Choosing the Best DNA Tests for Genealogy

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Choosing the Best DNA Tests for Genealogy

Confused about choosing the best DNA tests for genealogy?

Mark Orwig at has a good overview of the major companies providing genetic genealogy tests in his article, “Best DNA Tests for 2017.”

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

Fair warning: Mark’s site contains affiliate links, which means he gets paid a small amount by companies for referrals, which does not affect the price you pay. Personally, I think this is only fair, given the research time and costs of having a website.

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. To say that this was not my experience with LivingHistory, and that their results differed about 85 percent from other test companies’ results, sums things up for me.

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 Mark’s 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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