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For many people, the holiday season is a time to gather with relatives and sip eggnog while telling stories from the past. Hearing stories from relatives helps bring the past to life. Our ancestors had full, rich lives filled with hopes and dreams, tragedies and triumphs, and legacies to pass on. Stories bring to life that tiny dash between the birth and death dates you find on a gravestone or a death certificate.

For genealogists, these gatherings are valuable opportunities to collect family stories, ask questions, and fill in gaps in their research. Today, these gatherings are even more valuable as they are a chance to collect DNA samples from relatives to fill in even more gaps in your research. With so many testing options, it may seem overwhelming to decide who to test or what type of test to get. For example, testing a cousin will yield different information than testing a grandparent. Different types of tests are better suited to certain lines of research as well. To help you navigate your testing options, let’s take a look at what the tests might tell you.

FamilyTreeDNA myOrigins Map

Family Finder

Sale Price: $49
Normal Retail: $79
Test Type: Autosomal DNA
Features: myOrigins®, Chromosome Painting, Matches, AncientOrigins
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What does it tell you?

Our Family Finder test focuses on autosomal DNA (atDNA). atDNA is the mixture of DNA you received from both parents (about 50% from your mother and 50% from your father). Picture DNA as a deck of cards. Shuffle your father’s deck and your mother’s deck, then take half the cards. This is your deck. Each child gets a different shuffle. That means you might have more spades in your deck while your sibling has more clubs in theirs. This is a process called random recombination. Because atDNA is a mixture of your mother’s and father’s DNA, it is unique to each person (except for identical twins or triplets, of course).

This shuffle happens every generation, so as the generations go on, fewer and fewer cards are shared between the different descendants. Based on the amount of DNA shared between two individuals, we are able to predict a range of possible relationships. Typically, this test can be used to find relatives that share a common ancestor within about five generations.

The Family Finder also includes our myOrigins® tool. myOrigins gives you a breakdown of your ethnic makeup by percent and compares your DNA to reference populations around the world that have been tested through scientific research. Your myOrigins results can go back in time much further than your matches. Our Chromosome Painter feature gives you a visual representation of where those DNA segments fall on each chromosome.

FamilyTreeDNA Chromosome Painter

Who should you test?

The nature of autosomal DNA means it is impossible to distinguish which portions of your DNA came from which parent by just looking at your results. This means that your matches could come from either side of your family—or both! By testing more relatives, you will be able to compare their results to your own to determine which portions of your DNA come from which ancestral line. While this test alone cannot distinguish which relatives are from your maternal or paternal side, our family matching tool can help. Simply upload a GEDCOM file or build a family tree, link a matching relative, and the tool will sort relatives within a certain threshold into maternal and/or paternal categories. The more relatives you test, the more you are able to distinguish which lines you share ancestry with your matches.

FamilyTreeDNA + myDNA Wellness

Family Finder + myDNA Wellness

Sale Price: $69
Normal Retail: $119
Test Type: Autosomal DNA
Features: All the features of Family Finder, plus insights into your health and wellness, meal plans, and workout plans all in a convenient app
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Our autosomal test can now be ordered in a bundle with myDNA Wellness. Get a comprehensive breakdown of your ancestry, connect with your DNA relatives, and empower yourself to make healthier decisions through a DNA-powered approach to wellness. myDNA provides you with DNA-powered meal and workout plans tailored to your unique body, so you can eat and train the way your body was made to! Receive actionable DNA insights related to fitness, nutrition, caffeine, skin, b vitamins, bone health, heart health, sleep routine, and iron. Order your Family Finder + myDNA Wellness test bundle now.

FamilyTreeDNA Y-DNA Matches

Y-DNA Testing

Sale Price: See options below
Test Type: Y-DNA
Features: Provides Y-DNA Haplogroup, paternal matches, and deep ancestry (may vary based on test)

The Y chromosome is a sex chromosome. Sex chromosomes carry the genetic code that makes each of us male or female. All people inherit two sex chromosomes. One comes from their mother and the other from their father. Men receive a Y chromosome from their father and an X chromosome from their mother. Only men inherit their father’s Y chromosome. It is passed down from father to son in an unbroken line all the way back to our earliest ancestors in Africa, which makes Y-DNA tests especially useful for tracing paternal lineages.

Among other things, Y-DNA can be used to trace surnames. In many cultures, children are given their father’s surname. Comparing results against matches often confirms or reveals a hereditary surname.
Because only men pass down the Y chromosome, certain male relatives will need to be tested. For example, if you want to study your mother’s paternal line, you will need to test a maternal uncle, a male cousin who descended from that male uncle, or another male relative who shares an unbroken male line with the ancestor you wish to study. The same is true if you want to study your paternal grandmother’s line.

FamilyTreeDNA Y-DNA Haplogroup

Y-DNA Tests from FamilyTreeDNA


Sale Price: $99
Normal Retail: $119
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The Y-37 test analyzes a set of 37 markers called short tandem repeats (STR) and compares them to other sets in the database. Generally speaking, the more STRs two people share in common, the closer in time they share a common paternal ancestor. The resulting match list provides contact information that allows people to collaborate on their genealogy to find this shared ancestry. The Y-37 test is a good introduction test to find matches, though some of these matches might be quite distantly related to you.


Sale Price: $199
Normal Retail: $249
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There are many more than 37 STR markers that can be compared between two individuals. The more STR markers are compared, the more accurately the closeness of relationships can be estimated. The Y-111 test is the highest level test to compare Y-STR markers and significantly refines your matches to determine the ones that are closest to you.

Big Y-700

Sale Price: $379
Normal Retail: $449
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The Big Y-700 test includes both STR and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and provides matches for the SNPs in addition to the ones included in the Y-111. In addition, the Big Y-700 provides a minimum of 589 additional markers, giving you a total of 700 STRs. Only the first 111 are used for matching. These additional markers can be useful for determining mutations unique to a lineage, clan, or patriarch.

In addition to STRs, this test provides thousands of SNP results, both those already known and displayed on your own family tree and the Y-DNA haplotree. Some SNPs occurred thousands of years ago and are shared by almost all of humankind. Some SNPs are very recent, arising even within a living person, allowing them to provide both deep ancestry and modern connections. SNPs trace the migration journey your ancient paternal ancestors took out of Africa all the way to the modern day.

FamilyTreeDNA mtDNA Haplogroup

mtDNA Testing

Sale Price: $129
Normal Retail: $159
Test Type: Mitochondrial DNA
Features: Provides mtDNA haplogroup, maternal matches, and deep ancestry
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Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is found outside the nucleus of the cell in the mitochondria, passes from mother to child, allowing us to trace the direct maternal ancestry through it. Both men and women inherit their mtDNA from their mothers, so everyone can take an mtDNA test.

Historical records are often inadequate for women’s history. mtDNA testing offers you the opportunity to at least partially overcome that barrier. By testing your mtDNA, you will learn about your maternal heritage in both recent and ancient times.

Direct Maternal Line

Fathers do not pass on their mtDNA to their children. Your direct maternal lineage is the line that follows your mother’s maternal ancestry and consists entirely of women. Your mtDNA can trace your mother, her mother, her mother’s mother, and so forth. It offers a clear path from you to a known or likely direct maternal ancestor.

For genealogists, this clear line means that they can trace two or more descendants of a single woman many generations back and compare their mtDNA results with the expectation of a match. For those interested in deeper ancestry, tracing the modern geographic origins of exact matches reveals the anthropological origins of their own line.

The mtFull Sequence Test from FamilyTreeDNA

The matches you receive with a mtFull Sequence Test include an analysis of three regions of the mitochondria: HVR1, HVR2, and Coding Region. Along with matches, the mtFull test include:

  • mtDNA mutations
  • mtDNA Ancestral Origins
  • mtDNA Haplogroup Origins
  • Matches map
  • mtDNA Journey video

Bundle & Save More


Sale Price: $139-$539
Normal Retail: $198-$687
Add to Cart (Make sure you select “Bundles” to see available prices.)

Above are examples of singular tests. But you can also order test bundles for an individual to save even more money!

FamilyTreeDNA Gift Cards

Gift Cards

Our brand-new gift cards are another option. Gift cards are available in a variety of denominations and can be used to fund both new and existing accounts. These come in a variety of styles to fit your holiday traditions.

It’s the season for family gatherings. As you listen to passed-down family stories, participate in family traditions, and grub on old family recipes, you can learn even more about where your family line comes from with FamilyTreeDNA.