A Russian-American’s insider view of the 23andme Autosomal Test

Updated Nov. 23, 2017

Once I tested with Ancestry, the biggest DNA testing company for genealogy, I got curious about what I could get from the second biggest, 23andme.

The biggest perk of testing with 23andme is that men get their paternal and maternal haplogroups and women get their maternal haplogroup, in addition to the ethnicity breakdown and Neanderthal ancestry report, at no extra charge.

23andme does not ship its test to Russia and Ukraine but it ships to these former areas of the Russian Empire: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania and Moldova. For some reason, I still get matched to people who live in Russia and possibly Ukraine.

What type of information is provided on matches?

23andme provides gender, percent of DNA shared,  predicted relationship, a chart on shared DNA segments, ethnicity breakdown, maternal and paternal haplogroups and list of shared matches.

Matches are able to list the birthplaces of their four grandparents and other ancestors, self-reported Jewish ancestry and surnames of ancestors.

Here is what my ethnicity breakdown looks like on 23andme:

What other ancestry reports does 23andme provide?

A report is provided on your maternal haplogroup, your paternal haplogroup  and your Neanderthal ancestry.

How does 23andme determine relationships of matches?

23andme gives the percentage of DNA shared on the number of DNA segments. Customers have to visit this webpage to determine the size of the centimorgans shared with matches.

How often do you get matches?

I get a few matches each month. 23andme limits customers to 2,000 matches.

How many of your matches have ancestors from Russia or Ukraine?

I have 88 matches with ancestors from Russia and 44 matches with ancestors from Ukraine.

How close are your matches?

I have more than 1,200 matches that include 3 3rd to 5th cousins, 45 3rd to 6th cousins, 856 3rd to distant cousins, 219 4th to distant cousins and 122 distant cousins.

23andme provided me with these report on my matches:

How friendly are matches in giving information?

Some matches have been friendly. I have sent messages to a bunch of matches so far. Many have answered my messages and approved my DNA data sharing requests.

How many matches chose to be anonymous?

Almost 500 of my matches are anonymous. That represents 38 percent of my matches. 23andme provides a filter to hide anonymous matches. Those matches may share information on their ancestry but they cannot be messaged.

What tools does 23andme offer in searching, sorting and filtering matches?

Matches can be sorted by newest, DNA segments shared, percent of DNA shared, strength of relationship and four sharing statuses: open, not sharing, pending and sharing.

Matches can be searched by name and location keywords. There are filters for relationship distance, ancestral countries of birth and most common surnames.

If you tested one of your parents, you can split matches between maternal and paternal lines.

23andme also has a share and compare tool to see the location of matching DNA segments between yourself and the match, as well as any DNA relatives matches that you have in common. Customers can also compare matches’ ancestries from the ancestry composition, haplogroups and Neanderthal ancestry reports.

Does 23andme have forums to help figure out the DNA test and its results?

It has many active forums,  the largest group of forums of the three main testing companies. I highly recommend using these forums to better understand the reports and analysing your DNA matches.

Related posts:

A Russian-American’s inside view of the new AncestryDNA test

A Russian-American’s insider view of the MyHeritage DNA test

A Russian-American’s insider view of the Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder Test

Guide for making the best choices in DNA testing

FAQ- DNA testing for Russians and Ukrainians

My journey with DNA testing can be followed here.