FamilyTreeDNA | FTDNA | DNA Glossary


FamilyTreeDNA (also known as FTDNA) was founded by Bennett Greenspan in 2000 as he was investigating his mother’s lineage. He ran into a roadblock that only DNA could solve. Early testing offered by the new company was limited to Y-DNA and mtDNA tests. However, in 2010, FTDNA began to offer an autosomal DNA test, called the Family Finder test.*

FTDNA is the most popular and genealogically-useful company worldwide for Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA testing. It is among the popular testing options for autosomal DNA testing, but ranks well below giants AncestryDNA and 23andMe.

How Do I Use FamilyTreeDNA?

Like any other commercial DNA testing company, all you need to do is order the test that you want: Y-DNA, mtDNA or the Family Finder autosomal DNA test. Follow the instructions given by doing a cheek scrape to collect the DNA; mail back your sample and wait! Once you get your results back, the real fun begins. That’s where we come in, to help apply your results to your family history mysteries or questions.

How Much is FTDNA?

Here’s a breakdown of the different DNA test prices available from Family Tree DNA. Everyday retail prices are given. These prices may change, so please check them yourself using the links below.

Family Finder ($79 USD): The most basic and inexpensive of the available options, the Family Finder test provides a percentage breakdown of your DNA origins, as well as the opportunity to connect with your autosomal DNA relatives within the last 4-6 generations. Family Finder also includes a tool that allows you to compare matching segments of DNA with other genetic matches, making it useful in exploring how you may be related. Learn more: Compare the Family Finder test to 23andMe, AncestryDNA, etc.

Family Finder + myDNA Wellness ($119 USD): This package includes the Family Finder service already mentioned above, as well as a personalized wellness service related to health and wellness, all based on your DNA. This includes 30+ DNA insights into one’s Nutrition, Skin, Bone Health and many more. With purchase, you also receive a free 30-day membership providing “DNA-Powered Plans” for meals and workout routines.

Paternal Ancestry (starts at $119 USD): This is a Y-DNA test, which can only be taken by genetic males and will exclusively provide insights on the tester’s paternal heritage (his father and HIS father and so forth). YDNA testing can reveal deep geographic origins and genetic connections dating back much further than the 4-6 generations revealed by autosomal DNA. You have the option to test variable numbers of YDNA markers. Learn more about YDNA testing, including how many YDNA markers should you test.

Maternal Ancestry ($159 USD): Anyone can take the mtDNA test, which looks specifically at the mtDNA your mother passed down. This test connects you with your female ancestors and allows you to trace your maternal line back to explore the migration paths of your ancient mothers and maternal grandmothers. Learn more about how mtDNA testing works for genealogy. 

Further Reading