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Suz8710

Best DNA Testing Kit

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Suz8710

Hi fellow genealogy lovers! I hope it was okay to start a new thread on this. What I'd like to know is what you feel is the best kit - best value?  Ancestry/23 and Me and National Geographic. Something else? What has been your experience (or of others you know) with these?

I've done a bit of research but I value your opinions -you guys are super knowledgeable about a lot of things! I'm looking to get one as a gift for my boyfriend, but I'd be curious to try as well. I like the idea of Nat Geo but I think my boyfriend would prefer something more genealogy based.

 

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JenniferJuniper
1 hour ago, Suz8710 said:

Hi fellow genealogy lovers! I hope it was okay to start a new thread on this. What I'd like to know is what you feel is the best kit - best value?  Ancestry/23 and Me and National Geographic. Something else? What has been your experience (or of others you know) with these?

I've done a bit of research but I value your opinions -you guys are super knowledgeable about a lot of things! I'm looking to get one as a gift for my boyfriend, but I'd be curious to try as well. I like the idea of Nat Geo but I think my boyfriend would prefer something more genealogy based.

 

I've only done Ancestry, but if your boyfriend is looking to do genealogy, I recommend it.  I've been looking to finish up a family tree I started a decade ago, figuring I still remember some people who were born in the 19th century and know lots of information that the next generation won't have.  I did fairly well with it, but it was cumbersome and hard to pull together.  But now between DNA hits and hints and a very easy to use family tree format, I've developed a great deal of information about ancestors going as far back so far to the1700's.  I unveiled what I have to date to some of my family yesterday and my sister was stunned to see a 1920 passport photo of a great aunt she looked just like.  I mean, like a twin.  

Downside to Ancestry is that you need a subscription.  I'm still on a free month, but it's pretty pricey to keep it up. 

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Waffle Time
JMarie

I've done both Ancestry and 23andme.  I have a lot more matches on 23andme, but they tend to be distant relatives.  Everyone's experience is different, depending on how many relatives have actually tested.  Ancestry users, because they also have access to documents, tend to be working on family trees and distant relatives.  23andme users ask lots of questions about their health and heritage (and not that of their ancestors0, because 23andme offers testing on some genetic illnesses.

Neither test helped me find my birth parents, but with the one second cousin* hit I got, I was able to kind of piece together one side of my family.  Later getting my non-identifying and identifying information from the state is what worked for me.

* his parent and my birth parent are first cousins, and his grandparent and my birthgrandparent are siblings

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zygote373

I did 23 and Me way back when, before they got in their scuffle with the FDA. I did it mostly because I was curious about the health information. But because of that FDA issue, they aren't allowed to give as much detailed info about your health (because they are not an approved diagnostic test or something). I still have all my info because I was grandfathered in, but they only give a few basic reports now.

I personally haven't found the ancestry information very useful. My family is white and has been in America long enough we don't really know our original heritage. And...23 and Me told me I was 99% Western European. Thanks, helpful. It does try to connect you to distant cousins, etc., but that all depends on whether his genetic relatives also use 23 and Me. If they don't, he won't get any matches.

I'm not familiar with the other services to know if they're able to get more info. It is still cool and I'm glad I did it.

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PennySycamore

I've done Ancestry DNA and would not waste my money on it again.  I've done a little bit of genealogy and the Ancestry DNA tests did not tell me anything that was useful.  It did give me some weird results, though such as about 5% Italian/Greek and 1% western Asia (Turkey and  Iraq) and 1% North African.  According to some great Youtube videos by Family History Fanatics, they really can't determine more than 6 generations back what your ethnicity is.  Family History Fanatics also said that the DNA databases would need to have enough 100% Native American blood to develop a Native American DNA profile.  There has been so much mixture between whites (and others) and Natives that there are fairly few Native Americans with 100% Native ancestry.  No wonder my putative Indian great-great grandmother didn't show up!  That was the whole reason I took the damn test!

Here's Family History Fanatics video about  which test you should get:

 

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Suz8710

Thank you all, & I'll definitely be watching that video on my lunch break @PennySycamore. I was leaning originally a bit toward 23 & Me -- I just can't see him wanting to maintain the Ancestry subscription but it seems like Ancestry may be a little more detailed. 

@zygote373 The health info seems interesting but with the basic reports now, would that even be worth it? I was leaning to 23 and Me but I think ancestry may be the way to go.

Has anyone heard anything about Nat geo?

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PennySycamore

@Suz8710, there is one thing I  do want to mention about 23 and Me:  Right now they are having a contest where the winner gets to go to the regions of their ancestry, per the 23 and Me test.  They have a woman on their ad who tested out as having East Asian, Middle Eastern and West African ancestry with the African ancestry being dominant.   It's a small chance that you'd win, but there is a chance.  Right?   

I wanted to add (IIRC, I mentioned this already in another thread) but two of the Ancestry results showed a high probability of having ancestors who were early settlers of western NC and not quite as high a probability of ancestors who were early (white) settlers of Tennessee.  I already knew this because I know that I'm a direct descendant of John Sevier who was one of the earliest white settlers in Tennessee and I'm also descended from one of Daniel Bonne's brothers.  What was interesting, though, is that one of the matched names is a Collins which is sometimes associated with the Melungeons.  Some stories said that Melungeons were descended from Moors or Turks (they tend to be dark-skinned) although recent DNA analysis says otherwise.  They are considered tri-racial isolates.  It is weird, though, that it looks as though I might have a little Moorish and Turkish ancestry.  I wouldn't mind being a little Melungeon or, heck, a lot Melungeon.  I think the Melungeons are cool!

Edited by PennySycamore

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JenniferJuniper
2 hours ago, Suz8710 said:

Thank you all, & I'll definitely be watching that video on my lunch break @PennySycamore. I was leaning originally a bit toward 23 & Me -- I just can't see him wanting to maintain the Ancestry subscription but it seems like Ancestry may be a little more detailed. 

@zygote373 The health info seems interesting but with the basic reports now, would that even be worth it? I was leaning to 23 and Me but I think ancestry may be the way to go.

 

I wasn't looking for health info and Ancestry doesn't provide it, however, I have found a number of death certificates for ancestors who died between about 1870 and 1910 and were living in America at the time.  For instance, I know that a great, great, great grandfather died in 1906 at age 79 of senility and heart disease and that a great great grandfather on the other side died in 1903 of a ruptured appendix and a great great grandmother died from sepsis and a great grandmother from uterine cancer in her 30's.  This is not particularly relevant to me beyond making my family tree and the life stories of those in it more interesting, but it does help bring everyone to life  - through death - more so than just dry census records.   With their home addresses, I've been able to get current photos of places they lived, some of which probably look pretty much the same.  It's also sort of fun to find out who was pregnant when they were married!

It is work though. You have to be willing to sift through a lot of records and make sure you have the correct person. There are a lot of family trees out there that are badly messed up. I took the time to independently verify everything with documents. 

As for the accuracy of the DNA, having completed most of the family tree before I got it back,  there were zero surprises.  

 

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zygote373
2 hours ago, Suz8710 said:

The health info seems interesting but with the basic reports now, would that even be worth it?

I think it's less basic than I realized. My account is a mess because it's a mix of new reports and old reports, but the website gives a pretty good breakdown of what you'd get for a new sample: https://www.23andme.com/dna-health-ancestry/

One thing to note is that you have to pay an extra $100 for the health results. You can get ancestry only for $99. I don't know how much you're willing/able to spend, but the health reports may be moot if you don't want to pay $199 total.

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Suz8710

I went ahead with the Ancestry for him. Thanks all!! I'm thinking of doing the Ancestry for myself at a later date, but the one thing I ** don't** like is that you can't opt out of it telling you related matches and your distance from them.  

If someone genetically related to you is tested, it will notify both of you that you have this match and what distance apart you are. According to the rep I spoke with, you can't opt out of this and just get your test results. You can have a super private profile but it will still notify both of you of the match and how distantly related you are.

I know it probably sounds dumb but I have an estranged relative of which I'm the only one (baring any sort of bizarre soap opera esque twist) related to them in that generation. I've gone no contact and this is pushing it for me.

Boo. I guess if I really want to know so much I'll have to put my big girl pants on and deal. 

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JenniferJuniper
19 hours ago, Suz8710 said:

I went ahead with the Ancestry for him. Thanks all!! I'm thinking of doing the Ancestry for myself at a later date, but the one thing I ** don't** like is that you can't opt out of it telling you related matches and your distance from them.  

If someone genetically related to you is tested, it will notify both of you that you have this match and what distance apart you are. According to the rep I spoke with, you can't opt out of this and just get your test results. You can have a super private profile but it will still notify both of you of the match and how distantly related you are.

I know it probably sounds dumb but I have an estranged relative of which I'm the only one (baring any sort of bizarre soap opera esque twist) related to them in that generation. I've gone no contact and this is pushing it for me.

Boo. I guess if I really want to know so much I'll have to put my big girl pants on and deal. 

I recognized only one of my hits and it was my second cousin David.  I'm not estranged from David, but he lives across the country and we haven't seen each for many years.  I made no attempt to contact him and he's made no attempt to contact me.  If he did try to contact me (I have some family tree info that may be of interest to him - I paid for the World info) I'd respond, but you don't have to respond if you don't want to.  And you don't have to use your real name if you don't want, although in your situation the person hypothetically could figure it out.

I have dozens of first and second cousins, but David is the only one who matched, probably because he's the only one who has taken the test.

I'm not looking to find in any living people. (David may be because his father is very ill and was adopted from unknown people). The third and fourth cousins with both family trees and name hits were the most helpful to me in developing family tree info. But in most cases I don't know their real names, nor do I plan on contacting them.  Unless something very interesting pops up....

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Howl

An LDS (Mormon) church in my city has a family history library with two or three computers with active Ancestry.com subscriptions available for public use.  There was also a research assistant to help with using the Ancestry.com web site.  Ancestry.com is not owned by the Mormon church but was established by a Mormon man in Provo, Utah.  Here's more about the relationship between the Mormon church and Ancestry.com: 

Quote

Because of their mutual interests, the company has had partnerships with the church, from the church buying many subscriptions for its libraries to eventually brokering free memberships to Ancestry for every one of its members.  The church has always had a much larger database and Ancestry has in my opinion generally had a better UX, so they were both competitors and partners every step of the way. 

More here

 

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snickerz

I did AncestryDNA and it is amazing for genealogy. It links you to your dna matches and you can look at their trees (if they have one) and see how you match. My husband found his biological father this way. They have the largest pool of testers, so it's more likely you'll match to more relatives.

You can download your raw data from ancestry (and 23andme and familytreedna). In ancestry, go to your ancestry dna page, settings, download raw dna data.

For health info, you can then upload your raw data to codegen.eu which is free, or to promethease.com which is more robust but is $5. I did codegen and the main thing I learned was that I'm at an extremely high risk of developing macular degeneration. I'm now taking vitamins for eye health and religious about wearing sunglasses to help prevent/delay this.  My husband's report says he has several genes that put him at increased risk of type 1 diabetes, and guess what? He has type 1 diabetes!  If you have done a dna test with any of the major companies, I would encourage you to download your raw data and upload to one of these sites to see your health info.

 

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TSOWOATNK

I found out about 2 years ago that I had a half-brother via Ancestry DNA testing. Many years ago when my father and mother were still married, we briefly lived in Oklahoma. Apparently during the few months we were there some crazy woman propositioned my father for sex for the explicit purpose of having a child. She didn't bother to remember anything about him, but told her son bits and pieces here and there. 

My half-brother wanted to know who he was, so he took the Ancestry DNA test which connected him to my half cousin. This cousin is from my grandmother's second marriage and he and I were both on ancestry with similar family trees unbeknownst to either of us. So when my half brother was connected to my half cousin, he started looking around at how they could be connected and found me! A few months after getting to know each other a bit he sent me a spare DNA test that he had, and we are a cousin match if I recall correctly. Which would be accurate since we share the same father, but not the same mother. The guy is literally the spitting image of my father, its just crazy. He showed some of his friends photos of our father, and they thought it was photos of him.

The downside of any DNA testing when it comes to native heritage is that it is completely unreliable. The DNA databases of natives is woefully small, so they don't recognize it as native and generally lump it in with some other ethnic group. So if you wish to track native ancestry you really need to rely upon geneologies rather than DNA testing. DNA testing can't connect you to a specific tribe unless you are testing against a specific enrolled family member too.

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albanuadh_1

My SIL has tried 2x to get his DNA done through Ancestry. He has followed the rules and 2x he has had to re-do the test. They claim they can't extract his DNA.  Would medication be the problem???


 

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PennySycamore
6 hours ago, albanuadh_1 said:

My SIL has tried 2x to get his DNA done through Ancestry. He has followed the rules and 2x he has had to re-do the test. They claim they can't extract his DNA.  Would medication be the problem???


 

I had to do it twice.  The first time I didn't get enough spit into the little cuvette for them to test.  Well, I gave them all I had considering that I'd not had anything to drink for 15 or 30 minutes!   If police departments can just swab your cheek, then Ancestry shouldn't need all that spit!

Seriously, do you mind if I ask what meds he's on?  I'll see what I can find out; may even ask my brother-in-law what meds could interfere with the Ancestry (or other DNA) test.  Terry does tests DNA for a living so he should know.

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albanuadh_1

He is on BP meds, synthryoid (sp) & heart med called ( spelling ) anarodamin???

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PennySycamore
43 minutes ago, albanuadh_1 said:

He is on BP meds, synthryoid (sp) & heart med called ( spelling ) anarodamin???

I'll message my sister-in-law tomorrow and ask to ask Terry about these.

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albanuadh_1

Thank you very much, PennySycamore.  I appreciate your help.

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