If you have ever been interested in knowing what your DNA holds in store, now is a great time to find out. All the major DNA testing companies are holding Father’s Day sales now through June 18th.
Ancestry DNA offers autosomal testing kits. Normally they are $99, but until June 18th they are on sale for $79. These give you a breakdown of your ethnicities (German, British, Scandinavian, Jewish, North African, etc.) in pie chart form, match you up with close-to-distant cousins in their database of other test-takers, and in some cases can even use the family tree data that you enter for yourself to tell you which common ancestor you and your distant cousin descend from (the “DNA Circles” feature).
The more of our Schmidts that take this test, the more DNA Circles we will be able to form (for descendants of Dietrich Schmidt, or descendants of Franz Raub, or descendants of Conrad Lindemann, etc.).
23andMe also offers autosomal testing kits. Normally they are $99, but until June 18th they are on sale for $79. This includes just ancestral information. For an extra hundred dollars (i.e. normally $199, but currently $179) you can order an ancestry + medical information testing kit. The $79 ancestry kit will give you a breakdown of your ethnicities, match you up with close-to-distant cousins in their database of other test-takers, and even tell you what percentage Neanderthal you are (since homo sapiens and Neanderthals interbred a bit in Europe many millennia ago). One of the other neat advantages of the 23andMe test is that you can link your test results to your dad’s test results and/or mom’s test results (if you get both you and your dad and/or mom to all take tests). This can help you figure out where you inherited some of your specific ethnic markers and can also help you figure out which side of the family your distant cousin matches are on.
If you opt for the more expensive ancestry + medical kit, then in addition to ancestry information you will also receive information on certain genes and gene variants you are positive or negative for, whether you are susceptible to certain diseases, and learn about how your DNA results in some of the physical characteristics that you have.
Family Tree DNA
Family Tree DNA offers three different types of DNA testing kits:
- The Family Finder test – Normally $89, on sale until June 18th for $69. Family Finder is an autosomal test, which gives you a breakdown of your ethnicities.
- Y-DNA tests – Tests that give you detailed data on your strictly paternal ancestry (i.e. the ancestry of your father, and his father, and his father, etc.). Since surnames are passed down through fathers, these Y-DNA tests correlate to surnames. For instance, if a Schmidt were to take a Y-DNA test, it would strictly tell detailed information about the deep ancestry of the Schmidt family. If a Lindemann were to take a Y-DNA test, it would strictly tell detailed information about the deep ancestry of the Lindemann family. Only males are able to take this test, as only males have a Y chromosome. The results of these tests show you what Y-DNA haplogroup you fall into (telling you where your paternal lineage originated), and match you up with other men whose paternal lineages connect with your paternal lineage at some point in the form of a common ancestor. If this connection happened within the last 500 years or so, this cousin of yours should have the same surname as you (or a similar spelling of the surname). If this connection happened 500 years ago or earlier, distant cousins that match with you in the FamilyTreeDNA database will likely have a variety of different surnames. This is because Europeans tended not to get permanent, hereditary surnames until the year 1500 or so.
- Y-37 Test – Normally $169, on sale until June 18th for $139. The Y-37 Test examines the 37 most telling markers on a male’s Y chromosome.
- Y-67 Test – Selling for $268. The Y-67 Test examines 67 markers, and therefore gives better resolution results than the Y-37 Test.
- Y-111 Test – Selling for $359. The Y-111 Test examines 111 markers, and is the highest quality Y-DNA test available for sale to first-time Y-DNA testers. (Very serious Y-DNA researchers can also upgrade their Y-111 Test to the “Big Y” test, which would cost an extra $525, but is the most comprehensive Y-DNA test on the market right now.)
- mtDNA tests – Tests that give you detailed data on your strictly maternal ancestry (i.e. the ancestry of your mother, and her mother, and her mother, etc.). Because in European cultures, surnames are typically passed down through fathers and not mothers, the mtDNA tests will not correlate with any one particular surname (because, from mother to daughter to daughter to daughter, the surname almost always changes with each generation, as each daughter marries a man with a different surname). This test examines the DNA inside our cells’ mitochondria, which is inherited from our mothers. Both males and females are able to take this test.
- mtDNA Plus Test – Selling for $79. The mtDNA Plus Test shows you what mtDNA haplogroup you fall into (telling you where your maternal lineage originated), and matches you up with distant cousins of yours whose maternal lineage connects with yours at some point in the form of a common female ancestor.
- mtDNA Full Sequence Test – Selling for $199. The mtDNA Full Sequence Test gives you more comprehensive and more refined results than the mtDNA Plus Test, and is one of the highest quality mitochondrial DNA tests on the market.
If you are a descendant of the Schmidts and you end up taking one of these tests, please contact us and let us know! We would be happy to help answer your questions about DNA tests and walk you through the process of taking the test as well as interpreting your results.