FamilyTreeDNA in Genealogy Research

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Family Tree DNA was founded in 2000 and is based in Houston, Texas. They are the only company that sells autosomal DNA, Y-DNA, and MtDNA tests. Their basic autosomal test is their "Family Finder" test and has a base price of $79. The Family Finder + myDNA wellness test has a base price of $119 and also includes "30+ actionable DNA insights into your health and wellness". Their mtDNA test is called the mtFull Sequence and has a base price of $159. It is named that because it tests all 16,000 base pairs included in mtDNA. They also sell three levels of Y-DNA tests: Y-37, Y-111, and Big Y-700 priced at $119, $249, and $449 respectively. Y-37 tests 37 Single Tandem Repeats (STR's), Y-111 tests 111 STR's, and Big-Y 700 tests 700 STR's as well as over 200,000 SNP's. Users of 23andme will probably notice that 23andme predicts your paternal and maternal haplogroups with their test. The difference between that and FamilyTreeDNA's tests is that FamilyTreeDNA's tests are more detailed and provide match lists for your Y-DNA and mtDNA. Anyone who matches you on those tests is related on your direct paternal line or direct maternal line respectively.

Concerning autosomal DNA, FamilyTreeDNA sells DNA kits, but also allows users to download their DNA raw data from another company and upload it for free into their database. The upload is free, and users will be able to see their match list for free, but users will need to pay a one time fee of $19 in order to get full access and do things like compare their matches in a chromosome browser. The one time fee of $19 only applies to uploads, if you buy the test from them in the first place, all the features are granted for free.

There is a common misconception that users can upload their DNA from another company and get FamilyTreeDNA's Y-DNA results or mtDNA results. This is not the case. If you want results for those types of test, you must purchase those kits from FamilyTreeDNA directly.

FamilyTreeDNA allows users to upload their trees, and they have a chromosome browser. They allow you to find a DNA match and not only allow you to see which of your matches also share DNA with that person like the other companies do, but they also allow you to easily see which of your matches do not match that particular person. For example, if you and your mom test, you could use that feature to quickly see everyone who does not match your mom and is thus related on your dad's side.

In particular FamilyTreeDNA excels in the Y-DNA domain. As of June 2022 FamilyTreeDNA hosts 11,327 free Y-DNA surname projects. These projects attempt to compare Y-DNA results of men with the same surname to determine if and how they are all related to each other. Check to see if your surname has a special Y-DNA project that you can join. If so, the project administrator may be able to give you unique insights into your paternal DNA.

Another potential advantage to FamilyTreeDNA is they use a cheek swab whereas 23andme and Ancestry both use spit tubes. If you are trying to test someone who is old and unable to produce enough spit, FamilyTreeDNA and MyHeritage are great options since they both use swabs.