It’s Monday coupon day – so I’m listing this week’s coupons and also discussing the Family Finder test this week.
Family Finder, Family Tree DNA’s autosomal test is one of the most popular DNA tests, for good reason.
First, like the name implies, it finds your family members on multiple lines of your family – not just the direct Y line (paternal, for males) or the matrilineal line (for both genders.)
Second, Family Finder provides you with an ethnicity estimate which is quite reliable at the continent level for the past 5 or 6 generations. All ethnicity tests should be taken with somewhat of a grain of salt, because we are still on the frontier of this science. But let’s face it, this is fun!
Furthermore, Family Tree DNA just added a new function titled Ancient Origins that reaches further back in time. Where were your ancestors from?
12 Myths of Family Finder
Since it’s the holiday season, and the “12 Days of Christmas” is playing in the background, let’s do the “12 Myths of Family Finder.”
1. Since I’ve taken an autosomal test elsewhere, I don’t need to take one at Family Tree DNA too.
You might want to rethink that strategy, and here’s why. Different people test at different companies. Only a few of us nut-cases test at all companies – so you don’t know which matches you’ll be missing if you’re not in all of the data bases. You know how Murphy’s Law works, your best match will be at the last place you test.
2. I already have a tree elsewhere, so I don’t need to upload or create a family tree at Family Tree DNA too.
You definitely need a tree, and here’s why. Family Tree DNA allows you to connect yourself and your relatives on your tree, utilizing phased matches to multiple people to assign your matches to either your maternal or paternal side of the tree, or both. You can see the blue paternal, red maternal and purple “both” icons on the screen shot below. No other vendor has this feature, and it requires a tree.
Furthermore, your matches want to view your tree because Family Tree DNA also provides an ancestral surname matching function. And believe me, if you have one of my surnames AND our DNA matches, I want to see your tree! You’ll want to see mine too! So upload a Gedcom file or create a tree and connect DNA tests to the appropriate people in your tree. You’ll be very glad you did!
You can see an example of several people who have tested and are linked to their proper location in my tree. My mother and myself are on the left, and three people from my father’s line are shown on the right. This is how Family Tree DNA assigns matches to maternal and paternal sides of your family
3. Autosomal testing doesn’t show anything about the paternal line or the maternal line.
This is probably a misunderstanding, and here’s why. This statement is probably an artifact of the fact that Y DNA and mitochondrial DNA are a separate kind of DNA that ONLY provides information about the direct paternal and direct maternal lines. However, autosomal DNA provides autosomal information from all ancestral lines, including the direct paternal and matrilineal lines too. You can read more about the different kinds of DNA testing and what they provide here.
4. Autosomal DNA testing will find my Native, African (or other small amounts of your admixture) no matter how far back that ancestor lived.
Not true, and here’s why. Autosomal DNA is pretty good at finding admixture in amounts over about 1%. However, each generation loses 50% of the DNA in the preceding generation. You carry about 1% of your ancestors’ DNA back 5 or 6 generations ago – which is about 150 years. Beyond that, it’s the luck of the roll of the dice as to whether fate has smiled on you and you carry a large enough ancestral segment to be found. However, Y and mitochondrial DNA DO reach infinitely back into time for just the direct paternal and direct matrilineal lines, so consider those tests as well.
5. If my sibling has already tested, I don’t need to.
That’s a myth most of the time, but not always. You and your full sibling both inherited half of each of your parents’ DNA, but not the same half. In reality, you share about half of the same DNA with your full sibling, meaning the other half is different. So you and your siblings will each have some of the same autosomal DNA matches, and some different. You’ll want to test every sibling, full and half – that is unless both parents have tested (full siblings) or the common parent has tested for half-siblings.
6. If I’ve tested, I don’t need to test my parents. That’s duplication.
In this case, duplication can be a good thing. Testing your parents will automatically divide your matches effectively in half for you – so long as you connect their test to your tree. If you have only one parent, that’s fine too. Family Tree DNA assigns maternal or paternal sides for phased matches to each parent for you. By the way, if you have grandparents, great-grandparents or the siblings of those people, you’ll definitely want to test the members of the oldest generation in your family. And don’t wait – you never know when it will be too late. And not to be morbid, but Family Tree DNA will overnight kits to funeral homes if you perhaps waited a bit too long.
7. I don’t have full siblings, I only have half-siblings, so there is no need to test them.
This is right part of the time, but not always. Don’t you just love these “it depends” answers!
If you have a half sibling and your shared parent is living, then you’re right, you don’t need to test the half-siblings because the parent is available. If that parent isn’t available, then a half-sibling can be even MORE useful than a full sibling, since you immediately know which side anyone who matches you and that sibling come from – your shared parent’s line.
8. I tested elsewhere and uploaded into GedMatch, so I don’t need to test anyplace else.
Nope, and here’s why. Family Tree DNA began DNA testing people 16 years ago. Many people who have tested at Family Tree DNA are now deceased or their kits are being managed by another family member. Suffice it to say that not everyone uploads their results to GedMatch for various reasons, so if you want to be sure to catch all of your matches, you’ll want to test at Family Tree DNA and be in their data base too.
9. I’ll upload my results from 23andMe or Ancestry to Family Tree DNA instead of retesting. It costs less.
That’s a good idea, up to a point, and that point is the point in time that 23andMe moved to their V3 chip and Ancestry moved to their V2 chip. Both of those chips have significantly less markers than their prior chips, making them incompatible with some of the locations on the Family Tree DNA chip. Those dates are approximately November 2013 for 23andMe and roughly May of 2016 for Ancestry. If you tested before those dates, then by all means, upload for the $39 unlock fee. That’s a great value. If you tested after that, it’s a no go, at least not now. You’ll need to retest.
10. I’ll just wait until Family Tree DNA accepts uploads from 23and Me and Ancestry again.
Family Tree DNA has indicated they are working towards that goal, but with the current Family Finder test price at $59 for the full 700,000 locations, compared to the transfer price of $39, it makes more sense to take the Family Finder test for the additional locations tested, even if Family Tree DNA were to make the transfer available today. In some cases, only about half of the locations are compatible which will clearly affect matching at some level. The only time waiting to transfer would be a preferred option would be if the person who took the original test is no longer available to retest.
11. I don’t want to test, because I can’t spit that much. Or substitute “because I am afraid of needles.”
Good news for you. The Family Tree DNA test kit is a swab kit, like a Q-Tip to scrape the inside of your cheek. No spitting, blood or needles involved.
12. I would like to upgrade my family member’s kit, but I can’t because they died.
All is not lost. If you have authorization to upgrade the kit, and they previously tested at Family Tree DNA, you can easily order that upgrade today if enough DNA remains.
Family Tree DNA archives DNA for 25 years. If you have your family member’s account number and password, assuming they gave you administrative privileges for their account, you can order an upgrade for your deceased relative the same as any other account. If you don’t have permission or full access to the account (kit number and password), or they didn’t designate you as DNA beneficiary on their account, you’ll need to obtain permission from the family first. Over time, DNA does degrade, so your best bet for upgrade success is with a sample that has been at the lab for less than 5 years. If in doubt, call Family Tree DNA and they will help you.
I upgraded my mother’s account to Family Finder after she passed away, and that’s one of the best gifts she ever gave me! It’s a wonderful legacy that gifts me over and over again every day.
This Weeks Coupons
This week’s holiday discounts coupon codes are shown below and they include a few for Family Finder which can be used on top of the $59 sale price. At these prices, I’m offering upgrades to several family members who have previously tested.
Click here to redeem these coupons, or to see how much your own discount code is this week. If you don’t want to use your discount code, feel free to post in the blog comments for others to share.
|Coupon #||Good for What|
|R20DEZF4EENR||$10 Off MTDNA|
|R209RDVO4J9L||$10 Off MTDNA|
|R20B369B6NGV||$10 Off MTDNA|
|R20YMXZ8U6CJ||$10 Off MTDNA|
|R20OW49V9RYX||$10 Off MTDNA|
|R20CMC31ZS7W||$10 Off MTDNA|
|R209WQCGO4TY||$10 Off MTDNA|
|R206K3494KEC||$10 Off MTDNA|
|R20W25TH1CQB||$10 Off MTDNA|
|R208PBVMJKEZ||$10 Off MTDNA|
|R20656JB37DXQ||$10 Off MTDNA|
|R20NIA4UIXU1||$10 Off MTDNA|
|R20ZZ8LI964U||$10 Off MTDNA|
|R20H38AA9QT2||$10 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20840BD79SN||$10 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20L1JDTBEYH||$10 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R204SN79SXY0||$10 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20GI5MFLZM4||$10 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20DVKJIDD46||$10 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20UKNCIPVZH||$10 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R208B5KVN4R5||$10 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20D1T66DBQ2||$10 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20Z18NS5U4T||$10 off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20KD9WQN62D||$10 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R209P2YBRUS2||$10 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20EI5QCNCS5||$10 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R2031NUVXO2K||$10 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20P6QJDX16X||$10 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20FQKQ3UYX1||$10 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20VPM2SA93Z||$10 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20IJI7WB04V||$10 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20L3TVKX1PZ||$10 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20AXRZ773DI||$10 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20V8IGYX0JV||$10 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20V1CJ8KM3U||$10 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20WMV2PMPA5||$15 Off MTDNA|
|R20U0KALPOAP||$15 Off MTDNA|
|R20DTM6IS6OG||$15 Off MTDNA|
|R2047XESNNOW||$15 Off MTDNA|
|R20OQMSN134Z||$20 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20HBKCNGXHP||$20 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20L0GIH41EX||$20 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20P34FM2Z24||$20 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20PKG0EH5RK||$20 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R206EIOUM8XI||$20 Off Y37, Y67 or Y111|
|R20Q86FQQXU8||$30 off Y-DNA 67|
|R204DG7FVWLX||$30 off Y-DNA 67|
|R2090PO0XK9F||$30 off Y-DNA 67|
|R200XJP913SW||$30 off Y-DNA 67|
|R205VE2O610A||$30 off Y-DNA 67|
|R204PR43CAN1||$40 Off MTFULL|
|R20IFWTTD06F||$40 off MTFULL|
|R2053STZYFHB||$40 Off MTFULL|
|R20KSEY5OEJE||$40 Off MTFULL|
|R20NE9XWON47||$40 Off MTFULL|
|R20XOQP97UQZ||$40 Off MTFULL|
|R20V7L1HMCDZ||$40 Off Y-DNA 67|
|R20FRSJRQL8M||$40 Off Y-DNA 67|
|R20NDA1EB08M||$5 Off Family Finder|
|R20WQVQMPR8M||$5 Off Family Finder|
|R20O27L5O74E||$5 Off Family Finder|
|R20G5CV2ND07||$50 Off Big Y|
|R20MRP1WE9F0||$50 Off Big Y|
|R204R19TELUW||$50 off Big Y|
|R20XTPB81JPI||$50 Off Big Y|
|R20R1C95FCLO||$50 Off Big Y|
|R20VYBWJYEES||$60 Off Y-DNA 111|
|R208S3BBT6U3||$75 Off Big Y|
|R20W0V2SQQPB||$75 Off Big Y|
|R20I0VBBXBNN||$75 Off Big Y|
|R209B10S4C8P||$75 Off Big Y|