FamilyTreeDNA review: Unique genealogical collaboration, but an outdated interface

It was the first to popularize consumer DNA testing.

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family tree upgrade pricing Dieter Holger/IDG

FamilyTreeDNA DNA’s confusing pricing tiers.

For example, upgrades to the yDNA test can set you back as little as $69 to as much as $459 for the “advanced test for experts.” FamilyTreeDNA DNA argues that its test is more low-level than competitors like 23andMe, which just look at mutations to analyze your mtDNA or yDNA. As such, FamilyTreeDNA DNA can match you with relatives specifically from your mother’s or father’s side. So that is a unique offering you won’t find from competitors, possibly warranting the higher price tag.

If you don’t care about learning about the ancient ancestors on your mother’s or father’s side, you can just buy FamilyTreeDNA DNA’s Family Finder service for $79. It’s essentially the same service you get from AncestryDNA, breaking down your ethnicity on a map and matching you with relatives it identifies in the system. It’s also $20 cheaper than AncestryDNA but $10 more than MyHeritage DNA (our “best bang for your buck” test).

Editor’s note: Because online services are often iterative, gaining new features and performance improvements over time, this review is subject to change in order to accurately reflect the current state of the service. Any changes to text or our final review verdict will be noted at the top of this article.

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At a Glance
  • As the oldest DNA testing company, Family Tree DNA’s age shows in its outdated-looking website and results compared to newer, sleeker services like 23andMe and AncestryDNA. But it does take privacy seriously while offering interesting results, collaborative projects, and paternal and maternal family matchmaking.


    • Collaborative projects to trace lineage
    • Can identify relatives from mother’s or father’s side
    • Map on ancient ancestors for people of European descent


    • Outdated-looking design and interface
    • Pricey, confusing tier system
    • Misidentified German ancestry as British
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