FamilyTreeDNA is one of many companies offering home genealogical DNA testing. The industry has been growing significantly over the last few years, but FamilyTreeDNA is one of the pioneers. Their competitors include 23andMe, Ancestry.com, HomeDNA, and Living DNA.

Founded in 2000 by Bennett Greenspan, Max Blankfield and Jim Warren, FamilyTreeDNA has a rich history in genealogy. In 2010 they created their first autosomal DNA testing product, Family Finder. Before that, they have been offering more advanced Y-DNA and mtDNA tests for exploring parental and maternal lines.

FamilyTreeDNA is one of the most respected testing companies in the industry and is the popular choice among professional genealogists. Given this reputation, FamilyTreeDNA has a robust online community with plenty of resources for understanding your tests results.

DNA Test Review

Benefits

  • Variety of accurate testing options that don’t bust your budget
  • Impressive data analysis tools like Family Matching, Chromosome browser, myOrigins and ancientOrigins
  • FTDNA is established and highly respected in the genealogy community
  • Free transfer of DNA test results from Genographic Project, 23andMe, Ancestry.com, and MyHeritage

Drawbacks

  • Could use more education or in-depth explanations of DNA test reporting
  • Product bundles and advanced testing options are more expensive than entry-level products
  • Maternal Ancestry mtDNA Test (Male & Female test)
  • Mothers pass on mitochondrial (mtDNA) to their kids. Using advanced methods mtDNA is analyzed to show your ancestry
  • Learn about the history of your female ancestors, including direct maternal line

Ancestry DNA Reviews Recommendation

FTDNA is the preferred home DNA test for amateur and professional genealogists. That alone speaks to the accuracy and quality of the test results. The option to choose from different Y-DNA test levels also scores high on our evaluation. FTDNA tests are the preferred choice if you are serious about learning your family history and about genealogy.

Types of DNA Tests

Autosomal DNA describes DNA inherited from the 22 pairs of autosomal chromosomes. Autosomal DNA testing tells you about your generational ancestors, assists in finding living relatives and helps identify the regions of the world where your ancestors originated.

Y-DNA is an element of DNA that only males carry. The Y chromosome is passed down from a father to his son establishing paternal ancestry.

mtDNA is a section of DNA that is only passed down from mothers to their children, showing maternal ancestry lineage.

Pricing & Product Options

FTDNA offers DNA tests across a range of affordable pricing options. FTDNA products go on sale from time to time. In 2019, you may also find their products at a discount depending on the time of year. If you’re looking for a free DNA test, good luck because all good DNA tests require lab testing which costs money.

FTDNA products focus on the three types of DNA tests used in genealogy.

Family Finder (Autosomal DNA) $79 – Family Ancestry DNA Test

  • View results in a variety of easy to use chart, graphs, and maps
  • See percent breakdown of your ethnic heritage using the myOrigins visual mapping tool
  • Using ancientOrigins map your family history back to ancient times and understand how and where your ancient ancestors lived
  • View, sort and compare DNA matches in an enhanced results family matching system

Y-DNA Test (Y-37 $169, Y-67 $268, Y-111 $359) – Paternal Ancestry DNA Tests

  • The Y-DNA test numbers stand for markers. The higher the number (markers) in a test, the more detailed and accurate test results you’ll get
  • The test results will include your paternal haplogroup which is a group of people that share a common ancestor on their paternal side
  • Trace the history of your last name and be able to participate in free genealogical research projects led by volunteer researchers

mtDNA Test starting at $89 – Maternal Ancestry

  • mtDNA is passed down nearly unchanged from a mother to her children, and this gives you the opportunity to trace your maternal ancestry using FamilyTreeDNA’s mtDNA database
  • Utilize mtDNA to see on a map where your ancestors came from and how they migrated across countries
  • Use sortable lists to be able to match results along the maternal line

How to Submit Your DNA

The process to submit your DNA is easy, fast and won’t hurt one bit. Just swab the inside of your cheek twice, and that’s it! FTDNA does recommend, no eating, drinking or brushing your teeth 30 minutes before swabbing your cheek. After ordering your test kit, you should receive it within 3 – 5 business days. When you get your kit, the next step will be to activate it online. Follow the steps in collecting your DNA sample. Place everything in the prepaid package and send to the lab for testing. You will begin to see your test results appearing online in 2 – 6 weeks. If you order multiple tests at once, you will see the results as they are ready.

DNA Data Export & Transfer

You can transfer DNA data from 23andMe, Ancestry.com, and MyHeritage to FamilyTreeDNA for free. You will have access to Family Finder Matrix, and you can see your autosomal matches for free. Once you’ve transferred your data, you can use other Family Finder features like the Chromosome Browser, myOrigins, and ancientOrigins for only $19.

What versions can I transfer from 23andMe and Ancestry.com?

Currently, you can only transfer 23andMe© V3, 23andMe© V4, AncestryDNA™ V1, AncestryDNA™ V2, MyHeritage™ *23andMe© V1 or 23andMe© V2 results are not currently eligible for free transfer.

Privacy

FTDNA takes your privacy very seriously. A system is in place to protect your identity and your privacy. Every customer receives an anonymous ID number; lab technicians will never see your name. You have full control over your personal information. You can choose to anonymize your data to ensure maximum privacy. FTDNA says that they will never share or sell your data to 3rd parties.

Here’s a video from FamilyTreeDNA explaining their privacy policy:

Overall Review Recommendation

Pick FTDNA products if you want to understand your family’s ancestry and lineage. There are different levels of testing to choose from that provide options for any budget. Y-DNA and mtDNA tests offered by FTDNA will give you a much richer profile of your family history than tests from their competitors.

You have the option to keep your data anonymous, and your data is never sold to 3rd parties. Other companies like Ancestry.com don’t offer an opt-out for the sale of your data. Another substantial benefit for FamilyTreeDNA is that they can accept data files from their competitors. For $19 your autosomal DNA is analyzed, and you get access to everything the Family Finder tool offers.