Family Tree DNA Review 2019 - Legit or Scam?

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  • Family Tree DNA is legit and not a scam
  • Best for Genealogy, History, Ancestry
  • Several different packages available
  • No third parties
Family Tree DNA DNA VIEW BEST DNA

Family Tree DNA offers the most comprehensive range of DNA testing available for genealogy.

By Editorial Team | 16th October 2018

Connect your DNA to relatives from all over the globe. This site is widely known for having the world’s most comprehensive DNA matching database for autosomal DNA, Y-DNA, and mtDNA. Family Tree DNA gives you the opportunity to learn more about your ancestry by discovering the percentage breakdown of your origins from ancestors that lived up to 500 years ago.

ProsCons
Wide range of tests including autosomal, Y-DNA and mtDNA with the ability to store your sample if you want to upgrade to new tests at any timeTesters outside the U.S. must pay international postage to send their test kits back to their lab
Strong user and support communityNot compatible with mobile devices
Offers free autosomal DNA transfers to their database if you’ve been tested elsewhere
Strong privacy policy
Pricing and Collection

Family Tree DNA offers several different, thorough and reasonably-priced services, all of which are best for Genealogy, History, and Ancestry. Some tests are exclusive to males only, but there’s a wide enough range of tests for both genders to get the results they want.

Single TestsPrices
Family Finder (Autosomal DNA)$79 (approx. £59)
Y-37 (male only)$169 (approx. £128)
Y-67 (male only)$268 (approx. £202)
Y-111 (male only)$359 (approx. £271)
Big Y-500 (male only)$649 (approx. £491)
mtDNA Plus$89 (approx. £67)
mtFull Sequence$199 (approx. £150)
PackagesPrices
Family Finder + Y-37$248 (approx. £188)
Family Finder + mtFull Sequence$278 (approx. £210)
Family Finder + Y-67 + mtFull Sequence$546 (approx. £413)
How do I take the test?

The testing process of Family Tree DNA really straightforward and comparable to other DNA testing services.

  1. After registering on the site and purchasing the kit, you will receive the kit within the next couple of weeks.
  2. The test consists of a cheek swab which must be done after waiting an hour of not eating or drinking.
  3. The swab must be inserted into a vial of liquid and snapped off when aligned properly in the vial.
  4. The cap is then screwed on tight.
  5. Steps 2 to 4 are repeated with a second swab and vial.
  6. Sign the release form which gives Family Tree DNA permission to show your genetic matches your name and email address on their website.
  7. The vials and consent form are then packaged into their return box
  8. It takes about 4 – 8 weeks to receive your results once your kit reaches their lab.
Features and Reports

You will receive an email when your results are ready and then its time to log in. Once logged in, your dashboard will show you can look at myOrigins which compares your genetic makeup to 24 different reference populations to determine yours. Here, you can also learn more about the shared origins between yourself and your DNA matches on the map feature.

Family Tree DNA’s ancientOrigins tells you details about the ancient migrations of your ancestors. It also shows an estimate of which percentage of your ancestors likely descended from these groups.

Next, the most exciting part is to check out your list of DNA matches. To get the most from your DNA matches, it is advantageous to either enter your ancestral surnames into your profile at Family Tree DNA or upload your family tree to the site. This way, your matches can try to figure out how they might relate to you. Utilising Family Tree DNA’s combination of tools; “In Common With”, Matrix Comparison and Chromosome Browser, you can begin to sift your matches into smaller and smaller pools to help you determine which ancestors you share.

For the serious genealogists, Y-DNA testing for men only can be another way to utilise your DNA, or a male family members, to determine your origins and even perhaps trace your genealogical tree beyond the genealogical time frame by joining the large group of citizen scientists at Family Tree DNA at the various haplogroup and surname projects. Y-DNA traces men’s patrilineal descent only, that is, men’s father’s father’s line all the way back in time. If men have already taken the Family Finder test, they can upgrade to various levels of Y testing by using the sample stored at Family Tree DNA’s lab. Depending on your assigned haplogroup, further SNP packs can be purchased from Family Tree DNA or a BigY test can be used to find out exactly where you fit in the phylogenetic tree of mankind and excitingly, you may discover some personal SNP’s unique to your recent ancestors.

Similarly, both men and women can test their mtDNA or mitochondrial DNA which follows their matrilineal descent only. That is your mother’s line all the way back. These tests are really only helpful for looking at your ancient maternal line’s migration paths and geographical origins.

While Family Tree DNA does not have any health-related features on their website, you can always download your raw DNA data and submit it to a number of other websites who can produce health reports based on your genetics. Find out here which health conditions can ancestry DNA tests trace.

Security and Privacy

Family Tree DNA has certified its compliance with both the EU-U.S and Swiss-U.S. privacy Shield Frameworks as set forth by the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding the collection, use, and retention of personal information transferred from the European Union and Switzerland to the United States, respectively. Other security means that Family Tree DNA have in place includes secure server software to encrypt financial information and their security and privacy practices are regularly reviewed.

Family Tree DNA also unique in that they guarantee not to sell your data to any third parties (unless you have given them your consent) so, you can be assured that your data is your own. This includes genetic information with pharmaceutical or insurance companies or third-party marketers.

Help and Support

Family Tree DNA has a thriving community on their forums as well as in their haplogroup and surname projects where you can learn more about how to utilise your DNA data. Their website contains a number of help videos and text guides to help you understand which test or tests may be right for you. However, if you prefer to get in contact with a customer support representative, you can do so via an online form, telephone (713-868-1438) which is available from Monday-Friday at 9 am to 5 pm CT, or live chat which is also available from Monday-Friday at 9 am to 5 pm CT and Saturday at 9 am to 4 pm CT. Alternatively, you can write them a letter to:

Family Tree DNA, 1445 N Loop W #820, Houston, TX 77008, USA

About Family Tree DNA

Family Tree DNA certainly are considered the pioneers of direct-to-consumer DNA testing, launching their first testing services back in 2000. They boast their own in-house processing laboratory and on-site storage facility where they will keep your sample, if you wish, as part of their service.

Comparison to Competitors in the Market

Like other tests like 23andMe, Living DNA and a few others, FamilyTree allows its users to test both mtDNA and yDNA. Also, while Living DNA and 23andMe focus more on anthropological aspects, FamilyTree delves more into the genealogical elements of your DNA sample. Though the DNA test cost is more than its other competitors in the market, FamilyTree promises a more detailed and precise study of the DNA sample. Further, unlike most DNA test kits, FamilyTree test kits do not require any activation. All the information you require is provided in the confirmation mail itself. All you need to ensure is that the number on your kit and the number received in the mail match.

Summary

Thus, regarded as the oldest DNA testing base online, the FamilyTree DNA is one of the few that provides a variety of at home DNA test services to its users. From individual tests to packages, it ensures accurate DNA testing. The FamilyFinder test gives you results as quickly as 3 weeks. Following a simple procedure, you can gain information on your ancestry as well as your genealogy. Probably the only online DNA test allows you to store your DNA sample for future references without any worry due to its strong security policy and an in-house processing and testing lab. It is also the only online DNA testing database to provide you with accurate information whether a relative belongs to your paternal or maternal side. If it can work on its online web page and make it easier to understand, the FamilyTree DNA test is a perfect choice for people wanting a home DNA test and those eager to know about their ancestry.

Reviewed by
Editorial Team
Our Editorial Team is constantly watching for new and exciting services to report on. They aim to bring balanced, honest reviews to the site to give you the best comparisons and ensure you have the knowledge to choose the product right for you. Read more.
4 thoughts on “Family Tree DNA

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  1. DNA testing is mainly done to see who else you are related to. Without a large community to have in the pool your information is limited.

    Lucy needs to study DNA a little more. The Y from the male is directly passed from generation to generation so you can trace back families many generations. The X-X from the female meanders for each spouse so only localization information can be found. This is just science, although it appears to have male bias.

  2. Why can only men take some tests?! This seems unfair! Screw DNA testing. It’s sexist AF!