Genealogy Wise

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Hi Everyone:

I tested close to three years ago with 23andme and I am satisfied with my results.  However, I'll be blunt and state that I chose 23&me because FTDNA, for the 'whole 9 yards' cost the amount of a r/t plane ticket (between $600-$700 USD).  So, I went with the 'handy man's special' -- $99.

My question is this:  What can FTDNA tell me that 23&me does not?  I know both of my haplogroups, met a good many DNA relatives on line, uploaded my results onto Gedmatch and such.  Yet, what is missing? 

People who used FTDNA: Kindly elaborate.  I'm all ears.


Rashi Rosenzweig

Ra'anana, ISRAEL  

Views: 144

Replies to This Discussion

I have tested my DNA at all 3, ancestryDNA, FamilyTreeDNA and 23andme.

  1. The test at 23andme is very similar to FTDNA ‘familyfinder’ and the same price. 23andme Has the health report advantage if you are eligible to receive it.
  2. FTDNA ‘familyfinder’ has better searching tools then 23andme.
  3. FTDNA also has a yDNA test you can by. 37marker yDNA is presently $169 but there are often sales. yDNA can match you up with others that may be directly related to your paternal side and if they have the same surname you definitely know they are related. FTDNA also has additional database programs called ysearch and mtsearch.
  4. FTDNA has been testing for over 10 years and there are many who test at FTDNA who may no longer be living but they might be related when you show a match.
  5. The atDNA (autosomal) all 3 labs are doing gives a mix of your paternal and maternal DNA. Problem is trying to determine what side of your family your matches may be connected to.
  6. ancestryDNA has some interesting features. It works best for those who have a family tree loaded on ancestry. If you look at your matches those with trees can show which names match people on your tree. This helps to zero in on distant cousins. Ancestry also has additional features to check out.

So 3 labs doing testing. What if your cousins tested at a different lab then you did? There is a free site called gedmatch. People form all 3 labs may have loaded their results to gedmatch so by using gedmatch you expand your search into the results of the other labs as long as people loaded their results to gedmatch. Gedmatch has its own unique tools and since it is free why not use it?

Thanks for your reply and insight.  I am on GEDMATCH, yet I'll admit that I don't use it often.  I definitely should.  

I don't know why you thought the FTDNA tests are so expensive. Their Family Finder test costs $99 plus $12.95 for postage. This is considerably cheaper than the 23andMe test as 23andMe charge almost as much again for the postage as they do for the test.

I think you must be on the 23andMe Version 3 chip. If so, you can do the autosomal DNA transfer program to add your results to the FTDNA database:

This will cost you US $39 and will save you having to buy another test. Each company has a different database so there are many benefits to being in the different databases as you never know where you will get the meaningful matches.

The big advantage of being in the FTDNA database is that you can join the various projects. There are various surname, geographical and haplogroup projects. You can find a partial list of Jewish projects here:

As well as doing the autosomal transfer it's worth getting your Y-DNA tested at FTDNA starting with a 37-marker Y-STR test. The advantage of doing this is that your results go into the FTDNA Y-DNA matching database, which is the largest in the world. This allows you to connect with genetic cousins on your Y-line. Your 23andMe SNP results can be used in combination with the STR results in haplogroup projects.

FTDNA offer a full mitochondrial sequence. This literally sequences your entire mtDNA genome (all 16569 base pairs). The 23andMe test covers around 3000 SNPs. You will get the most detailed haplogroup assignment from the full sequence test. The FTDNA mtDNA test also puts you into a matching database and you are given a list of your genetic cousins on your direct maternal line. However, for genealogical purposes the mtDNA test is the least useful of the three tests.

If you want to order any new tests then it's best to wait until FTDNA have sale. They usually have one in the run-up to Christmas.

Hi Debbie:  Thanks very much for your insight and suggestions.  I probably will treat myself to a 37 marker Y-STR test with FTDNA come the winter holidays when they have sales.  I did upload my 23&me results to FTDNA and I have met DNA cousins, one of whom mind you, was a childhood friend of mine who I graduated high school with and haven't seen since we graduated back in 1985.  I am also involved in some of the groups.

Thanks again for the advice.  My best regards to you.





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