Guide for making the best choices in DNA testing

Updated Nov. 23, 2017

Now that I have explained the benefits of testing with the three main DNA genealogy companies, I hope I haven’t scared anyone away from DNA testing. Everyone has different interests and family situations that will affect their decision in choosing the right company.

Here are my suggestions for those interested in DNA genealogy testing.

1. I want to confirm my Russian and/or Ukrainian ancestry.

A DNA testing company doesn’t have the ability to breakdown anyone’s ethnicity to Russian or Ukrainian. The ability of DNA tests now only will breakdown to eastern European. Test with AncestryDNA for the best ethnicity breakdown. Family Tree DNA also has a strong ethnicity breakdown with its Family Finder test.

2. I am interested in learning about the haplogroups of my mother and father.

Test with 23andme. It gives maternal and paternal haplogroups, along with DNA relative matches, for its autosomal test. More specific haplogroups can be obtained through Family Tree DNA with its Y-DNA and MtDNA tests but these tests are more expensive. Men can get their paternal and maternal haplogroups. Women only can get their maternal haplogroups.

3. I would like to join projects for my haplogroups and ancestry after I get my results.

Test with Family Tree DNA, the only company that offers projects.

4. I am looking to find DNA relatives who live in Russia and/or Ukraine.

Test with Family Tree DNA, the only company of the big three that sends DNA tests to Russia and Ukraine.

5. My Russian relatives came to the English-speaking world of the USA, Canada, England and Australia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I am looking for descendants of those relatives.

Test with AncestryDNA.

6. My family escaped the USSR in the 1940s and 1950s. I don’t know whether my other relatives stayed in the USSR or emigrated. 

Test with Family Tree DNA to find matches living in the Russia, Ukraine and other former areas of the Russian Empire. If the matches are not what you were hoping, then test with AncestryDNA.

7. I have a bunch of male relatives willing to take the Y-DNA test (paternal line testing) and we want to find matches related directly to our paternal lines.

Get the 37 Y-DNA test from Family Tree DNA.

8. I have a relative from my family who wants to confirm that we are related.

Test with Family Tree DNA. It will give  you the most details and best tools for your curiosity. I actually did this for my father’s first cousin, who was falsely rumored to be unrelated for decades.

9. I am an adoptee from Russia looking for my birth family.

Test with 23andme first. It has the best forums to help adoptees figure out the connections with their matches and find additional help. If that does not work out well, then try Family Tree DNA.

10. I was adopted from Ukraine and wondering whether my siblings, who were adopted by another family, have tested.

Test with AncestryDNA first. If possible, also test with 23andme.

11. I am a beginner in understanding DNA genealogy testing and need the best tools for figuring out my connections with my matches.

Test with Family Tree DNA, where you can learn the common matches of each person with whom you are matched and can use a chromosome browser to see which matches have the same ancestors.

11. I am taking one chance with DNA testing. I am looking for the company that gives the most information on matches and have customers who are the most eager to figure out the connections to matches.

Test with Family Tree DNA.

12. I am looking for the database with customers who are the most serious about their genealogy.

Test with Family Tree DNA. A large portion of 23andme customers are interested in health data from DNA tests. A lot of people on Ancestry DNA do not know much about their ancestry in Russia and Ukraine.

13. I want to take a stab at the largest DNA database that has worldwide reach.

Test with AncestryDNA.

14. I only can afford to take one test. How can I get matches from people who tested from all three companies?

Download your DNA file and transfer the file to myheritage and for free. People who already tested with Ancestry DNA and 23andme, awhile back, can transfer their DNA file for free to Family Tree DNA.

15. I would rather like to make my decision based on the facts, ma’am.

Visit this page for statistics on AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA and 23andme’s autosomal tests.

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 23andme Autosomal Test

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

FAQ- DNA testing for Russians and Ukrainians



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