Which DNA testing company to use for genealogy?

It is not all in the size of a database of service providers. Good tools for genealogy matter. See how to make the DNA testing services work for your goals in genealogy.

Recently, I have commented the analysis of Family History Fanatics about “What is the Best DNA Testing Company for Genetic Genealogy Research?”, which they usually prepare at the beginning of the year. I though it would be nice also to put here some of my experiences gained so far in genetic genealogy. They scored different features and rated the best companies by the main criteria of the database size for matching.

Scoring of Andy Lee gives the first place to Ancestry, followed by MyHeritage, GEDmatch, 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA and LivingDNA. The main criteria was the size of users database, which has increased significantly in the last year in companies at the first and the second place (Source: Youtube, Family History Fanatics)

I was glade to read another comment with conclusion that “having all three – FTDNA, Ancestry and GEDmatch is probably ultimately better than only having one”, as I shared their view completely. It encouraged me to add to these three also the fourth one: MyHeritage. I use all four of them to benefit of their best features. I recommended doing so also to my colleagues from Slovenian Genealogy Society and other genealogists who joined my Club of Genetic Genealogy on Wednesday, 27 of January 2021.

Here is my experience, how to include a DNA testing as a tool to your genealogy research:

1. I tested the atDNA for several people at MyHeritage, where these results live their own life in matching, as all tools are built in and shown to the users in friendly way to explore linked matches and their family trees. I especially love their new ethnicity origin estimates.

2. Then I exported data of DNA testing from MyHeritage to FamilyTreeDNA, as they have the same good tools for comparissons as the Gedmatch. The tools are built into the system for simple use of the donors of samples, who are not experts in genetic genealogy.

3. The size of FTDNA database I incerase by exporting the raw data to GEDmatch and I do analysis there (at least One-to-Many and then One-to-one for the best matches). As I am from the EU, I appreciate data protection compliance (GDPR) of both, FTDNA and Gedmatch.

4. In FamilyTreeDNA I have organized a country-wide project and a surname project of all tested people of this origin or surname. This is a unique tool among all service providers, which enables citizens’ science and further genealogy research. As one of the Admins, I can help the other 200 members to improve their pedigree charts or do additional testing on Y-chromosome and mtDNA.

5. The FTDNA has improved their genealogy part with myTree recently, where they show Shared Origins of tested ethnicity, as well as the haplogroups of Y-chromosome and mtDNA, linked to the profile with ancestral surnames and places of origin. A wonderfull identity card of MRCA also for post mortal times… And there is no subscription for my account at FTDNA – all is paid by the tests ordered.

6. The size of the database is indeed important for matching, but also FTDNA has a size big enough for successful start, especially for those of European origin. I spent two years researching my matches there. If I find a surname, origin or other data match in other systems of 23andMe, Ancestry or MyHeritage with atDNA test, I invite them to import to FTDNA and join our country or surname project. They do not need to test again, only unlock the tools available inside for comparison. Later, when they become interested in, they usually buy a Y-chromosome test (for man only) and a mitochondrial DNA test (for anyone) to place themselves into deep history of paternal and maternal lines and onto phylogenetic trees.

7. In December 2020, I bought a subscription at Ancestry and then ordered also a DNA test to find my remote cousins whose ancestors went for better life over the Ocean before WWI. My results at Ancestry have not yet been ready, but I am really looking forward to fishing in their big DNA pool.

8. Last year I have discovered also the fifth company, which I use now for Y-haplotree matching and mtDNA-haplotree matching in the period of 3000 years before past to 1600 AD: MyTrueAncestry. Just try to export your atDNA results from any of your favorite testing companies and import to MyTrueAncestry – one sample you compare for free. Voila, incredible personal history is in front of you….

So, it is not all in the size of a database of service providers. Good tools for genealogy matter. We need to make those testing services work for our goals in genealogy ūüôā

The Journey Begins

The more we go, the longer we see. GoriŇ°ka Brda – the most western Slovenian land.

Autosomal DNA testing for genealogy has become popular and affordable. In some cases, it is a substitute for classic genealogy research in archives and libraries. Luckily, with the matching of specific codes of the autosomal DNA, there is a possibility of finding a cousin when both submit their biological sample for testing and make their results available for consultation. In 2018, the atDNA results for the purpose of ancestry testing can be obtained for less than $100 from some reliable providers (Family Finder test at FamilyTree DNA, MyHeritage DNA, Genographic test at National Geographics, Ancestry DNA, etc.). Testing of atDNA can be upgraded by testing of Y chromosome, X chromosome and mitochondrial DNA at FamilyTreeDNA, to get deep ancestry information for thousands of years ago and more precise affiliation to ancient tribes. Wast legacy kept in each human genome can be revealed. This is a good investment for the future and great opportunity to preserve our eldest relatives, parents, grandparents alive by their biological sample containing DNA information also after they pass away.

A basic question of this project is: Could we collect genetic genealogy results of Slovenians and Americans of Slovenian ancestry into a joint database and set standards for certain origin of Slovenian population? We decided to address this question to people, interested in Slovenian origin and their own pedigree (see the survey).

Before the World War I and during it, many Slovenians left their¬†country for a better life.¬†In the last decades before the WWI, it is estimated that the process involved up to 300,000 people. The emigrant wave was directed mainly to the United States, partly in German parts of Austria, Germany and Egypt, only to a lesser extent to South America (Brazil, Argentina).¬†As emigrant and immigrant statistical records managed the expatriates by country of origin, to which Slovenians belonged in that time (such as Austrians, Hungarians, Italians, etc.) it is very difficult to find people. Many of them travelled by railway through Ljubljana to European ports as¬†Trieste, Rijeka, Genoa and¬†Western European ports, e.g. Cherbourg, Le Havre, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Bremen / Bremerhaven, Hamburg and other ports, e.g. Southampton in England (M. DrnovŇ°ek).

 

Ancient-Trieste
Port of Trieste was a starting point of many Slovenian emigrants. In 1910, there were 60,000 Slovenian inhabitants in Trieste and twice as much of Italians. Today Trieste belongs to Italy.

By passing four to six generations since emigration, many contacts between emigrants and their relatives in Slovenia have been lost during the last century. In the era of early 21st Century, we have the last chance to reveal our ancestral origin to founding populations from just a simple saliva or cheek tissue sample. From this sample, a unique DNA pattern can be determined, which can link individual Americans of Slovenian ancestry to their origins in the territory of Slovenian speaking people, before all information is melted in a contemporary mixing of populations and natural dissolving of inherited DNA through generations.

So, in our project ‘Slovenian DNA Pool’ all interested participants from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean are invited to provide their GEDMatch number along with their real names and surnames and e-mail for the collection of Slovenian DNA Pool, as well as to share their DNA and genealogy data. Managers and administrators of the project will carefully consider the data before publishing. If an alias were provided, it would be displayed in place of the real name along with DNA results.

Collected information will be used for research purposes only. Anonymised data could become part of a bigger database, as it is more and more often for crowd-sourced genealogy. Furthermore, each individual can benefit from the database to find their long lost relatives and upgrade genetic ancestry by family tree.

Join our project as a donor of DNA testing results:

Thanks for joining us! Hvala, da ste se nam pridruŇĺili ūüôā¬†

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. ‚ÄĒ Izaak Walton

  • Header photo: a scenery seen from a tower¬†in Gonjańće in GoriŇ°ka Brda. In the opposite side, the Port of Trieste and Port of Koper could be observed in the Nord Adriatic See.