About Me

Roberta EstesRoberta Estes has been a professional scientist and business owner for 25+ years, (MS Computer Science, MBA, graduate work in Geographic Information Systems), as well as an obsessed genealogist since 1978.

In 2005, reflecting her interest and expertise in genetics for genealogy, she formed DNAeXplain, a company providing individual analysis of DNA results and consulting services.

Roberta is a National Geographic Society, Genographic Project affiliate scientific researcher and became part of the design team in 2012. Roberta has authored multiple academic papers, provided content and consultation to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the History Channel, and other organizations and businesses.

The Million Mito Project

In 2020, Roberta launched the Million Mito Project, a collaborative scientific effort to rewrite the tree of womankind for all of humanity in partnership with Dr. Miguel Vilar, Lead Scientist for the Genographic Project, Dr. Paul Maier, Population Geneticist at FamilyTreeDNA and Goran Runfeldt, Head of Research and Development at FamilyTreeDNA. 

Early Years of Genetic Genealogy

In 2000, thanks to FamilyTreeDNA, the infant scientific field of DNA for genealogy emerged, allowing DNA to be used to trace individuals to common ancestors. With traditional genealogical records already researched to no avail, and several brick walls needing to fall, Roberta was one of the early DNA project administrators and pioneer adopters of DNA analysis for genealogy. Roberta manages over 20 DNA projects with an emphasis on Native American heritage.

Roberta’s blog, Native Heritage Project documents early evidence of Native people in records and can be found at www.nativeheritageproject.com.

Products and Services

In 2009, DNAeXplain and FamilyTreeDNA teamed to jointly offer Personalized Y and mitochondrial DNA Reports for customers. Currently, Roberta is not accepting private clients.

Roberta speaks and writes widely about DNA and genealogy and has provided keynotes at several major conferences. Her educational webinars are among the most-watched in the industry. Follow Roberta’s activities and available educational resources by subscribing to this free blog.

You can e-mail Roberta at roberta@dnaexplain.com.

418 thoughts on “About Me

  1. I think that the idea of “Asian” for many people is China and the surrounding areas. They forget that Asia is the largest continent in the world and includes many other areas such as Russia and the Middle East (i.e., Middle East Asia).

    The boundaries of Asia are traditionally determined as that of Eurasia, as there is no significant geographical separation between Asia and Europe. The most commonly accepted boundaries place Asia to the east of the Suez Canal, the Ural River, and the Ural Mountains, and south of the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian and Black Seas.[4] It is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Indian Ocean and on the north by the Arctic Ocean.

    Here is a list of some of the countries that are in Asia:

    * WEST ASIA – Isreal, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, and all other Arabic nations.

    * CENTRAL ASIA – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia.

    * SOUTH ASIA – Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, India.

    * SOUTH EAST ASIA – Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indoneisa, Brunei, Papua New Guinea, Philippines.

    * NORTH EAST ASIA – Mongolia, Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea.

    As you can see, many of these countries are near, share borders with, or share shipping/trade routes with Europe.

    If you are talking about Y-DNA, you have to remember that goes back further than a paper genealogy trail can go, PLUS, you have to remember that populations of people were not static and moved to find a better life, moved into an area to conquer more land, or had families with natives of areas where there were shipping/trade routes.

    • Wow, thank you for your extensive reply. My paternal great uncle’s Ancestry DNA results showed a trace region of 3% from Caucacus. Could this be where the Haplogroup came from?

  2. So interesting, my relatives come from Central Asia and maybe from Eastern Asia. My maternal grandparents were from Ukraine. I haven’t been on this site for over a year and have my DNA analysis from 23andMe at being Caucasian but I don’t know the percentage and also from Eastern European. Now what Haplogroup is it that you are from, mine is T2b3 and would like to communicate with you..

  3. Hi I’m not sure if my earlier comment posted or not but here it goes again…23 and me DNA report stated I am 36% Native American and my haplo group is C1D. How accurate is this report and is this haplo group extremely rare? Thanks in advance

  4. Hello Roberta –

    I be reading about this because lately I have have been running into “Get relatives tested!”. Unfortunately, i am the only one interested in genealogy alive today, in my family. I am sure my brother and my parents would do it, but unfortunately they have “moved on”. My brother’s ashes are still available (provided the “Wicked Witch of the North” would lend access to them.) I do have two sisters and some cousins and a second cousin (who is into genealogy) but I do not know how much their DNA would offer.

    What would you recommend I do? Have have had all three of mine done for sometime now.

    Thanks, Jim

    • Absolutely test your two sisters and your second cousin. Your sisters will both carry part of your parents DNA that you don’t, so it will help immensely in terms of matching. Your second cousins will too. If you match your second cousin and someone else on the same segment, for example, you’ll know the match came from that line in the family.

  5. Hi–I am trying to help someone get into the DAR. We were wondering if you have a Will for Jacob, son of Henry who married Elizabeth Inksell? I would hope that the will would show son Peter. Thanks in advance! (past Registrar, Major James Kerr Chapter, DAR, Kerrville, TX

  6. I am finding a number of “fairly significant” matches (i.e., 20-30 cM) for which the MRCA seems to be of early German/Dutch ancestry in Albany NY, most of whom were born somewhere between 1615-1630. I have DNA tests results from siblings, first, second, third, fourth cousins — and even a couple of 9th cousins, who also share matches with these people. My only portal to this group is through who I think is my 2rd great-grandmother (this is what I’m trying to establish). Help me make sense of this please!

    Nancy A

  7. Hi, Roberta, I think i would be useful if you could post, in “About Me,” your autosomal account usernames on 23andMe, AncestryDNA, and FTDNA, and your kit number on GEDmatch — assuming as I suppose that you have all these.

    In particular, as I have some Millers who were Brethren in Pennsylvania in the 1700’s, there’s always that odd chance. Just for reference, my GEDmatch kit is A213425

  8. I’m posting here because I couldn’t find a email address for you. I’ve just started playing with the new maternal and paternal matching in FTDNA and am wondering what you think of it. I know you wrote a blog entry on it but I don’t recall mention of how good a job you thought it was doing, Its a propitiatory algorithm so I’m wondering if there’s any way to gauge how accurate a job its doing. As I understanding things its basically phasing with first cousins as well as more immediate relatives to form its judgments.

  9. I’m posting here because I couldn’t find an email address for you. I’ve been reading your blog for some time. If you haven’t already read it, I’d like to recommend the 2010 New York Times Bestseller, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” by Rebecca Skloots. It reads like a detective novel, but I thought most relevant to you and what I’ve read on your blog would be the discussion in the Afterword talking about the use of human biological materials in scientific research – very necessary, of course, but can there be reform in how people are informed? Of course, things have changed since then, such as the U.S. Supreme Court 2013 ruling that genes can’t be patented (that DNA ”is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated), but much still needs to be resolved.

  10. Roberta,

    My mother never knew who her father was, but we always suspected one person. I recently saw a picture of her suspected father on findagrave and I see my mom’s face! It is important I obtain a high grade analysis because I am attempting to compare her to a suspected half sister (same dad, different mothers). The suspected half sister agreed and I am having her tested in Ancestry.com, 23andme, and ftdna, all applicable tests. I know it sounds like overkill, but I would like corroborated results.

    I would like to test my mother, but she is not in good health and is in a nursing home. The end is not too far away. She is not capable of providing saliva in the required quantities due to the poor health and dementia. Is there a way to “cheat” the saliva sample providing more dna, like a sterile cheek swab washed into the saliva sample with saline or distilled water, or a pin prick blood drop diluted with saline or distilled water? Is there a testing service that could use blood or tissue samples? I know these would be more “forensic grade” and more expensive. But the results are important to me and my family!


  11. Roberta,
    I have an endogamous population and we trace our line back to it then records are lost. We know we belong to this endogamous group but not how we fit in the larger picture. If we do a Y test with a male, will it tell us which line in that group we belong to or just that we are from that greater group? Can we pin down a line via Y testing?

    • The Y test will show you (hopefully) which direct paternal line you come from. So yes, you stand a good chance on that specific line. However, the Y is only relevant for that one line – but it’s VERY relevant.

  12. Thank you for your detailed information. I am still a bit confused as to which test to order…My father says he is 1/4 Native American indian, his father 1/2 NA Indian, and his mother was full blood NA Indian. I am female. so i can’t do the Y test…sounds like the mitochondria test will follow my mother’s side so do I do a combo? If so which would be the most accurate?
    Thanks, Cherie

    • You’re correct in that you can’t test for the Native line’s Y or mtDNA. You can take an autosomal test to test for ethnicity percentage estimates. You would be one eighth. You can also see if you can find someone in your family who descends from the Native woman through all females to the current generation (which can be male or female) so that you can test their mitochondrial DNA to see if it is Native.

  13. Both my father and brother are deceased and I wanted to confirm my father’s DNA. I asked 2 of my brother’s sons to do the ydna test and they both agreed. However, neither one of them is interested in genealogy and only did it to please me. I don’t think either one of them has ever accessed their results so they would be unaware of any contact by others. This is another reason why people get no response to a query.

  14. Hello Roberta

    Since being an avid follower of your blog for many years now I am constantly colouring in and handwriting fan charts for a range of different purposes for analysing the DNA of the accounts I am managing. I use Family Tree Maker for Mac but it doesn’t have nice charts like some other programs and charting companion only works on windows. I’ve googled around without much success, so was wondering if you knew of a stand alone program that would work for mac? I am loathe to abandon my FTM given all the information that is in there!


  15. I had DNA marker 12 and 25 done in 2010 through FTDNA. It shows no connection to my birth surname. However, even though my family was never around the others with my surname, we have a lot of the same features, traits and 2 of the physical abnormalities. This was a total shock to the entire family and of course my long researched family tree cannot be true.
    Going back to my research, I found a census of my Great Grandparents. At that time they had. Ren married 2 years but my Grandfather was 4 years old, I have pin pointed that my Great Grandmother is his biological mother ( named after her brother).
    I’m explaining this because I don’t know where or how to go about trying to find out what paternal family we belong to. Any test available that would help. I am female, the DNA was done on my oldest brother! Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  16. Have you gotten your results from Living DNA yet? I’m awaiting your comments before I order a kit for my husband whose immigrant ancestor’s place of origin has yet to be determined.

    Thank you!!
    Theresa McKeon Griffin

  17. Hi I am trying to help my good friend find her Estes ancestors. Her 3x ggf is Joseph T Estes born about 1827 in Tennessee, married Priscilla Cox. There are some questions about if he was a son of John R Estes 1788 (?)-1886. Any help and guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
    Sandy Trowbridge

    • He was not a son of John R. Estes. I posted years ago about this on the rootsweb Estes forum. You might check there for more info. He was the son of Elisha Estes and Jane Rowlett. Elisha was the son of Bartlett EStes and Susanna Estes. If you don’t know about David Powell’s pages, they would be helpful to your friend. http://roots-boots.net/ft/estes.html

  18. Roberta,
    I fortunately was directed to your log by a post on the Clan Campbell Society facebook page. Some of your findings are extremely intriguing to me because I have hit a dead end in searching for the ancestors of my grandfather, Charles Clifford Campbell. Would you be able to discover if your Charles, John and George Campbell are part of my ancestry? The only “official” documents that I’ve been able to locate are a WW I draft registration that shows his dob as March 1882, in York, PA.; his marriage in Maryland in July 1902; and death in Philadelphia, PA in 1965. His death certificate indicates that his father was also Charles, as provided by my eldest aunt Elizabeth.
    Charles Clifford Campbell married Estella Martha Brinckman, and had 10 children between 1902 and 1932. The are: Elizabeth, James, Gerald, Lucy, Viola Marie, Charles, George (my father), Russell, John, and Verna. As I read about naming conventions I am perplexed by that fact that my grandfather Charles, did not name a child after his father (or himself) until the 3d male. I am also curious as how the children’s names were decided. It stands to reason that the male names were in honor of other relatives, and when I saw John and George, I perked up!
    I have been unable to connect my grandfather to any of the many Campbell ancestors that others have posted about. I have no reason to look in Tennessee, but your article showing a George and a John (both children of Charles Clifford), and connected to a Charles (from my experience a relatively unusual name in the Campbell lists) who has a connection to Pennsylvania, prompts this posting.
    I have had the Ancestry DNA done, but am awaiting the Y-DNA to submit to the Clan Campbell DNA Project. Is there anything in your research that might help me determine if I am part of the Charles Campbell line you reference here, or another. Thank you for you kind assistance.

    • You might want to look again. My Charles was born sometime pre-1750 and is not Charles Clifford. Having said that, my suggestion would be to see which Campbell descendants you match most closely on the Y DNA and also on the autosomal DNA. You should take the Family Finder test too if you have not. My Charles was probably originally from Pennsylvania and immigrated into Augusta County, VA. I’m also looking for his family.

  19. I got into this ancestry business last summer because I was trying to find my husband’s birth parents and I’ve been following your blog for awhile.

    I just noticed on ancestry.com that my husband has 53 5th-8th cousin matches with a Dodson/Dotson surname in their tree going back to the 1600s. The largest segment is 13cM.

    I have determined that my husband is a descendant of George Patterson and Anny Dods. Their daughter Elizabeth married James Cairns. My husband is a Cairns determined through y-dna testing and a 1C1R match with a Cairns maiden name. One of her four uncles is my husband’s grandfather. Could these matches be from Anny Dods 1757-1795 family?

    One of his matches lists Charles Dodson and Anne Dodson and their son Thomas. Several other matches list Thomas’s sister Elisha 1727-1791. Several others list the brother Abraham. I’ve only had time to look at the first 30. Three more were locked.

  20. I am not sure who my Great-great-great-grandfather was or what his real name was! I had a match on Family Tree Y-DNA at 110 of 111 markers and several at 109 and 105 of 111 with a different last name. The only match with my last name was my brother at 111 of 111. Does that mean we should have the same last name as the person we matched? In the Family Finder section it indicated we were not related! Not even Cousins.

    • You may not match people beyond second cousins. So someone with your surname may not match you autosomally. Did you search your Family Finder matches for that surname?

      • Yes, i did and no close matches with my sir name and only 3 than were 5th cousin.
        The family that I have never herd of before with the same Haplogroup Marker and 110/111 markers I have Dozens at 2nd cousin and hundreds of matches at 4th & 5th cousin and beyond!!

  21. Roberta, I was checking out some new matches on FTDNA and noticed that it actually assigned maternal /paternal designations to some as distant as 5th to remote. I thought it could only use second cousin info for identification. Has anyone evaluated the accuracy of this feature?

      • Thanks, Roberta but I’m still not sure I understand this. I have only linked one sibling and one first cousin on each side. Looking at new matches since 3/1/17, 3 show as maternal. One is paternal. My sister’s tree is the same as my tree and my maternal cousin has almost no tree and no links so just who are they phasing? Anyone who they estimate is at least a 2nd to 3rd cousin or is all this coming from people who match both me and my 1st cousins?

        • They compare the DNA of your matches to your DNA and the DNA of a relative, third cousin or closer, that you have linked to a side of your tree. If there is a match between you and the known relative to the third person on the same segment, they know that third person is from that side of your tree. They have a white paper in their learning center about how they do this, exactly.

  22. I looked through the learning center but I don’t seem to have hit on the white paper you referred to. Is there a magic search term that will lead me to it.

  23. Having read the white paper on Family Matching I have strong doubts about whether I can trust it in my case. In particular I point to the reference about “as long as both parents or neither parent comes from an endogamic population”. As an Ashkenazi Jew I currently have over 10,000 matches — 422 Paternal, 1037 Maternal, 34 Both. (That’s up from about 6-7000 just a few years ago). Neither of my parents were tested before they died so all relationships must be coming from my sibling and 2 first cousins who are the only family members I have linked.

    I wonder whether they are taking such things as pile-up points into consideration. I have a huge number of matches on chr 22 for instance. Is 9 cM a realistic threshold for endogenous populations? I would think that anyone with over 10,000 matches should certainly be suspected of being from an endogenous population.

  24. Unfortunately the FTDNA Family Matching facility does not appear to either take endogamy into account or allow you to adjust the parameters of their matching facility to take it into account. So you have to eliminate the probably bad predictions manually.

      • I don’t think I’m following you. I still don’t think its using reasonable parameters for endogenous populations and the white paper really doesn’t give me a clue as to how it thinks it doing an accurate job. Let me give you an example: I sorted my paternal matches in reverse order which put this person at the top. Note that we match on only 20 cM and the longest is 9 (not 10). I have heard that for Jewish populations it is unlikely you can make a connection if there is less that 25 total cm and at least on segment at least 12cM. Note also that this person’s ancestry is completely British and British colonial. While i do have 10% other in my ethnicity estimate I don’t see ANY names here that suggest a Jewish connection.

        5th Cousin – Remote Cousin

        0’Driscoll Abdall (Eng.) Asxland (Eng.) Atkins (Eng.) Adkins (Eng.) Alstrop (Eng.) Andrews (England&Australia) Buck (Eng.) Butcher (Eng.) Bitten (Eng.) Barford (Australia&England&New Zealand) Brooks (Eng.) Barker (Eng.) Brown (Eng.Australia) Bernston Bernstein (Eng.) Barnes Barns (Eng.) Cooper Cowper (Eng.) Cook (Eng.) Coates (Eng.) Clerke (Eng.) Cribb (Eng.) Cross (Eng.) Corke (Eng.) Curtis (Eng.) Carding (Eng.) Crowley (Eng.) Corless (Australia) Day (Eng.) Davaine (Australia) Disney (Eng.) Dickenson (Eng.) Dunn (Australia) Duncomb (Eng.) Diamond (Eng.) Evans (England&Australia) Ellis (Australia) Finnis (Australia) Griffen (Eng.) Grissel Grizzle Griszel Grisold (Eng.) Green (Eng.) Hay (Australia) Hopper (Eng.) Hicks (Eng.) Haigh (Australia) Hill (Eng.) Howell (Eng.) Hall (Eng.) Hollebone (Australia) Hallet (Eng.) Holland (Eng.) Hines (Australia) Hancock (Eng.) Harvey (Eng.) Hayward (Australia) Hartshorne (Eng.) Jackson (Eng.) Jones (Eng.) James (Australia) Johnson (Australia) Kellaway (Australia) Killforde (Eng.) Kinge (Eng.) Lee (Eng.) Lewis (Australia) Lane (Australia) McCormack (Australia) Mooney (Australia) Markham (Eng.) Negus (Australia) Nightingale (England&Australia) Norton (Australia) Norman (Eng.) O’Brian (Australia) Okey (Eng.) Osmonton (Eng.) Oliver Olyver (Eng.) Owen (Eng.) Pigott (Eng.) Potter (Eng.) Petrie (Eng.) Peters (Eng.) Poole (England&Australia) Pierce (Eng.) Price (Australia) Pearson (Eng.Australia) Parson (Australia) Parker (Eng.) Ruby (England&Australia) Roberts (Eng.) Rochester (Australia) Richmond Webb (Eng.) Reid (Eng.) Rathbane Rathbone (Eng.) Spicer (England&Australia) Spire (Eng.) Shekleton (Australia) Stoakes (Eng.) Stanford (Australia) Street (Eng.) Strange (Australia) Sheldon (England&Australia) Sellers (Australia) Smith (Australia England America) Smithson (Australia) Saunders (Australia) Symonds Symons (Eng.) Toogood (Eng.) Tayler (Eng.) Thompson (Australia) Tracy (Eng.) Throsell (Australia) Throckmorton (Eng.) Treleaven (England&Australia) Vass (Eng.) Wabber (Eng.) Weick (Australia) White (England&Australia) Wood (Eng.) Witham (Eng.) Wetherly (Eng.) Wallesen (Eng.) Wheeler (Eng.) Ware (Eng.)

  25. Hi Roberta! I have difficulty with pursuing Swedish matches, and an individual – who is a member of the Swedish Facebook group – offered to assist me. I have searched in your blogs for answers to this question: What can be done about “password sharing?” When an individual is NOT a project administrator, how can the mtDNA & FF testing at FTDNA be made available to this individual? I have permission from the family member for my access when I paid for the testing – and understand I need permission from the family member in order to share s/he access & info. But how can I share info about s/he matches from FTDNA for mtDNA & FF? Thanks! P.S. You are still my hero when you encouraged me to get my dad’s shaver whiskers tested! 😉

    • The only way to share passwords is to share the password, and yes, you would need the person’s permission. Have you joined the Swedish DNA project? They could help you and you wouldn’t have the password sharing issue.

      • I approached one of the Swedish member – who has volunteered to help and follow up on the matches. He has assured me he is the only one who would have access. And I would ask the relative for permission since it’s her DNA. But a project admin of one of the Dalrymple groups warned me to never give out a password – or mine or anyone. What is the risk?

        • Anyone you give access to can change anything in your account. Can communicate with your matches, posing as you. They can change your password and lock you out of your account. They can make selections the person has chosen to make private, public. They could even request that the results and test be deleted entirely. Administrators are prevented from doing much of this because FTDNA has limited their ability to many functions. Furthermore, if admins do something in appropriate, they will be removed as admins, and they know that so there are consequences. A kit number and password is a key to the kingdom. I would not do this with someone I did not know and trust. You can ask to form a private project for your family, join that person to that group, and then you can make that Facebook person a co-admin. That sounds like it would be the best of both worlds. To form a private project, e-mail groups@ftdna.com.

  26. Roberta I think your response to Leslie has given me hope. I will contact groups@ftdna.com to see what I need to do to manage my 2 cousins AncestryDNA results on FTDNA. And also, do you have any articles with details of how to administer other family members DNA results? Thank you for your help and all the great articles you post.

  27. I’d be interested in receiving some personal feedback in regards to professionals in the field that specialize in adoption cases.

  28. I enjoyed your article which DNA test is best, but when I went to the Family Tree web site to order the prices were very different than in your article. Family finder was $89, Y-DNA started at $169 and went to $359, mt-DNA started at $79 and went to $199. So it would appear that I would have to spend at least $340 to get y, mt, and check family. Not counting the shipping and handling charges or other charges they might have for me to get my resulting data. Did I read your article wrong or have they changed their pricing in the short time since you wrote the article? I did a DNA test in the past with ancestry.com, can I use that/get that data to use?

    • I checked and the prices stated in the articles are accurate, with one $10 change. The problem, I think, is that people presume they receive everything in one test, when in fact, they don’t. The Family Finder test, which is autosomal, is the same kind of test at either Ancestry’s or the one at 23andMe. So the $89 at Family Tree DNA is comparable to the $99 at either of those vendors. Neither of those vendors offers either the mtDNA nor the Y DNA tests, nor comparisons with other people, etc. Those are completely different tests, and yes, you pay for them separately. I have added the pricing for those tests so that there is no confusion.

  29. Hi Roberta;
    I have an idea on a blog article that might help us men with various haplogroup and subclade estimates…

    I have now tested at FTDNA (111 marker Y), 23-and-me and LivingDNA. All of these vendors provide Y-Haplogroup estimates. At first glance, mine seem all different. For example, at FTDNA I am R-M269, at 23andme I am R-L51 and at LivingDNA I am R-P312, subclade R-CTS4065. It took me a while to figure out these are all part of the same R-M269 branch, and that FTDNA was providing me with the coarsest estimate, 23andme with an intermediate-precision estimate, and Living with the finest precision estimate.

    Is this true? If so, why would one bother with buying new SNP packs at FTDNA, since they start at the lowest precision estimate, and Living gives you the highest? I purchased the most number of Y-markers at FTDNA, yet they returned the lowest precision estimate – am I confusing SNPs with STRs here? Would buying the Big-Y get me an even finer precision that Living does? Anyhow, a blog on this with your clarity and knowledge might help me and a lot of other men who are trying to decipher the varying levels of Y-haplogroup estimate we get out there.


    • Hi Tyler,

      Yes, you are confusing STRs and SNPS, and the purpose of both. At FTDNA, the test provides STR markers and compared you to other men for genealogical purposes. They estimate your haplogroup as part of what you receive, but the test for STRs is different than testing haplogroup SNPs. Your idea about an article is good. This article will help understand the difference between SNPs and STRs and when they are used. https://dna-explained.com/2014/02/10/strs-vs-snps-multiple-dna-personalities/

      People purchase SNP packs because they want to confirm their SNPS. The packs are the best values. Both 23andMe and LivingDNA test limited SNPs, but not all, by any means. The Big Y scans the entire region of the Y chromosome that reliably can be read for SNPs, so you get all of the SNPs you have, plus any new variants that are new SNPs waiting to be discovered. This article explains the difference between FTDNA and how 23andMe (and also Living DNA) assign haplogroups. https://dna-explained.com/2014/03/24/haplogroup-comparisons-between-family-tree-dna-and-23andme/

      Neither 23andMe nor LivingDNA provide STR markers, and they cannot and do not provide any comparisions like FTDNA does. So while you do get a haplogroup at some level from those companies, it’s not useful for genealogy in the same way that the FTDNA markers are. Here’s how you can work with Y DNA STR markers. https://dna-explained.com/2017/06/05/working-with-y-dna-your-dads-story/

  30. Wow! Totally confused and feeling very overwhelmed! Lol. I simply want to order a test for my husband who was told his whole life he was Irish and now is finding out that this may be untrue! Could you put it in laymen terms of which test would be best? Please

    • All ethnicity tests are only estimates. Each companies results will be different. I would select Familt Tree DNA or test with all 3 major companies to compare. You can read the article Which Erhnicity Test is Best.

  31. I’ve been trying to track my C1c mtDNA heritage for a while, after finally locating a full mtDNA match on FTDNA, it seems like something finally clicked. Both of our common ancestors are from the same general region of Northeastern Tennessee, and same time period (~1800). The surname I have for my ancestor, Spring, doesn’t turn up much, but their maternal ancestor’s surname, Mullins, brought me back here and information about Melungeons.

    Is having my mtDNA full sequence useful for finding additional information? Is there already a Melungeon database? It’s KX379141 in the genbank database and also on FTDNA.

  32. Dear Roberta,

    I am an administrator of several DNA projects at FTDNA. But this is a personal question.

    I know through Y-DNA and atDNA who my pair of biological great-grandparents are on my father’s paternal side. However, I am trying to determine which of their 2 sons is my biological grandfather. One of the sons has a son and I just tested both his Y-DNA and atDNA. The Y-DNA is spot on (which I knew it would be. Was just confirming through DNA). I was hoping the atDNA would 100% confirm whether this man and my father are are half -siblings or first cousins. The number of total cM they share is 957. This puts them in range for both possible relationships. However, when I compare their chromosomes on the Chromosome Browser, they DO NOT share DNA on all 22 chromosomes. They only share DNA on 17 out of the 22 chromosomes. I have a pair of half-sisters in one of my projects and they share DNA on all 22 chromosomes. So…does the fact that my dad and his new relative don’t share DNA on all 22 chromosomes mean they are first cousins? Or could they still be half-brothers?

    Thanks for any light you can shed on this!

    • They could still be half-brothers, although I think it’s unlikely, but that’s just an opinion and not based on a study. Kitty Cooper is doing a study on this, I believe, so you might want to check her blog and participate.

  33. Hi I just had my DNA test done and my sister and I had different results. I show 42 % italian my mothers father was italian. Is it possible for me to have that high percentage? If my mother is half Italian?

  34. Hi Roberta,

    Your articles are very helpful and educational.

    Is Family Tree DNA in process of updating Ancient European Origins data with findings of Y-DNA in SE Europe? I see FTDNA dig icon in Hungary but not in other neighboring locations.There were several published papers with the results from Romania and Serbia in the last three years. For example, https://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2017/05/09/135616

    Also, is Vinca Culture Y-DNA research part of your Ancient Origins database?
    5604-5376 BC, G2a21-PF3147
    4710-4504 BC, G2a2a1a-PF3177
    4605-4460 BC, G2a2a1a-PF3177


  35. A cousin talked me into doing my DNA-Y and later he wanted me to do a DNA test. As I have already done one at Ancestry.com, he told me to add the raw results to Family tree DNA. I could see what the tools were so he sent a link. In reading your information I see you have Jakob Lenz, born in 1783. Looking at my tree I see I have him as well. The dates are a little out and I have a different wife, sort of. Johanna Frederica Mosselman, born 1788. I can give you a site that has many relatives from church and civil records that my German cousin has spent many years extracting from the records for the town of Beutelsbach. Jakob and my ancestor was the father who has as a descendant, the last President Obama.
    John Reed [New Zealand]

    • I would love to hear from you John. I found his wife in the church records as well so that is how we know her surname. She has an article too. It’s an amazing story.

      • If you search the Internet for’ local heritage book beutelsbach’ you will find a site in German. If you have found the right site, you will find flags on the left side. Click on the British one. You will see surnames. click on the ‘L’ and then on Lenz. Go down to Jacob 1783 and you will see his family etc. On the right you will see a link to Martin, our cousin.

  36. Hi Roberta, Im at a loss I did 23andme.My mother was left at a church in the Bronx as a baby she was born in 1931. Her name is unknown. I am at a loss of how to begin this journey to give her a name and a family with over a thousand matches, I have tried sending messages to my closest matches but with very little response. I do not know any of these names I match with which now has me concerned on a personal level as to why, I come from a very large family on my fathers side. Can you give me an idea how to start this journey.

  37. Just read the info for adoptees in your DNA test comparison guide. As a would-be genetic genealogist and student climbing the learning curve, I found it terrific! Balanced, focused, easy to navigate, clear, unbiased. You should write a book! No don’t write a book because I am doing that!

  38. (Not sure how to contact Roberta). Am having a little trouble participating in the blog. When I clicked “Like” it asked me to log in. Am not sure what I am logging in to. I have a WordPress website but not a blog.

  39. Hello, My Grandfather on my mother’s side is supposed to be half Indian and half Irish “Corbin” descent. His mother is supposed to be full 100% Indian. Which test would I use to determine my percentage of Indian descent? Would it be better if my brother or oldest son was tested instead of me?
    Thank you in advance for your help.

    • If your grandfather was was half Indian, you would be about 12%. so would your brother. Your son would carry about half of what you do. So, take the Family Finder test. You might want to purchase one for both you and your brother. The link is on the sidebar and it’s $49 this weekend.

  40. Splendid site and commentary by Roberta Estes! Well done. I’ve happened upon this site out of curiosity; my current interest is to gain a bit of insight into the major dispersal patterns of ancient homo sapiens out of Northern Africa and how I am personally connected to the larger family of modern humans. Thanks a million for the presentation of research and detail in a clear and compelling textual format.

  41. I read an article you wrote about the difference between SNPs and STRs. You stated that information from both can be beneficial. And I’ve seen the great information you’ve provided on what to do with SNP data, but I have DNA results from a paternity test when I had possibly found my biological parents (both matched me) at IUPUI using the ampflstr identifiler method. I am having a REALLY hard time finding information on how to make use of my STR test. Any suggestions?

  42. Roberta:
    My wife and I are trying to identify her paternal line. Her father was adopted and the records, supposedly, are non-existent. In doing some digging, I have located a photograph of an “uncle” of my wife’s father. While her father, obviously, does not resemble his adopted father, the resemblance with her father’s “uncle” is uncanny – to the point of making one wonder if he might not be her father’s biological father.
    We have identified a grandson of the “uncle” and want to approach him about participating in a DNA test, utilizing my wife’s brother as a participant as well. Our question is: will Y and mitochondrial testing provide us with a “yes” or a “no” as to ancestral ties to the “uncle”?
    Your advice and counsel on this would most appreciated.
    Gregory Phillips

    • Yes, the Y DNA should be the same, assuming your wife and her brother are full siblings. The mtDNA will not be the same because your wife and her brother obtained their mtDNA from their mother, who got it from her mother. However, also order the Family Finder test which will provide you with the amount of matching DNA which will then give you relationship ranges that are applicable.

  43. Hi Roberta, just had my dna done and I was surprised to see that I probably have a link with the melungeon group. Several surnames in my tree are on this list from my dads side and mothers side. Tolliver, Cox, Hall. Is there anyway I can find out for sure if I’m in this group? My mother’s side is from Matewan WV and my dads is from Pikeville KY

  44. Hi Roberta. My late wife and I match each other on chromosome 11 on a 22-cM-block. The only known biological relationship with my wife is 9 generations ago, our common ancestor Bent lived in our local community from appr. 1600 to 1685! This relationship goes via my father and her father. I am a descendant from Bents daughter Anna Cathrine (born 1653), and my wife is a desc. from Anna Cathrines sister, Jannicke (born 1657). Three of my 1st cousins on my fathers side also match my wife in exactly the same segment. Is it really possible to find common segments of this size 9 generations apart??

  45. Thanks very much for your answer. It is indeed exciting. Would you say that this match between my wife and me (and 3 of my 1st cousins) could be an example of what you in your article called «sticky segment», or have I totally misunderstood what you meant by that expression?

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