Finding Your Bio People – Testing Companies – Part II

When I tested there were not as many “commercial” testing companies as there are now. There are “professional” labs that have done testing for years.

With the launch of Ancestry.com autosomal DNA testing in 2012, testing for the average person has skyrocketed. And the number of companies have increased.

In June 2015, I tested with Ancestry, 23 & Me and Family Tree DNA (FTDNA). And once my results were available I uploaded to Gedmatch. Since then I added My Heritage and Living DNA to the sites were my DNA resides.

I am “reviewing/listing” them in the order I did them but backwards. There is no right or wrong place to test just the one that is right for you and your goals.

In 2016, the founders of DNA Worldwide launched a new company, Living DNA, which focuses on genetic ancestry testing.

Living DNA

In September of 2018 I went to the New York Genealogy an Biographical Society’s conference in Westchester, NY. At this conference is where I learned about Living DNA. It intrigued me.

There is one test which reports on your “Family Ancestry (your autosomal DNA), your Maternal ancestry (your mitochondrial DNA) and your Paternal ancestry (by analyzing the Y chromosome).

At the time I tested they were just about to launch their Beta with DNA matching of your relatives. At this time my matches are very minimal.

Their reference populations for their testing focused on the British Isles. According to them they can attribute your ancestry up to 80 regions world wide and 21 regions of the British Isles. (The company is based in England)

Being that my grand mother’s family ethnicity going back a few generations was Irish/English I thought why not. They were also having a sale on their kits.

My results showed Great Britain & Ireland 72.8% . Like with any of these tests sometimes they hit the mark you perceive and sometimes not.

My paternal side of my family is Transylvania Saxon which are ethnic Germans from the Transylvania Region of Romania. They are a group that didn’t marry outside of their community for 800 years and there is a bit of Endogamy. 

My genealogy tree of this side doesn’t have any Irish or English in it. From what I have found they all came from the same place in Transylvania. And it wansn’t until my father’s generation that they married people other than a Transylvanian Saxon.

So the English/Irish in me is from my mother’s mother’s side. My mother’s father was French Canadian. (Also a community with a bit of Endogamy

So thinking my ethnicity is not 72.8% Great Britain & Ireland.

I think they are on to something. Glad I tested with them and look forward to seeing what they develop in the future.

My Heritage

myheritage kit
My Heritage

I did not test with My Heritage. I do have a membership so I pay a fee a for access to its search and matches. I did, in 2016 upload my DNA from another company to My Heritage. I did this just as they were starting to offer DNA testing. They acceped DNA results from all of the major companies: Ancestry, 23 & Me, Family Tree DNA, and Gedmatch. So I uploaded for free.

However as of now their policy has change. DNA Matching will remain free for uploaded DNA data, but unlocking additional DNA features will require an extra payment for DNA results uploaded after December 18, 2018.

Unlike most companies their tests are available in most countries. So your matches can come from around the world. In early December of 2018 they had 2 million users and are growing at a rate of about 80,000 a month.

Screen shot from My Heritage

Over all I have not had any matches on My Heritage that I didn’t have on Ancestry. So for my goal of finding my Bio People it was not overwhelmingly successful for me.

However some of my Bio People did test there (after I had figured out who my Bio People were) and I got additional information for my tree since they were not on Ancestry.

23 and Me

23 & Me became the first company to offer autosomal DNA testing for ancestry, which everyone now uses. It was named “Invention of the Year” by Time magazine in 2008.

Again when I tested with them I had no idea what I was doing or expecting. It was one of the testing companies in the pond and I was casting my net as widely as possible.

Currently they have 5 million customers with 80% of them opting in to participate in their research.

When I tested they were still in that whole FDA thing (don’t need to go into it here) and in Maryland where I live I could not get the kit mailed to me here. So I had it mailed to a friend in Virginia.

For me as far as finding my Bio People not hugely successful. But they offered Mitochondrial DNA testing and a host of health tests so I cast my net in this pond.

At the time I got my results the most interesting thing for me was my Neanderthal Ancestry. I am fascinated by the Neanderthals.

A very interesting YouTube presentation called A Neanderthal Perspective on Modern Humans by Svante Pääbo. He is a Swedish biologist specializing in evolutionary genetics. As one of the founders of paleogenetics, he has worked extensively on the Neanderthal genome I have watched it several times. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1R8yrEGAgw

They have recently updated a bunch of stuff (a technical term) on the site and have not yet explored it. My ethnicity results now look like this.

I am finding that it is providing me with more interesting information now than it did in 2015 when I tested. All of the companies are improving what they offer and how they do what they do. So what worked for me in 2015 might be totally different now.

So I say again figure out your goals and find the right test for you. Or if you can afford it test everywhere and see what you get.

In Part III I will focus on Family Tree DNA, Gedmatch and Ancestry.

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