000 SNPs to determine how closely related you are to someone else.

Remember that half our DNA comes from our father and half from our mother.

Going back in generations, that means that roughly one-fourth of our DNA comes from each of our grandparents, one-eighth from each of our great-grandparents, and so on.

The further you go back, the less DNA you have inherited from a particular ancestor, and the harder it is to prove that you are related.

So autosomal DNA tests are only useful for about four or five generations.

That means they could link you with relatives as distant as third or fourth cousins, but usually not more distant than that.

What It Tells You

The main use of autosomal DNA testing is to determine how closely related you are to someone else.

This can be very useful if you know very little about your parents or grandparents, and are having a hard time locating living relatives.

Many times, relatives located by the test are researching the same family lines as you, and you can share research with them.

Autosomal DNA can also provide an estimate of your ethnicity, or the regions of the world where your ancestors lived within the past few hundred years, or even a thousand or more, since people used to move a lot less often.

The companies that provide the testing divide the world up into 20 to 25 regions. They give an estimate of what percentage of your ancestry comes from each.

This can provide additional clues on where to be searching for more of your family history.

Every company that offers genealogical DNA testing offers autosomal DNA tests, though Living DNA and National Geographic only offer it bundled with the other two tests.

Mitochondrial DNA Testing

Mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA, is genetic material inside mitochondria, small components found inside every cell and which have their own separate DNA strands.

mtDNA is passed down exclusively from your mother.

Because mtDNA does not include a combination of DNA from both parents, it does not change with every generation.

In fact, mtDNA changes extremely slowly – it might remain exactly the same for dozens of generations!

How It Works

mtDNA testing ignores the main DNA in a cell, and looks just at the DNA of the mitochondria instead.

Among other things, that means the test only has to examine about 16,500 genetic base pairs, instead of the 3.2 billion base pairs found in our DNA.

The test normally looks at only specific portions of the mtDNA and compares them to established samples.

What It Tells You

mtDNA gives very precise and accurate ancestry results, but only for the maternal line.

That is, it tells you about your mother’s mother’s mother’s mother, and so on, back through time.

But it can’t tell you about any of your other ancestors, such as your mother’s father or any of your father’s ancestors.

An mtDNA test will identify how closely related you are to a haplogroup.

A haplogroup is basically a group of people with a single common ancestor.

Historically, everyone living in the same region might belong to the same haplogroup, or very closely related ones.

This means that your haplogroup can identify where your maternal line originated.

It could also help you locate distant relatives, but some of them could be very distant.

In some cases, mtDNA can remain nearly identical for 50 generations or more.

While a perfect match means you are related, you might be 48th cousins!

The only company to offer individual mtDNA testing is FamilyTreeDNA. Living DNA and National Geographic bundle mtDNA testing with their autosomal DNA test.

Y-DNA Tests

The 23rd human chromosome has two versions, the X and the Y.

Women have two X-chromosomes, while men have one X and one Y.

Y-DNA tests examine only the Y-chromosome.

Because you can only get a Y-chromosome from your father, and he from his father, that means it tends to change very little over time.

How It Works

There are actually two sub-tests with Y-DNA testing.

The first is a short tandem repeat (STR) test. The STR test categorizes sections of the DNA according to how often a certain genetic pattern repeats.

The second is a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) test. It works the same way as in autosomal DNA testing, but it only tests about 30,000 SNPs instead of 700,000.

What It Tells You

The STR test produces a summary of your haplotype. This can be compared to someone else’s results to determine how far back your most recent common ancestor lived.

An STR test is often used to determine how closely two people with the same surname are related, if at all.

The SNP test is more detailed, and among other things assigns you to a haplogroup.

A haplogroup is a group of people with one common ancestor and who lived in one or more specific regions.

Both Y-chromosome tests can help you locate relatives.

But like mtDNA, because the Y-chromosome changes slowly, you might be related many generations back.

And because the Y-chromosome is only passed down through males, the test can only tell you about your direct paternal line.

The only company to offer individual Y-DNA testing is FamilyTreeDNA, which has three options depending on how detailed a test you want.

Y-DNA testing is especially useful for adoptees as well as jewish ancestry.

Living DNA and National Geographic bundle Y-DNA testing with their autosomal DNA tests, but provide less detailed results than FamilyTreeDNA.

Choosing The Test That’s Right For You

With three tests to choose from, how do you decide which is best for you?

It all depends on what you want to know.

Autosomal DNA

For most genealogists, the autosomal DNA test is the clear winner, and it is the one test that every testing company offers.

Because your autosomal DNA comes from all of your ancestors, this test is good for finding a range of ancestors and living relatives.

It can also provide you with reasonable estimates of the ethnicity of your ancestors, or the regions of the world where they lived.

The main drawback to autosomal DNA is that it gets so jumbled together after a few generations that it becomes unreliable the further you try to go back.

Most of the time, an autosomal DNA test is only useful for about five generations – that is, to your great-great-great-grandparents.

In terms of living relatives, that means it extends to your third cousins or maybe fourth cousins.

Still, combined with websites that let you connect with close matches, autosomal DNA can provide some great leads on finding others who are researching the same family tree as you.

mtDNA

Because mtDNA comes to you only from your mother, and from her mother, it only helps you trace one line.

You can use it to prove a common ancestor with someone else, but only in a direct maternal line.

It can, however, trace that line back a very long way – sometimes 10,000 years or more.

That can provide evidence that your mother’s maternal line came from a very specific region or ethnicity.

But it is less useful when finding living relatives.

The mtDNA test also tends to be more expensive.

Y-DNA

The Y-DNA test is sort of like the mtDNA test, but it follows a direct paternal line instead.

That means a Y-DNA test can tell you about your father’s father’s father’s father, and many generations before that, but not about any of your other ancestors.

Y-DNA is most useful if you want to prove a connection to a certain ancestor.

Say that you have a common surname, like Smith, and want to know if you are related to someone else named Smith.

A Y-DNA can prove (or disprove) that the two of you are related.

Like the mtDNA test, Y-DNA may let you trace a line back for dozens of generations.

It can also tell you the ethnicity or region of origin of your paternal line.

One major drawback to a Y-DNA test is that only males have Y-DNA, so only males can take the test.

However, a woman can still find Y-DNA results by having a close male relative take it for her, such as her brother, father, paternal uncle, or cousin by a paternal uncle (but not her son, since he got his Y-chromosome from his paternal line, not hers).

In the same way, you can trace other paternal lines by asking an appropriate family member to take the test and share the results with you.

Points of Origin and Ethnicity

All three of the DNA tests can provide you with information on where your ancestors lived.

But the information they provide varies from test to test.

  • Y-DNA and mtDNA tests will link you to very specific genetic lines, but keep in mind, they represent only a fraction of your family tree.
  • Autosomal DNA covers your entire family tree, but gets so mixed up after a few generations that it can only provide estimates.

The companies that provide DNA testing divide the world up into regions in different ways.

Most companies currently use 20-25 regions, but the number, location, and names of regions vary from company to company.

That means that two different testing companies may give you different ethnicity estimates for the exact same DNA.

As more and more data get collected, companies update their regions, too.

Some companies have had problems with their ethnicity estimates in the past. AncestryDNA, for example, used to be well-known for overestimating Scandinavian ancestry.

But the accuracy of estimates is constantly improving as more data are collected, and there’s no clear indication that one company is more accurate than the others.

When a company does improve its ethnicity estimates, your profile will automatically be updated, too. You won’t have to retake the test to get the new results, but you will have to visit their site. Chances are they will not email you with the update.

Regions Versus Countries

It’s important to keep in mind that any DNA test will give a region of origin, not a country.

That’s because countries have changed many times throughout human history, and even within your lifetime!

Consider the case of Alsace-Lorraine, a 5,600 square mile region on the border of France and Germany.

Before the 17th century, the area was entirely Germanic (even though Germany as a country didn’t exist at the time).

During the 17th and 18th centuries, it was annexed by France.

In 1871, following the Franco-Prussian War, it was annexed by Germany.

Following World War I, it was returned to France.

So how can you say if your ancestors from that area were German or French using only DNA?

You can’t.

You can only say that your ancestors came from that region.

And because of all the migration and intermarrying across borders, the results you get aren’t going to be that specific, anyway.

Chances are they’ll bundle Germany and France together, and simply tell you those ancestors came from continental western Europe.

Native American Ancestry

​Can DNA testing determine Native American ancestry?

Many people in the United States want to know if they have any Native American ancestry, and if so, from what tribes.

The good news is DNA testing can, in some cases, tell you if you have Native American ancestors.

An autosomal DNA test will provide an ethnicity report, but keep in mind it only goes back about five generations.

Y-DNA and mtDNA tests go back much further, but only in one single family line each.

The bad news is none of the tests can tell you what tribe your ancestors may have come from.

And none of them can be used as proof of ancestry when it comes to applying for tribal rolls.

The best any of them can say is the general region of North or South America where your ancestors likely lived.

See our complete guide to Native American DNA tests here.

Getting Started With a DNA Test

If you’ve read this far, then chances are you are seriously considering having a genealogical DNA test done.

But I’m sure you still have a lot of questions, such as which company is best, how much it costs, how long it takes, and more.

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

How is the DNA Collected?

DNA is collected either with a cheek swab or a saliva sample, depending on which company you use.

For the most part, there’s no advantage to one method over the other.

However, if the person being tested is very young (too young to be told to spit in the cup) or very old (and can’t produce enough saliva), the cheek swab might be easier.

Right now, AncestryDNA and 23andMe use saliva samples; other companies use cheek swabs.

What Happens Next?

Once you’ve gathered your DNA sample, simply return it to the company for processing.

It will usually take six to ten weeks for your sample to be processed - but could take longer after the holidays since DNA tests are a popular gift.

Once your test is finished, you’ll be emailed with the results.

Depending on the company and the test, your results may include:

  • your raw data
  • ethnicity estimates
  • ways to contact potential relatives

How Much Does It Cost

Prices vary based on company and test.

Autosomal DNA tests by themselves usually run $79 to $99.

The only company to offer separate Y-DNA and mtDNA tests is Family Tree DNA, currently for $199 for the mtDNA test and $169 to $359 for Y-DNA tests depending on the number of markers tested.

National Geographic and Living DNA offer all three tests in one bundle for $150 to $159, which seems an incredible bargain. However, their Y-DNA and mtDNA results may be much less detailed than the individual tests from Family Tree DNA.

23andMe offers a combined genealogy and health report for a single fee.

Health reports can identify if you carry the genes for a few dozen different diseases or conditions, which could signal future health risks for you or your children.​

In addition to the cost of the test, most companies also charge $10 to $12 for shipping.

See the table for a full comparison.

Keep in mind that nearly all of these companies run sales from time to time, so if you’re willing to wait a month or two, you could save some money.

Buy It As A Gift

You can also buy any of these tests as a gift for other family members. Amazingly, you can even buy a test for your dog! (see our guide to dog DNA tests here)

This is a good way to increase accuracy by comparing results.

It also lets women use the Y-DNA test by having a male relative take it for them.

But before you spend your money, you should probably make sure the person you’re buying it for will actually take the test.

Choosing a Company

The number of options for genealogical DNA testing has increased over the years.

All of these sites offer autosomal DNA testing.

All of them will provide you with a geographical breakdown of where your ancestors lived.

Beyond that, each one has its pros and cons.

Here are the top six options, listed based on how useful overall I think they are for genealogists.


AncestryDNA

AncestryDNA is a great second choice when it comes to genealogical DNA testing. They have the most extensive database of DNA results for comparison and many other features for genealogists, but a few more drawbacks than Family Tree. Read our full AncestryDNA review.

Ancestry DNA Test Kit

Pros

  • Database of over six million sets of DNA results for comparison
  • Very strong genealogical community
  • Can connect with matches through anonymous email and message boards
  • Can link your DNA results to your online family tree
  • Stores your results indefinitely

Cons

  • No longer offers separate mtDNA or Y-DNA tests
  • Members can opt out of sharing their DNA results, so it may be harder to find and contact matches
  • Requires an ongoing subscription to the site to use their online family tree functionality
  • Does not allow raw data uploads from other sites

You don’t have to have an Ancestry subscription in order to take their test, but you do if you want to get the most benefits out of it (currently $20 to $45 per month, depending on the plan).

A subscription allows you to build a family tree, view the family tree's of your matches, and compare your tree with your match to find common ancestors. There are of course many other features on the research side of your genealogy.

Ancestry offers a 14 day free trial which you can get here.


FamilyTreeDNA

The best overall for serious genealogists. One major perk is, even if you do get your testing done by a different company, FamilyTreeDNA lets you upload your raw data into their system as well. Read our full Family Tree DNA review.

Family Tree DNA Test Kit

Pros

  • Only company to offer all three tests individually
  • Stores results for a minimum of 25 years
  • Site has a very strong genealogical community and targeted DNA projects
  • Lets you email others with matching profiles
  • Allows free upload of raw data from tests run for other sites
  • Has a chromosome browser, which lets you compare two or more sets of DNA results to see how much overlap they have in common

Cons

  • Has a smaller database of people than sites like Ancestry (since it’s not as popular to the mass market), so you might miss some matches
  • Does not offer health-related testing

MyHeritage DNA

MyHeritage is a long-established genealogical site, but they have only started offering DNA services very recently, so they have a ways to go to catch up to Family Tree and Ancestry. Read our full MyHeritage DNA review. Also check out our complete comparison of MyHeritage vs AncestryDNA.

MyHeritage DNA Test Kit

Pros

  • Largest database of global customers to be matched with
  • Link your DNA results to your online family tree
  • Contact matches for free
  • Allows free upload of raw data from other sites
  • Covers 42 ethnic regions

Cons

  • Relatively small (but rapidly growing) database compared to other sites. Currently 1.4 mil.

23andMe

23andMe is not as old as the other sites, but is by no means a bad choice, and offers some features that others don’t.

It is the only site that offers health-related DNA testing. Read our complete 23andMe review. Also check out our complete comparison of 23andMe vs AncestryDNA.

23andMe DNA Test Kit

Pros

  • Only site to offer health and wellness reports
  • Has a large database of more than one million results
  • Includes a chromosome browser for comparing results

Cons

  • Very limited genealogical community compared to other sites
  • Limited ability to contact matches
  • Does not allow upload of raw data from other sites
  • Health and wellness test is not part of the basic fee, it costs extra

Living DNA

The main advantage of Living DNA is that it breaks the world down into about 80 regions, compared to the 25-30 of other services.

That means that in theory it can help you narrow down your searches.

This is especially true if your ancestors came from the British Isles, as Living DNA breaks that tiny part of the world into 21 separate regions.

See our complete LivingDNA review.

Living DNA Test Kit

Pros

  • Divides the world into many more, smaller regions than other services
  • Has 21 regional categories for the British Isles alone, and 80 worldwide

Cons

  • No separate autosomal DNA only test, so highest overall price
  • No database or other way to find or contact matches

National Geographic Geno 2.0

While not covered in the charts above, we also wanted to give mention to Nat Geo.

The National Geographic Genographic Project is a non-profit scientific endeavor to analyze patterns in human DNA as it has moved and changed across the globe throughout history.

By itself, this site is not designed or particularly useful for genealogy.

Pros

  • Bundles all three tests at an affordable price
  • You’re helping a globally targeted scientific research effort

Cons

  • The Y-DNA test is more limited than the ones from Family Tree DNA
  • Does not offer a less expensive ‘autosomal DNA-only’ test
  • Can’t connect with other matches
  • Can’t upload raw data from other sites

Which Test Is Best For You?

The answer is, it depends on what you want. If you want to know which DNA test is best for genealogy, we recommend FamilyTreeDNA.

FamilyTreeDNA

  • best overall for genealogists
  • best for connecting with genetic matches (AncestryDNA has a larger database, but more limited contact options). FTDNA is our pick for the best genetic testing.
  • only choice for in-depth Y-DNA testing

AncestryDNA and MyHeritage DNA

  • both excellent overall for genealogists
  • best choices for linking your DNA to your online family tree

23andMe

  • only choice for genetic health screening

Living DNA

  • best for narrowing down searches in the British Isles

FamilyTreeDNA and AncestryDNA

  • best if you are adopted and are trying to connect with biological relatives

​National Geographic

  • best if you want to contribute to the advancement of science (but then be sure to upload your raw data to FamilyTreeDNA or MyHeritage DNA to get the benefits of those sites)

Is It Worth It?

So is genealogical DNA testing right for you?

In the end, is it really worth the cost and bother?

Absolutely.

Even if genealogy is only an occasional hobby for you, these tests can provide you with some very enlightening insights into your family history.

And for the serious genealogist, it is getting to the point where they are nearly essential.

Genealogical DNA testing is finally accurate enough, inexpensive enough, and useful enough for connecting with your family. I recommend it to everyone interested in learning more about their roots.

External References & Citations

Mark Orwig
 

My name is Mark Orwig and I am obsessed with keeping my mind busy, keeping active, and staying healthy.

615
Leave a Reply

299 Comment threads
316 Thread replies
15 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
296 Comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Joan

Hi Mark, Very Interesting article and advice! Thank you! I am just generally interested in DNA testing and genealogy/ancestry. Thought I should start with my 91 year old mother. Was thinking of just getting an autosomal test for her, but wondering if I should spring for more details just in case I really want to get into this? She is the last of her siblings. I do have one full brother and one full sister surviving, and well as some first male cousins.

I don’t suppose DNA samples are kept….

Thank you for taking the time to advise. Joan

viktoriya

Hi, thanks for the article this helps in my choice. I want to take one of these tests so much,trouble is that i think companies like ancestry and 23andme will lable me as “Broadly Eastern European”. I’m a Ukranian Sval and I’m looking for the best kit for me. I think that companies that are more specific in thier findings of Y DNA and M DNA would be better. Any advice?

Graeme

Mark,
I notice that Family Tree DNA covers 24 Geographic Regions 24,My Heritage covers 42 areas and Nat Geo covers 60 areas.
On the surface it appears that I should go with Nat Geo as its information would be more detailed.Does this make sense?
Regards,
Graeme

Anne Kaufman

Hello Mark, Thanks for your very informative descriptions of the various DNA tests and companies. I’m tracing my husband’s line and have gotten as far as his great-great-grandfather (four generations on his paternal line). That is where we are stuck. His 4th generation ancestor was born in Friesdorf, Germany in 1829 (no birth record or knowledge of his parents or siblings that we have found). The Y-DNA test appears be the best one to use but my husband thinks his ancestor may have Jewish roots (the spelling of his last name contains two sets of double consonants; although not uncommon… Read more »

Eric

Hi Mark,

I am from Africa. I believe most of these tests are best suited for people living in the western world or regions that kept a good record of their lineage. Also since most users will be from the western world (America, Europe), is there a better test for people from Africa?

Eric

sam

hi mark, i am from india, which test will be fine for me, just wanna check my root… pls guide… thnks…

Jane Crocker

Really a great site!You answered the questions I didn’t even know to ask!Thanks alot.

Lorrie Scott

My dad was a Crocker!!

SBF

Hi Mark, Thanks for the informative article. I’ve done an autosomal with Ancestry.com and am considering the m and y tests (my brother would do that one). All 4 of my grandparents were European-born and came to the US in the 19-teens. I’m looking for your advice on which company has the best international data base, for finding records, and finding living overseas relatives. Would you suggest sticking with Ancestry (I’ll need to resubscribe and to World Explorer, which I haven’t yet checked out) – though Ancestry doesn’t do the m and y tests or download data from other companies?… Read more »

Jim Pap

Hello Mark!

I am interested only in finding my roots. Which of the companies are more accurate or detailed for ethnicity?

I know that any company can’t tell me from which specific country I am, but i want an information as close as it can be on that.

Which company do you suggest?

Thnaks!

Vanida

Thank you for the great article but I’m still needing a little help to find the best Testing Service for me. I’m 100% Asian and I would like to find a Service that will help find the different countries my ancestors are from. My parents aren’t sure where their grandparents are from whether they’re Chinese, or Vietnamese. Which Service has the best results for knowing your different ethnicities instead of getting results that just tells me I’m 100% Southeast Asian. Thank you so much! Have a blessed day.

Paulo

Great article, Mark. I’ve been doing genealogical research for some time now, and would like to try one of these DNA testing sites. In your opinion, which one would provide the most comprehensive information?

Kristin

Wonderful article! My question: My paper trails show mostly european and scandinavian ancestory, but I have recently come accross someone who seems to think my 3rd great grandfather was hispanic. I don’t see it in any physical traits with myself or other family members. I would like to prove (or disprove) this connection. I was thinking about AncestoryDNA, what is your expert opinion? Thank you, Kristin

Jane

Thank you for this comprehensive explanation

Randy S. Scott

As an afro-amercian,this article gives me an unbiased view on DNA testing and the pros and cons.

Danette

Hello Mark, I am Hispanic/Caribbean… which means I supposedly have Native American (specifically Taino Indian), African, and Spanish (European). 3 completely different places in the world. I am also a female and I’m having a hard time figuring out which DNA test to choose from. I’d like it to be as specific as possible because I want to know what percentage I am of each and I’m sure there will be other places my DNA comes from. I’m most interested in Nat Geo or Family Tree but Family Tree options are confusing as to which I should get. Which DNA… Read more »

Claude

Hello Mark, great article xtrmely helpful. Got tested by MyHeritage and results were quite a surprise. Always believed I was a mix of Swiss, French and bit of north Italian… well with 41%english 21%irish 22%french 8%Italian etc. I do not know how I can come to this result since my family on mother and father side never left Switzerland. So I want to dig a little deeper with another test. Should it be Ancestry or LivingDNA.. ?? Thank you Mark

Paul L Doré

One last comment that I forgot. Why is HomeDNA not in the your list ?

I had never heard of them before this week. GenealogyBank had a special offer going that allowed me to upload my Ancestry Raw Data to them for 29 $ US.

I called them 3 times for assistance and info and the reponse wait time each time was less than a minute, helpful and courteous.

Their analysis is really interesting, and well presented. Unfortunately they were not taking MyHeritage DNA Raw Data so my wife’s second analysis couldn’t be processed.

Rose

Hi Mark, Thank you for the excellent breakdown of info and companies. Very helpful! And thank you for using correct terminology (data are). 🙂 I am interested in my ethnology and am looking for the autosomal DNA test with the finest scale regional breakdown that would apply to me. My father was 1st generation American of Lithuanian Jewish descent whose family made it out of Lithuania between WWI and WWII. We know less about my mother’s genealogy, who is also 1st generation American. Her father was French Canadian and was told he was also of Native American descent, and her… Read more »

Xoli

Hi Mark, my name is Xoli from Africa. I like your article so much that I’m considering to get an autosomal DNA test. Thanks for such an informative article, keep up the good work!!!

Olivia

Hey Mark, Thanks so much for your detailed article!! I was thinking about having my mother and father both take a DNA test. Would it still be beneficial for me to take the test? Or perhaps have my father take it and me and by process of elimination I’ll know what traits are from my mother? Last Q – we are 100% Polish (or so my parents claim). Do you now if any of the tests will get down to that detail or simply state “Eastern European”? Would love to hear your recommendation! I’m mainly looking for detailed ethnicity background… Read more »

CW

I love your info, Mark, so maybe you can answer a question I have not been able to find the answer to. One of my brothers is very dark like my mother (eyes, hair and skin), but my other brother is very fair like my father (freckles and very light blue eyes). Will they show different results, assuming of course they are related.

Linda Goodnight

Hi Mark,

Thank you for this very comprehensive, clear breakdown. It’s the best I’ve found by far! One question I hope you can help with: I have daughters adopted from Ukraine who would love to find/connect with bio family. We’ve been able to find no one through regular means. Do the DNA sites you mention include only American DNA matches? Or do any of them include international data-bases? Thank you!

Micheline Lee

Hi Mark, I’m new at this & recently obtained a DNA kit for myself & one of my sons through MyHeritage (not sure the type of testing), haven’t received the results yet. So grateful I found you, I had no idea of the different tests, Thanks for education. So now I’m confused & hope you can guide me in the right direction. I purchased 2 kits for my daughter-in-laws, so do I need to tests my other son & all my grandsons, or just The one son, since their both from same father? Also, my mother was born in Paris,… Read more »

Felicia

Thanks Mark. I wanted to find my roots. I was interested in DNA testing but that knowledge was confusing. Thank you for breaking all the essential information down (price, comparisons, pros/cons). It is now less stressful since I’ve read what you’ve researched. Now I feel confident in my decision and won’t have to spend hours navigating through other sites. Thanks again!

Joff elliott

Mark,

I am an Australian and want to know if I have Scandinavian antecedents from many generations ago. Would an autosomal test be the way to go?
Believe the Scandinavian connection is through my mothers side of the family.
Thank you so much for this detailed and concise article
Which company’ would u recommend and which test would be suitable?
Many thanks
Jonathan

AJ

Hi Mark,

Great article. I was looking for an in-depth report that is as specific as possible for determining ethnicity. I don’t care about finding living relatives or connections. As far as I know, my ancestors are all from the middle eastern or indus valley region. Will I be able to get more specific, and which test do you recommend?

Thanks!

Yanneka

Thanks so much, Mark, for your excellent, thorough, and clear article! I still have two questions: 1) I learned that it is illegal in France and Germany to do DNA testing, unless ordered by the law courts. I am wondering how this affects DNA data base for those regions, and if there is a DNA testing company which may have more of a data base for those areas. My mother is from France, with generations on all sides of her known family living for centuries (at least based on paper and in cimeteries) as far back as 1400 in the… Read more »

Veronica Cameron

This was a thorough read! Thanks so much. You’ve helped me make my decision.

Emma

Hey, Mark! Lots of information here but I do still have a question haha. Which one would you recommend for a Polynesian/Māori background? I remember reading somewhere that Ancestry doesn’t break down Polynesia and I’m not entirely sure which regions are included in every other site. I know my test will probably come back predominantly European due to my fathers side of the family being from Wales (him and his parents are from Wales but I’m not sure of anyone beyond them) but my mother would also like to do a DNA test and her side of the family is… Read more »

Dave

Mark, damn dude this site is awesome. I will definitely order one through your site. I wish all product review sites were like this one!