Two years ago, I decided to tryout DNA testing for my genealogical research. I first started with FamilyTreeDNA because it has the largest database for DNA genealogy testing.
I had four pages of matches until a few weeks ago for the FamilyFinder test, which was advertised as a test that finds maternal and paternal relatives within 5-6 generations. So now, FamilyTreeDNA has decided to make improvements to its analyzing system to guarantee that matches are really within 5-6 generations.
It is great that FamilyTreeDNA wants to make sure that my matches fall within the time period promised on its website. But I still lost a few matches I have spent time to determine which line connects our families. Now, FamilyTreeDNA has admitted its improvements have had some glitches so I am hoping some matches will return.
I also tested with AncestryDNA last fall after I was offered a free test to be part of the first group for the new test. I have 1,500 matches on AncestryDNA. So far, I have confirmed a German surname with a match. A bunch of people have my Hoffmann surname in common but that does not guarantee that is where our families really connect.
All of my matches on AncestryDNA are not closer than 5th-8th cousins so the test’s confidence level that these people are my relatives is very low. With having 100 percent eastern European ancestry, I am not going to get those great matches as people with British Isles, French and Italian ancestry until DNA genealogy tests become more popular.
It is pretty obvious why FamilyTreeDNA decided now to guarantee the FamilyFinder matches will be within 5 to 6 generations for customers’ paternal and maternal lines. AncestryDNA is taking away customers from FamilyTreeDNA. It is hard to compete with Ancestry.com when it offers more information with its new DNA test and has a very popular genealogy website.
Another change FamilyTreeDNA made to attract more customers is offering a $39 Y-DNA12 test, which only men can take to analyze their paternal line. The test is pretty weak. It will find matches within 29 generations, but there is an advantage to getting this test. After taking this test, you can wait for a sale on upgrades for the stronger Y-DNA tests. FamilyTreeDNA has sales throughout the year.
DNA genealogy testing for those with Russian and Ukrainian ancestry is a gamble but it may be worth trying the $39 test. The Y-DNA test may be the best route for starting in DNA genealogy testing if you can get a bunch of male relatives from different family lines.