helix graphicI’ve always made it a policy to reply to every e-mail or information request that I receive.  The good news is that my blogs have become very popular.  The bad news is that I now receive literally hundreds of e-mails and inquiries every day, many asking questions or for advice, and I just can’t keep up anymore.  So, I’ve assembled this information which provides direction for most of the types of inquiries I receive.

First, let me tell you what I do and don’t do, and provide some guidance for you to find the resources you need.

I am not a DNA testing company and I don’t do DNA testing. There are no free DNA tests unless a private individual wishes to pay for your test for genealogical reasons. Consumers must pay the testing companies for the testing service.

I write Personalized DNA Reports for both Y-line and mitochondrial DNA. I do not do reports for autosomal DNA nor telephone consultations.

To order a Y DNA report you must have tested to at least 37 markers at Family Tree DNA, and for a mitochondrial report, you must have tested at least to the HVR2 level, although the full sequence is preferred.

You can read more about the reports here:

I provide a “Quick Consult” service where you can ask a DNA related question related to Y, mitochondrial DNA, autosomal or a combination of the above via e-mail. The Quick Consult is designed for quick questions that do not involve complex genealogical situations and can be answered in less than an hour.

You can purchase the Y and mitochondrial DNA Reports or the Quick Consult at

I do not do phone consultations.

For other questions and requests, I have written several articles to help you help yourself. You can find them on my website at and on my blog, below.

My Blog

My blog is free and fully searchable by key word and there are nearly 800 articles available. So, enter the word or words you might be looking for and you will receive a list of relevant articles.

The search box is in the upper right portion of the screen.

The Different Kinds of DNA Tests

There are different tests for genetic genealogy. I’ve explained the differences here:

DNA Testing Companies

Some companies are more reputable than others and some are outright scams.

If you are considering ordering a DNA test from either Ancestry or 23andMe, be sure you understand that both of those companies sell your DNA – and you authorize them to do so when you sign to order your kit. Make sure you understand what you are authorizing. Read this:

And this:

If you’re looking for a DNA testing company, I recommend Family Tree DNA at this link. They are the only DNA testing company that offers all of the different types of genetic genealogy tests and they do not sell or otherwise disclose your DNA.

Which Test is Best?

I’ve written two articles that compare the various tests and the vendors providing different types of test:

Which DNA Test is Best? here:

Which Ethnicity Test is Best? here:

For Beginners

Kelly Wheaton provides a great series for beginners at:

Adoptees and Parent Search

First, check the help link which includes adoptee and parent-search information.

I’ve answered the most common questions there.

All adoptees and people searching for a birth parent or missing grandparent should visit and utilize their methodologies.

Native American Heritage

If you are searching for your Native American heritage or your tribe, read these two articles:

This article provides a summary of many Native resources:

My blog, Native Heritage Project is fully searchable.

The Native American Ancestry Explorer group for Native American or minority DNA questions is at:

African American

Confirming Enslaved Ancestors Utilizing DNA webinar by Melvin Collier through Legacy Family Tree Webinars – available to watch anytime.

I strongly recommend that you join the African Descendant’s Genetic Genealogy Facebook group.


If you are looking for Melungeon information, read this paper:

Ethnicity in General

If you are looking for your ethnicity, read this:

If you are trying to understand your ethnicity results, read this:

Assistance with Autosomal DNA

If you are trying to figure out what to do, and how, with autosomal DNA results, read these two articles:

If you are looking for someone to walk you through “what to do” with autosomal DNA, you can take a “how to” class.

If you are looking for someone to personally walk you through your DNA results, Diahan Southard provides that service online through her firm and you can contact her at

If you are looking for someone to help you work through your autosomal DNA results and associated genealogy, Jennifer Zinck provides that type of combined service. You can contact her at

Both Diahan and Jennifer provide a “tutoring” service.

There are two Facebook groups where you can ask questions as well. The ISOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogy) group for general DNA questions is at:

DNA Newbie at

Professional Genetic Genealogical Services

I have made a referral arrangement with Legacy Tree, a company offering professional genealogical research services. Their staff includes an exceptional genetic genealogist, Paul Woodbury. Paul is both a certified genealogist as well as a genetic genealogist and he is excellent. Legacy Tree has offered a $50 introductory coupon if you mention my name (Roberta Estes), which assures that my genetic genealogy clients are directed to Paul. To take advantage of this offer or to receive a quote from Legacy Tree, click here.

For other genealogical assistance, please visit

Online and Social Media Resources

Facebook Genetic Genealogy Tips and Techniques group:

The original genetic genealogy list:

The DNA Newbie group:

FaceBook has an ISOGG group.

Other mailing lists:

Books and Education

Kelly Wheaton provides 19 free lessons in her Beginners Guide to Genetic Genealogy at:

Other Blogs

Affiliate Links

Last, if you are going purchase anything from the following entities, will you please do me the favor of clicking through the following affiliate links when you purchase. It doesn’t cost you any more, but I receive a small commission which helps fund free educational initiatives in the DNA community, such as this informational page and hundreds of free articles on the DNA-explained blog.

Thank you so much and best of luck on your DNA journey. I hope you unlock the mystery of your ancestors!

Roberta Estes

276 thoughts on “Help

  1. An idea for a blog post:
    My Mother died last July 25th. I live 800 miles away and was about to order (thought about it many times) a testing kit for her to take with me on my next visit. Hospice called and said she only had a few days.
    I called one of the companies and asked if I could put together a kit and send it to them. They gave me some instruction. This was after she had passed away. Called my brother to see if he could do it. Talked to the attending nurse to see if she would do it. Neither one wanted to take it on. According to the testing company, the mortuary staff could have done it but by this time I decided I was stressing out too many people and gave it up.

    There are other female descendants to get the mitochondrial dna from and a surviving brother. However, I am genetically a procrastinator so we will see how this works out.

    Perhaps you could do a blog post on how to put together a testing set and how to perform a test in emergency situations so that there is some chance of getting proper data. Haven’t found anything on your site or any of the company sites that covers this.

    Enjoy reading your blog and have learned a lot about dna and genealogy. Thanks for all that you do.

      • +1 for this idea.
        I’d love to read also Roberta’s take on these cases:
        “if your grandmother was still alive, which test you will do”
        “how to collect & store dna while waiting for q-tips to be shipped to you”

    • Could you please direct me where I can get a DNA test to test for Native American heritage? Thanks in advance.

    • Frank, I am in the same predicament. Mom died quickly, no time or thought for tests. She was cremated. Wonder if ashes have any DNA left in them? Probably not. Oh how I wish I knew about genetic testing before she died! I think I have a snippet of her hair! Maybe some one can run a DNA test from that? Sure would like to know what my options are. I like your post, thanks for speaking up for the many of us who are left wondering what to do, when it seems too late. Blessings!

    • I asked companies after my brother passed away if they could use DNA from the sweat in his hats, his inhaler, toothbrush, or anything. I was told companies hadn’t gone that far in research. I started into genealogy after my brother passed to cope. I was upset there was nothing I could do. I don’t even know if there are companies outside of the genealogy world that can extract the DNA and send it or store it? It’s sad. They can do different things for crime research but not for somebody mourning.

      • The problem is that the success rate is extremely minimal and the contamination issue is huge. I tried three times at more than $1000 a piece and still got no results. Most people would only be happy IF they got results. The extraction has to be done in an entirely “clean room” and that prep means no other DNA can be in that room. It’s an entirely different procedure from normal DNA processing. So they aren’t being difficult, they are being realistic.

  2. Roberta–I got a match on Gedmatch for someone in your blogpost about Native American mapping: Charles R. Roberts Jr. Is this significant? I am looking for Melungeon connections (8% African was a surprise) or the Cherokee blood my grandmother said she had. All the Melungeons I match with (8 so far) have a MRCA 6.8 or 6.7 generations back.

    Minimum threshold size to be included in total = 500 SNPs
    Mismatch-bunching Limit = 250 SNPs
    Noise Reduction Threshold = 0.80
    Minimum segment cM to be included in total = 3.0 cM

    Chr Start Location End Location Centimorgans (cM) SNPs
    1 155,106,917 157,199,179 3.1 612
    6 103,317,458 106,428,526 3.1 651
    7 90,830,257 93,773,013 3.0 557
    8 102,006,233 103,733,088 3.9 503
    22 16,070,409 17,928,079 7.4 502

    Largest segment = 7.4 cM
    Total of segments > 3 cM = 20.5 cM
    Estimated number of generations to MRCA = 6.7

    Comparison took 0.09352 seconds.

  3. Hello Roberta, I seem to recall an article you wrote about DNA skipping generations (autosomal i think) you used your own family as an example. I now cant find it, I did try searching. Are you able to refer me to it again please? I have some results that perplex me and im hoping rereading it might help! Thanks Veronica

    • I don’t recall anything about DNA skipping generations. In fact, it can’t. If you don’t inherit it from your parents, you can’t give it to your children. Maybe you’re thinking of something else?? Sorry I can’t be of more help here.

    • The EXPRESSION of DNA can skip generations. Red hair, for example, often skips a generation. However, the genes are still there; they just haven’t been expressed in one generation.

      Light eyes are said to be a recessive trait. You have to get genes for them from both parents. My father had brown eyes, as did both his parents. I have blue/green eyes. Clearly, he had some blue-eyed genes in there somewhere! (Yes, atDNA testing does verify he’s my father!)

      Hope this helps!

  4. Idea for a Blog post: I have trace (Central and South East African) Bantu ethnicity found by both Ancestry V2 and FT-DNA. Coincidentally, I have an English 2X great grandfather on my paternal line who served in both these areas of Africa between 1862 and 1867. It struck me that the reference population individuals in several databases may have a significant European admixture that was not examined as well as one might wish. I’m sure the Dutch and British who both settled and or served in these areas added their own DNA to native populations. In my particular case, the geographical areas were dead on to correspond with his military service. Ever run into the correspondence of African Trace DNA to the various European presences during the 19th century? How often does this show up?

  5. Hi Roberta,
    I am trying to find out more information about my parents ethnicity. Both my parents have taken the and Geno 2.0 dna tests. From what I understand both of these tests only determine my mother’s matrilineal line and my father’s paternal line. If that is correct there are a lot of people left out! I am considering buying the Family Tree DNA 2 Autosomal kits and possibly their Y-67 and Mt Full Sequence tests. Would these tests be more accurate than the ones I have already bought? I would really appreciate your input! I love reading your blog! Thanks! Laura WL

    • Ancestry sold different kits at different times, so the answer relative to Ancestry is “it depends.” Regardless of which tests you took elsewhere, the full sequence mito is more extensive than any others and the Family Finder provides you with lists of cousins in addition to your ethnicity. If you’re going to do the Y, 67 markers is a good place to start.

    • Hello Roberta :
      Ive stumbled on this page and Would absolutely LOVE to speak to you. My name is Roberta And I think I may be able to help you with some of the history. I have in my possession A book that covers the Genetic side Of The Pothiers From wedgeport Nova Scotia, Also Part native and I would love to share information with you.
      Please feel free to contact me the email below for further details.
      Thanks Again
      Roberta Zimmerman

  6. Blog idea
    When a man does a Y-DNA test, why are there different last names as matches? Wouldn’t it go straight up Mr. Jone’s (example) father’s line with the same last name? Where do the other last names come from? NPEs? I am not getting this and don’t understand how the names on a test are different although I understand it can go back thousands of years, right?

  7. Several in my Ro(d)gers Y-DNA Group are worried about what will happen when we die. We imagine a huge dumpster in front of the house as our uninterested kin clean the place out! Both my parents came from the Louisville, KY area, but the Bullitt County, KY History museum is very small and I don’t think they’d want everything from my 8 years of research.

    Do you have any suggestions? Are there national archieves, should I digitize everything, put instructions in my will?

    Maybe this could be a topic for one of your articles?

  8. Got a quick question about the marker matches. I was told that the 67 marker is more significant than the 111 marker matches. For example, I match to “John” at 0 steps in 67 markers but at 6 steps in 111 markers. I match to “Robert” at 1 step at 67 markers and 5 steps in 111 markers. To “Steve” at 0 steps at 67 markers and 3 steps at 111 markers. Someone told me to focus on 67 markers more than 111 markers. “John” told me that he matched to another person more than mine although we match perfectly at 67 markers and he matches the other person at 1 or 2 markers. So I am confused as I thought the more markers the better idea. And why the big jump from 0 to 6 steps within 67 to 111 markers. Thank you in advance for your big help.

    • Yes, the Family Finder test at Family TRee DNA, the test at 23andMe and the Ancestry test all do – BUT – keep in mind that they are all estimates based on their individual underlying databases.

  9. Hello! Accidently found your blog while researching the kind of test I need to confirm bio-dad. Can myself (female) test with a half brother for accurate results. Bio dad is still alive; would testing with him be more accurate than a half brother? I am very apprehensive if some of these labs I would mail my kit to is on the up and up. One kit stated results in two days; I didn’t think that was possible. I am hoping someone on your blog might have an answer for me.

  10. Hi Roberta, I realized that I was no longer receiving DNAeXplained, so tried to subscribe again, and was told I am already subscribed, but still no emails, and they are not landing in my spam box either. I tried to subscribe again just now and got the same answer. I don’t want to miss any emails.

  11. Hi my name is charlisa and I’m being told that I’m 3/8 Indian my uncle told me I can be getting money for being half Native American so I just need to know where do I go to get tested? My number is 231) 288-6106 once again thanks

  12. This is the blog of Gordon Belt who is at the Tennessee State Library and Archives in Nashville. I thought you might be interested because he has several articles about his Melungeon ancestry and his search for accurate Melungeon information. Thank you for all you do!!!

  13. Thank you Roberta for the multitude of helping articles and posts. Without them my old head would have overloaded and would have ended up in the looney house. I am in the process of reading all your articles. Unfortunately I don’t have either of my parents’ DNA. They escaped before I got involved in this quest. So, I have to go the siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins route. The question I have is regarding the “X” chromosome as tested by FTDNA. None of my 25 screens worth of matches, including a maternal 1st cousin 1x, match me on the X. From my readings I conclude that my matches are not on my maternal side, or, more accurately, I can eliminate my ahnentafel numbers for the transmission of the “X” (for me, a male) from being connected to the matches. I have just ordered my sister’s test and will be curious how that will come out and w.o.n. some of my matches will show up in droves as her matches as well. Your advice will be invaluable.
    Keep up your great work and the kindness with which you share it with us.
    Thanks you.


    • The X does not show as a match if you don’t first have matches on other segments. The X has unusual transmission characteristics – so don’t put too much stock in the X for genealogy purposes.

  14. Clarification. I n my post I was talking about the Family Finder test, not the two specific tests for the “X” chromosome.


  15. I looked at eight of my closest matches on Family Finder and had matches on several chromosomes, but not on the X from any of them even at 1cm. ????


  16. Loved your “Estes Big Y DNA Results” blog. Thought you might find Reaney & Wilson’s _Dictionary of English Surnames_ (Oxford University Press, Rev. Ed., 1997) useful in your Estes/Eastus/etc surname research. On page 148, I found this entry, which may be relevant:

    EAST, EASTES, ESTE: Ralph del Est 1196-1237 Colch “Cartularium Monasterii S. Joh. Bapt. de Colecestria,” 2 vols, Roxburghe Club, 1897; Walter Est c1220, Gilb “Transcripts of Charters relating to the Gilbertine Houses” (Lincs Res. Soc. 18, 1922) Lincolnshire; Osbert Upest c1240 Fees, “Liber Feodorum,” 3 vols, London, 1920-31. “Man from the east” or “dweller to the east” of the village.

    There is also a much longer entry for Eustace, Eustice.

    Unfortunately, I see nothing about Kent, alas.

  17. Hello Roberta! I tried to find the answer everywhere as much as I possibly could before contacting you because I know you receive so many questions! My question is; with family tree dna will a family finder test and a y dna test match each other? I did a family finder and my father did a y dna and he isn’t on my matches? I’m sure this must be common knowledge and I’m looking in the wrong place for it. Thanks!

  18. Hi

    I read your article on Ancestry getting the autosomal results all wrong. My wife tested at FTDNA and her My Origins results give her 68% Scandinavian 23% Western European and only 9% British.
    She is 100% British with no recent ancestors from anywhere else back to at least 1800.

    Have FTDNA got this wrong?


    • These are all estimates from all of the vendors. The British Isles are particularly difficult because they were a destination location for all of Europe at one time or another.

  19. I am trying to order the 89.00 family finder to my mtDNA and something is wrong, I can’t find the place to click on accept.

  20. Ms.Roberta, I am in no way seeking any thing monetary, just trying to establish facts for my decendants and their well being. My knowledge is limited to my history, but the fact remains I only have bits and pieces of my history. I was born in 1965, my father was born in 1915, my grandfather was born in 1875 and to my knowledge supposedly I am from French Canadian(Acadian) and American Indian descent. I am only trying to answer the many questions I’ve had thru my lifetime and hopefully find solidity for my children and their decendants as to their heritage. Any help and direction would be greatly appreciated, thanks for your consideration, Steve Hargrave

    • Start by testing the Y and then your autosomal DNA. They each have their own story to tell. You may want to add mitochondrial as well which tells the story of your matrilineal line.

  21. Roberta, on GEDmatch recently I found one of my matches is Cheryl F – Kit # M133930, and your name is attached to her. Is she one of your ancestors? I have to say I do not understand DNA at all well, most of my FTDNA matches do not have a Tree, and even the close matches do not respond to emails, so frustrating. My Kit # 300358 with an F on GEDmatch.

  22. Hi, how do i contact uou regarding some question? Thanks. Also if we have some nail or hair or something like that we can test dna or mtdna?

  23. I would like to gift a male test for my son-in-law who lives in London, England and was adopted. Can I pay for the test and send it to him? Does this test require him to have a subscription to Family Tree as I don’t know if he would want to do that? Please advise. Rita Gregory

    • Yes, you can order through Family Tree DNA and have the kit sent to him. No, there is no subscription to anything required through Family Tree DNA. If you order through Ancestry, there is a subscription required and their overseas shipping is very expensive. So order through Family Tree DNA. Their link is on the sidebar of the blog.

  24. Sorry. I hit a button and *poof* the comment got send half-way done.

    I am writing you about the problem of non-matching cousins in Ancestory.
    I have one “cousin” 4-6th range who I have worked with to try to find our common ancestor. So far, no luck. When I click the “shared matches” button I get “You have no shared matches with X.” I’m presuming this to mean that out of all the Ancestory DNA database, no one else shares the same segments that we share. Yet when I go to cousin “Y” and click “shared matches” there is cousin X! I’m trying to figure out how this could be. I know that you love to goad the folks at Ancestory in a more scientific direction. Is there something I’m not understanding? Is the problem with me or with them?

  25. Hello Roberta

    I’m sorry to have to ask this, but I did use search google and looked at your category list first! I’m looking for an article you wrote about tabulating your known ancestors based on conventional genealogy and total possible ancestors then compared it to DNA confirmed ancestors. I have been trying to do the same and created my own version of your spreadsheet back then and have been working on it since. Like you, when I did the exercise I was a tad depressed. Some time has now gone by and thankfully my stats have improved a little bit! I would like to refer your article to someone but need some help finding it. Hopefully you know the one I mean.

    I love your blog. It’s helped me so much, in so many ways. Thank you.


  26. Hi Roberta,
    I am sorry this is going to be such a long comment. It might be more information that you need, but I just wanted to explain myself well. I have been doing genealogy research for years, and I am as certain as can be possible that I have accurately tracked back most of the branches, although with the brick walls we all end up stumbling upon, I do have a few uncertainties that loom. Point is that I am confident that I have not stumbled way off in my research. So I was very, very excited to finally be able to do a DNA test with the hope that I would be able to break through some of those brick walls and just out of curiosity as to what my ethnic breakdown would show. Due to the fact that I’ve used the Ancestry site for years and had extensive family tree data in it, and I knew that it would help aid in sorting out how I was related to matches, I chose to do their test. Now I wish I had done a bit more thorough research into the various companies before jumping on the Ancestry bandwagon simply because of my tree being on the website.

    I received my results in early January. I was surprised I was having such a hard time sorting out how some of my matches could even possibly be related to me considering we both had really extensive family trees, but assumed it must be due either to my brick walls, or to the other person making a mistake in their tree. I admit there is the possibility I could have one in mine, but I see so many trees that are just an absolute mess, and I really do not add information unless I have a large degree of certainty that it is correct.

    Then, I discovered this week that you can download the raw data and upload it to other websites for various different reasons, and I excitedly jumped in this weekend. One of the websites I used was Promethease. I started sorting through the data given to me there, and after hours I stumbled across some results related to the Y chromosome… and this is where I should point out I am a female. I was confused, since I do not have a Y chromosome, why it was apparently giving me results related to it. I did some googling, and found this post on the ancestry forums, with the explanation from ancestry at the very bottom:

    It didn’t sound quite right to me, but hey, I am not an expert on this stuff, so I figured they must know what they are talking to, and that’s what happened to my results on Promethease. Then I kept going through the data, and came across a few entries on strands related to risks involved with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, and this stuck out to me because my husband suffers from severe Ulcerative Colitis, and his cousin has severe Crohn’s disease. This is something that runs in his family, and has never been diagnosed in mine. So, I started to get suspicious that something was not right here. I flicked through the other categories you can filter by to see if anything else might jump out at me, and found an entry related to French-Canadians. I do not have any French in my family tree at all. Never has there been a mention of any French in the family, and basically everything else that we knew related to our ancestral lines has been confirmed by records. My brick walls give no hint they would go in that direction, but you can never be sure. So I opened up my dna matches on Ancestry, and plugged in my husband’s last name as a filter… and got matches, which I could confirm were related to him as I have done his family tree extensively as well. I plugged in his grandma’s last name, and other names from his family tree… and got matches. In fact, I got a lot of matches. Then, I got furious.

    I was extremely careful when I took the DNA test. I didn’t eat or drink anything for over an hour, and my husband did not touch any of the kit, nor was he anywhere near me when I did the test and packaged it up. I assume it got contaminated, I really doubt that we are somehow actually related through what appears to be multiple family lines. I understand that it’s my fault because clearly I did it, since it’s my husband’s DNA in there and not some random person. I’m confused though, maybe I have a false idea about DNA, but if they can tell there is DNA from two separate people at a crime scene, shouldn’t they have been able to tell that there was DNA from two people when they were testing it?

    If I had not uploaded my data to Promethease, I’d have no idea that part of my results were not in fact mine. I am furious mostly because all of the information I received about my ethnic breakdown, all of the time I spent trying to track down how I matched to people… it was all a waste of time. I have no idea how many of those matches are his, or what part of the ethnic breakdown relates to him, as we do have some crossover from the UK on both sides, and there were trace regions that could have related to either. I would like to test again, using a different service even, but I am reluctant to do so as I have no idea how I managed to contaminate it in the first place, and don’t trust myself not to do it again. I’m mostly confused because my husband seemed to have so many matches from different ancestral lines, that it doesn’t appear that it was a tiny amount that slipped in, but a significant source?

    After reading that response up there from ancestry about the Y DNA markers, and then finding out mine was contaminated, I’m curious if you could tell me if their answer was even possible or just a bunch of hogwash?

    I know I kind of threw the questions in randomly, but mostly I’d like to know if they can tell when testing that the DNA is from more than one person? and also, would there be a way for me to separate my husband’s results from my own at this point? Anything info you could give me that you think could shed light on this situation would help.

      • You’re telling me!

        Upon re-reading I do realize I did leave out the connection between seeing the French-Canadian category on Promethease and deciding to jump over to check my husband’s surname in my Ancestry DNA matches. It was because not only do I have no known French in my family, but my husband’s family is exclusively French Canadian through his father tracing at least 300 years back, with only some Metis blood mixing in. So that definitely raised my eyebrows!

        I am really confused by it all! I just know that my husband and I grew up hours away from each other, and neither of our families have ever lived in the same area as the other from my genealogy research, so there really is not much of chance we could accidentally be related. Plus, unless I shouldn’t have a Y chromosome, so unless what the response from was about why it could show up on a test, then I really don’t see another explanation aside from both of our DNA winding up in the test.

        • If I were you, I would retest myself at Family Tree DNA. I would not take the swab at home. Take it someplace else to do it. I can’t imagine you contaminated it to that point, but just to make sure, I’d swab elsewhere. When those results are back, download your file from both Ancestry and FTDNA to GedMatch and see if you match yourself 100%. If you do, then both kits are correct. If not, then one of them has a problem. If they are both correct, then you have a family mystery to solve.

          I don’t meddle on the medical side of things, so I really can’t comment on the Promethease tests. Did you contact Promethease?

      • Thank you for your advice. I haven’t contacted Promethease yet, but I plan to do so now, to solve the question of the Y DNA results. I will also order a kit from Family Tree DNA to compare and hopefully in turn get more accurate results, and I will take the test far away from my house!

        I didn’t drink from the same glass as him, but I did give him a peck on the lips when he was leaving the house, which was right after we finished dinner and about an hour before I took the test. It wasn’t some sort of spit-swapping kiss, but we were discussing this, and figure that I must have transferred some of his DNA from my lips when I was spitting in the container.

  27. Regarding the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects — In looking at your blog I have not been able to find mention of or an answer to the following.

    I have read that the independent labs that companies that 23andMe, Ancestry, etc., use to analyze our DNA samples can keep our samples up to ten years on their own accord without any recourse about it from 23andMe, Ancestry, etc or the actual DNA customer/provider. Do you know if this is true? If it is, why is nothing mentioned in the terms of service and privacy disclaimers from 23andMe, Ancestry, etc.? If this is true, why are we not given a right to opt-out of a lab keeping our specimens. Or was what I read misleading i.e., the article meant that the labs keep the specimens for 23andMe, Ancestry, etc., for up to ten years. Since the labs are separate entities there may be some truth to this. If the labs have the right to maintain our DNA samples, then 23andMe’s premise that we can have our samples discarded is questionable at best and meaningless at worst, and we have yet another unknown factor in control of our DNA samples. Also, what is the significance of the ten-year term? I read this several months ago and can no longer find the article online. Can you provide a definitive answer? Thanks very much.

  28. I am trying to find my DNA results I am getting nowhere and nobody is trying to help I just spent a lot of money for my DNA and I am trying to figure out what am I truthfully I am getting pissed off because I cannot receive no help

    • Who do you feel is obligated to help you and why? If you have paid a professional for help, and you’re not receiving it, then by all means, contact them. Otherwise, we are all volunteers, and to the best of my knowledge, don’t “owe” anyone anything. There are an awful lot of self-help articles on this blog and you can also join the ISOGG Facebook group.

      • My advice is to keep trying. Sometimes intakes three emails to get a match to reply–they have problems, illness, etc. Try the projects on FTDNA, too. In addition to Roberta’s great blog, there are Forums on Yahoo.

  29. I’ve just received my DNA results and tried to download the raw data so that I can upload it to FamilyTreeDNA. It’s not working; the ancestry.som instructions say that I will get an email as the next step but that is not happening after several hours. I had a look online and this seems to be a common problem with I wanted to send them a message about my problem but they don’t have customer support, just a community chat room. My advice is to beware of the DNA test.

  30. Hello,

    I believe you are helping with Tribe Joyce, of which I have joined. I just do not understand what I am seeing, and I was sent here to solicit your help, and to tell you, “David Joyce sent me.” Which is quite odd to write, as that is my brother’s name.

    Please, I am clueless as to what I am seeing.

    Debbie Joyce Rosenbloom

  31. I hope you have time for an MTDNA question.

    We have a very solid family tree. All evidence indicates that my earliest known direct maternal line ancestor was Bridget Dailey, who was born somewhere in Ireland around 1808. My mother did an FTDNA mtdna full spectrum test and her haplogroup is I2b, which is pretty common in Ireland. However, she also has FGS matches from Britain and even Finland. Do you have any thoughts on how we could have matches from Finland? The Viking slave trade? Even earlier?


    • Partly, the answer depends on matches at what level. At the HVR1 or HVR2 levels, those matches could be from hundreds to thousands of years ago. Keep in mind that the British Isles was a destination location for all of Continental Europe. If you have exact full sequence matches, then that’s a closer relationship in time and the answer could lie within contemporarily recorded history – like maybe the slave trade. But the truth is, we just don’t know. My oldest known ancestor is found in Germany and I have several full sequence matches in Scandinavia. Why? Some piece of history, but I don’t know what piece, or when.

  32. I saw an answer you posted in another message about joining an adoption group but I’m not sure how to locate the group. Could you guide me please?

  33. Hi Roberta,

    I’ve searched your blog but haven’t found the answers to my questions. I haven’t been tested and I’m trying to decide if it’s worth it.

    One uploaded, unconfirmed GEDCOM lists a 23andme user as my 6th cousin once removed. Another family tree I have has a note that my ancestor is *not* the same person as his (nothing about what family she *is* from). I would like to figure out which is true.

    * Can you contact a 23andme user when you don’t know if they’re a match, to see if they might be?

    * Is 6th cousin once removed even close enough to show up as a match?

    * I can’t figure out if FamilyTreeDNA is still giving discounts to project members. Would you happen to know? “Project Pending” still exists…

    Thanks for reading!

    • Unfortunately, 23andMe is still in the middle of their transition. You can only contact people at 23andMe who have agreed to sharing and communicating with you. Most 6th cousins once removed won’t match you – but some will. It’s a matter of how the DNA dice rolled. Not sure what you mean about “project pending” but if you have a project issue, call FTDNA and ask for the project group. Lastly, new people can generally get a project discount when purchasing kits if they purchase through the project – but not on all products I don’t think.

      • Thanks so much for the info on 23andMe! I’ll give it time then–I need to anyway, to save up for their test.

        On FTDNA there’s a mtDNA+YDNA project named “Pending” that says it’s for people who want to join a project which requires you to have already been tested to join (I guess this is called a “closed” project?). Its description says it’s so you can get the project discount on the testing you need to get before you can join the closed project you want to join. I guess the discount may only apply to the mtDNA (or YDNA) tests, though.

        I’ve gathered from your blog that FTDNA doesn’t plan to ever accept new 23andMe results, but that they are planning to accept Ancestry results soon. So I think I’ll start with Ancestry–maybe I’ll find someone there, and hopefully we’ll soon be able to transfer autosomal results to FTDNA again.

        Thanks again!

  34. Hello Roberta,
    My brother Ydna is J-M172. My second cousin tested J-Z474. Why aren’t these subgroups identical since they share a common great grandfather on the Y line?

  35. Pingback: 2016 Genetic Genealogy Retrospective | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  36. Hello Roberta,
    Your blog is fabulous! I recently received my results from FTM mtDNA and found I am J1c2. My earliest confirmed maternal ancester was born 1711 in Kerstenhausen Schwalm-Eder Hesse Germany. My matches show an overwhelming number from Ireland and Great Britian with a lesser number in Germany. How do I interpret this?

  37. Thank you for sending the fascinating information on your Mehlheimer line. My ancestors may have gone to England and Ireland via Viking era and returned to Germany or else they took the Mediterranean route to England and Ireland then to Germany, Either way it is interesting especially since my father’s yDNA is I-M253 and he has a similar mix of English, Irish and German. All of our known Y and Mt ancestors came from Germany in the 1700’s.

  38. Hello Roberta; How accurate is for matching relatives? I have been in contact with someone via an Adoption Registry, who by virtue of the circumstances of my adoption could possibly be my aunt. However we both tested with Ancestry and don’t come up as matches for each other. Is this a show stopper?

    • Yes, it is. If you feel very strongly that there could be an error, I would suggest you both test at Family Tree DNA as well. If you don’t match there either, then it’s a show stopper.

        • Yes, Family Tree DNA is better. The site is easier to navigate and you’re not going to get tied up in the difficult security. However, if you decide to have her test at 23andMe, be sure that you both have opted into open sharing. The other question to ask is if she is matching other people she would expect to match. If not, then there might be an issue with her paternity as well. But first things first.

  39. Thank you; we will test at Family Tree DNA. I will do my Y-testing while I am at it. I assume aside from cost the 111-marker test is best?

    • You can start at 37 if you wish and upgrade later if you would like, or you can just do 111 now. That’s what I generally do, because it’s cheaper to do it once than to do the 37 and then upgrade later. And I always seem to wind up upgrading.

  40. Hi Roberta! First I would like to thank you so much for your blog. Really helpful!!!

    I would really like to ask you about something: last year I bought a test for my dad (Y37), but since I’m not living in my country right now, I asked my brother to help my father. I didn’t insist enough on how they should take the sample and they took it, without asking me first. It wasn’t a good sample because it was just after having lunch and washing his mouth with some water…. The Y37 results arrived and during last sales I ordered also a FamilyFinder test. After I received the results, I uploaded them in Gedmatch. The Kit Analisis said there are 21488 no-calls (3,02%), it even says “This kit has an unusually high number of no-calls, which usually results in a larger number of false matches” 🙁

    My questions are: aside of the false matches… can I trust the Y37 results? And the ethnic percentage? I guess this sample is totally useless for a future BIGY…. I don’t know what to do now. I guess it would be good to order a new kit, maybe for a FF or maybe asking 12-STR Y test (I was told even it’s not in the website you can ask for that test, so it’s cheaper and enough to be able to order a BIGY in the future). Any advice?

    Thanks in advance!

    • If the sample is not of high enough quality for the Big Y, they will send you another kit.

      The Y37 results are not using the same scan technology as the autosomal, so yes, those will be fine. There are also quality assurance functions in the autosomal testing, and if the sample falls below an acceptable threshold, it is rejected by the lab. You could redo the autosomal, if anything. It would be interesting to see if it made any appreciable difference in your matches.

Leave a Reply