I RECOMMEND

COMPANIES I USE AND RECOMMEND


For DNA Testing:

23andMe.com


Discover yourself at 23andMe

For autosomal DNA testing, I usually recommend starting with 23andMe ($99). You receive a very good ancestral breakdown and your haplogroups in addition to the cousin matching feature.

Family Tree DNA



Family Tree DNA's autosomal DNA test Family Finder ($99) is also a good option. For Y-STR and mtDNA testing, FTDNA is the only company that I currently recommend. I generally recommend testing, at least, 37 markers for Y-DNA and the full sequence for mtDNA*. If finances are an issue, then start with one of the lower resolution tests, like HVR1&2 mtDNA* test, and upgrade at a later time. Family Tree DNA guarantees storage of the DNA, so testing any elderly relatives at FTDNA is strongly recommended. 

*Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) testing is usually not genealogically informative, so I recommend that women, instead, start with autosomal DNA testing and men test either their Y-DNA or autosomal DNA (or both).  


AncestryDNA 


AncestryDNA's strength lies in its vast collection of family trees that are attached to your matches' DNA results. Their excellent system automates searching for common ancestors by comparing your family tree with your matches' family trees and identifying the ancestors who may be responsible for the DNA match. Although I feel that the fact that they do not provide the underlying matching segment data is a serious drawback to their product, I definitely recommend "fishing in all three ponds" for meaningful matches. AncestryDNA raw data can also be uploaded into the Family Tree DNA's Family Finder ($39).



For Genealogy Research: 

Ancestry.com

 




Disclosure of Material Connection 
Ordering through these links or those found in other locations throughout this blog will result in "Your Genetic Genealogist" receiving a small commission from your sale which helps defray the costs of my extensive volunteer work. It will not increase the price that you pay. These relationships do not affect the opinions stated in my blog in any way. I exclusively recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

For Straight Donations:


 

32 comments:

  1. Today I attempted to do the autosomal test with 23andMe. They are currently not offering that test to Maryland residents, due to restrictions in the state requirements for clinical testing. Perhaps I should just go ahead and use Family Tree DNA?
    I am somewhat baffled by the many software choices for organizing and publishing/sharing digital data. Suggestions for articles/books to read? And organizing paper data? I am going to join ISGS, as per your suggestion. Thanks, scyounts scyounts@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. what would anyone recommend for native american ancestry? My sister had AncestryDNA done in January 2014 with the new test they provide for females, and it came back with no Native American, all European. We are most CERTAINLY at least 8% native American. We were shocked that didn't show up in the test.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I find 23andMe to absolutely be the best for picking up small amounts of Native American. Although at 8% - all of the companies should be picking it up. 23andMe will also provide your haplogroups, which could confirm Native American ancestry on one of your direct lines (mtDNA = mother's mother's mother's line and/or Y-DNA = father's father's father's line). Possibly, your recent ancestor who was traditionally full Native American may have already had some European or African admixture from earlier intermarriage with non-Natives who assimilated into their tribe.

      Delete
    2. Membership in a Native American tribe is usually determined either by blood quantum or by some specifically defined type of ancestry. (For example, the Cherokee Nation doesn't use blood quantum, but goes by whether you have an ancestor on the Dawes Rolls. There may be other criteria as well for the CN that I'm not aware of.) They do not do a genetic test on you to see how Native you are. So if you have someone in your background that's legally Native because they met the minimum blood quantum, or they're one of the nations that goes by the Dawes Rolls, they could be almost completely white from a genetic standpoint and therefore you wouldn't inherit much in the way of genes.

      I just got my info back today from Ancestry and it tells me I'm 2% Native by estimate. Having already investigated the putative tribe my mother's line supposedly comes from, those people are already mostly European by genes, and then my mother's line married into Cajun French people mainly. So... I hate to use the phrase "watered down," but that's what I am.

      Delete
  3. I've been looking online and haven't been able to find an answer... does FamilyTree DNA's Y-STR also use saliva? Thanks!

    And, I' watched a recording of your seminar at Jamboree & really enjoyed it! I'm now digging in deeper to DNA & how it can help me in my genealogy research.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dana,
      No, Family Tree DNA uses a cheek swab. It is very simple and painless. (I prefer it to the saliva kits.)
      I'm glad you enjoyed my presentation. Thank you for letting me know!
      Best of luck with your research!

      Delete
  4. I'm curious which site you'd recommend for testing Jewish ancestry? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What are you trying to determine? W Which ancestral lines are you interested in?

      Delete
  5. Hi, I wrote a post that didn't post for some reason, it bounced me back to Google login..... I apologize in advance if it posts a duplicate later on! Technology, gotta love it!

    Anyway, I have a couple questions I'm hoping you can help me with...... I just received my Ancestry DNA results. Do you have any recommendations for reading I can do to understand them better? The regions are broken down pretty broadly (i.e. W. Europe may cover France, Belgium, Germany and several other countries). Secondly, if I want to get results from 23andMe or Family Tree DNA, do you recommend uploading the raw data or is it better to re-take their tests? I have a lot of early European (Virginia territories North Carolina) and Native American intermarriages. Several lines of my family have been in the South since early/mid 1600 and on into the 1700s. Oh, one more question, I am asking several members of my family to consider taking the DNA test to get a broader picture. Would you recommend they do 23and Me? Do the men need to do the Y-DNA test or should they all do the autosomal? Thanks, Thea

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am unsure of whether to test myself or my father (or brother). I know my mother's ancestry as she was Amish and I have books on her genealogy. I doubt a DNA test would tell me much of anything that I don't know in regards to her side of the family. My father's side is more of what I am interested in. Would it be smarter to test myself, my father, or my brother? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would recommend testing your father in that case.

      Delete
  7. Hi: My brother and I have a 20-yr roadblock finding our grandfather's father that we're trying to solve w/ autosomal DNA. We found someone on Ancestry and Gedmatch who comes up as 2.8, 3.0, and 3.1 MRCA matches, respectively, with my brothers and me. Their tree is well developed and shows their g-grandfather as having the same last name and small family town as our g-grandfather. However, his first name (John M Hall) doesn't match our oral family history (William E Hall) and there's no record of John having a son with our grandfather's name, Frank. Oral history said William died young and he was adopted out to an aunt or uncle. John did not die young, but did adopt out some children. So our specific question is, could the MRCA results be skewed because of cousin intermarriage? John M married his 1st cousin once removed, who was also a Hall. Could this supercharge the Hall DNA so that in fact the true MRCA is actually one generation up, ie, we share a g-g-grandfather with this person instead? In that case, Wm. could be a missing brother of John instead of his son. With the answer to this, we can finally move on. Thanks so much for your help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that could be the case. What is the total number of cMs in common on Gedmatch?

      Delete
    2. To recap: We suspect that our grandfather was the son of either John M Hall (JMH) or his father, Stephen Hall (SH).

      JMH married his first cousin once removed, also a Hall.
      JEH (new individual) is the confirmed g-grandson of JMH.

      Both my brother and I show strong genetic ties to JEH. The Gedmatch results are as follows:
      My brother to JEH: Largest segment = 64.5 cM, Total of segments > 7 cM = 289.9 cM, Estimated number of generations to MRCA = 2.8
      Me to JEH: Largest segment = 51.6 cM, Total of segments > 7 cM = 205.1 cM, Estimated number of generations to MRCA = 3.1

      Normally with such results, we'd feel comfortable saying that JMH is our g-grandfather, despite the family history being slightly different. But we're concerned that the first-cousin marriage between Halls has skewed the results. Any light you can shed is appreciated.

      Delete
  8. On one of the Henry Louis Gates episode, Anderson Cooper was discussed. He was determined to be a small part Chilean Indian. What test determined this? 23andMe says they cannot determine anything more than you have some Asian/Native American ancestry.

    Thanks.

    David

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi David, The tool that we used is Countries of Ancestry from 23andMe. We would not have drawn that conclusion on CoA alone, however. The episode didn't mention it, but it turns out that Anderson has a 2nd great grandmother from Chile. That knowledge plus the Native segment and the match on CoA from Chile is what led us to confidently conclude what was shown on the episode. Thanks!

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the reply. I am assuming the same is true of Jessica Alba's Sephardic Jewish ancestry - that there was some documentary evidence to augment the genetic study. 23andme tells me that they look for certain haplogroups that are associated with Jewish ancestry (E1b, G, etc.) but have no definitive test. I believe I have some Sephardic ancestry but it doesn't look like I am going to find that with a genetic test alone. Is that correct?

      Thanks again.

      David

      Delete
    3. No, her case was different. Her father's mtDNA belongs to a subclade that was specifically identified as Sephardic in origin in a newly published paper. Unless you can identify Y-DNA and mtDNA subclades that are strongly associated with Sephardic ancestry, it is extremely difficult to categorize Sephardic DNA. I'm sure our ability to recognize it will improve as we progress.

      Delete
  9. Hello Cece,

    My name is Nehemia and I have a question for you, which company has the largest DNA database from Ancestry.com or 23andme? Where can I expect to receive more matches? what company is experiencing a fasting growth? which company is expected to have the largest and more solid autosomal database?
    I am Latino and so far I have tested three members of my family, but want to test four more members and want your advice, but don't know which company will give me a better experience. We trying to discover meaningful matches because my grandparents are unaware of their family background and my grandfather never even met his family.

    All the best,
    Nehemia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nehemia,

      AncestryDNA and 23andMe have about the same database size now, however AncestryDNA is experiencing much faster growth than 23andMe at this time. 23andMe caps your matches at 1000. AncestryDNA does not cap matches, but uses a different algorithm to determine DNA matches, so it is difficult to say which one will give more matches for any one individual.

      I like both companies for different reasons. I like that 23andMe allows us to see the underlying genetic data. AncestryDNA does not. I also like 23andMe's admixture predictions better ("ethnicity"). On the other hand, I love AncestryDNA's DNA match interface with the family trees attached and right there at your fingertips for review. For genealogy, AncestryDNA offers more for most people since many of the testers at 23andMe tested for health purposes and do not respond to genealogical inquiries.

      As I always say, testing at all three companies (+FTDNA) is really the best way to get the most out of your DNA research. If this isn't possible, try testing a member of your family at the company that you haven't used yet to see if you like working with it and if you get more meaningful matches. Some prefer 23andMe and some prefer AncestryDNA. Many also prefer FTDNA's Family Finder for atDNA testing. (The atDNA database is smaller there, but is specifically geared toward genetic genealogy research.) If you are testing elderly relatives, FTDNA is good because they are the only company that guarantees DNA storage at this time.

      Best of luck with your journey of discovery!
      CeCe

      Delete
  10. Hi,
    I have taken the 23andme test as well as uploaded results to Gedmatch. on 23andme I as well as a great aunt and her daughter show no Native American however, my younger sister has a very small %. We were always told we had it through maternal line. I also have quite a few of 3rd-distant cousins who have Native American that shows through 23andme. Now, when i uploaded through Gedmatch, n a few different areas it shows anywhere between 0.17-0.95% Amerindian. I was wondering if the unassigned amount from 23andme could be Amerindian ? i just thought it was strange that my great aunt didn't show any either. This sane great aunt (maternal grandmothers sister) also showed up as a 1st cousin with 6.12% shared with 38 segments? this seems like a small percent to share with a great maternal aunt. If you have any ideas for these I would greatly appreciate it!
    Thank you kindly and Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Barbara,
      It is possible that the unassigned DNA could be Native American, although it is also possible that you and your great aunt just didn't inherit any of that DNA while your sister inherited a small amount that your grandmother had and her sister did not, which could be because...
      6.12% is only about half of what is expected for a full great aunt. The most likely explanation is that she and your grandmother only share one parent instead of two and she is your "half" great aunt. .
      Happy New Year to you too!
      CeCe

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  11. Hi CeCe,
    I'm going to try and dip my toe into the DNA testing process. I thought I'd start with my brother for a Y-DNA test from Family Tree. He is the last male I know of with the family name. I've gotten back to mid 1600s in Scotland using the Old Church Parish Records. I'd like to know where we came from - Norse, Pictish. . .would Pictish DNA show up? I'm just nervous to make the jump.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds like a great start! For some people with Scottish Y-DNA they get a very detailed result, but you never know what you will get until you test. Once you get your results, you can join the appropriate haplogroup project where the experts are for each individual subclade. They will be able to tell you more and may recommend specific SNP testing to try to determine a more specific origin. Nothing to be nervous about - there is lots of assistance out there for Y-DNA results. Good luck!!!

      Delete
  12. Hello, I need some expert DNA advice. What would be the best DNA test to take. My Dad (passed away) never met his Father. Is there a certain DNA test you recommend that would give a little insight to my Grandfather? My Family tree is a little bare o my Dad's side

    Looking forward to your recommendation

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Brett,
      If you are especially interested in your surname, then the Y-37 test would be my recommendation from Family Tree DNA since it focused specifically on that ancestral line. If you want to know about all of your paternal grandfather's ancestral lines (like his mother's side), then I recommend you take an autosomal DNA test like AncestryDNA and/or 23andMe. (details above)

      If you decide to order the Y37 test use my link above and then enter the coupon code FTDNA5 to get $5 off.

      Best of luck with your research!
      CeCe

      Delete
    2. CeCe, thank you so much. I joined the Facebook page also. Good Information

      Thank you

      Delete
  13. Hi CeCe,
    Both my parents are still alive and I'd like to get some genealogy DNA testing done. Is it better (i.e. more informative) to test both my father (Y and autosomal) and my mother (mt & autosomal) or will I get similarly useful information by just testing myself (Y, mt & autosomal)? I guess my question is whether there is an advantage to testing earlier generations (more diverse data, deeper reach or whatever)? If so, then it should be worth the extra cost - what do you think?
    Love your work!
    Matt

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry I missed this, Matt. You may have already gotten your questions answered elsewhere, but I will respond just in case and because this is a common and important question. For the Y-DNA and mtDNA, you can test yourself because they change very slowly from generation to generation, but for the atDNA, you definitely want to test the oldest living generation. With each generation about 50% of the atDNA is lost and so testing a parent captures much more information about our ancestors. Family Tree DNA is the only company that guarantees storage of the DNA at this point, so you may want to have both of them tested there. Since they have the smallest atDNA database (Family Finder), I would suggest doing the Y-37 test on your father there and the mtDNA or atDNA test on your mother just so you have their DNA in storage for the future. (Ask the company for an additional vial for each.) Then, testing them both on AncestryDNA and/or 23andMe for autosomal DNA (preferably both if you can). Best of luck in your research! - CeCe

      Delete
  14. Hi! I have been looking at your website to get insight on which DNA test is best but I must admit, I am still a bit confused. I am an African American female looking to research both my mother and father's lineage. Will the autosomal test give me links to my father's heritage? My paternal uncle is also interested in testing for both of his parents lineage. What test is best for him?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rashida,
      Yes, testing yourself (autosomal DNA) will give you information on both sides of your tree because you get half of your atDNA from mom and half from dad. Which company's test to order is always a difficult question to answer because there are pros and cons of each and it depends on your goals. There are aspects of 23andMe's tests that I find really valuable for African Americans like the fact that they gave away 10k free tests to African Americans several years ago which helped to establish a vibrant AA community there (for matching and on the forums). I also like that they have been testing people with recent roots in Africa to help African Americans connect with their cousins from Africa and identify the areas their ancestors may have come from. However, the downside is that it is often difficult to communicate with your matches there and many are anonymous. AncestryDNA is the fastest growing database and has family trees attached to the results which helps a lot with our research, but they do not tell us the details of our shared DNA (chromosome browser). They also have the African regional breakdown which many find valuable. As far as your uncle, if he/you are interested in your surname line, then the Y-37 test is recommended in addition to the autosomal DNA tests. Best of luck! - CeCe

      Delete