New Family Tree DNA Holiday Coupons – And the 12 Myths of Family Finder

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.

Phased FF2

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
R209RDVO4J9L $10 Off MTDNA
R20B369B6NGV $10 Off MTDNA
R20OW49V9RYX $10 Off MTDNA
R20CMC31ZS7W $10 Off MTDNA
R206K3494KEC $10 Off MTDNA
R20W25TH1CQB $10 Off MTDNA
R20656JB37DXQ $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
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
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


58 thoughts on “New Family Tree DNA Holiday Coupons – And the 12 Myths of Family Finder

  1. How can I use a Y code discount to order a test for another male family member? It won’t let me order on my account because I am female and won’t let me order on my male cousin because he has already tested Y67.

    On Mon, Dec 12, 2016 at 11:51 AM, DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy wrote:

    > robertajestes posted: “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” >

  2. Excellent points as a reminder or education for most people; now all we have to do is get FTDNA to improve their performance on #3. The upload and subsequent accessing of a family tree on their site is just awful. Spotty performance, cludgy navigation, no identification of similar (or same) names for different people in the DNA match box. Some strides have been made this year but, they have a long way to go on this.

  3. My son (tested at FT-DNA) and his wife just had a baby. At what age can a child be tested? Can I buy a kit now and have them use it later – how much later?

  4. Valid until 12/18/2016
    $75 off Big Y R20NLREAI1XP
    $75 off Big Y R20QD80JYVSG
    $75 off Big Y R20TAT1MADZU
    $75 off Big Y R20OYQVFM4LM
    $40 off Y-DNA111 R20LBJX14NES
    $30 off Y-DNA67 R2063Q4S6DRL
    $10 off Y37, Y67, or Y111 R20NO3MC7LA0
    $10 off Y37, Y67, or Y111 R20W6XJZX2VI
    $10 off Y37, Y67, or Y111 R200GFNBGDW0
    $10 off Y37, Y67, or Y111 R208KPADKQCI
    $10 off Y37, Y67, or Y111 R20V1XRUQHUT
    $10 off Y37, Y67, or Y111 R208GKPWT8H0
    $10 off Y37, Y67, or Y111 R200O64REJTK
    $10 off Y37, Y67, or Y111 R20LMQ80LAGW
    $10 off Y37, Y67, or Y111 R20MH1UJ9HQ7
    $20 off Y37, Y67, or Y111 R20BL326A8KZ
    $20 off Y37, Y67, or Y111 R207JPSJ2U4S
    $15 off mtDNA R20B8KWQUGDF
    $10 off mtDNA R20HICZQKERO
    $10 off mtDNA R20BSKHMN4DO
    $5 off Family Finder R20SJ1CF9008

  5. One small correction about 23andMe. The V3 chipset is the one compatible to Family Finder and the original AncestryDNA. V4 and the earlier V2 are the reduced SNP ones that are not really compatible. If you have a 23andMe V2 kit and you are still breathing, you really need to get a Family Finder test done too.

    The new AncestryDNA kit is making GEDmatch the genetic genealogy version of the Tower of Babel. If I see that someone has the new AncestryDNA kit on GM, I do not even bother to compare. I think AncestryDNA engineered its new kit to work well within the confines of AncestryDNA’s own programs, but they do not compare well on GEDmatch.

    Just my opinions.

    • I have tested myself at 23andMe V4, and Ancestry V2 and the differences on how I compare to my mother or my sons are very small.

      • The reduced SNP kits will pick up the close matches OK, but they really miss out on finding the more distant matches when compared to a Family Finder, 23andMe V3, or original Ancestry DNA kit.

        • Maybe, but I have more matches that I can handle. For genealogy, Ancestry gave me the most information because of the 2400 or so 4th cousins or better, more than 600 links to Rivière Ouelle – the top match has 14 links. I like the fact that not only I see matches, but how they match – more than 1200 of those. I was able to get a “circle” around my Mathurin born to unknown parents.
          I have tested my twin sons one on 23andMe, the other on FT-DNA and I have my mtDNA at FT-DNA as well. I just ordered a kit for my grandson at FT-DNA and suggested it to my friends. The price just cannot be beaten!

  6. Does anyone know whether there is any difference between uploading your dna results from Ancestry and taking the Family Finder test? I already uploaded from Ancestry from the version prior to this year, but I am curious.

    Also I had noticed on GEDmatch that there was a great difference in the number of matches I had from my Ancestry test compared to my 23andMe test. With the Ancestry test having a lot more matches showing. I did the comparison because I noticed a match of my sister and grandfather shared dna with me on the Ancestry kit but not the 23andMe kit. That test was also taken quite awhile ago in Nov 2014. I am just wondering if anyone else has noticed a difference or maybe it was just the way the test came out?

    • At the time you did your upload, they were using the same chip, so no upload. 23andMe had been using a platform with fewer markers for about 3 years now. The new Ancestry platform (since May) uses even fewer common markers.

  7. Roberta,
    Concerning Myth No. 9 and No. 10. A cousin, who turned 100 in August, transferred her atDNA results from AncestryDNA in June of 2016 to FamilyTreeDNA. After reading the 12 Myths, it sounds like it would be beneficial for her to retest with FamilyTreeDNA. Her original test with AncestryDNA was about 5 years ago. Were the chips the same then, the 700,000 areas of sample, because when I look at her account, only the mtplus and mtdnafull show up as upgrades.
    Also, when ordering an FamilyFinder Kit, it asks if kit is for male or female. I have two unopened kits. Does it matter about the male or female- especially if I have forgotten “who” i ordered them for.

    • Two things. I would have her take some test at FTDNA to get her DNA archived there. The autosomal test is probably fine since the early chip was the same. We don’t know what will be available in the future. Maybe do her mtDNA.

      When you use the test, e-mail or call FTDNA and be sure that they have the gender correct for the person who actually took the test. A gender verification is part of their QA process and it will slow processing down a lot if that isn’t correct.

  8. Available $10 off MtDNA R200PL4JE128. And thank you for the YDNA 111 coupon. I’m hoping that this will solve the mystery of my husband’s line. Merry Christmas to me!

    • The full sequence mtDNA test. The lower versions of this test test only a part of the mitochondrial DNA. That used to be all we could test. Now we can test the entire mitochondria, which gives you the most resolved haplogroup and the closest matches.

  9. Thank you Roberta
    Another great blog. They are always informative and entertaining!
    I want to order a ftdna test kit for my brother. Is it better to bundle family finder + a Y37 or Y67 and later upgrade to Big Y, or should I buy the Y11 separately?

    • You can order the FF and the 111 at the same time if you want. If you know you’re going to order the Big Y eventually, I’d just get the whole shooting match now. However, look at the pricing both ways and then decide.

      • Thanks Roberta!
        Not sure if their is a price difference for upgrading from Y37 to BigY or upgrading Y111 to BigY as I need to buy the first test before I can see the upgrade price.
        Yes, I am a dna junkie and will probably end up with the whole shooting match, but trying to spread the cost out a bit.

  10. I am looking for an unknown father and Native American ancestry for a friend and just ordered the mtDNA Full Sequence for her. I already uploaded her Ancestry DNA data from a test taken before 2016 to FTDNA and GEDmatch. Should she take the Family Finder test, too? I think that it is not necessary and that is what they told me when I called FTDNA. She probably could find more matches by taking the 23andMe test. What is your advice? Thank you for your interesting blog postings.

  11. Thanks for that, got $20 off Y37. In return, here’s a code for $10 off Y37, Y67 or Y111 valid until 21/12/2016 R20PYZQ55IT1

  12. Here are several more thanks to Jim. Enjoy!!!

    R20IS0IAQUX8 – $15 off mtDNA
    R202A0ERZ21B – $40 off FMS
    R206OXJW7FWF – $10 off Y37 and above
    R20YXUF8L6VD – $10 off Y37 and above
    R2088IEQVJIU – $10 off mtDNA
    R207UF34OPEG – $75 off Big Y
    R2013LI4067D – $10 off Y37 and above
    R205H3HX3YIV – $10 off Y37 and above
    R20XUX16WW46 – $50 off Big Y
    R20XUX16WW46 – $50 off Big Y
    R203FW0XF7BI – $10 off Y37 and above
    R20LI5NCILPU – $10 off Y37 and above
    R20JFT7B8ROZ – $10 off Y37 and above
    R204EH9Z15T6 – $10 off Y37 and above
    R20UH5JVDG2T – $10 off Y37 and above
    R20689QULI42 – $10 off Y37 and above
    R208UIZIZBQP – $10 off Y37 and above
    R2069A6ORW88 – $10 off mtDNA
    R20U9C10AZZ5 – $50 off Big Y
    R20T58GTAZHR – $50 off Big Y
    R209PLPFJSO5 – $40 off Y 67
    R20K5LXJYP8P – $15 off mtDNA
    R20J37MF1XW6 – $10 off mtDNA

  13. You are amazing…the articles keep coming. I don’t know how you do it, but I find them very valuable.

    My thanks, Heidi


  14. Thank you for ALL of the good information you have disseminated since I found your reports! You clearly explain things that are not always so clear when I look at the Family Tree site. I recently did the autosomal test and got over 2,500 matches between 2nd & 5th cousin. However, hardly any of those have even a rudimentary family tree attached so not making much progress with research there! Just ordered same kits for my two daughters. And ordered a Y test for my brother. My question–will my brother’s Y test results show up as matches to me since I did the autosomal test? Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!

    • No, you don’t have a Y chromosome because you are a female. However, if your brother also takes a Family Finder test he will match you. Those tests test different kinds of DNA.

    • Thank you, Nancy. I used the three $40 off coupons.

      Here are my bonus coupons:

      $60 off Y-DNA111 R20RAZXHAU0H (valid until 12/23)
      $10 off Y37, Y67, or Y111 R20QKM7ZA9HW (valid until 12/19)
      $10 off Y37, Y67, or Y111 R20D8LTYE77H (valid until 12/19)
      $10 off Y37, Y67, or Y111 R20KQI9VK2OB (valid until 12/23)

  15. R20AS9899VYC for $10 off MTDNA

    I thought I something earlier about how to use more than one coupon. Do you just have to buy each package separately? I would like to have my uncle do a Y-67 and family finder and my aunt do a MTDNA full and family finder (my uncle is my father’s brother and my aunt is my mother’s sister so these tests will apply to me too). It seems you can only put in one coupon per order so I guess I have to put these in as separate orders to maximize the savings.

    • You don’t want to have two kits (meaning two separate orders) for one person, because then you can’t do things like compare with people who match both the Y and autosomal DNA or the mtDNA and autosomal DNA. There are very few $5 off coupons for Family Finder, so I would use the larger Y DNA and mtDNA test discounts. The only other possibility is to call and ask.

  16. I forgot to add my coupons… I definitely need a an 8th day this week. ¬_¬
    Or at least a 25th hour each day…

    R20WZPJEJWEN $10 off Y37, Y67, or Y111
    R20NTT6NWCLX $10 off Y37, Y67, or Y111
    R20OW33SY0UE $10 off mtDNA
    R20JMHT6ZH3B $15 off mtDNA
    R20Y1WVVWERO $5 off Family Finder

  17. Pingback: Family Tree DNA Final Coupons for 2016 | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  18. Ok. I took Ancestry in January 2015, and 23&Me later in the year. I also transferred my results from either Ancestry or 23, I forget which one, for $39 to Family Tree DNA. Are you saying I should retest altogether at Family if I want more and long ago relatives? How does that interact with my current matches? Will I be getting a whole lot more of them?

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