Archived---Find the Right DNA Test

You have a choice of tests in the genetic genealogy field:

1.  yDNA for the male (paternal) line    (To learn more about yDNA, click here.)

2.  mtDNA for the female (maternal line).   (To learn more about mtDNA, click here.)

3.  Family Finder uses autosomal DNA from both your maternal and paternal lines(To learn more about the Family Finder test, click here.) 

 

Y-DNA is passed down from father to son, so a male will have the same yDNA as his father, who got it from his father…all the way back.

    • Only males can take the yDNA test, as a female does not carry yDNA, but she can post a pedigree and arrange to have a male family member represent her family line.  This male must be directly descended, through males, from her common male ancestor.  She can take an mtDNA test to trace her mother's mother's ....mother's line.
    • A man you are testing with yDNA must be directly descended from the (male) ancestor you are interested in researching - with no females between them (yDNA cannot pass through a female ancestor)
      • For example, a female who wants to test for the surname of her father would use this method:
      • Did your father have brothers? Did they have sons? Did their sons have sons?
      • Did your grandfather have brothers? Did they have sons? Did their sons have sons?
      • Did your great-grandfather ... Did your gg-grandfather ... etc
      • Any one of the men you find with the above questions can represent your family with a yDNA (surname) test.
    • A male who is interested in a family line which comes down to him through a female ancestor will also need to find a male to test who is descended, through males, from a common male ancestor in the surname line of interest. He would use the same method to find the male to test to represent his family line. If not, did your female ancestor’s grandfather have a brother? Did he have sons? Did they have sons? Did they have sons?…
      • Did your female ancestor have a brother? Did he have sons? Did they have sons?
      • If not, did your female ancestor’s father have a brother? Did he have sons? Did they have sons?
      • If not, did your female ancestor's grandfather have a brother?  Did he have sons?  ..and so on

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) looks at the DNA that either a man or woman inherits from the mother's side.

  • This represents the mother’s mother’s…mother’s line. MtDNA is inherited from your mother, who got it from her mother...all the way back.
  • The person who is mtDNA tested must be directly descended from the (female) ancestor you are interested in researching - with no males between the test taker and ancestor being researched (mtDNA cannot pass through a male ancestor)
  • A mother passes her mtDNA to her children, but only females can pass it on. By testing, you learn your haplogroup – which tells you which "branch of woman" you descend from on your maternal side.
  • mtDNA tests the deep maternal ancestry (think 1000s of years), your deep ethnic and geographical ancestry
  • Although mtDNA test results are not useful in surname projects, as female surnames tend to change with each generation, you are welcome to order through the project and become a member so that you will be notified of any developments in the Surname Project. Some projects are posting the mtDNA results of members on the MTDNA Page of the project website.
  • Once your mtDNA results are ready, you will want to also join your haplogroup project, to work with others who share a haplogroup with you. The mitochondria result is compared to see if they share a common female ancestor. As the data base is growing, some people are finding family connections through a combination of the mtDNA test results and their maternal pedigrees.

The Family Finder test can be taken by either male or female, and uses autosomal DNA from both your maternal and paternal lines.  It helps you find family across all your lines, up to 6 generations back.  It can connect you to descendents of all your great-great-grandparents. 

 

Here are the Simple Rules:

  • Only males can take the yDNA (surname) test, which traces their father's father's ... father's paternal line.
  • Both males and females can take the mtDNA test, which traces their mother's mother's ... mother's line.
  • A male can order a combination test, which analyzes both his yDNA and his mtDNA.
  • Both males and females can take the Family Finder test.  
  •  

    Sometimes a female has to climb up the family tree and back down again to find a male to test!

    A female can participate in a yDNA surname project by sponsoring a male from the surname family of interest.

    This male must be directly descended, through males, from her common ancestor. Sometimes she'll have to go back up the family tree and come back down to a living male that shares a x-grandfather and carries the surname she wants tested.

    For example, a female who wants to yDNA test to trace the surname of her father would use this method:
    Did your father have brothers? Did they have sons? Did their sons have sons?
    Did your grandfather (father's father) have brothers? Did they have sons? Did their sons have sons?
    Did your great-grandfather (father's father's father) ...
    Did your gg-grandfather ... etc

    Any one of the men you find with the above questions can represent your family with a yDNA (surname) test.

    Here's a link to an inheritance chart at Family Tree DNA that may help explain more clearly: http://www.familytreedna.com/tc.ht

    Frequently Asked Questions About DNA Testing for genealogy.
    How do I fill out FTDNA's order form?
    Frequently Asked Questions about Ordering a Test

     

    • Choose the right test:

      Test Through a Project! Persons testing at Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) should test through a project, as this automatically makes you a member of the project and gives you a lower test price.

      Search for a project


      Click the tab "Order Test" in the menu at the top of the project's website.
      You will be taken to the project's order page at Family Tree DNA.
      If there is no surname project serving your name, ask us to set one up.
      Click here to request a project. 
      Click here for more information on setting up a project or a website.


      Which yDNA Test?

      --If you are trying to match to a different surname without a paper trail - we recommend 37 markers as a minimum. 67 can be helpful. 
      --If you know the surname you should match, you can probably get by with 25 markers, but many folks want 37 or 67 to get the clearer insight.
      --If you are only interested in your "deep ancestry" (haplotype) or in proving that you don't share a common ancestor with a specific family, 12 markers are adequate.
      --We also tell folks that if they are serious about their genealogy - that they will end up with at least 37 markers – and probably wind up at 67.
      --You can go in steps, upgrading a bit at a time - or buy the markers all at once. Prices for tests ordered through a project:

       

    • --If you are seeking information on your deep ancestry (1000s and 10,000s of years ago) the mtDNA   test is sufficient. (This test is sometimes called HVR1)

      --If you wish to use your mtDNA result to confirm a maternal ancestry (you and another person share a common maternal ancestor) then you will gain by taking the mtDNA Plus test (This test is sometimes called HVR1 + HVR2)

      --If you wish to test your entire mtDNA sequence, then you’ll want the mtDNA Full Sequence test. (FTDNA calls this test “Mega”) FTDNA suggests this for anyone who doesn’t wish to be upgrading when they need more info – as this will give you the entire sequence.

      --You can go in steps, upgrading each time – or buy the entire sequence at once. Prices:

       

      Please note:  Prices for FTDNA test shown below are subject to change as FTDNA lowers prices or offers a sale.  Always note the price offered on the FTDNA order page when you place your order.

      • Test Price Through Project
        12 markers $99
        25 markers $124
        37 markers $149
        67 markers $239

        *Upgrades from one test to the next are $49.
        (37 to 67 is a two step increase and is $99)

        Search for a project


        Click the tab "Order Test" in the menu at the top of the project's website.
        You will be taken to the project's order page at Family Tree DNA.
        If there is no surname project serving your name, ask us to set one up.

        Which mitochondrial (mtDNA) Test?

         

      •  

        mtDNA Test Price at FTDNA
        mtDNA $99
        mtDNA Plus $149
        mtDNA Full Sequence $279

         

         

         

         



        An upgrade from mtDNA to mtDNA Refine is $75 and the upgrade from mtDNA to Mega is $229, while the upgrade from mtDNA Plus to Mega is $209.)

        If you going to ultimately order both yDNA and mtDNA tests for one person, you will save time by ordering them together. However, there are some oddities in the pricing structure - so    check the pricing. You may want to order one test, then immediately order an upgrade for the second.


        Test Price at FTDNA
        yDNA 12 + mtDNA $179
        yDNA 37 + mtDNA Plus $269
        yDNA 67 + mtDNA Plus $369
        Super DNA (yDNA 67 + mtDNA Full Sequence) $498


        Search for a project


        Click the tab "Order Test" in the menu at the top of the project's website.
        You will be taken to the project's order page at Family Tree DNA.
        If there is no surname project serving your name, ask us to set one up.