last updated 18 Apr 2019


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As of October, 2018 some 10 million people worldwide have had their DNA analyzed by a direct-to-consumer genetics company like 23andMe, Ancestry.com, or MyHeritage.

The study in Science concludes that around 60 percent of Americans of European descent could be matched to a third cousin or closer relation.


* Ancestry
Note that Ancestry has the largest pool of matches, especially in the U.S. (although they have branched out to other parts of the world in recent years), and those matches are usually interested in genealogy. But AncestryDNA does lack a chromosome browser tool which is very useful for validating the nature of a match. It does have other very useful tools, such as shared matches (fourth cousins or closer), DNA “circles” of people who share DNA and a common ancestor, and “new ancestor discoveries” based upon matches with people who share a common ancestor but don’t connect to your own family tree. Crista Cowan Ancestry at Rootstech
Note also that AncestryDNA does include some Y DNA SNPs that can be mined for clues about Y haplogroups. Link to further discussion of Ancestry site

* FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA)
FTDNA has been doing genetic genealogy the longest and is particularly suited to genetic genealogy, since it offers three kinds of genetic tests (autosomal, Y, and mitochondrial) as well as a chromosome browser tool. For detailed Y and mitochondrial testing, FamilyTreeDNA is often the best choice. It offers a number of tools to use in sorting through your matches to try to assign them to your P or M side and to MRCA discussed by Roberta Estes

* MyHeritage
A relative newcomer to the field of genetic testing, they already have more people who have tested than any companies except Ancestry and 23&Me, and a larger percentage of them live outside the US than is true for other companies. They have a strong focus on genealogy, encourage uploading of family trees, and provide excellent tools to compare your tree with those of your matches. Roberta Estes has a recent blog on a new feature on My Heritage that appear to be a very promising tool, called “Theory of Relativity.”

* YSEQ
YSEQ (established by FTDNA specialists who left the company) is a cost effective tool for advanced testing (such as full sequence mitochondrial and advanced Y SNP testing). But you would need to work with a project coordinator or experienced genetic genealogist to get much from the results.

* 23andme
23andme offers 3-way tests (Y, mitochondrial, and autosomal) at relatively low cost, and it offers useful tools such as matching, matches-in-common, and a chromosome browser. It has a relatively large pool of users, but many of them have little interest or background in genealogy, relative to the other companies.

* LivingDNA
This company specializes in the British Isles but is expanding to other countries. It offers relatively refined Y and mitochondrial haplogroup assignments. LivingDNA is adding matching functions in “Beta” testing now; until that expands, its utility for genetic genealogy will be very limited. But they are accepting free transfers of data from other companies, so it could be wise to transfer or do their test.

* National Geographic (NatGeo)
This test is for deep ancestry only and not for recent genealogical purposes except as it relates to the use of haplogroups or inference of geographical ancestry. It uses atDNA but in a different way than the other tests.
Source: Panel Presentation at the Davis Genealogy Club



Source: How your third cousin’s ancestry DNA test could jeopardize your privacy - Vox
Other Links:
DNA Genealogy
Autosomal DNA testing comparison chart - ISOGG Wiki
LESSON 02: Which DNA Test - WHEATON SURNAME RESOURCES
The 5 Best DNA Tests for Ancestry in 2019 - SmarterHobby.com
About the Testing Centers | dna.reinyday.com - Genealogical DNA Testing