Which DNA Test is Best for Your Genealogy Research?
This question is frequently asked by our customers so we decide to create this resource for all our customers and visitors.
Actually, when comes to best DNA test comparison you actually have many choices. Majority of our customers are surprised when we tell them all their options. We at Record Click don’t offer a DNA test so we send our customers to one of the below DNA test companies when a customer needs to complete their test.
Please have a look at the following DNA test facts and decide on which test is best for your research.
If you require any assistance or you need further clarity on the best DNA test for you please use the Contact Us page to get in touch with us. We have in-house DNA experts to help you decipher the results of your test.
When it comes to best DNA test we believe this is the best choice for Y-DNA and mtDNA testing as it has the largest Y-DNA and mtDNA databases in the world. It is also an appropriate choice if you want to look at your atDNA matches in comparison to your Y-DNA and mtDNA matches. The atDNA results can help you determine how close a relative your Y-DNA and mtDNA matches are. This depends though on if your Y-DNA and mtDNA matches also had their atDNA tested. FTDNA allows for autosomal DNA transfers for $19.00. Their atDNA test kit is typically $79.00, though they frequently put it on sale for anywhere between $49.00 – $69.99.
Regarding FTDNA Y-DNA testing. We would recommend staring with 67 markers, and then upgrading to 111 markers if you have close matches, such as matching on 63+ markers of the 67-marker test. If there are budgetary concerns, order the 37-marker test and eventually upgrade if you have 35-37 markers in common with matches at the 37-marker test level. Don’t purchase a Y-DNA test that is less than 37 markers because though you will have many matches at this level, probably the ancestors you have in common will be so far back in time you won’t be able to identify them.
When you upgrade your Y-DNA test you don’t need to send in another sample, they will use your previous sample. Typically, when you upgrade you don’t pay the full price of the next level of test. The Big-Y test is not much use for genealogical purposes, it is more for scientific purposes. According to FTDNA, Y-DNA STR testing is for when you want to “refine your matches for genealogical purposes,” because it is for refinement of existing matches, this would not be the first Y-DNA test you would take. The first Y-DNA test to take would be their regular Y-DNA test.
Regarding mtDNA testing, there are two types of mtDNA tests that you can take at FTDNA, mtDNA Plus ($89.00) and mtFull Sequence ($199.00). According to FTDNA “mtDNA consists of three regions – two hypervariable regions: HVR1, HVR2, and the Coding Region. Our mtDNA+ test will only test HVR1 and HVR2, whereas our mtDNA Full Sequence test will test all three regions providing you with a more refined mtDNA haplogroup and matches list. The Full Sequence test is recommended for those more interested in genealogy and working with a matches list.”
You can upgrade from the mtDNA Plus to the mtFull Sequence test. FTDNA allows the upload of family trees, though their family trees are a bit clunky to work with.
23andMe is a personal genetic service that helps you understand what your 23 pairs of chromosomes – your DNA – say about your health, traits and ancestry. 23andMe is the first and only genetic service available directly to you that includes reports that meet FDA standards. Customers receive a snapshot view of their DNA with more than 65 detailed reports on their health, traits and ancestry, plus tools to explore and compare their DNA with family and friends. According to ISOGG, 23andme has the second largest autosomal DNA (atDNA) database: here
What makes 23andme unique is that it is the only major genealogical DNA testing company that provides medical related information. The information is useful in helping you make lifestyle choices, but it is not predictive of your health. The test cost $199.00.
23andme also has a standard at DNA test that does not provide health related information. This test currently cost $99.00.
What we like about their testing is that they provide your Y-DNA haplogroup (if you are male) and your mtDNA haplogroup (for both males and females). Most other DNA testing companies do not provide that information unless you purchase a Y-DNA or mtDNA test. However, 23andme does not furnish Y-DNA or mtDNA matches, only atDNA matches. You cannot upload your family tree on 23andme, so it is hard to know what ancestors you have in common with your matches. You can transfer your 23and me DNA data to FTDNA.
According to their website “A Living DNA test brings your history to life and provides over twice the detail of other ancestry tests. Discover where your ancestors come from and much more.” Living DNA is based in the UK so the advantage is that they have a large British Isle database. If you have British Isle roots, this could be good as a second test. Typically, their atDNA cost $159.99 but goes on sale for $79.99.
The advantage of testing at Ancestry.com is that it has the largest atDNA database. The usual cost for ancestry.com’s atDNA test is $99.00, though sometimes it goes on sale for $79.00. Your results will include your matches and your ethnicity estimates. To take advantage of all the ancestry.com DNA tools, such as being able to view your matches family trees, you need a subscription to ancestry.com.
You can take a one-month subscription to ancestry.com when you have the time to look at all the DNA data, and in that month, you can also search for your ancestors on the genealogy part of their website. Just remember to cancel your subscription so you don’t get charged for an additional month.
National Geographic test is more for “deep ancestry” and the main intent is for scientific purposes, not genealogy. However, we thought it was best to include in our best DNA test guide. The upside is that National Geographic is a nonprofit that is dedicated to “conservation, exploration, research, and education” efforts. You can transfer National Geographic results to FTDNA for $19.00. The National Geographic test cost $199.95. However, you can get it on sale for $99.99.
Best DNA Test Cautions
We hope you found this best DNA test guide useful. Be sure to examine the privacy policies of the DNA companies you are considering before you decide on a purchase. Make sure their privacy polices align with how you see your DNA being used. More specifically, be careful when considering testing companies that claim to identify your Native American tribe as last we knew DNA testing cannot show you what Native American tribe you come from. Different companies offering autosomal DNA tests will provide you with different results based on their algorithms and who is in their database. Your results at any testing company may shift overtime as more people enter the database or algorithms change.
We would recommend using FTDNA for Y-DNA and mtDNA testing. For autosomal testing we would suggest using ancestry.com and then transferring the raw DNA to FTDNA with their autosomal DNA transfer. You can transfer for free and see all your matches there, but if you want to use all the tools, then you must pay $19.00. If you have British Isles roots, we would also recommend testing at Living DNA when their test kit is on sale. After you receive your DNA results, upload your raw DNA data to gedmatch.com as it is free and offers the best tools for analyzing your results and comparing your results to others.
All logos, DNA test names, and/or DNA kit names belong to their rightful owners. Record Click does not offer any DNA kits for testing. This best DNA test resource is for your comparison use only and we share it with all our customers.