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Slightly confused on which kits to order

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  • Slightly confused on which kits to order

    So I want to do the whole shebang, which looks like the y111 and the mtFULL.

    However I see they offer the so-called "Comprehensive Genome" kit but that only includes y67 with mtFULL. Plus why does it have Family Finder if the others say they are already good for genealogy?

    I'm a bit confused on the marketing and what I need to do to be the most comprehensive possible.


  • #2
    It depends on your goals and what you want out of it. Your DNA has 23 pairs of chromosomes. Autosomal DNA tests look at 22 pairs plus the X chromosome (which is part of the 23rd pair).

    The Family Finder test is an autosomal DNA test. This test looks at most of your DNA. Roughly half of which you get from each parent. It helps you find relatives like parents, siblings, aunts/uncles, and cousins to distant cousins that share an ancestor with you within 5 or so generations into the past. This test will give you the most matches as it is generally the one more people are interested in.

    The Y-DNA STR marker tests (Y37, Y67, Y111) will only look at your Y chromosome (part of that 23rd pair of chromosomes) which only men have. This will help strictly with your direct paternal line (father's father's father's etc). This test can be useful to research your surname if it has not been changed in many generations. The test looks for specific regions in that Y chromosome and counts the repetitions which you get in the form of numbers. People that have the same or similar values are possibly related to you in that branch of your tree. The more STR markers you test, the more accurate a prediction can be about how long ago they split off from your branch.

    The mtDNA tests will only look at your mitochondrial DNA which comes strictly from your direct maternal line (mother's mother's mother's etc). Mothers pass on their mtDNA to their children, but only women can pass it down. Since surnames for women typically change every generation, this is harder to track compared to Y-DNA. The Full mtDNA Sequence is the preferred option as anything lower might only give you matches that are too distantly related to you.

    If Y-DNA interests you, there is also the Big Y test. You don't see it listed until after you take a Y-DNA STR test. The Big Y is a pricey test that discovers your SNPs. SNPs are specific mutations that give you information on your deep ancestry. Some times it can also be useful for genealogy if you have too many matches in your Y-DNA STR test results, but not always. Think of SNPs as a different kind of family tree. Take a look at this map that mentions Y-DNA haplogroups. Depending on what SNPs your Y-DNA has, you will belong to a specific haplogroup. All of them connect in the past which is what makes it like a family tree. Instead of knowing the names of those ancestors, we know their mutations which are named in a series of letters and numbers.

    So if general genealogy is what you are after, at the very least take the Family Finder. Once you do, you can transfer the data to for free to find matches that took an autosomal DNA test outside of FTDNA. You can only match with people on a specific test if they also took that same test.

    If you want to save some money you can wait for a sale. There might be a sale of some kind towards the end of summer but if not then the holiday sale during November and December is always a good one.

    FTDNA stores the sample of DNA you send them. So you could order one test, say the Y37. Then if you feel like that Y37 was not enough you can order an upgrade to Y67 or Y111. If they run out of the DNA they have stored, they send you a new collection kit.


    • #3
      Thanks for the info. Didn't know about the big y test!

      Money isn't a concern and I am a male which is why I planned on the y111. Also I am indeed looking to research both my father's line and my mother's female line, which is why I mentioned the mt.

      So you are saying the autosomal test is not included with the y or the mt tests? I was thinking it was.

      - I guess I'm still confused then. When you say "Y-DNA STR test" are you referring to the y37 test? So rather than paying for the y111, I should do the y37 then this "big y test" will then be offered to me which is even more in depth than the y111 test? Plus I'm still confused on which packages to order vs. just paying for them separately. Suggestions? Can I do 1 DNA sample kit then order all of the tests, or will they possibly run out? I'm not sure how many tests they can do with whatever kit they send will supply them with.

      I already have a large genealogical database for both sides of my family. About 6,400 individuals going back about 250 years on average. I'm simply looking to add my DNA info to it for advancement of any information I may discover via the process or that others may match with mine. I am of course also interested in my haplogroup and my ethnic makeup.

      I would like to order the tests so they arrive at my friends address in CA at a specific time. I will only be in the US for 2 week (in Aug) and would like to do it while I'm there. I presume all results are web based, correct?

      Last edited by anguilla1980; 10 July 2016, 02:15 PM.


      • #4
        Yes, the results are web based. Family Finder is not included with mtDNA or Y-DNA tests. They are all separate tests unless you ordered some sort of combo like the "Comprehensive Genome" package as you see in FTDNA's All Tests page. For ethnic make up, the Family Finder will cover it. The haplogroup data only by the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests (each a different one).

        When I say Y-DNA STR test, yes I do mean the Y37, Y67, or Y111. They are STR tests while the Big Y is an SNP test. Since the Big Y is also a Y-DNA test, I wanted to make sure there was a distinction between both by calling one an STR test.

        The Big Y is different, so some people go with Y111 and Big Y if they can afford it. Others due to the costs will go with Y37 and Big Y. The Big Y is currently $575, but during sales it can go down to $100 less. If it is too pricey, some people instead order an SNP Pack which costs $99-$119. It tests for over 100 SNPs, but is no substitute for the Big Y that looks for tens of thousands. You also need 3rd party analysis of your Big Y data. If you happen to be in the R-P312 haplogroup, you can get free analysis from the Big Tree. Some other specific group projects will do their own free analysis as well. Otherwise there is and a company that competes with FTDNA (admins tend not to like it when prices are discussed so I won't). The analysis can cost about $49.

        The one collection kit you are sent is used for all future tests you order. When they run out of DNA, then they send you another one to the address in your kit's profile. They can't know when your sample will run out. Some people have taken multiple tests and still have not received a new kit while others only a few tests. To ensure they have enough DNA, make sure you swab firmly for about a minute (or at least half a minute) per swab. It can't be right after eating or brushing your teeth as all that can contaminate the sample.

        Given that you don't want to take any chances, I suggest contacting FTDNA through their site or by phone and ask for extra vials/swabs. This way instead of just 2 swabs and 2 vials, you get 4 of each. More DNA for more tests. The extra vials/swabs are free.

        You can place your order and then go to "Customer Support" at the top of this page. In the Support heading click on "Open a request" if you want to send them a message. They will reply to your email. Or you can click on "Contact Us" to call them instead during their work hours. If you can't decide what test(s) to order and you are running out of time to get it shipped in time, you can order a blank collection kit instead. You do that the same way you order the extra vials/swabs. It will only cost what the kit and its shipping costs.

        I don't know if the package deals save you anything or not. You can put them into your cart and compare with adding them individually. However, for Y-DNA tests (and package deals with Y-DNA tests), you can save $20 (or more in a package) if you order it through a group project (like a surname project). If there is no project for your surname or geographical region, you can always join "Project Pending" which is a placeholder group with the only purpose of allowing people to order through it for discounts.

        I checked the price for the Comprehensive Genome and you save $40 if you do it through a project. Here is the link to the order page of Project Pending. Once your results are in, you can always leave the project. While in the cart, you can click on the Y111 if you want that instead of the Y67. You won't save $40 then but instead just $20.

        If the Big Y interests you, you can still order it before you even get your Y-DNA test results. What you do is wait until your kit has arrived at FTDNA. Then after it gets "batched" you will notice that the Big Y appears on the site while you are logged into your kit. You can order it then. Either in the cart or by looking in the "Upgrade" button.
        Last edited by The_Contemplator; 10 July 2016, 03:17 PM.


        • #5
          Fantastic, I think that answers all my questions for now.

          Thank you for taking the time to respond!