Last month at Michael Lacopo’s presentation for the Sacramento German Genealogy Society he asked who had taken a DNA test, and I couldn’t raise my hand. Even though I manage many of them for relatives, I hadn’t taken one myself. During this DNA Day’s sales I ordered three Ancestry DNA kits, one for my mother, my paternal grandfather’s cousin, and myself. Yesterday my kit arrived.
Thinking back, the very first DNA test I ordered was an Ancestry Y-DNA test. I received it for free as a thank you for participating in an Ancestry study at the 2009 Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, where we gave input on the design of the Ancestry DNA pages. At that Jamboree I also met and saw a presentation by Bennett Greenspan from Family Tree DNA. The tools at his company seemed pretty powerful, and their database was larger. For the time being I held onto the free Ancestry test.
In summer 2011 Family Tree DNA announced that they would accept transfers of Y-DNA data from Ancestry, with a small fee and a second test to test extra markers. At the time I was researching my mother’s direct paternal line for my DAR application. Family Tree DNA had a very active surname project for that name with 154 members. If a DNA test helped confirm for me that I had the right line, I would feel more confident in my application. I asked my grandfather first if he would take the test, but he wasn’t interested. My uncle, however, was interested, so I sent him the Y-DNA test.
I have mostly stuck with Family Tree DNA since then. They had the bigger database and the useful surname projects. Family Tree DNA accepted transfers from Ancestry when Ancestry destroyed their Y-DNA test results (bad move, Ancestry). Important genealogists like Thomas Jones and Elizabeth Shown Mills use Family Tree DNA for their proof arguments.
But now, Ancestry has a huge database. You just can’t ignore it. So many people have tested there, if you have any early American genealogy, you just need to test there. It still bugs me to death that they don’t have a chromosome browser (I request it in their suggestion box regularly) and that messages go through their Ancestry message center. Very few of my messages get replies. But there is amazing potential to make family discoveries and build research proof through Ancestry.
Anyway, I felt it was time to finally take the test myself. If anything, maybe a few more people will reply to me through the Ancestry message system. For some matches, I will match them too, not just my family member. For others, maybe it will help matches trust my authenticity since I will be an Ancestry DNA tester, too.
I will be sure to transfer my results to GEDmatch, Family Tree DNA, and MyHeritage.
Today I mailed off the kit. It will be interesting to see what I discover…