About DNA Tests


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

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

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

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

 Here are the Simple Rules:

  • Only males can take the yDNA (surname) test, which traces their father'sfather'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.   

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.

 Which mitochondrial (mtDNA) Test?

  • 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.

How do I order?

Remember ordering a yDNA or mtDNA test  through a project gives you a lower test price and makes you a member of the project.

If you're not sure whether there is a project for your surname, search here:



If you find your surname project, 

  • Follow the links to the project's website

  • Click on the link "Order Test" the black menu bar across the top of the page.
    This will take you directly to the project's order page at Family Tree DNA website.

  • You can also go directly to www.familytreedna.com and search for a project.


If there is no surname project serving your name, you can 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.

 More answers to your questions about ordering a test.


Sometimes a female has to climb up the family tree and then back down again to find a male to yDNA test for her family line!