Thursday, April 25th is National DNA Day in the US and these testing companies have sales:

  • 23andMe
  • AncestryDNA
  • FamilyTreeDNA
  • Living DNA
  • MyHeritageDNA


I’ll share, in italics, what I’ve gleaned from my test results at each site.




23andMe has a 3-in-1 DNA test for $99 (not on sale) and a Health & Ancestry test on sale for $169 ($30 off the list price of $199). 23andMe’s Ancestry test is a 3-in-1 DNA test and includes some mitochondrial and Y-DNA (Y-DNA only if you are male) results, but that portion of the testing is not as comprehensive as FamilyTreeDNA’s mtDNA and Y-DNA tests.

I have 1200 DNA matches at 23andMe, mainly extended family, 3rd cousins and beyond. I don’t use 23andMe for genealogy purposes. I primarily follow my 23andMe test results for the health test results-they’re currently the only one of these companies offering health results (you’ll need to purchase the Health & Ancestry test for this benefit). This was a relatively cheap way to get some basic DNA health screening. You can see what reports are included by visiting this report page, see the right-column, beneath the Health + Ancestry Service.

At one glance of my DNA Relatives I can see:

  • person’s name/gender
  • estimated relationship (degree of cousinship)
  • shared DNA & # of segments
  • if I’ve “starred” this person for my own notes

23andMe has a Chromosome Browser tool, but with relatively few close matches, I haven’t taken the time to use this tool. 23andMe also has a nice Ancestry timeline, which takes my ethnicity report and suggests when an ancestor of some ethnicity possibly lived. This is helpful because I don’t really know of any Scandinavian ancestry in my genealogy but every testing company shows some Scandinavian ethnicity. 23andMe’s report tells me, “You most likely had a third-great-grandparent, fourth-great-grandparent, fifth-great-grandparent, sixth-great-grandparent, or seventh-great- (or greater) grandparent who was 100% Scandinavian. This person was likely born between 1700 and 1820.” See image below.

*I’m unclear what they’re calling this test. It used to be called an autosomal DNA test but they’re showing maternal and paternal haplogroups which come from mitochondrial and Y-DNA results, so their Ancestry test appears to be more of a 3-in-1 test, similar to Living DNA. 23andMe says my maternal haplogroup is RO, one level less specific than what FTDNA and Living DNA show.




AncestryDNA has a DNA Day sale thru April 25th

  • autosomal DNA test on sale for $69 (the list price is $99)

I have 75,000 DNA matches at AncestryDNA. This is by far the largest DNA database and with my early colonial ancestry, I match a lot of people who test here. Like the other sites, most of my matches are distant relatives, 3rd cousins and beyond.

I use AncestryDNA for genetic genealogy, although I don’t do much of this type of research. Ancestry provides some simple tools that help you figure out how you’re related to DNA matches. You really need to have a tree on their site and link your DNA to your tree to get the best results. I’ve had distant cousins contact me through this site and we’ve shared info.

Ancestry provides nice tools for looking at your DNA matches. At one glance, I can look at my DNA match list and see:

  • Name/gender of match
  • estimated relationship (degree of cousinship)
  • amount of shared DNA across # of segments
  • if match has a tree at Ancestry
  • if our trees at Ancestry suggest a common ancestor
  • notes I’ve taken about this DNA match or if I’ve starred this match

I can filter my match results in many ways and Ancestry has a nice tool, currently in Beta testing, ThruLines, that allows me to see how my DNA matches family trees suggest we may be related. Ancestry also has DNA Circles, in Beta testing, which shows similar results. This time it shows people I share DNA with whose family trees point to a possible common ancestor.

Thru-Lines at



FamilyTree DNA

FamilyTree DNA (FTDNA) has several sales:

  • autosomal DNA test on sale for $49 (list price is $79)
  • mitochondrial DNA test on sale for $149 (list price is $199), and a
  • Y-DNA test on sale for $129 (list price $169)

I have about 5,000 autosomal DNA matches at FamilyTree DNA and 35 mtDNA matches. This is a site where most serious genetic genealogists test and have their DNA. By serious genetic genealogists, I mean the type of people who are looking at chromosome browser results and figuring out distant cousin relationships. I don’t use this site much because I’m not doing a lot of genetic genealogy research right now, but they have very detailed results, chromosome browsing tools, surname projects you can join with cousins, and more.

FamilyTree DNA says I belong to maternal haplogroup HV, which belongs to RO (which 23andMe says is my Haplogroup).

At one glance of my DNA match list I can see:

  • person’s name/gender
  • date we first were matched
  • estimated relationship/degree of cousinship
  • shared DNA in centimorgans
  • length of longest block of shared DNA
  • if this person is also a mitochondrial DNA match
  • do we have a linked relationship
  • do we have shared ancestral surnames

I seriously underutilize this site and its results and tools. There are multiple ways to filter matches, compare chromosomes, look for mtDNA or Y-DNA matches if you’ve done those tests. I haven’t invested much time into DNA results but have been contacted by others who have and they love this site.



Living DNA

Living DNA has a DNA Day sale

  • 3 in 1 DNA test for $59 (list price $99), this includes an autosomal DNA, mitochondrial DNA, and Y-DNA (for males only) test; the mitochondrial and Y-DNA portions of this test are not as comprehensive as FamilyTreeDNA’s mtDNA and Y-DNA tests.

Living DNA is a newer site and I don’t currently have any DNA matches here, even though I have a lot of UK ancestry. This site used to tell me where in the UK my DNA appeared to come from at a county by county level. I’m not seeing those results now, but perhaps they’ll show up again. Living DNA is based in the UK and I tested here to see my county by county DNA breakdown. At Living DNA I belong to maternal haplogroup HV, which belongs to RO (which 23andMe says is my Haplogroup) Living DNA has the most simplified explanations for my family ancestry and mitochondrial DNA results. I like that they’ve dumbed it down a bit because I’m not heavily invested in the research yet but want to quickly read & understand my test results.

LivingDNA has a nice timeline feature for my ethnicity report which shows places around the world where I share genetic information with populations at a given time period. In the image below, it shows 1,000 – 1,600 years ago I had common ancestors in Western Europe & Scandinavia, and what is now Turkey.



MyHeritage DNA

MyHeritage DNA has an Easter sale that ends today.

  • autosomal DNA test $59 with free shipping for orders of 2 or more kits (list price $79)

At MyHeritage I have 10,000 DNA matches, and like the other sites, most of these are 3rd cousins and beyond. I use MyHeritage for genetic genealogy research, what little I do. Again, you need a tree on their site with your DNA linked to your tree, to get the best results with DNA match research. MyHeritage DNA is a nice mix of simplified explanations and more complex research tools, so you can do as much or as little as you want on this site.

I can look at my DNA match list and in one glance see:

  • the person’s name/gender
  • their estimated age
  • where they’re from
  • estimated relationship (degree of cousinship)
  • shared DNA and chromosome information
  • whether they have a tree
  • shared ancestral surnames
  • and shared ancestral places

Then I can filter or sort the results in many different ways (cousins from Germany, cousins with shared DNA segments, etc), take notes on each match, use a Chromosome Browser tool to try to triangulate matches, & more.

I’ve had DNA matches connect thru this site or ask if my DNA is at this site so they can find me and use the chromosome browser to figure out how we’re related.

MyHeritage has a couple useful DNA tools including the Chromosome Browser, AutoClusters, and Ethnicities Map. The most useful tool for me is the AutoClusters tool. (The Chromosome Browser is great but requires a little more effort on my part.) The AutoCluster tool automatically groups DNA matches into clusters of people who appear to have descended from the same common ancestor. If I know how I connect to one person in a cluster, I can do descendancy research on the common ancestor to try to find how I connect to others in that cluster. It really simplifies genetic genealogy, but again, I don’t have the time to do much of this now and have only looked at one of my 15 clusters so far. (Image below with names blurred for privacy.)



So, I tested at each site for a different reason. Ethnicity results are fun, but all the sites agree they are the least valuable information provided by DNA test results. My ethnicity results are similar across all these sites. I use Ancestry and MyHeritage the most because I have the most DNA matches at these sites and both sites host family trees which amplifies the information you can glean. What I like at each site:

  • Ancestry has the largest database and I have the most matches here. Their tools are more generalized, but fun to use.
  • MyHeritage gives me my second largest number of matches and provides a nice mix of simple & complex tools for analysis. (They have a stronger European database so these are more distant cousins for me).
  • Living DNA is still small but I hope to be able to connect with UK ancestors eventually. I really liked the county-by-county breakdown of my UK DNA and love how they explain the reports with very understandable write-ups.
  • FamilyTree DNA has been in the business the longest and is relatively scientific in its approach. I love that you can get in-depth mtDNA and Y-DNA test results and matches. You can upload a tree which would help you sort DNA matches.
  • And 23andMe is currently most useful, in my opinion, for health testing, but they provide DNA matches and tools for analysis and present your ethnicity on a timeline which could help you with genealogical research.

Even if you don’t have time (like me) to do much with your test results, testing may allow cousins to find you. I’ve been contacted by DNA matches who’ve offered to share information with me. It’s a nice community to be a part of.

Best in your research!

National DNA Day DNA Test Kit Sales and Benefits at Each Site #OnGenealogy

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.