Should I upgrade my DNA profile at Family Tree DNA?

+5 votes
I have done three tests at FTDNA. In 2005 I did a Y-DNA 12, in 2006 I did a Y-DNA 67 and in 2010 I did the Y-Hap Backbone. Does anyone know if I would benefit from the upgrades offered for Family Finder and MtDNA or even a broader Y test. Money is not an issue, but I don't want to pay for a duplication of results already received. Which additional tests would you recommend? Thanks
in Genealogy Help by Gary Taylor G2G Crew (830 points)

5 Answers

+8 votes

You probably don't need the Y upgrade until you have a problem that it would solve. The Family Finder, while not as broad a base as AncestryDNA seems to work fairly well. I found more "cousins" there that want to exchange information than with Ancestry where all they wanted was their ethnicity. MtDNA is another that helps if you have a problem to solve. I have 6 matches but unless I can get back another 3 or 4 generations my paper trail doesn't intersect. Of course, the mtDNA is interesting and that is why I did it.

by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (424k points)

I agree--the Y-DNA and mt-DNA tests are better for finding out where your people are from. The au-DNA tests are for good for genealogy, because they'll hook you up with relatives that you can actually map to your tree in practical terms.

I've tested to Y-67, and my only decent match is probably at least 6-8 generations up my family tree to our common ancestor, and his last name is different to boot. I'm having my SNPs tested (logged in just now and my results are in! W00t!) because I'm curious about my haplogroup/subclade info, but I know that's not going to help me with genealogy nearly as much as the au-DNA test did.

+6 votes
If you already have a Y-67, and don't have a specific research question a Big-Y or Y-111 could answer, I don't see much point in getting either of those. At least with the Y-111 you would see some duplication as it includes the markers already tested on your Y-67.
by John Trotter G2G6 Mach 3 (39.4k points)
+6 votes
As I understand it, the recent expansion of the BigY to the BigY 500 is an important advancement by a more comprehensive assessment of the Y Chromosome. The more men who participate, the more likelihood of identifying more recent SNPs. While it is possible that you may not gain further personal information right now, your entry, combined with an increasing number over time provides the chance for new discoveries years from now. Since I attended the FTDNA conference in Houston last November, it is my understanding that it is important for all that more data to be added.

It also depends on your relationship with a surname group. If there is robust participation, with some well-defined Haplotypes, a new SNP can be useful. In the Beasley Project, we have two large Haplotypes that have confirmed ancestors born in the 17th century. We now have a Y-500 test for each group. With the expense of getting new people to Y-67 or Y-111, we can often use a less expensive test to confirm suspected lineages. If there is weak evidence of a connection to a specific lineage, testing for one SNP can confirm. If there is a new surname participant who is unknown, testing for two SNPs can answer "is it one of the major Haplotypes or neither?"

The Taylor Project at FTDNA is very large with many STR Haplotypes and, apparently, a fair amount of SNP testing. If you are financially able and willing, you might consider it. I would suggest asking your Taylor Group admin for recommendations for what would advance the project. As a group admin, I would be pleased to have that contact.
by Douglas Beezley G2G6 Mach 2 (28.4k points)
Waste of money I’d say. I did the Y-111 but even that isn’t very popular. Keep finding matches for Y-12 and occasional Y-67 so can’t see why Y-500 would be any good unless they bring price way down to encourage people to upgrade .  
You are quite right about the value. The Y500 is completely different purpose and is not for everyone. I also agree about the y111 because so few people do it. For my group project, I suggest minimum 37 and preferred 67. As for the notifications. You can change your preferences in you control panel link below your name and address. After clicking that, look for the notifications tab. You can deselect 12 or any other that you don't want.
0 votes
Which haplogroup and how many matches do you have now?
by Lloyd de Vere Hunt G2G6 Mach 2 (26.9k points)
My Haplogroup is I-M253. I find Family Tree very very confusing and have several issues. I receive emails almost daily about new matches--but I only have the same two matches in my folder labeled "Matches" and they are from years ago. I also have been trying to upload a Gedcom but can only get as far as the warning that it will erase my previous family trees. It asks if I want to do that, but provides no button for "Yes" and basically freezes. I have a WikiTree tree with more than 500 profiles and have obviously spent more time on paperwork research than DNA. Basically, I've been so frustrated with DNA and Family Tree since 2005, I just ignored Family Tree and GEDmatch. I think I have reached my limit and will just get someone on the phone over there. Does my experience sound unusual or indicate some problem with Family Tree? Am I doing something incorrect?
+1 vote
Hi Gary!  Welcome to WikiTree!  Thank you for joining us.

Which DNA tests you take should be decided based on your research needs.  In looking at your DNA ancestors:, it appears you have gone back about as far as possible with the mitochondrial/maternal line, so that would be my last choice.

67 markers is probably good for your yDNA.

Your autosomal DNA will give you cousin matches on any of these surnames:

If I were you, I would probably do a 23andme autosomal test and transfer the test results to FTDNA.  That way you can get the health/medical DNA info as well as the ancestral info from 23andme, and you can get additional cousin matches from FTDNA.  The same 23andme test will give you slightly different information from FTDNA because of the programming differences.  

Thanks for your contributions to the one world WikiTree.
by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (557k points)
You can also upload your 23&Me or FTDNA results to MyHeritage, and it'll start matching you up with their customers. I'm also finding the MyHeritage relationship calculations a bit more accurate, but you mileage may vary.

A couple of quick notes here. Family Tree DNA doesn't accept raw autosomal DNA files that were created via testing on the Illumina GSA chip...this includes 23andMe v5 (August 2017 and later) and all tests from Living DNA.

MyHeritage began accepting 23andMe v5 uploads sometime late last year, but according to posts as recent as 30 days ago on their support forum, they still have yet to begin providing matching services for these data.

The issue is that the default SNPs tested by the GSA chip and OmniExpress chip--both manufactured by Illumina--overlap by only about the majority of the loci tested are different with each test and it requires some heavy lifting (computationally speaking) to accurately make the apples and oranges comparison.

23andMe is doing it for their v5 tests and the previous v3 (begun Nov 2010) and v4 (begun Nov 2013) tests using the OmniExpress chip, but I can't speak to the accuracy and effectiveness of the math modeling. Evidently it's pretty good or we'd have been hearing constant chatter about it. Otherwise, no other company, including GEDmatch, is yet offering matching between GSA and OmniExpress results; OmniExpress is still used by FTDNA, Ancestry, and MyHeritage.

This just a caveat emptor that new tests with 23andMe and Living DNA are less portable...yet. That will change in the future. It's just proving harder to get right than I believe most expected.

For the moment, you can upload GSA chip data to GEDmatch Genesis and use it for matching other kits there; you can upload 23andMe v5 but not Living DNA to MyHeritage, though it can't be used for matching yet; you can upload and use 23andMe v3 and v4 but not v5 or Living DNA to FTDNA; and, of course, AncestryDNA accepts no uploads of any kind.

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