The 5 Best DNA Tests for Ancestry in 2018 - 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: December 2018

  • : (see promo) best for cousin matching, most geographic regions for ethnicity
  • : (see promo) best for serious genealogy, YDNA and mtDNA tests
  • : (see promo) best autosomal test on a budget
  • : (see promo) best for genetic health screening, not genealogy
  • : (see promo) 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 2018

AncestryDNA

FamilyTree DNA

MyHeritage

23andMe

LivingDNA

Website

Our Rating

Price

(see promo)

(see promo)

(see promo)

(see promo)

(see promo)

Standard (Autosomal Test)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Y-DNA Test

No

Yes

No

Included

Included

mtDNA Test

No

Yes

No

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

850k

1.4 mil

1 mil

None

Health Info

No

No

No

For extra fee

No

Geographic
Regions

350+

24

42

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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Erik

Thanks for your work, I will definitely buy through your website if that is how you are compensated. We bought five kits from Ancestry. My wife’s came back 100% Finnish as expected and three of our boys ~50% Finnish and ~25% Scandinavian, also as expected since my father is 100% Swedish. However my results came back only marginal 3% Scandinavian and 65% British Isles, even though my family tree shows at best 1/16th British. I was going to buy two more kits to get my parents my tested, but now want to get three more from a different company, probably… Read more »

Safe

Hi Mark, thank you for your this awesome article. I’m planning to offer one of the kits to my Kurdish friend from Syria currently residing in Turkey. Which kit do you recommend for him?! Thank you in advance.

Joel Rudikoff

Hi, Mark, and thanks for a very informative article. It answered many questions I wouldn’t have thought to ask. I am interested in these tests not so much to locate distant relatives (I already have enough relatives, thank you!) but to further clarify the regional origins of my ancestors. I already know that both sets of grandparents came from southern Ukraine, but I don’t kave any idea for how many generations they had been living in this region. Do you think that one or more of the companies you review would be better at shedding light on this question than… Read more »

Joel Rudikoff

Hi, Mark, and thank you for answering quetions I would never have thouht to ask. My interest in thse tests is not to find distant relatives (I already have enough relatives, thank you!) but to better understand my ancestors’ areas of origin. I knoww that both my sets of grandparent

CHRISTOPHER KAISER

For those of us whose ancestors immigrated from overseas (German, Czech, and Ukraine in my case) in the 19th century (3-5 generations ago), the difficulty in choosing is that Family Tree has better depth than autosomal DNA services, but My Heritage seems to have more data from other countries. I could not figure that out based on the info given here (or did I miss something?).

Diana

Mark,
Thank you very much for such detailed article. It is very helpful indeed!
I would like to buy DNA Test for Ancestry as a gift for my husband. After reading you article I thought that AncestryDNA is the one he needs, due to it’s wide region scope and database. Unfortunately AncestryDNA do not ship the kit to Israel. In this case, which provider would you suggest?
Thank you in advance.

Ellen

Hi Mark, What do you think of “geneaologyBank”. I’m thinking of uploading my raw dna data from Ancestry.com
to GenealogyBank. Would I get more information than I got from Ancesgtry.com?
and thanks for this website!
Ellen

Kennedy

Hello,
Thank you for writing this post. It helps alot. I still would like some advice regarding which test to buy. I am adopted so I know nothing of my family’s history. I am looking for the most accurate test to learn everything about my family’s history. Which test do you recommend?

Shiran Eliyahu

Hello Mark, Thank you for this extremely thorough review. I have also reviewed your article of finding Jewish ancestry. I am Jewish – Saphardic on my mother’s side, Mizrachi on my father’s side. I do know their families might have migrated between countries quite a bit but we’re always Jewish. I am interested in finding my most detailed origin from around the world. Allocating relatives might be nice but is really not my main aim. Which test would you recommend? (For example on FT website – the example on their home page just shows *jewish* without a breakdown to Saphardic,… Read more »

Eva Lyn

Hello Mark,

What test would you recommend for an African American seeking the most detailed and accurate genetic information? I’d like to know the regions in Africa. Thanks.

Aigul

Hi Mark, so interesting, thank you for this article. I would like to buy dna kit as a gift to my husband’s BD. He doesn’t need to find any relatives matches, he would just like to know the ethnic groups, regions etc. You mentioned that autosomal test from any od above companies would work well. Could you please advice which one gives more presentable results? By ‘presentable’ I mean – information is given in a very understandable way for non-pro reader; has enough illustration to demonstrate the regions etc.

Peggy

This has been so helpful for someone relatively new to genealogy and especially DNA testing. Thank You!

If my brother is tested does that mean that the test will show my grandmother’s paternal line or only our father’s line?

What about my mothers paternal line which I need to work on yet?

Otherwise, as I’m understanding it, the closest I can come to finding some “proof” of relationship to an early male ancestor in my grandmother’s line is to have an autosomal test?

Dan Appel

Mark, Are most people as surprised as I was by the results? I ordered a kit from My Heritage DNA and everyone in my family was shocked by the results. My paternal grandfather’s family came from Germany and the name is a German/Jewish one – at one time, apparently, the name Appel was quite common around the Heidelberg area, but before all of the Jewish persecution apparently had the suffix of baum, berg, stein, etc. None of that showed up on the result. My father’s mother’s family was as Scottish as you can get yet none of that showed up.… Read more »

Kay

Hello Mark,

Wonderful article! Actually helped me make my decision to use Family Tree DNA for my dad. Wondering if you might have some insight. My dad was contacted by a woman who believes my dad is her father due to ancestry dna results saying my dad’s uncle is her great uncle. To confirm my dad had her upload her raw data to Family Tree to compare. FTDNA says she is my dad’s 3rd to 5th cousin with a Shared Centimorgans(cM): 100 And Longest Block(cM): 15. Do you have any insight into these results and accuracy.

Thank you!

Angela

I was the first in my family to take a DNA test and I used 23 and me with the health option. I am purchasing a test for my mother, as a gift. She is terminal and I feel it would be a nice legacy for her to leave this information. My question: is there any benefit for her to use the same or a different company? I don’t believe that she needs the health portion, because of her age (79) and condition. One thing I noticed with my test was that I had only DNA matches with individuals residing… Read more »

Todd

I am looking just to find out where my relatives came from and looking for the most accurate one for that. I am not looking to find out about relatives just what countries I most likely came from which test would be best for that ? Thank You

steve

Thanks Mark,
Very informative article. I’m a high school genetics teacher and would love to find a way to incorporate this technology into the curriculum for interested students at the beginning of each semester. Do you believe that this would be worthwhile and doable? If so, which of the sites would you recommend for this purpose and have you heard of them giving a group rate before? If there was a lot of interest, this could get really expensive really quickly.

Kirsten

I love your article. I want your opinion. I want to know both my maternal and paternal geanology. I do not have any siblings that share the same Mom and Dad (all half or step) as me. I would love to know health information as well but I want a good priced, accurate, geanology screening for both my Maternal and Paternal sides. What do you recommend? Thank you!!

Solveig Smith

Thanks for an incredible helpful article and for for answers u give!
So here’s my story.
I’m from Finland and would like to find out my roots on my mothers side!
My maternal grandmother had 4 daughters ,all by a different man!
Times were different back then , specially if u were employed at a big house as a maid!
My mother was born 1904 and the oldest of the siblings.
So which of the sites would be most helpful to me!
Thanking u in advance !
Solveig

Niclas

Thank you for the great article! My father has been studying our family history for several decades, and now he and I are planning to do DNA tests to see what surprises that can give us. What tests would give us the most information as father and son? If he takes the Y-DNA test, and I take the mtDNA test we get my maternal line and his (and my) paternal line. There would be no use for both of us to take Y-DNA tests, since we (probably;) would get the same result. Another option would of course be that I… Read more »

Tara

Thank you for sharing all this info! My mum was adopted and is thought to be Irish from adoption knowledge. I have recently found my family tree (paternal side) through geni.com as my father’s family were from Prague (Bohemia, Austro-Hungarian Empire) and the names and dates go back to 1795 (I will try to find out more and go back further through paper trail) The only reason they are on there is because researchers put all this together due to them being Holocaust victims (which I didn’t know!) I had no idea he was Jewish! Always thought they were just… Read more »

Nari

I took the My Heritage DNA test and it showed that I got 89.7 % from the Indian region. This covers India, Nepal and the Afghanistan region. What disappointed me was why it couldn’t be more specific in homing in one region out of those 3. I mean you can’t get any more different than Afghanistan to Nepal! My results also shown I had some European DNA which was specific in telling me that 7.7 % was from the Irish/Scottish region and 1.3 Scandinavian. So it was a shame that it couldn’t get more specific for the Indian part of… Read more »

Ron

Thanks Mark, great article.

Seeing as Ancestry has by far the largest database, does it make sense to order the Autosomal Test from them and then upload the results to FamilyTree? It would only cost a little more than ordering directly from FamilyTree and I would get the benefits of both databases plus the option of FamilyTree’s Y-DNA and mtDNA tests.

john

hi, we have limited information on our ancestry previous to the second world war. which test gives the most comprehensive and specific results for tracing our possibly russian/ukranian family tree? cheers john

Mario Ramirez

Hi, Im adopted and I am looking for my father. I don’t know his name or anything about him.Would the YDNA test help if I don’t know his name or anything?
And what will the results show me? Do the results show other males that I could be possibly related to and could reach out to and ask if they may know who my father is ?

Thank you !

Marcelle

Hi Mark, I have just read your article and was really pleased with it. I have a problem now. My father passed away several years ago and I want to know his background. This is the problem, he was adopted, he did find some of his relatives, however, none of them are now living and none of his kids are boys, he had 3 girls. What can I do to find out where he was from. He always told us girls that his relatives stole their way to America on a ship to out run the police in France for… Read more »

Ellen Kinnear

Hi Mark,
Second reading of your article before I decide on the test.
I am interested in confirming my biological father. My father’s brother, my Uncle is still living and is 96.

Which test would you recommend?
Thanks,Ellen

Ellen

Thank you for the in depth review.
I have been trying to determine which test might be the best for me.
This article really helped.

Liz

Thanks for the summary- very helpful:-) Question- if I have 2 sons and 1 takes the mtDNA and 1 takes the YDNA test, then they can both use the info from bth tests, correct? Thanks

Deena

Hello Mark. Thank you for your write up. My father and I are considering DNA testing to find out if we may have a Jewish heritage. He thinks we may be descendants from German Jews on his father’s side. Which test would you recommend each of us take? I was leaning towards the YDNA for him and maybe Ancestry or My Heritage for me. Your thoughts? Thank you for your help.