We’re approaching Valentine’s Day, and I’m reminded just how much I love genetic genealogy. I already loved genealogy before the genetic portion emerged. Since DNA has been added to our toolbox, I’m head over heels.
I can’t even begin to count the number of breakthroughs I’ve had using DNA. On EVERY LINE.
In order to further my own genealogy, I’ve purchased countless (I don’t want to count, truthfully) kits and tests for other people. I don’t regret any single one of those dollars, because they all helped ME. Yes, even kits that didn’t match helped me.
Why? Because they might have matched. Some did match. Some provide haplogroup information for my ”Big 8” meaning for all of my 8 great-grandparents.
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As you can see, I still need to find test candidates for two of my great-grandparents to complete the “Big 8.”
My now-deceased aunt tested for the Margaret Claxton/Clarkson line before mitochondrial full sequencing was commercially available. When I wanted to upgrade her test to full sequence and autosomal, I couldn’t because the archived DNA quality was too poor. Now, I need to find another testing candidate to discover her full haplogroup aside from the rather generic H. Lesson learned – now I just order the whole shebang out the gate!
A second mitochondrial test that I need is for Evaline Miller, my Brethren great-grandmother.
Do You Qualify For a Free Test?
Shameless plug – If you descend from any of the following women through all females to the current generation, where testers can be either males or females, I have a free mitochondrial AND autosomal test for YOU at Family Tree DNA. Happy Valentine’s Day!
- Margaret Claxton (1851-1920) Hancock Co, TN
- Elizabeth Speaks (1832-1907) Hancock Co., TN
- Ann McKee (1804/5-1850/50) Washington Co., VA, Lee Co., VA
- Elizabeth, wife of Andrew McKee (1766-1814) Washington Co., VA
- Evaline Miller (1857-1939) Elkhart Co., Indiana
- Margaret Elizabeth Lentz (1822-1903) Montgomery Co., Ohio, Elkhart Co., Indiana
- Fredericka Reuhle (1788-1863) Beutelsbach, Germany, Montgomery Co., Ohio
- Dorothea Katharina Wolfin (b 1755) Beutelsbach, Germany
- Dorothea Keubach (1729-1790) Endersbach, Germany, Beutelsbach, Germany
Let’s say you want to do the same thing, find people who are candidates to test for specific lines.
Finding Test Candidates
How might you find these people? Trees of autosomal DNA matches are a good choice. I mine my DNA matches at all vendors to see who might match me in the direct line needed to carry the Y or mitochondrial DNA of the desired ancestor. If someone has already DNA tested, they at least understand the subject and you’re not introducing the topic of DNA testing from scratch.
The three main testing vendors (along with GedMatch) each have a variety of tools to help find candidates.
- Ancestry: Green leaf hints DNA+Tree Matching
- Family Tree DNA: Phased maternal and paternal “bucketed” match results, trees and in-common surnames
- MyHeritage: DNA+Tree Matching called SmartMatching
- GedMatch: Search all GEDCOMs and GEDCOM 1 to All
As luck would have it, all three vendors are having Valentine’s Day DNA Sales too.
Valentine Day Sales and Testing Strategy
Now is a great time to test and transfer your autosomal DNA results for maximum matching.
Family Tree DNA
Family Tree DNA is having their “Sprinkle Some DNA Love” sale where the Family Finder autosomal test is on sale for $59.
If you want the option of Y, mitochondrial and autosomal, Family Tree DNA is the vendor to select, as they are the only vendor performing Y and mitochondrial testing and matching. You can purchase the Family Finder test today and add any of the other tests, either now or later. $59 is the least expensive price of all the vendors this holiday and you can transfer to MyHeritage and GedMatch for free!
MyHeritage is on sale for $69 (or $59 if you purchase 2.) You can transfer Family Tree DNA kits to MyHeritage and vice versa without losing any quality or matches because Family Tree DNA’s lab runs the tests for MyHeritage. In fact, this is a great approach because transfers are free and you can fish in both ponds. Both vendors have advanced tools. MyHeritage tends to have European testers not in other data bases, so whether your transfer or test, you’ll want to be there if you have European heritage.
The transfer is free to Family Tree DNA, but there is a charge to unlock their advanced tools, so the best testing strategy would be to test at Family Tree DNA (where the test is less expensive) and transfer to MyHeritage. Total cost – $59 at Family Tree DNA where the total cost of testing first at MyHeritage and transferring to FTDNA is $88 (or $78 each if you purchase 2 kits.)
Ancestry’s test is also on sale for $69. You can transfer the Ancestry results to Family Tree DNA and MyHeritage, but the Ancestry test only covers about 25% of the same test locations as either Family Tree DNA or MyHeritage. As a result, at Family Tree DNA, you only receive your closest 20-25% of your matches and at MyHeritage, they utilize imputation to compensate for the shortcoming. Ancestry’s matching data base is quite large and their tools, though not as comprehensive as elsewhere, are easy to use.
You cannot transfer any results TO Ancestry, so my recommendation if you’re going to test at Ancestry would be to also test at Family Tree DNA and transfer your results to MyHeritage.
Of course, all three of these tests provide the much-sought-after ethnicity estimates.
Testing (and Money Saving) Strategy
Of the four vendors who provide autosomal matching, the comparative costs during the Valentine’s Day sale are as follows:
- If you’re only going to make one purchase, you can purchase a kit for $59 at Family Tree DNA, have it available for upgrades and transfer to both MyHeritage and GedMatch for free.
- You can test at Ancestry and Family Tree DNA, both, and transfer to MyHeritage and GedMatch for a total cost of $128 and be swimming in all the best ponds!
- If you’re an adoptee or seeking an unknown parent, you’ll want to test at 23andMe as well. Their Ancestry Service kit is on sale for $79 now, but 23andMe has dropped to a distant 4th in terms of genetic genealogy.
How about buying a genetic genealogy valentine bouquet for someone you love!
Click here to “sprinkle some DNA love” at Family Tree DNA.
Click here to purchase at or transfer files to MyHeritage.
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