FamilyTreeDNA FAQ

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Who is Family Tree DNA and why have you partnered with them?
Family Tree DNA has pioneered genetic genealogy and it now enjoys the world's largest DNA database. Family Tree DNA is also the genetic genealogy company behind the well-known Genographic Project by the National Geographic and IBM. MyHeritage chose to partner with Family Tree DNA in order to provide its customers with the highest quality DNA testing available on the market.
Who is making the DNA tests?
The tests are made by Family Tree DNA.
Where are the results analyzed?
The results are analyzed at the Family Tree DNA Labs at Houston, Texas in the USA.
What kind of DNA tests are available?
There are two basic types of DNA tests available for genealogical testing:

mtDNA Tests - Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is contained in the cytoplasm of the cell, rather than the nucleus. This type of DNA is passed by a mother to both male and female offspring without any mixing, so your mtDNA is the same as your mother's mtDNA, which is the same as her mother's mtDNA. mtDNA changes very slowly so it cannot determine close relationships as well as it can determine general relatedness. If two people have an exact match in their mtDNA, then they share a common maternal ancestor, but it is hard to determine if this is a recent ancestor or one who lived hundreds of years ago. It is important to keep in mind with this test that a male's mtDNA comes only from his mother and is not passed on to his offspring.

Example: The DNA tests that identified the bodies of the Romanovs, the Russian imperial family, utilized mtDNA from a sample provided by Prince Philip, who shares the same maternal line from Queen Victoria.

Y-DNA Tests - The Y chromosome in the nuclear DNA is used to establish family ties. The Y chromosomal DNA test (usually referred to as Y-DNA) is only available for males, since the Y chromosome is only passed down the male line from father to son. Tiny chemical markers on the Y chromosome create a distinctive pattern, known as a haplotype, that distinguishes one male lineage from another. Shared markers can indicate relatedness between two men, though not the exact degree of the relationship. Y chromosome testing is most often used by individuals with the same last name to learn if they share a common ancestor, however, it is also used to verify if two males share the same paternal ancestor, no matter how many generations back, even if they have different surnames.
What kind of information can I learn from a DNA test?
DNA tests can be used by genealogists to:

  • Link specific individuals - e.g. test to see whether you and a person you think may be genetic cousins descending from a common ancestor.

  • Prove or disprove the ancestry of people sharing the same last name - e.g. test to see if males carrying the TAYLOR surname are related to each other.

  • Map the genetic origins of large population groups - e.g. test to see whether you have European, Native American, Jewish or African American ancestry among others

  • Find other people who are related to you through the same male ancestor (Y-DNA), female ancestor (mtDNA) or across all lines (Family Finder), and to discover your ancestral origins.

I see that you have some tests for males and some for females. Why is that?
Some tests are based on the DNA that is passed from father to son; others are based on DNA passed from mother to her children, male or female. This is why certain tests are suitable only for males as clearly documented on the website. However, if you are a female genealogist and you want to test the paternal line, you can purchase a DNA test for your brother or father to use. In addition, if your spouse is also as interested in family history as you, you can purchase a DNA test for your spouse in order to assist them with their family history research.
Why do you offer so many different types of DNA tests?
DNA for genealogy is pushing the frontiers of science, and different tests are offered to meet different research objectives of our users. Depending on your goals, you can focus on your maternal line, your paternal line, your ethnic origin, or on finding relatives from all lines. The Comprehensive Genome test combines the best of everything to give you the most extensive results across the board. You can also start with a highly affordable entry-level test like the Y-DNA37 and later on upgrade to a test with higher resolution and accuracy like the Y-DNA67.
How many DNA matches can I expect to receive?
The number of matches varies according to the frequency of your Haplotype in the database. Given the size of the database, most people will have matches. However, initially having a small number of matches or no matches at all, should not be a source of frustration, as the process does not end once the test is completed and the results posted. As the database keeps growing, you will be matched against the new records and notified when there is a match. This is a service Family Tree DNA provides with no subscription or other fees.
How easy is it to take a DNA test?
Taking the DNA test is quick and easy. You take the test, which shouldn't take more than 15 minutes, at the comfort and privacy of your home. The test kit consists of two swabs, two tubes, instructions, and the release form. At the test, you will rub the swab on the inside of your cheek, and place it in the tube.

Click here to see what the DNA test looks like.

Watch an instructional video of How to Take Our DNA Test.
How long does it take before I get my results?
The amount of time varies according to the test kit you order. The average time from receiving your kit at Family Tree DNA until they post your results is six weeks. We'll continue to update you about new matches and other information regarding your results.
What is the format in which the results arrive?
When you order a DNA test, Family Tree DNA creates a personal page for you, password protected, where your results are posted. From that page you can print reports and your certificate. After your initial results, you keep receiving updated information about your matches, and as they happen, you are informed by email.
What are DNA markers and what can I do with this information?
The Chromosome has definable segments of DNA with known genetic characteristics. These segments are known as Markers.

If you are using the MyHeritage Family Tree Builder software, you can enter the DNA marker information for future reference by editing an individual who was tested, then going to the “More” tab, clicking “DNA Markers...” button, selecting “Family Tree DNA” and entering the marker results. This information is stored on your computer only and is not posted online.
Will I be able to contact my DNA matches (people who may have the same ancestors as me)?
Certainly. In your personal page at Family Tree DNA you will receive the names and email addresses of your matches so that you can exchange information with them. It is important to know that for privacy reasons, you will only see the names and emails of those individuals with whom you show a relevant match, as described in the DNA tests privacy policy.
Can I avoid other people who matched with me from contacting me?
Yes, you can do that by requesting us to delete your results. However, we recommend leaving them stored in order that you could continue receiving new matches as new people get DNA tested and match you.
Can I export my DNA results?
Family Tree DNA has created two public databases for people that wish to share or compare their results with other individuals or other labs: and Your results can be exported to those websites at your discretion.
Are my DNA samples stored?
Your DNA is stored by Family Tree DNA, free of charge, for 25 years so that we could perform other tests at your request, without requiring you to submit additional DNA tests.
Do you find disease and medical information in the DNA tests?
No, the DNA tests are for genealogy only.
Who else can access my DNA results?
Your DNA results will be stored at the Family Tree DNA Labs and will be accessible only to their staff, in order to help you with your genealogical research. Neither Family Tree DNA nor MyHeritage will share your results.
Is my DNA info going to be shared with anyone?
No. Family Tree DNA will never share your results. This includes insurance firms. In addition, in 2008, the GINA Act passed in the United States. The GINA Act stops insurance firms from using DNA test results to deny coverage.
Is taking a DNA test going to risk my privacy?
No. Family Tree DNA or MyHeritage will never share your results. This includes insurance firms, employers and government agencies. In addition, in 2008, the GINA Act passed in the United States (Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act). The GINA Act stops insurance firms from using DNA test results to deny coverage.
Are the tests expensive?
DNA tests are less expensive than one would think. With costs starting at US $59 a DNA test can provide a genealogist with an answer that otherwise would take years to find, numerous trips and fees for other services. There are many testimonials from genealogists that after years of research found their answers in a simple DNA test.
What are the shipping costs for a DNA test?
The shipping costs are $4 if you live in the USA and $6 if you live elsewhere, anywhere in the world. You will also need to ship the envelope kit back to Family Tree DNA Labs at Houston, Texas in the USA.
What is your refund policy?
We are happy to refund you if you make an order and change your mind before the DNA test is shipped to you. After it is shipped, we cannot accept refunds.
Why should I purchase a DNA test with you guys at MyHeritage and not somewhere else?
MyHeritage is enjoying the trust of millions of users and we are expanding to provide all needs of a family historian in one place. The DNA tests that we are selling are some of the highest quality in the world, and you can get them on MyHeritage at prices that are lower than anywhere else, especially if you are a Premium or PremiumPlus subscriber on MyHeritage (if you are not, this provides another good reason to get a subscription for your family site).
I still have more questions about DNA that are not answered here. What can I do?
Please write to us to support at myheritage dot com, and we will forward your question to one of our DNA experts who will be happy to assist you further.
About DNA For Genealogy
Watch Family Tree DNA President & CEO Bennett Greenspan discuss DNA testing for Genetic Genealogy.
The test kit
Watch an instructional video of How to Take Our DNA Test.