What is the best DNA test for Portuguese ancestry? Who sells DNA tests in Brazil and Portugal? Which test will test me most about my Portuguese roots? We have answers.
If you’re ready to explore your Portuguese ancestry using DNA, you need to know which DNA test is best for you, whether you live in Brazil, Portugal or other countries. Consider three questions:
- Who sells DNA tests in Brazil, Portugal and other Portuguese-speaking countries?
- Which DNA tests will tell me the most about my Portuguese ethnicity?
- Which DNA tests have genealogy tools to help me identify relatives and build my family tree?
Read the answers to each question below–and our recommended strategy for exploring Portuguese roots with DNA.
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Who sells DNA tests in Brazil, Portugal and other Portuguese-speaking countries?
To choose a DNA testing company, you need to know which DNA tests are sold in your country. Also keep in mind that to find birth relatives through DNA testing, those relatives need to test with the same company that you do. So you also want to think about whether that DNA test is available where your birth relatives may live. (Your DNA test results will include a list of DNA relatives who have also tested at that same company–and you’ll get ongoing updates as more people test in the future.) As of early 2022:
- Family Tree DNA* and MyHeritage DNA* both ship to Brazil, Portugal, and other Portuguese-speaking countries.
- 23andMe does not ship to Brazil, but it does ship to Portugal.
- AncestryDNA does not ship to Brazil or Portugal.
- Living DNA does ship globally, but its tools and testing pool are not strong or recommended for Portuguese heritage (unless you’re looking for relatives in the British Isles).
- If you are looking for relatives outside of Portuguese-speaking countries, consider AncestryDNA and 23andMe. These testing companies have millions of testers in the United States and some in other places, especially English-speaking countries.
Which DNA test is best for Portuguese ethnicity?
Most people are interested in their ancestral ethnicities, or where their families lived in the past. Each testing company uses its own data to determine your ethnicity percentages. Between Family Tree DNA and MyHeritage DNA, the most specific Portuguese ethnicity results will come from MyHeritage.
At MyHeritage DNA, Iberian ethnicity is broken down into 154 highly-specific Genetic Groups that can help place your ancestors in Brazil, Portugal, Cape Verde and Western Africa. Here’s just one example:
These Genetic Groups are still evolving to become even more accurate and specific. So after you test, be sure to check your ethnicity results periodically for updates.
What are the top ethnicities in Brazil and Portugal? Check out ethnicity maps for MyHeritage DNA testers in Brazil and Portugal. How interesting that about half of MyHeritage DNA testers in Brazil show evidence of North African, Italian and/or Mesoamerican and Andean heritage!
Family Tree DNA offers ancestral ethnicity information for 90 populations only–and that’s for the entire world. These groups are more broad, and include only two specific to people in Portugal and Brazil: Iberian Peninsula and Amerindian–Amazon. So they give much less (and much less specific) Portuguese ethnicity information than MyHeritage.
23andMe has an update in 2023 that provides further details to trace your DNA back to Portugal. You can now see connections back to 14 genetic groups in Portugal, including the Azores and Madeira archipelagos. 10% of 23andMe customers who have tested on their latest genotyping chip, V5, will be affected by this update. Common matches include regions of Porto, Minho, Via Real, and Central and Southern Portugal, as well as Madeira. The regions with the least common matching are Terceira, Santa Maria, Flores, Corvo, and Graciosa in the Azores. Customers may receive a likely or more likely match to one of these groups, but this update doesn’t offer more breakdowns for Portuguese ancestry percentages.
Family Tree DNA. For those who are serious about exploring their family history, Family Tree DNA can take you even deeper into your DNA. In addition to the “regular” autosomal test (which is what you get at the other companies), they also sell YDNA and mtDNA tests. These reach more deeply back in time–by hundreds of years–on your paternal and maternal family lines.
When you take more than one kind of DNA test at Family Tree DNA, you can explore and compare the results to learn even more. At Family Tree DNA, you can also join various DNA projects that look closely at people who share common surnames, ethnic groups and ancestral places. Many of these projects pertain to Portuguese or Brazilian heritage.
MyHeritage DNA. Long before MyHeritage started selling DNA tests, they specialized in helping people build family trees and research their genealogy. MyHeritage brings together your list of DNA relatives, other people’s family trees and old records in a powerful way. The result is a better way to build your family tree and find your relatives. With a qualifying purchase, you’ll have access to:
- The Theory of Family Relativity, which gives you educated guesses about how you are related to other testers with whom you share DNA;
- The family trees and shared ancestral places and surnames of your DNA relatives;
- The ability to group your DNA relatives together into clusters of people who are related to each other; and
- Additional advanced tools you may want to use someday.
Note: to get access to the advanced DNA tools, you need to either 1) upload your DNA test results and pay a $29 unlock fee OR 2) purchase a MyHeritage DNA test and maintain a qualifying subscription. Read our recommendation below.
As an added bonus, MyHeritage offers a 14-day free trial, so you can “try before you buy”.
So…what’s the Best DNA Test for Portuguese ancestry?
Because their tests are sold in Portuguese speaking countries around the world, we recommend both MyHeritage and Family Tree DNA. But as you can see above, each testing company offers different strengths. With AncestryDNA’s mid-2022 addition of Portugal to its list of countries, you’ll also likely eventually see some DNA matches there.
The following strategy gives you access to the most powerful tools at BOTH testing companies but does not cost much more than the purchase of one test:
- Take Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder (autosomal) test
- Transfer the results over to MyHeritage, and pay $29 (USD) to get access to their most powerful DNA tools
- Explore our Family Tree DNA tutorials and MyHeritage DNA tutorials to learn more about your results.
Next Steps: Get Your DNA Test–and Start Learning to Use It