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MarilynB Report 30 Jan 2015 19:09

Just wondered if anyone has had any experience of buying these dna kits to determine ancestors. There is a new one for £99 on Ancestry and have always been interested in purchasing one of these, but not sure whether they are worth the money, and what do they actually show.

Thanks for any advice


SylviaInCanada Report 30 Jan 2015 21:42

the test will only show you where most of your ancestors came from .............

eg, they'll tell you something like 50% Europe, 30% Asian, 10% African, 2% Native American

IMHO .............. not worth the money!


TerryFromGloucester Report 31 Jan 2015 09:11

I have taken Y-DNA tests with Family Tree DNA (rather than Ancestry) as the former has a much larger database of people taking this teat.They also have surname and location projects. I am not trying to "sell" FTDNA, I just found it better for me.

I did have an "invitation" from Ancestry to take their test for £99, however, the USA site shows the cost at $99 (about £62), so I have emailed them to ask why there is such a large difference, surely it can't all be postage. I am awaiting their reply.

I took the test in the hope of trying to discover if my paternal line has Cornish connections, (my father told me our family originated from Scotland) so that I can research in the correct area., I have joined the Andrews, Cornwall & Scottish projects.

However, I am still awaiting the matches I need!



Jacqueline Report 31 Jan 2015 10:06

I've certainly got better things to do with £99.

The results they give are so vague that you could probably take a guess and get a more accurate result


DazedConfused Report 31 Jan 2015 14:46

Would be very wary, these DNA results are kept in the US not the UK.

And as said before it will only tell you where your ancestors came from many years ago, so we are all from Africa and come to Europe many routes.

They do not tie down to counties. But those with a high proportion of Nordic DNA will normally be from the North of England or the East Coast.

As said by Jacqueline, far better things to do with £99.00

There is a discussion on this on the Facebook page

And unless more in the UK take up DNA testing (I for one would not trust my DNA with anyone!) the chance of finding relatives is highly unlikely.

Sorry to be a damp squib :-)


JoonieCloonie Report 1 Feb 2015 21:52

The Ancestry test is useless.

It is an 'autosomal' test, which can be useful for finding cousin relationships up to 5th cousins.

If you have a particular relationship you are trying to sort out - someone you seem to be related to but can't figure out how from paper records - and if you both test, it may help to sort it.

Otherwise, you need an enormous database of other people who have tested, to beat the odds of finding someone related.

The idea of DNA telling you where your ancestors came from is also just silly, as we all have ancestors from all over the place on the way from Africa.

The best kind of DNA test for finding genuinely related people is YDNA - the male-line DNA that is passed down father to son. It does not work for women, and it does not work for identifying female ancestors. YDNA, coincidentally, follows the surname line, since in our cultures children take their fathers' surnames. A YDNA test could find a match with someone with a different surname, indicating, if the match is close and since the time when people adopted surnames, that there was a 'non-paternal event' somewhere in one or both lines ... a father who was not the one whose surname the child took (or if there was no registered father and the child took the mother's surname) ... and this is something it can be useful to know and investigate

so for this, a man can test himself, a woman can test her brother or father or paternal uncle or his son, for instance, to try to find relations in the father's surname line

for a person's mother's surname line, they could test their mother's brother or his son

However, I am very tired of people saying there are better things to do with one's money ... better than Ancestry's test, yes indeed, but DNA testing can be useful if you have a particular question it could help solve, or if you are just interested in the science and the possibilities

I approached it from both angles: I did have a mystery to solve, and I have become interested in the science

I had wildly, almost unbelievable good luck in that I did find a close match for the YDNA in the surname line that I can't trace in the 'normal' way through genealogical records

in fact it did not answer my question, it raised more questions :-)
but the match is real, and I am now part of a small group investigating the surname it turned up

I tested relations on both my mother's and my father's side ... one was for the little mystery, the other was just curiosity

I tested at Family Tree DNA, the company that has the largest database and offers the most assistance with matching and research ... and I uploaded the test results to Ancestry when it was still doing YDNA testing (it has stopped) ... and what did I find, for my other line, but a 100% match

... who turned out to be a fellow descendant of a great-great-grandfather born c1820 whom I had already been in contact with through Ancestry (when he saw notes I had added to census records for the mutual ancestor)

... so what the DNA testing proved is that my close relation who tested and the other person are both 'legitimate' descendants from that person ... something that is always useful to confirm when you are doing family history :-D

DNA testing is not magic ... it is only going to be truly useful for family history research if you find a reasonably close match with someone else, and that means that someone who matches will have to have tested as well

most testees are in the US, true, but they are testing because they are looking for the source of their emigrant ancestors in the UK, so there is every possibility of finding a match in that database

... and in fact that is exactly where I found mine, exactly as I predicted, a Cornishman who had emigrated around 1850 during the great exodus from the mining areas of Cornwall where my people originated, and settled in a mining area of the United States

... so the person in the US confirmed her roots (and that her father was legitimately the son of his father, which some had questioned) ... and I confirmed what I was pretty sure I knew about my early 19th century ancestors' origin, just has not helped me trace them back farther as yet

so Terry ... perhaps we will turn out to be cousins from Cornwall too! :-D
I have to go back and look ... I had joined the Devon project but I didn't know there was a Cornwall so I'll have to sign up

as far as where the samples and analyses are kept, well, I would never give Ancestry DNA or any kind of identifying information at all ... with FTDNA, everything in my accounts there is anonymous, no names and connected only with a pseudonym email account, and I disclose family info only to people with whom I have some sort of match ... I also find I have been able to help a few people who found a match with me that was too weak to be meaningful, but I gave them a hand with researching their paper trails

in any case when it comes to DNA testing for family history purposes, best to know what you are looking for or expecting and whether it is likely to be useful for that, and then best to ask those who have investigated it and preferably tried it ... but yes, best to stay away from Ancestry


TerryFromGloucester Report 3 Feb 2015 12:47

Thanks Joonie Cloonie for your comprehensive reply.

A cousin of mine has made contact with possible relations living in Australia who are descendants from a Cornish line. and we are trying to persuade a male relative with our surname to take the Y-DNA test with FTDNA.

I am hoping that this might show if there is a link to the Cornish family we think were our Gt Gt Grandfather parents. We have not been able to find any other way of confirming or disproving this possible link.

DNA testing does have its uses, for me anyway.



JoonieCloonie Report 3 Feb 2015 15:28

heh Terry, there are Australian connections for my Cornwall surname of interest as well ... you've heard "a mine is a hole anywhere in the world with a Cornishman at the bottom of it", I imagine :-)

there's a graph here showing what happened to the population of Cornwall when the mining boom went bust in the 1860s, although emigration started in earnest in the 1850s I think ... and while it partially recovered in the 1870s, it didn't increase again until a century later

(click on the graph to enlarge it)

... and we too are currently trying to persuade someone in Australia to do a test ... although his line looks like it might connect with the same name as my apparent male line, in his case it's the family of a married-in maternal ancestor of mine! (that is, I seem to have two different lines of the same surname, one a male ancestor and one his wife) ... but it could possibly provide a triangulation point and show whether my two lines are connected

(the Devon line of the same surname, for which all testees are in the US and mostly from more ancient emigration, is not closely connected with the Cornwall line my kit fits into, interestingly)

And my match has an émigré to Australia too ... unfortunately, as far as I've been able to determine so far, a sister :-(

have you ever put a question up about the grgrgrandparents you are looking for a connection with? I love tackling Cornwall questions ... they're so rare!

I know it can be touchy if the surname you're investigating is your own or your parent's and you want to stay private ...

I haven't heard back from my join request for the Cornwall project yet. We could trade kit numbers when I do :-)


TerryFromGloucester Report 3 Feb 2015 20:17

Hi JoonieCloonie,

The relatives who I know are directly related to me emigrated to Australia in the 1850's in connection with the gold rush in Victoria State. I have only just joined the Cornish project, having emailed them first to get the ok to do so, I would be happy to exchange details with you should you also join. I have take the Y-DNA 111 marker lest.

The graph you mentioned is very interesting.

I did put a question on the Corwall Family History forum, but never got a response, and the Forum has now ceased due to lack of use, pity! Perhaps I could pm you with the details I have, if you don't mind?

Best wishes,



JoonieCloonie Report 3 Feb 2015 20:30

be happy to, Terry!


MarilynB Report 3 Feb 2015 20:54

Sorry, got called away and have been unable to get on here till now. Thanks so much for all information, appreciated, but think I may give this a miss. Have gotten back to middle 1500`s with one branch through bmds, parish records etc., and scouring various record offices, so maybe I will continue to spend the money on that.

Thanks again

Marilyn :-)


JoonieCloonie Report 3 Feb 2015 23:01

DNA testing is absolutely no substitute for genealogical research, Marilyn!

It can be helpful where the records are absent or there are broken links in chains, but only if one has the right people available to test, and only if there is someone else living who descends from a common ancestor, and only if one of those people actually tests :-)

(in the line I mentioned where my close relation matched with a known fellow descendant of the same grgrgrandfather, we will likely not get any other matches ever with a common ancestor farther back than that, because the grgrgrfather and his father and his father before him were the only males in their generations in that location as far as I can tell from parish records ... so anybody we ever matched with would be related from before the time of surnames and that would be a curiosity at best)

but the Ancestry autosomal test is particularly useless for any family history purposes, and for any other purpose in fact


Denis Report 4 Feb 2015 08:53

£99 would clearly be a waste of money for those who can't be bothered to first read up about DNA and learn how it can (and cannot) assist with family history research.


TerryFromGloucester Report 6 Feb 2015 07:24

Just had an email from Ancestry saying:

We have been experiencing some technical issues which may have limited your access to AncestryDNA. To apologise for any inconvenience caused we are offering you a 10% discount when you purchase an AncestryDNA kit.

This offer is for a limited time only. Offer ends February 9, 2015 at 11.59 p.m. GMT.

So now its £89.


Mark Report 14 Jul 2020 14:30

Some misleading responses on this thread - the test will NOT show you where your ancestors came from and couldn't possibly do so as this info is not stored anywhere. It can give an indication of where your ancestors came from, based an where the other people who are on that firm's list are now. If you have unexpected ancestry such as Malaysian if you are in Europe it may show up, or may not.

But this is not the main point of the test - what you will get is a list of the people on that same company's list who are shown by your DNA to be related to you, and you can contact them. This can be of inestimable help in finding your own family tree.

Also, if you test with one company, there are further sites you can load your DNA result onto, sometimes free. These will give you further contacts.

So I would say taking such a test is worth the money if you are researching your ancestry.


Mark Report 14 Jul 2020 15:29

What most companies offer is an autosomal test. This is what you would need - YDNA or MTDNA tests only give information about the all male or all female line which is a tiny percentage of your ancestry, and the chances of actually finding a match are tiny. Autosomal tests are useful for matches where the latest common ancestors are say up to five or six generations back, not more - but that gives you many thousands of cousins and many hundreds of matches. If you have done your own traditional research well and know about your immediate tree, amongst these you will find some who have done the same and can match up and give you new information. The disappointment is so many match hes who haven't created trees and don't respond to messages, but the ones that have and do make up for it. Contrary to what is stated in one post above, the results are not at all vague - in fact, exactly the opposite, they are precise. Below a certain level you cannot be sure if a match is true or by chance, but this is clear from the start. Traditional research and DNA research complement eachother and help eachother out. DNA can sometimes prove that a piece of traditional research may be wrong, but traditional research cannot prove DNA matches wrong!#


nameslessone Report 14 Jul 2020 16:47

Just pointing out that the thread you posted on was 5 years old - DNA testing has moved on a lot in that time.