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Which tests? And who?

Which tests? And who?

Posted: 7 Apr 2013 12:00AM GMT
Classification: Query
I am totally lost on DNA testing. I have heard so much about different tests, results, etc. Which company do you recommend?

Also, my parents are not living, and I have only one uncle on each side alive. I've heard that many of the tests needs to be done on males; would it be best for me to get those tests done on them rather than on me since I'm a female?

Re: Which tests? And who?

Posted: 7 Apr 2013 2:17AM GMT
Classification: Query
I would have BOTH of your uncles tested for Y-DNA and MtDNA as well as AtDNA.

Paternal Uncle: Y-DNA is the same as your father's Y-DNA and his MtDNA the same as your father's MtDNA. You have no way to get any of these results by testing yourself.

Maternal Uncle: Y-DNA will be the only way you can have the male line on your mother's side. His MtDNA will be the same as yours.

I've used Family Tree DNA for these.

Re: Which tests? And who?

Posted: 9 Apr 2013 3:35AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 9 Apr 2013 3:37AM GMT
First, define what you want to do. And how much money you want to spend.

The results are most useful in supplementing or confirming data you already have or augmenting already existing conclusions. The test will NOT provide you with a family tree. If you don't already have a well documented family tree with at least some branches back 6+ generations, genealogy DNA testing will be of limited value.

Y-DNA - can only be taken by a male and only shows the father line. Your father, his father, his father and so on. No wives at all. That means out of 8 great grandparents, you get information on only one. A woman must have a father, brother or paternal uncle or cousin tested. This can prove a shared Most Recent Common Ancestor and prove a poorly documented or suspected father line.

If you already have a well documented family tree with both maternal and paternal grandfather lines known, I would get the 12 marker Y-DNA test from FamilyTreeDNA ($50) and upgrade to 37 or 67 markers if you find you need the information. Otherwise the information is stored for possible future use. If you don't know very much, join a surname DNA project at FTDNA and get a discount on the tests.

MT-DNA can be taken by either men or women, but only shows the mother line. Your mother, her mother, her mother and so on. Plus the mutation is so gradual that it only shows very deep ancestry, thousands of years ago. It is rarely useful for genealogy. The full sequence MT-DNA test from FamilyTreeDNA (costing about $300) has a 50% chance of matching closely enough to trace the mother line but ONLY if a close cousin has also taken the same test. And you ONLY have information about one line out of all those great grandparents. It think it is a waste of money in most cases.

Autosomal or AT-DNA can be taken by either sex and potentially covers distant cousin matches up to 6-8 generations. Right now Ancestry DNA has the largest base of family trees matched with DNA results - a real plus. They do not offer chromosome matching and similar data tools so the results cannot be used as any kind of proof - that is a real negative. FTDNA has fewer family trees and their test is much more expensive but they do offer a wealth of matching tools. And as of May 1, Ancestry DNA results can be transferred to FTDNA (probably for $89).

I guess I would go with Ancestry's $99 autosomal test, and transfer the results to FTDNA so you would have a much larger pool of possible matches and useful tools. Then hope that Ancestry provides the tools necessary for serious genetic genealogy sometime soon.

Re: Which tests? And who?

Posted: 9 Apr 2013 3:57AM GMT
Classification: Query
Ref your comment: "I guess I would go with Ancestry's $99 autosomal test, and transfer the results to FTDNA so you would have a much larger pool of possible matches and useful tools."

Just to clarify....transferring the autosomal results to FTDNA will accomplish the same thing as a Y-DNA test accomplished with them? Or no? Does the transfer of autosomal results allow participation in their surname groups?

Based on what I've read so far, I will eventually have both a Y-DNA test and an autosomal test done. My question is which should come first?

Just looking for a gut reaction from those of you who have had both tests done--if doing it all over again and "knowing what you know now"--which would you choose to have done first?

Re: Which tests? And who?

Posted: 9 Apr 2013 4:26AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 9 Apr 2013 4:28AM GMT
You are transferring ONLY the autosomal DNA results to FTDNA. They do not transfer Y-DNA but you can post your results from other companies to Y-Search, their free public database. A few surname projects are beginning to accept autosomal results but not all.

Which test to take first? What do you want to find out?

Are you trying to expand your father line? Do you have several possible surname families but aren't sure which is yours? If so, take a Y-DNA test through a surname project and discuss your particular case with the administrator. Most are very knowledgeable and helpful and will suggest which test or tests to take first.

Do you already have a well documented - NOT copied from other people!!! - family tree for 6+ generations with some gaps? An autosomal test will potentially be of great use. I have had the best matches from my ancestors who arrived in America prior to about 1750. This is because Ancestry is only selling the test so far in the US so fewer recent immigrant families are included.

If you don't have a tree, do that first! The most useful Genealogy DNA test is one from the company who tested your distant cousins. Comparing results is the only real value to DNA testing. A DNA test is most useful in confirming the paper documents and conclusions you have already made.

Re: Which tests? And who?

Posted: 9 Apr 2013 4:56AM GMT
Classification: Query
Rebecca,

This isn't an either/or type thing - all 3 tests are looking at totally different things. To repeat what MJ782 said, it all depends on your goals. Personally, I think autosomal is more useful in finding matches and researching ancestors who you can put a name and story to, as opposed to King so-and-so from the year 1300. Y-DNA is restricted to the male line, but it can trace your roots on that line way back to where normal genealogy isn't possible if that is of interest to you. It can also help sort out various family lines by joining a surname project.

I'm a firm believer in doing autosomal first on the oldest generation, i.e. great grandparents, grandparents, and down. In your case, that would be your two uncles who represent the oldest living generation in your family. The reason for this is the autosomal DNA inherited from any ancestor gets diluted each generation. Those uncles are going to have on average more remnants of your g-g-grandparents than you will. Also, they have the exact same ancestors as each of your parents, so their results will apply to you as well. In other words, your dad and his brother had the same parents, so there won't be any DNA in your uncle that isn't part of your heritage. Testing them should give you plenty of matches to trudge through.

After that, I would consider Y-DNA on the uncles. Note that if any of them have male offspring, testing them would yield pretty much the same results. As mentioned above, you can always do the cheaper test to get the results on file, and the upgrade later if there is a need.

And finally, I suggest testing yourself because each of your parents had a different DNA mix than their brothers, and some of that was passed to you.

David Mc
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