Ease of Use
Overall, Family Tree DNA combines several different types of lineage tests with their easy-to-use “Family Finder” suite of features, giving you an in-depth understanding of your genes without having to do any research on your own.
The “Family Finder” package begins with the “myOrigins” tool, which provides a visual breakdown of your ethnic and national origins based on world region. Each region has a percentage assigned to it, and is represented by an easily-understood bar graph in combination with a heat map of the globe. If you always wanted to know if you had a specific national ancestry, myOrigins will show you the answer in color.
From there, you can also use the intuitive menu options of the “Family Matches” feature to compare your results to other members of the site. All you need to do is change the filters and scroll through the results. If you find a match for either your maternal or paternal DNA, it’s an indication that you may have found a long lost relative.
Finally, our personal favorite is the “ancientOrigins” feature. This awesome functionality allows you to compare your DNA test kit results to the DNA being found at archaeological digs currently going on in Europe. Results are broken down into clear categories by time period – like hunter gatherers/early farmers/bronze-age invaders – with migration routes clearly laid out using arrows on a map of the continent.
Family Tree DNA follows all local legislation for the protection of personal DNA and lineage information. They retain complete control over their supreme Database Library that houses all of the information they collect, and personal information will never be released to either a third party or member of the site unless you authorize it by signing a release form. For example, if Family Tree DNA’s database finds you are a DNA match with another site member, your information is not automatically shared. You remain in complete control at all times of how, when, and where information about you and your DNA is used.
Furthermore, Family Tree DNA processes DNA tests in their own private lab, which is relatively uncommon in the field of ancestry and genealogy testing. A company lab allows for greater control and supervision of test result privacy, among other benefits.
There is a forum section dedicated to helping community members interact with one another. This lets you share your findings with other people, or try to look for more information about potential familial connections. But the forum’s functionality is somewhat limited. It looks and behaves like any other internet forum, allowing you to post and respond but not providing any enhanced search capabilities. While this is adequate for basic topical discussions, it is a missed opportunity for a genealogy site. We would have liked to see something dynamic that went the extra mile to connect users.
Family Tree DNA offers 4 different testing options, and each one has its own unique price. To start off, the basic “Family Finder” package costs $79 and offers “family finder matches” and “ethnic percentages” on your autosomal DNA for $79.
Getting into more specific options, there is the “Family Finder + Y37” bundle, which is exclusive to males and costs $248. This includes everything in the Family Finder kit, plus a Y-chromosome test that analyzes 37 different markers. If you want even more Y-chromosome marker tests, you can have 67 of them analyzed for $347.
Finally, if you are interested in more in-depth information about your maternal line, you can get the “Autosomal + mtFull Sequence” option for $278, which gives you Family Finder and a full mitochondrial sequence.
Family Tree DNA posts highly comprehensive video webinars to YouTube that explain virtually every aspect of their tests. Their website also features an adequate FAQ section (called a ‘Learning Center’) that might provide customers with answers to their queries before they need to contact Customer Support. Phone and email support is available, and the Customer Support contact page allows customers to categorize their questions to expedite the support process.
You really can’t beat the value you are getting from FamilyTree DNA. For just $79 you can not only map your genes, but get access to incredible opportunities for comparing them to new discoveries as they are made. Overall, it’s an intriguing mix of old and new in a home DNA test.