I guess the biggest DNA testing question is the cost! It is about 100 dollars a person, but you need to be a member of the Ancestry site and have a good tree there to make many discoveries. Some folks just want to know if they are American Indian and the test will answer that. Most don't want to find out they are a certain percentage "African" and it will show that too. I would say be ready to find out that the woman you thought was your grandmother--may not be! Be open and accepting of the results. What you thought may not be so. I thought we would be from Great Britain mostly and that was not the case.
The Ancestry DNA is different from the Family Tree Maker study. It is based on the Sorenson Test. Here is what they say about it--
“As we begin to understand—through the power of DNA research—the close connections we share as members of the total human family, we unlock the potential for bringing all of humankind closer together in the spirit of compassion, cooperation, and peace.”
—James LeVoy Sorenson, 1921-2008
A Worldwide Vision
The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) was inspired by discussions in 1999 between philanthropist James LeVoy Sorenson and Brigham Young University professor Scott Woodward. Their pioneering vision was to advance genealogical research in a way that had never been done before. By combining DNA testing and four-generation family histories, the organization’s goal was to create a genetic map of the peoples of the world, decipher relationships shared by the entire human family, and show that the similarities we possess are greater than our differences.
From 2000 to 2012, the non-profit organization was dedicated to building the world’s foremost collection of DNA samples and corresponding genealogical information, eventually gathering a database of 100,000 DNA samples and associated four-generation pedigrees. Through the use of science, technology, and traditional genealogical research, SMGF demonstrated that DNA testing was a crucial component to understanding the complete picture of one’s family.
“I can’t think of anything that matters more than reminding people everywhere that in a very real sense, we are all brothers and sisters.”
—James LeVoy Sorenson
A Massive Undertaking—Gathering Samples Around the Globe
Sorenson’s vision of creating a genetic map of the world could only be achieved with an enormous amount of effort. For twelve years the team gathered samples from volunteers on six continents in more than 150 countries. In addition to the immense distances traversed, the team had to sift through thousands of volunteers to find those who were willing to give DNA samples (in spite of the fact that there was no real benefit to them at the time) and had documented family trees that contained at least four generations. And this very expensive venture was funded solely by James Sorenson, who spent millions of his own dollars to fulfill this dream.
As Sorenson teams collected DNA samples, they also captured the faces of the people they encountered. From Japan and Fiji to Kenya, the Czech Republic, and Chile, their photos reveal the diversity of populations around the world that are represented in SMGF DNA and pedigree data. See photos.
Contributions to Science, Genetics, and Genealogy
When SMGF first started collecting DNA and four-generation pedigree charts, its mission was to prove that the new concept of DNA testing could expand the world’s idea of “family” and would do it in a way that would help people understand more about their geographical roots. Through this project and the use of science, technology, and traditional genealogical research, we now know that DNA testing is a crucial component to understanding the complete picture of your family. Additionally, SMGF contributed greatly to the emerging field of genetic genealogy in other ways, such as providing online DNA databases to the public and publishing numerous scientific articles detailing new discoveries.
The Legacy Continues
In order to remain a leader in the rapidly growing and dynamic field of DNA testing, the foundation knew that their resources would have to be increased substantially. In March of 2012 SMGF decided that AncestryDNA was in a better position to continue the Sorenson mission and allowed AncestryDNA to acquire its extensive collection of DNA-related assets. Today, AncestryDNA utilizes SMGF data to support its ethnicity estimation and relationship prediction algorithms. The pioneering work begun at SMGF has helped AncestryDNA expand its services faster than anyone else in the field and will continue to grow and have an impact on the future scientific understanding of genetic genealogy.
“We are pleased to bring this far reaching, unique DNA collection to AncestryDNA…. We see this as a great benefit to consumers as well as the scientific community by combining some of the best science with the leader in family history.”
—Jim Sorenson (son of James L. Sorenson)
And here are answers to some of the FAQ
AncestryDNA - Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is AncestryDNA?
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.
2. What do my results tell me?
Your AncestryDNA results include information about your genetic ethnicity estimates and identifies potential DNA matches, linking you to others who have taken the AncestryDNA test. Your results are a great starting point for more family history research, and it can also be a way to dig even deeper into the research you’ve already done.
3. What technology is behind this new service?
The AncestryDNA test uses microarray-based autosomal DNA testing, which surveys a person’s entire genome at over 700,000 locations, all with a simple saliva sample. Additionally, the new online interface integrates state-of-the art tools for you to utilize your DNA results for family history research.
4. How is this DNA test going to help me with my research?
Your DNA may hold information to help make new discoveries about your family’s past, your cultural roots, as well as confirm information in your family tree. Using your DNA test in combination with an Ancestry subscription gives you hints that can guide your investigations and connect you with new relatives. These new relatives that you discover may have additional information, a piece of your family story to tell or photos to share.
Your DNA test results also provide information that’s more relevant and recent—targeting your family history a few hundred or even a thousand years ago, as compared to the Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA tests, which have a 10,000 to 50,000 year time focus.
5. Can a woman take this test?
Yes, women and men can take the AncestryDNA autosomal test since we all carry the DNA that is being tested. In fact, men and women are tested in the same way for the same number of markers.
Unlike some other DNA tests, which only analyze the Y-chromosome (and can only be taken by a male to look at your direct paternal lineage) or mitochondrial DNA (can be taken by a male or female but only looks at your direct maternal lineage), AncestryDNA looks at a person’s entire genome at over 700,000 locations. To learn more about the differences between the DNA tests you can click here.
6. How does the new AncestryDNA test differ from other DNA tests?
It’s more comprehensive. Unlike the Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA test, AncestryDNA uses an autosomal DNA test that surveys a person’s entire genome at over 700,000 locations. It covers both the maternal and paternal sides of the family tree, so it covers all lineages. The Y-DNA test only reflects the direct father-to-son path in your family tree, and the mtDNA test only reflects the direct mother-to-child path in your family tree. Learn more about the differences between the DNA tests here.
The test is gender neutral. Both men and women can take the AncestryDNA test and are tested in the same way for the same number of markers providing the same level of detail in the results.
It predicts your recent genetic ethnicity. Thanks to advances in DNA technology we’re able to compare your DNA to samples from around the world, to find out more about your family’s background and ethnic history—not ancient history, but the people and places that matter to you.
Enhanced DNA matching. Unlike the Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA tests, the new AncestryDNA autosomal test looks at a much broader range of your DNA, which helps identify matches throughout your entire family tree—along both your paternal and maternal sides.
The information is more relevant and recent—targeting your family history a few hundred or even a thousand years ago, as compared to the Y and mtDNA tests, which have a 10,000 to 50,000 year time focus.
Improved website. AncestryDNA has a significantly enhanced personalized site experience with interactive tools and features to make your family history search even easier.
7. When can I expect to get my results?
Your AncestryDNA test results will normally take about 6-8 weeks to process from the time that the lab receives your DNA sample. Please note that you must also activate your DNA kit online in order to begin processing.
8. How do I see my results?
When your AncestryDNA results are ready, you will receive an email from AncestryDNA notifying you, with a link to view your results. Your results will also be available online in your password-protected AncestryDNA account here: http://dna.ancestry.com
Autosomal DNA testing includes the other 22 pairs of chromosomes that aren’t the X or Y chromosome that determine your gender. Autosomal testing allows you to find family across all lines in your family tree. That means both men and women can take the test, and the results are not limited to just the direct maternal or paternal lines.
The AncestryDNA test analyzes your entire genome—all 23 pairs of chromosomes—as opposed to only looking at the Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA (which makes other types of tests gender specific). Your autosomal chromosomes carry genetic information from both your parents that’s passed down through the generations. Using autosomal testing, AncestryDNA surveys over 700,000 locations in your DNA, all with a simple saliva sample.
I have many more shared ancestor hints because the family tree I have at Ancestry is about my family. I have Aunt Una in my tree but not nearly all of Buster's mother's side of his family is there. So I have more matches to Ancestry trees than he does. If I put more of his information there, he would have more matches.