Family Tree DNA Review

Family Tree DNA
Family Tree DNA

Family Tree DNA

In my Quest to find my birth family, I used Family Tree DNA as one of my testing companies. I had atDNA and mtDNA both tested. It was a good experience and offered additional matches to the ones on the other sites. My DNA was processed in a timely manner, I think it was about 6 weeks for the atDNA and about 8 weeks for the mtDNA.

When I ordered my DNA test at FTDNA, I also received a credit to enable me to move my atDNA from another company for free. Usually it is $39.95. I tried to move my Ancestry DNA over there immediately but the website wouldn’t let me. I contacted support and they were quick to get back with me and tell me that it wasn’t allowed because they hadn’t processed my sample and it would be confusing. This made sense and I decided to use it to move a relatives DNA over from AncestryDNA.

Family Tree DNA offers a Chromosome browser that AncestryDNA doesn’t have. You can easily compare your DNA with your matches. To do more involved processes like trianglulation, you can download your DNA and upload to

Family Tree DNA Tests

Family Tree DNA offers three DNA tests. Family Finder ($99) test focuses on autosomal DNA, which is inherited from both your mother and your father, your four grandparents, your eight great-grandparents, etc. This test is designed to find living relatives on all of your ancestral lines within the last five generations and can also give you a breakdown of your ethnic makeup by percentage. Family Finder matches are other individuals in our database who have also taken the Family Finder test and who, through autosomal DNA comparison, are found to share a common ancestor with you from ANY of your ancestral lines within the past five generations. The names and emails of your matches, an estimate of how closely related they are to you, and any genealogical information they have uploaded are provided to you.

A Y-DNA test from Family Tree DNA provides a list of people in our database who share with you a common direct paternal (your father, father’s father, father’s father’s father, etc.) ancestor within the past 25 generations. If a person relates to you through a father’s father’s mother’s line, Y-DNA will not connect you to them. As surnames are traditionally passed down the direct paternal line, Y-DNA testing is particularly useful in surname studies to see how all living people of a certain surname. FTDNA offerss three different Y-DNA tests. The test for 37 markers is $169, 67 markers $268, and 111 markers $359.

an mtDNA test also provides a list of people in our database who share a common direct maternal ancestor with you within the past 52 generations. Direct maternal matches (your mother, mother’s mother, mother’s mother’s mother, etc.) with you. If a person relates to you through a mother’s mother’s father’s line, mtDNA will not connect you to them.

There are two levels of mtDNA testing: mtDNA Plus and mtFull Sequence. FTDNA used to offer 2 different levels of tests, now they only offere the full sequence for $199. The mtDNA Plus test provides basic maternal information and is more useful for deep anthropological information rather than genealogical information. The mtFull Sequence test significantly refines your matches and haplogroup to provide the closest possible living relatives to aid in genealogy and is much more useful for genealogical purposes. The names and emails of your matches, genetic distance, and any genealogical information they have uploaded are provided to you.

Unlike some of the other testing sites, FTDNA is available worldwide. They will keep a sample for 25 years and you can designate an heir to control your account and sample if you die. The amount of autosomal SNP’s tested is about 690,000. This compares to 682,549 at AncestryDNA. They look at 18,091 X chromosome SNP’s.

Family Tree DNA provided me hundreds of DNA cousin matches and offers some information that other sites don’t have. For $99, it is well worth the money. If you have already tested at AncestryDNA you have to at least pay to transfer your DNA to this site so you can use the tools and fish in the pond of more than a possible additional DNA matches.

Family Tree DNA also has training videos and articles, so be sure to also take advantage of those.

About the author


I found my birth family after 40 years of looking for them. I used DNA tests, software to sort DNA match results, family trees, contacting DNA matches and several website tools. We want to provide you a "one stop shop" with all your resources to help YOU find YOUR family.

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