Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Monday, February 16, 2015

DNA Testing and the big online genealogy companies

The large online genealogical database programs are definitely moving towards promoting DNA as an adjunct to research. Announcements of partnerships or agreements between the various genealogy companies and DNA testing programs are proliferating and have been for several years. At the recent conference, DNA related exhibitors seemed especially busy. Some of these companies may end up being "in house" while others will remain separate entities. Here is the line up so far as I can determine:
For some time now, has had its own DNA testing and reporting company at Interestingly, when I tried to access the website for the DNA testing, it was down today. The website may have been overloaded after the Conference. The DNA company also known as AncestryDNA is described as follows:
AncestryDNA is a new DNA testing service that utilizes some of the latest autosomal testing technology to revolutionize the way you discover your family history. This service combines advanced DNA science with the world’s largest online family history resource to predict your genetic ethnicity and help you find new family connections. It maps ethnicity going back multiple generations and provides insight into such possibilities as: what region of Europe are my ancestors from, or am I likely to have East Asian heritage? AncestryDNA can also help identify relationships with unknown relatives through a dynamic list of possible DNA member matches.
 On February 11, 2015, issued a press release entitled, "Ancestry Announces 2015 Product and Content Lineup." The key DNA features as outlined in the press release were as follows:
  • With a database of over 700,000 genotyped members, AncestryDNA has generated over one billion cousin connections to date. In 2015, we project this database to grow to exceed well over one million genotyped members, resulting in even more and higher quality cousin matches.
  • Following the successful launch of AncestryDNA in the UK, we will soon be bringing the service to our members in Australia and Canada, and in doing so, will connect the major English-speaking migrations and globally connect families like never before.
  • Building on DNA Circles, in 2015 we will launch a new experience that will use the latest genetic technology to discover new ancestors without the customer having to search records or build a family tree. This new feature will transform how family history research is done by providing valuable hints to help experienced genealogist looking to break through brick walls, as well as open family history to a whole new segment of the population. Through this new experience, AncestryDNA customers will be able to discover new ancestors as far back as the 1700’s by connecting into existing DNA Circles.
The huge online database and family tree program,, had already announced a partnership with long before the RootsTech conference. The Media Kit was updated during the Conference on February 12, 2015. The pertinent part of the Media Kit about DNA testing is as follows:
DNA test for genealogy:
  • DNA tests are useful for identifying the deep ancestral origins of your direct paternal line (Y-DNA), your direct maternal line (mtDNA), finding relatives across all lines via autosomal DNA (Family Finder) and producing a percentage breakdown of your ethnic roots.
  • For analysis of users’ DNA samples and DNA matching, MyHeritage has partnered with Family Tree DNA and 23andMe.
  • Five different groups: Paternal Line, Maternal Line, Family Finder, Comprehensive Ancestral Tests and Combined tests for Paternal and Maternal lines. 13 types of tests. See the complete list here.
  • DNA projects provide opportunities for people to collaborate with others to explore a common genetic heritage, especially for exploring whether people with the same surname are related. Project membership is free and voluntary. If there is a DNA Surname Project for a last name, it appears in the profile page of the user.
 At the RootsTech Conference,, U.K. based genealogy company announced a partnership with FamilyTreeDNA, quoting from the announcement:
An important frontier in family history, DNA testing complements Findmypast’s historical records and family trees, allowing researchers to connect with one another and solve long-standing research questions. As of today Findmypast will now be offering DNA testing services to all its members through FamilyTreeDNA. 
FamilyTreeDNA is a trusted provider of DNA testing services. The company offers tests for those who are just getting started as well as advanced genealogists looking to get further with their research. 
From today, Findmypast will also be offering a special rate on FamilyTreeDNA tests as part of their premium service for annual subscribers, Findmypast First. This new partnership is just the beginning of Findmypast’s journey into DNA testing for their customers.
Family Tree DNA is the only DNA testing service that partners with National Geographic’s Genographic Project and allows you to add your results to that project for a nominal fee that goes to the Genographic Legacy Fund. is not a commercial enterprise, it is a not-for-profit corporation owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although it has partnered with many different online and desktop software companies, as yet it has not announced a partnership with an DNA testing company and in my opinion, is not likely to do so.


  1. Last but hardly least of the announcements was the announcement by Family Tree DNA yesterday that it has partnered with FamilySearch to provide direct links from Family Tree DNA to the FamilySearch Family Tree — and from that tree back to Family Tree DNA.

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