Ancestry DNA vs. Family Tree DNA Comparison 

By  Editorial Team

Ancestry DNA vs FTDNA
Ancestry DNA vs Family Tree DNA

Ancestry DNA vs. Family Tree DNA Comparison

Ancestry vs. Family Tree DNA: Which One is Your Best Bet?
Once upon a time, people eager to learn about family trees used journals and photo albums stored in attics to figure how who–to invoke Biblical lingo–begot whom. Nowadays, the DNA helix does what family records can’t: laboratory tests break down DNA samples submitted by those eager to know more about their deepest roots.

Surprises? You can count on them: from discovering unknown Native American ancestry to learning forefathers may have come to the U.S. on the Mayflower, tracking DNA has become an obsession for some and plain fun for others. But before you join this lively crowd, it’s important to know which DNA test service is your best bet between these popular choices: Ancestry DNA vs. Family Tree DNA. Which will you use to find the key to your past?

Family Tree DNA:

Preferred by myriad genealogy labs and folks who have taken multiple DNA tests to search their family’s past, Family Tree happens to be the only service offering the basic three types of testing: Autosomal, Y-DNA and mtDNA. Order an analysis and your data remains on the Family Tree website 25 years for safekeeping.

While Family Tree’s database isn’t as extensive as Ancestry’s, it more than makes up for that by offering competitive pricing, privacy, biogeographical industry data, a chromosome browser tool, excellent customer service and you can even upload raw data from other resources if you want to compare results on your own. Finally, there have been plenty of compliments delivered by genealogy professionals and users about superior oversight; data simply seems to be “better taken care of” than it is by competitors. FTDNA does not have the family trees available that Ancestry has. FTDNA does have a chromosome browser for visually comparing where exactly your DNA overlaps with your DNA relatives.

Ancestry DNA :

Perhaps the most well-known because it pioneered DNA testing for consumers, Ancestry also offers competitive pricing, but only for Autosomnal DNA tests, since Y-DNA and mtDNA tests aren’t offered separately. Privacy/security is called “reliable” rather than excellent, but Ancestry—given the amount of time they’ve been in business—can offer you an impressive analysis of 700,000 genetic markers. Does that make up for not offering Y-DNA and mtDNA analyses? That’s your call.

You won’t be permitted to upload raw data from other DNA testing entities to make comparisons if you decide to patronize Ancestry, and there’s no chromosome browser service available either. Ancestry’s biggest advantage is a huge database of 1.4 million people and this service’s willingness to store your results indefinitely. The Ancestry folks urge anyone using their services to “create a group,” which means that people in the mix haven’t necessarily had their DNA tested, a point that can be a deal breaker. The biggest advantage to Ancestry DNA is are the family trees and the ability to attach your DNA results to a family tree. If you are adopted, this may be cructial for figuring our how you are realted to people and do drill down to your birth parents. If you are adopted you don’t have a family tree, but can attach your DNA results to a DNA relative and see what hints appear.

Expert recommendation:

There’s a website you may wish to follow if you’re dabbling in all aspects of DNA: Legalgenealogist.com. Run by a self-admitted obsessive soul who monitors all consumer DNA test agencies all the time, you can check in periodically to find out which service offers the best deals, services and accuracy. As of 2015 and after due diligence, Family Tree was named “the only game in town” by this site’s researchers. For consumers who can afford only one test, choosing Family Tree makes the most sense according to positive feedback from site users who are impressed by advance matching feature updates.


As the oldest of the DNA search sites, Ancestry should be happy to reduce rates based on new site visitors, but instead, it has elected to drop popular benefits, like the company’s decision to stop selling its Family Tree Maker software. For subscribers who love this feature, databases will be unavailable as of 2017. Further, if you request a DNA search on Ancestry, terms and conditions of your activity could put your personal data into the hands of pharmaceutical companies eager to use it for ongoing research. You will have to search Ancestry’s small print to find this disclaimer, so if you object to this, Family Tree is, once again, your best bet.

As extra incentive, you can download a free e-book from Family Tree DNA to help you wade through and interpret your test results, a gift not offered by competitors. Here’s another perk: since Family Tree provides real e-mail addresses to those using their DNA services, you don’t have to use the site as an intermediary to communicate with your new kin directly. This feature is extremely popular with Family Tree loyalists, too.

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