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.

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Michael

Hi Mark,

Great article and thanks for the research! I’m African-American and Panamanian, dad is from New Orleans and mom is from Panama both black. I’m interested in learning about where my family originated, what company do you recommend and how accurate will it let me know where both my parents came from. Thanks for any help you can provide.

Karen

My daughter is adopted and supposedly part American Indian. Is there one test you would recommend over others? Eventually we may want to locate biological family as well.

Nancy

I have taken the DNA test from Family tree and Ancestry.com and I was happy with the results from Family tree but I have to retake the test twice so far from Ancestry.com. It is unusual to retake the test? I thought about cancesing the test from Ancestry.com, but don’t know how.

Nancy

Heather Hayes

Hi, Mark. National Geo’s test, Geno 2.0 Next Generation Genographic Helix DNA Ancestry Kit, usually sellsfor $199.00. Now on sale for $69.95 (that’s a huge discount!). It has everything I am interested in, except the possibility of contacting possible relatives. It seems to have have some deal with Family Tree where one can upload data to FT’s website (not sure if I’m expressing this correctly), but does that mean that one can then use FT’s resources to contact relatives? This is so confusing, and it is not stated clearly anywhere. If not, what would you recommend? I’m interested in ancient… Read more »

Lee

Oops – followup to question posted a few minutes ago 🙂 After thinking about my uncle, I think he’d get the biggest kick out of knowing his ethnicity/regions, not finding cousins, so much…
Miss Lee

Lee

Hi Mark, Thank you so much for your very informative comparison of the DNA tests! My father has passed, but his 90 year old brother thinks it would be fun to take a DNA test and find out whatever interesting information results. Once the DNA sample has been taken, can further tests be requested from that sample in the future by authorized relatives? (or do the different companies vary?) We can’t afford all the tests now, but would like to know about dad & uncle’s YDNA and MtDNA haplogroups at some point in the future, too. So I’m trying to… Read more »

Sharon

This was so incredibly helpful. I am very interested in 23 and me for the health but I’m also interested in my history. I believe I have decided to get both 23 and Me and FamilyTreeDNA.

Gari

Mark, What a fantastic review on all 6 companies! I personally used Ancestry.com recently. I got my results from AncestryDNA, and although I feel like my results were somewhat narrow and expected (66% Asia East, 34% Polynesia; Born in the Philippines), I feel like I didn’t really gain anything from it. I read that autosomal DNA is 98% for your DNA, shows more of a broad ethnicity estimate, and it’s not as “helpful” individually as the Y-DNA and mtDNA appears. I’m very interested in getting a new test from FamilyTreeDNA and seeing my results! Thanks for the very informative reviews,… Read more »

Brett

Being attached to the Mormon church once, I saw to try FamilySearch.org. I was able to find all 4 grandparents, and wham, my tree loaded up like crazy. A couple of things that MIGHT matter:

– Account is free
– Strong family past affiliation with the Mormon church may help, not sure
– You can only search for deceased relatives for privacy reasons, as I understood it
– Doesn’t a ton of info to find a relative, a first and last name, birth/death years or spouse info, did it for me

Mary. DeForest

Hi, great article. I’m Black Irish, but no living male relatives for DNA-war. I’m curious about The Spanish Armada, if I’m really Black? How Black-sub Saharan Black or Moor – Arab? Do you have any suggestions? Thank you.

henri

Hi Mark,
Thanks for taking the time to do this research and make it available to all of us.
Please forgive me simple (and maybe ignorant question), but I think I’m interested in getting all 3 tests done. But as a male, will they be able to do the Y test with my sample? or does the Y test need to be done with my daughter? to see where my mom (who is deceased) came from.
Thanks!
Henri

Nancy

I would like to order a dna test for my Father but Ancestry.com only let you order a test for yourself or a child, not for a parent. Will Family Tree let you order a test for a parent after you did your own test? My father is almost 100 percent German and like to find out how much German he really is.

Nancy

Marlena

Hi Mark,

Do you have any information about GPS Origins DNA? My sister picked this one but I am thinking of Ancestry for me. Also, do these tests really determine percentage of Neanderthal? Just wondering how an Autosomal DNA test can really go back that far. Thank you.

Marie

Thanks for your article! I’m purchasing this as a gift for my parents who have limited knowledge on navigating computers. Is one company more user-friendly for seniors?

alexis espinosa

Hi Mark.

Both my grandparents came to US from Cuba. I would like to know a detailed history of origin, region, ethnicity, maybe past relatives – from both parents. How detailed is the autosomal testing compared to the mtDNA in regards to that information? What information can mtdna/ychromosome give me that autosomal cannot?

Jeff

Hi Mark, My elderly mom wants to confirm where she is from (Spanish, French, German etc) and wants me to order her an DNA test. Her parents died when she was very young. She does not own a computer and does not live near me. Would it be better if I took the test and told her the results? Would I basically have the same results as if she took the test? Would Family DNA be over kill and just do Ancestry DNA or would I have to do Family DNA to have the mtDNA done to achieve the results… Read more »

Nancy

Your article is very helpful. I did the Family Tree DNA and it was very accurate. Except it says I am 5% Middle Eastern- Israel. Does that means I have a ancestor from there? I do have a 4th great grandmother with a first name that is Arab and don’t know where she was from.

Thank you, Nancy

Camilla nielsdn

Hey I have wanted a DNA test for a very long time now, some years ago, I found out that my grandfather’s father was not biological, my grandmother on my dads side was adopted. My grandmother was very dark (dark eyes and brown almost black hair) which of the suggested tests would be the best. I do not need to find relatives. I’m only curious about whether I’m 100% Danish or not

Michelle

Thank you. After 20 years (on and off) of researching the family history, LivingDNA it is. You have really helped.

Mike

Hi Mark, thanks for your article – would be able to help me. My father was adopted, I am an only child and sadly neither of my parents are with us anymore. I’m after the best test(s) that will tell me most accurately where in the world my parents come from. My second question is if there are any other tests than help me know of genetic conditions. Thanks in advance for helping me, Mike

Michele

Thank you Mark! Having all this information delivered so well is very much appreciated. Today my son asked for 23andMe for a Christmas gift. His father was adopted and has never been interested in finding his biological parents. My mother was from Costa Rica so he knows he’s got that in his mix. My father was Irish American. After reading your article, it looks like FTDNA might be the better choice starting with the basic test. He turns 20 in February so I might get the yDNA for him later. What do you think?
Thank you!

Sandy

Thank you for sharing so much useful & informative information in one place.

Sarah

Hello, This is a great article. I was wondering….If just receiving the autosomal dna test, are the companies results the same? Is it better to have the autosomal DNA test without the mtDNA or Y-DNA? Also looking at your comparison chart, it looks like the best bang is with 23 and me as they test for DNA in all 3 areas and have a large database, not as big as ancestory.com. I could then download the raw DNA results to 23 and me. I noticed on your chart also that the database is listed as none for the LivingDNA site,… Read more »

Rhonda Wells

Mark,
Thank you so much for taking the time to share all of this information. It was extremely helpful and saved me a lot of time! Happy Holidays to you!

Donna

Hi, Mark…….I was wondering if I could get your advice on which kit you think might be best for my Dad (I’ve been thinking about getting him one for Christmas). His mother, my grandmother, was adopted at birth and basically the family knows absolutely nothing of her heritage. Which kit do you think would be best to find the best information about his mother?

Thanks in advance!

Sarah April

Hi..l am of mixed race black and white and know nothing of my black biological father. Since l don’t know any male siblings to contact from his side to take the yDNA test is there any way to get any info on my paternal side or am l only left with the basic DNA autosomal test of where my roots come from??

Ralph Bailey

Awesome site….but of course I have a question. Pop’s father was orphaned (during the flu epidemic early 1917/18) and only remembers a nice dark haired lady taking him to the orphanage telling him he would be living there from now on. Pop knows more about his mother (family was all from Lithuania) but has been disconnected from that family when he was a young man and the women from that line that he knew are passed away with a loss of his cousins (only one other had a child and pop is an only child – he’s 85). He has… Read more »

Kim Kleeman

I could never pin my parents/grandparents down for information on my an ancestry. Maybe English, Irish, Native North American or ???
Which would be best for info paternal AND maternal? Or a combination with a male sibling? Thank you very much.

Debra

Since my father is deceased and my sister and I want to know if we have the same biological father, what DNA test will be right for us?

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