Choosing the Best DNA Tests for Genealogy

Confused about choosing the best DNA tests for genealogy?

Choosing a DNA Testing Company, on the website of the International Society of Genetic Genealogy, has a good guide available.

The big five, FamilyTreeDNA, Ancestry, MyHeritage, 23andme, LivingDNA, and National Geographic are included, along with these categories of information:

  • Links to the websites

  • Current prices (and sales)

  • Types of tests (autosomal, Y, mt)

  • Collection method (cheek swab or saliva)

  • How long samples are retained by company

  • Chromosome browser

  • Raw data downloads

  • Size of comparison database

  • Genealogy community interaction

  • Methods for contacting matches

As for me, I’ve had great results using FamilyTree DNA and Ancestry, was unimpressed by 23andme, and am completely baffled by the results I got from LivingHistory, which touts itself as providing county-level results in the UK. Their results differed about 85 percent from other test companies’ results, leading me to question the scope of the databases they use for comparison.

My FTDNA and Ancestry DNA tests have been extremely rewarding and I urge any genealogists who have not taken the leap into DNA tests to dive in, with the ISGG article as a good guide.

For other posts on genetic genealogy and DNA tests at Sassy Jane Genealogy, click here.

About the Author:

Nancy Loe has an MA in American History and an MLS in Library Science and Archives. She has appeared on PBS’s American Experience, at Rootstech, SCGS Jamboree, and state and regional genealogy conferences. Her website was featured in Family Tree Magazine's “Social Media Mavericks: 40 to Follow.”

One Comment

  1. George 6 October 2017 at 8:28 PM - Reply

    Thanks – useful list!

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