May 9, 2022
Product Reviews

5 Things You Should Know Before Buying FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA)

If you want to investigate your family tree DNA, FamilyTreeDNA might be the genetic testing provider for you. Here’s what we found.
By
Tomohiro Takano

FamilyTreeDNA may not have the largest user database, but you can get comprehensive mtDNA and Y-DNA tests you can’t get anywhere else!

One of the most exciting aspects of genetic research is the information it can uncover about your family tree. Family tree DNA is more than identifying common ethnic traits – it connects you to your family’s story and the diverse people who made your history so rich and fascinating.

So, if you’re in the market for a reliable family tree DNA service provider, FamilyTreeDNA might seem like the service for you. 

FamilyTreeDNA specializes in tracing your maternal and paternal lines by using your DNA. While the company offers typical ethnicity estimates with their basic DNA test kit, they excel in using DNA samples from a simple mouth swab to test your mtDNA and Y-DNA. With these DNA results, FamilyTreeDNA can trace your maternal and paternal haplogroups back to the earliest days of human expansion!

Our family tree DNA has the potential to uncover a wealth of information, so it’s important to research DNA testing service providers. At Genomelink, we want you to get the most out of your genetic testing company. Use the review below to understand more about FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA). Our reviews are highly standardized, making it easy for you to compare several companies at once! Plus, we will show you a variety of websites that you can use with the raw DNA data file you download from FamilyTreeDNA, which can give you more insights into how your genes may be affecting your health, lifestyle, and other aspects of your life.

1. About FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA)

2. Test Results And Sample Reports

3. Reviews

4. Cost

5. Upload Raw DNA Data From FamilyTreeDNA

1. About FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA)

Quick Facts:

Company Name: FamilyTreeDNA (Owned by Gene by Gene, Ltd.)

Foundation Year: 2000

Founder: Bennett Greenspan

Location: Houston, Texas

Website: Familytreedna.com

Monthly Visits: 2 Million+

Number of Users: 1 Million+

FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA) was created in 2000. This organization was among the first companies to offer a direct-to-consumer DNA test kit. In 2006, the company was able to invest in a state-of-the-art facility in Houston, Texas, where they continue to conduct all of their genetic tests in-house. Using a simple cheek swab, the company will collect your DNA sample and compare it to specific reference populations in the DNA database.

Unlike some other companies, FamilyTreeDNA provides standard autosomal testing (with the Family Finder Test), mtDNA tests, and Y-chromosome tests. These tests can give you a deeper look at your maternal and paternal lines, respectively. 

But can this service help you construct a detailed family tree?

While the company does offer tests that a genealogist might use to track common ancestors between distantly related families, the name is a bit misleading because its platform offers no capabilities for creating a family tree. However, you can match to other users, use a chromosome browser to see where your genes came from, and the pricing is very affordable. Nevertheless, if family tree DNA support is your objective, you might be disappointed.

2. Test Results And Sample Reports

Here are several things you can get from a FamilyTreeDNA report, depending on the test you choose.

FamilyTreeDNA Report Overview

  • Get a breakdown of ethnicities that contributed to your genes (Family Finder)
  • See how your DNA compares to ancient populations from DNA samples found in archaeological dig sites! (Family Finder)
  • Get your mitochondrial DNA analyzed, giving you specifics about your maternal side (mtDNA test)
  • Several options for Y-DNA testing, allowing you to get insights into your paternal side (Y-DNA test)

Depending on which services you select, you will get a variety of reports back from FamilyTreeDNA. The main reports are the myOrigins report and the ancientOrigins report, both of which report on different aspects of your autosomal genes. By measuring single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), this test can give you an idea of what ethnic groups contributed to your genetic makeup in a user-friendly way. With these reports, you can get a breakdown of your ethnicity and learn about possible migration routes your family may have taken. You might also discover whether or not you contain any genes from Neanderthals and other ancient groups.

Check out the page below for more information on what a report from FamilyTreeDNA is likely to contain! This DNA testing service also offers mtDNA testing and Y-DNA testing. Based on your mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), the maternal ancestry report will trace your maternal line back to the dawn of civilization. Mitochondrial DNA is only passed down from mother to child, so your maternal line is determined based on the specific variants you carry.

The company also offers a wide variety of paternal ancestry testing options, which explore the genes on the male Y-chromosome. These tests measure short tandem repeats (STRs), which are short repeats of genetic code that give different paternal lines a sort of “signature.” FTDNA offers several levels of Y-DNA test, from the simple Y-37 that will give you some information about your father’s deep family history to the Y-700 (formerly “The Big Y”) - a test that is really only useful for professional genealogists trying to build a complex family tree of your father’s side.

Check out the page below for more information on what a report from FamilyTreeDNA is likely to contain!

FamilyTreeDNA Sample Report

3. Reviews (Updated April 2022)

The company has numerous reviews found across the internet. Check out our summary below:

  • 1.7 of 5 stars on Trustpilot, with over 80 reviews
  • 4.2 of 5 stars on Amazon, with over 970 reviews
  • 1.5 of 5 stars on Yelp, with over 80 reviews
  • See what the Reddit community is saying about FamilyTreeDNA.

Of all the DNA testing companies, FamilyTreeDNA does not score very strong marks from its users. In fact, both 23andMe and AncestryDNA score much higher marks for their genealogical services. Though FTDNA has several European ethnicities, it seems their reference populations are lacking for people that have family members from other parts of the world (such as Native American, Asian, or African). The FamilyTreeDNA website is also not nearly as well-developed as 23andMe’s site, and these testing kits cannot show you migration patterns or a migration map based on your genetic matches like you can find on Ancestry.com.

It should also be noted that FamilyTreeDNA might submit your genetic information to law enforcement agencies under certain circumstances. FamilyTreeDNA has also worked with law enforcement and the FBI to help solve cold cases and violent crimes. The company can use DNA from the crime scene to help law enforcement find autosomal test matches and bring criminals to justice.

4. Cost (Updated April 2022)

The standard autosomal DNA kit for ancestry, the Family Ancestry Test, typically costs $49. The company also offers 1 mtDNA test and 3 different Y-chromosome tests. The company will fully sequence your mitochondrial DNA for the mtDNA test for only $159. The Y-DNA tests have levels varying from $119 - $449. The top-level allows you a nearly full sequencing of your Y-chromosome and a report detailing many aspects of your paternal ancestry, such as DNA matches to surnames related to you.

 

5. Upload Raw DNA Data From FamilyTreeDNA

While FamilyTreeDNA is not in the business of testing for health or lifestyle traits, they do allow you to download your sequenced DNA. They only test for genetic genealogy, but they also inadvertently collect extra information within your genetic data. The raw DNA data file can be uploaded to any of the following companies, allowing you access to a much greater wealth of information. Some of the following companies allow you to upload raw DNA data for free and can offer a wide variety of insights that FamilyTreeDNA does not cover in their reports. Check them out!

Know "More" About Your DNA Data

1. Genomelink — FREE

2. Promethease (genetic health risk)

Ancestry Tests

3. MyHeritage DNA

4. LivingDNA

5. GEDmatch

To find out more about DNA upload sites, check out our article, The Best DNA Upload Sites.

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.


Tomohiro Takano
Tomohiro Takano
Co-Founder and CEO