For DNA Testing:


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 can 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 the 12 marker Y-DNA test or HVR1 mtDNA* test, and upgrade at a later time.
*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'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 ($69).

For Genealogy Research: 




Genes Reunited.co.uk

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  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

  2. what are your recommendations for native americans? My sister had ancestry.com DNA testing in January 2014, and it showed no native american, when we are fairly certain we have between 8 and 12%.

  3. 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.

    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.