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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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 »


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


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?).


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.


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!


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.


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.


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 »


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!


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 »


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


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.


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 !


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 »


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 »


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 »


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.


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 !


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?


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.


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


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.

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