5 Best DNA Test Kits (2019 UPDATE) Read This BEFORE You Buy

Best DNA Test for Ancestry

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

Here are the best DNA tests

Updated: November 2019

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 test kits for 2019

AncestryDNAMyHeritageFamilyTree DNA23andMeLivingDNA
WebsiteView WebsiteView WebsiteView WebsiteView WebsiteView Website
Best forGenealogy, matches, ethnicity regions (view website)Global matches, tools for advanced genetic genealogy (view website)Distant ancestry, YDNA, mtDNA (view website)Genetic health testing (view website)British Isles ancestry (view website)
PriceSee latest price
(see promo)
See latest price
See latest price
(see promo)
See latest price
(see promo)
See latest price
Ethnicity resultsYesYesYesYesYes
Ethnic Regions (click for more detail)500+42241,000+80 (in depth for UK)
Family MatchingYesYesYesYesLimited
Database Size15 million1.4 million850k1 millionNone
Y-DNA TestNoNoYesBroad haplogroup, no matchingBroad haplogroup, no matching
mtDNA TestNoNoYesBroad haplogroup, no matchingBroad haplogroup, no matching
Collection MethodSalivaCheek swabCheek swabSalivaCheek swab
Chromosome BrowserNoYesYesYesNo
Raw Data UploadNoYesYesNoYes
Health InfoNoFor extra feeNoFor extra feeNo

* 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

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?

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 main 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 are by far the most popular for consumers. This is the test that gives you ethnicity estimates as well as family matches.

This test examines 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. These percentages are never exact since DNA inheritance and recombination is completely random.

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 6-8 generations.

What It Tells You

Most people who do an autosomal test do so for ethnicity estimates. Autosomal tests will give you a set of ethnicity results based on how your DNA compares to reference populations created by the testing company.

For genealogical purposes, the main use of autosomal DNA testing is to find relatives and determine how closely related you are to someone else.

This can be especially 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.

Every company mentioned in this guide offers autosomal DNA tests. Again, it is by far the most popular test for consumers.

Mitochondrial DNA Testing (mtDNA)

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 females. Both males and females inherit their mtDNA from their mothers, therefore anyone can take this test.

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

While autosomal DNA testing looks at the 22 pairs of autosomes inside the cell nucleus, mtDNA testing looks at the DNA inside the mitochondria which exists outside the cell nucleus.

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.

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 also 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 (thousands of years).

In some cases, mtDNA can remain nearly identical for 50 generations or more. This makes it difficult to use mtDNA matching for genealogical purposes. A perfect match means you are related, but you might be 48th cousins!

The only company to offer individual mitochondrial DNA kits is FamilyTreeDNALiving DNA  and 23andMe bundle very basic 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 testing kits examine only the Y-chromosome, therefore only males can take this test. If you’re a woman who wants to test your father’s Y-DNA male line, you’ll need to test your father, uncle, brother, male cousin, etc. Basically any male on your direct paternal line. Testing the oldest generation possible is always best.

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 might have 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. Although Y-DNA tests are much more useful for genealogy than mtDNA.

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 kits is FamilyTreeDNA, which has three options depending on how detailed a test you want.

Y-DNA testing is especially useful for adoptees. It’s also a great ancestry test if you think you have jewish ancestry.

Living DNA and 23andMe bundles very basic Y-DNA testing with their autosomal DNA tests, but provide much 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 people, 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 6-8 generations.

Autosomal DNA can provide some great leads on finding others who are researching the same family tree as you.


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 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.

Ethnicity Testing

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 testing is what’s used for ethnicity testing of your entire family tree.

The companies that provide DNA testing divide the world up into regions in different ways. Each company has different ways of doing this.

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 typically 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 6-8 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, nor can they 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.

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 DNA kit 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 tube) or very old (and can’t produce enough saliva), the cheek swab might be easier.

Right now, the AncestryDNA and 23andMe DNA test kits 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 test results.

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

  • your raw data
  • ethnicity estimates
  • lists of potential relatives

How Much Does It Cost

Prices vary based on company and test.

Autosomal DNA tests by themselves usually run $69 to $99.

The only company to offer separate Y-DNA and mtDNA tests is Family Tree DNA. These tests will cost you a few hundred dollars, depending on the number of markers tested.

As mentioned above, LivingDNA and 23andMe bundle in basic Y-DNA and mtDNA tests. But they only test a limited number of markers, and do not provide any matching. They really only give you haplogroup information.

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 at the top of this page for a full comparison.

Buy It As A Gift

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

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

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

Choosing a Company

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

All of these testing kits 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 five biggest companies, listed based on how useful overall I think they are for genealogy.


AncestryDNA is the best choice when it comes to genealogy. They have the most extensive database of DNA results for comparison and many other features for genealogists. Read our full AncestryDNA review.

Ancestry DNA Test Kit
  • Database of over 15 million customers for matching
  • 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
  • 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 view family trees of your matches
  • Does not allow raw data uploads from other sites

You do not have to have an Ancestry subscription in order to take their test or see your results. You also do not need a subscription to build your own family tree.

A subscription allows you to view genealogical records, 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.

MyHeritage DNA

MyHeritage is a great choice if you’re looking for matches outside the United States. They seem to have the biggest database of international customers. They also offer some pretty neat tools such as auto clustering and a chromosome browser.

Read our full MyHeritage DNA review. Also, check out our complete comparison of MyHeritage vs AncestryDNA.

MyHeritage DNA Test Kit
  • Largest database of international customers to be matched with
  • Link your DNA results to your online family tree
  • Allows free upload of raw data from other sites
  • Covers 42 ethnic regions
  • Relatively small (but rapidly growing) database compared to other sites. Currently 1.4 million


The best for distant ancestry (beyond 6-8 generations), and paternity testing. 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.

), and paternity testing. 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
  • Only company to offer all three tests individually
  • Only company to offer Y-DNA and mtDNA matching
  • Cheek swab DNA collection (much easier for babies and elderly)
  • 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 segment overlap
  • Surname, haplogroup and other group projects you can join
  • 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


In terms of genealogy, 23andMe would not be my first choice. The main advantage of 23andMe is health testing which means that most people who test there aren’t as interested in family history or communicating with matches as compared to sites like Ancestry.

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 Ancestry.

23andMe DNA Test Kit
  • Only site to offer health and wellness reports
  • Has a large database of more than 1 million customers
  • Includes a chromosome browser for comparing results
  • Very limited genealogical community compared to other sites
  • No Y-DNA or mtDNA matching
  • 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

If you have any British or Irish ancestry, you’ll definitely want to do an ancestry test with LivingDNA. Based in the UK, LivingDNA specializes in “high definition” DNA testing in the British Isles and can narrow into the exact regions of your ancestry in the British Isles.

Because of the lack of a customer database (and matches), I would also test with another company in addition to LivingDNA.

See our complete LivingDNA review.

Living DNA Test Kit
  • Divides the world into many more, smaller regions than other services
  • Has 21 regional categories for the British Isles alone, and 80 (in depth for UK) worldwide
  • No separate autosomal DNA only test, so highest overall price
  • Very limited customer database

Which Test Is Best For You?

It depends on your goals…

Here are the best DNA tests

Updated: November 2019

Is It Worth It?

So is genealogical DNA testing right for you?

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


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

Updated November 15, 2019

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Linda atrchi

Mark Thank you for your informationon DNA. I now Cavan understand so much better. I am just starting out.My question is Both My parents are deceased they are 1st Generation Americans with all their Family From Ireland.I know nothing about my Maternal or Paternal Grandfathers, they passed before I was born. One is from Belfast Northern Ireland all others from west Of Ireland. My Mother met my Father at her Sisters wedding, my Father is the Brother of the sister who got married. So my cousins and I have the same Family blood members on both sides. If my male… Read more »


Hi Mark,
My sister and I are identical twins. I like that FTDNA doesn’t require a monthly subscription and plan on using them. Would you recommend my sister for Ancestry for as another resource of information? It’s interesting that our matches will be nearly identical and that we can use our ‘individual’ results to our advantage to gather as much information as possible about ‘us’. Although we’re mostly interested in our father’s side, I think we’ll have to get my Dad’s brother or his son to test to get more information as far as geographical regions. Thanks! Carol

Wesley Pinedo

Thanks for all the information which will guide me to do my search. I have one question associated with Native American from South America. I immigrated from Peru in 1977 and my children are 1st generation American. Would I have luck with any of these DNA test to learn more specific if I have South American Native blood? Or would it just be a general Native American result if any? Also how would I start an online research of my ancestors from Latin America? Any advise or help would be appreciated.

Marji Weber

Oh, Mark, it’s very late here (2AM) and I’m almost 70 and I’m SO tired of reading everything…I like the looks of Family Tree DNA for the information, and maybe when I can afford it I can do the mitochondrial DNA part, that would be so interesting. But, I do have an Ancestry tree, and one with Family Search, Fold 3, all owned by the Mormon Church by the way, as well as My Heritage, and heaven only knows where else. If I get the Family Tree DNA test, which is the cheapest for me, can I import the data… Read more »


Thanks for all of the research and information. It is very helpful. I’m still feeling overwhelmed with the choices. My son does not have contact with his father and has very limited information on his fathers family. Only tidbits of what I remember but his father had stopped speaking to his family for years. I’d like to provide my son with some information about his paternal genetic makeup and the possibility of connecting with relatives when he’s a little older. Do these companies keep customers updated with changes and matches for several years. You say ancestryDNA no longer offers separate… Read more »

Paula Fluehe

Mark, thanks for your reasearch it was very helpful. I have a question, my father is deceased and he had no brothers. My brother is deceased would his son be able to give a DNA sample to do the yDNA testing to look at my fathers line?

Cody Jackson

I just read you blog and there is a lot of information, thanks. I was looking for the most complete family tree possible, However, I like the idea of the YDNA and mtdna tests. I would just like the most information possible. What is the best?


Hi Mark,

what would be the best company to use for ethnic geography info and possible relative connections? I’m adopted and know very little about my bio fathers side of my family? New to all of this. thanks for your recommendations!


Hi Mark, After my paternal grandmother died, we learned that her father (our great-grandfather) was not her birth father. Her mother, our great-grandmother, delivered her in Scotland. She was in the employ of the royal family of England at the time. The story we only know parts of is that our genetic great-grandfather was a member of the royal family. We only surmise this by a line in our grandmother’s diary. She was not told of her past until well into adulthood by the father who raised her. She has volumes of diaries. After his visit, she only talked about… Read more »


We adopted our daughter from China so we have zero info on either father or mother. We are interested in knowing her background and finding living relative would be awesome but wee doubt that would happen. Do you have a suggestion – I was leaning toward Family Tree DNA or 23 and Me (basically to possibly add the Health assessment) Thanks in advance.


Hi Mark,

Any thoughts on East African heritage? It looks like none of the circles cover Ethiopia?



What testing company provides the most detail on middle east ethnicity? (Persian, Turkish, Azerbaijan) We’re not looking for cousins, just ethnic region.


Great article. My sister & I are identical twins. What differing results or finds could we expect if one participated in FamilyTree DNA and the other in Ancestry? Thank you.

Fred T

What do you know about”HomeDNA.com”
There has been numerous emails from them recently. Should I consider that site?
Thank You


Hi Mark, Great comparison! My siblings and I are going to get our mom the 23andMe test to find out her lineage as we know very little about and it seems like 23andMe is a little bit more in depth (with the mtDNA testing). We are still trying to figure out a way to convince our grandfather to take the test as well since he is the only living male relative we have contact with on my moms side. I imagine he would have to take a separate test? We live in different countries. On another note, I wondered if… Read more »


What is your opinion about Vitagene.com? It looks like you can upload DNA results from other sites too.
Thanks for any insight


Hi Mark, thanks for the info. Is the raw data given by each company different or just interpreted differently based on the control samples available?


My daughter is adopted from Russia. Best test?

Susan L Kimmel

Hi Mark– I’m still trying to take advantage of the sales this weekend and buying Xmas/Hanukkah gifts. I am planning a roots trip next summer and would like to learn more about my deceased father’s family origins. He was born in Leeds and grew up in Glasgow before moving to NYC but the family is probably Ashkenazi. One cousin pointed out there is a town (region?) in Afghanistan named “Landay” but that seems to be a spelling fluke. Is the autosomal test sufficient to get ethnic origins if I don’t really care about family members? Should I try to get… Read more »


Hello Mark. I want to do more than 1 test. I have ordered the Ancestry test. I want to find out as much as I can about my geneology as possible. Is the Autosmol the way to go or should I order another?


HI Mark, as the others have said, you have a great site. My son (9) wants to get DNA test done (he is very interested in his ancestors). My wife is Peruvian with confirmed relatives from Italy but also Incan blood. I’ve been concerned that the database(s) don’t include some specific information on South America. Would one test be better than the other for South American lines? Thanks in advance.


If we test our daughter, is it necessary for us (her parents) to be tested too? Will her results go back as far as ours? In other words, would it be redundant if we tested too? 😁


Hi! Thank you so much for all the great advice. I am German/Polish (through dad) and Ashkenazic Jewish (on my mom’s side). My husband is a native Peruvian mestizo. I want to get as detailed a picture as I can for each of us so that my daughter can better understand her history. What would you recommend? Should my husband and I go through the same company given our different backgrounds or are some companies better for one ethnic group vs another? Any assistance would be much appreciated.


Hi Mark, Thank you for a great explanation of DNA testing. I started reading a different site than yours and got so confused I almost gave up. Thankfully, I found you. I am a beginner and am interested in finding out what parts of the world my family is from. I’ve always been told I am a part German and part English and that’s all my family knows. If I understand you correctly the best kit to go with for me would be FTDNA. If that’s not correct, would you please let me know. Thanks again for a great article.


Great article! I am a little confused on which test would be best for me. I am female and from the Caribbean. My dad is 1/2 European – his mother is from Scotland and Malta and his dad is of African descent. My mother is 1/2 Indian ( from India) and 1/2 African descent. I am interested in the most comprehensive ethnicity test as well as in the future to start to trace our family genealogy. Would having my parents also take the test help? I was thinking of getting them kits as well and what kits should they get?… Read more »


Why isn’t Helix included in the comparison? I was looking at their website and they look like another good option, but I would feel better considering them if they here reviewed too.


I am currently waiting on my results from 23andme. This has been so helpful to me. Easy to read, easy to understand. Thanks for your work in putting this together. I have read, loved, saved and shared.

Susan Puddifer

Hi, according to family records, we are from English. Scottish and German stock. However. rumour has it that there may be an ancestor or two with Australian Aborigine background. Given that Aust Aborigine is classified as caucasian and originating from probably the Dravidians of India, would any of these be able to provide enough detail?

Thank you


Two questions;

1. would two female siblings with the same parents have identical results ? We are both thinking of doing the test but maybe
one of us should do a different test…

2. do the results go into one very large database and shared by all the various DNA tests by different companies ? Otherwise…. relatives may
have taken a different test and therefore not be shown in the test you take ??

Thank you.


My sister and I both have the same parents. Would our results be identical ?

I understand the results are online…I’ve never seen them so not sure how it looks….I am assuming as more people
take tests…the links to blood line are automatically updated.

Also….because there are so many DNA tests out there… it would seem you’d be missing blood line links
if blood relatives took a different test than yourself… Am I reasoning correctly ?

Thank you.