Reviews of ancestry and DNA websites.
My initial curiosity in ancestry was tweaked by a search for a great grandparent who was a notable person in New Brunswick, according to stories from my family. I discovered a family tree had been created on Geneanet. From there I become curious about ancestors from France and from there DNA testing. I discovered some differences in DNA and ancestry sites and thought I would share the lessons learned. The first lesson is to do your research before you hit the send button!!!
I reviewed 5 different sites that offer either DNA testing and/or ancestry databases. The five sites I reviewed were 23andme, Ancestry.ca, Family Search, My Heritage and Geneanet. I have created a table to compare the different features. My conclusion is at the end of the blog. Ok maybe you don’t want to read the whole thing. I found the Ancentry.ca to be the best. Ancentry.ca offers DNA testing and an ancestry data base so you can find both living relatives who have done DNA testing and a family tree of ancestors. You can expect to spend about $ 100 for DNA testing and then further costs for a subscription or a pay per record viewed. The most economical and most efficient site was Ancentry.ca that offers a free 2 week trial which is long enough to discover ancestors going back to the 1500’s.
A more detailed review of DNA testing sites has been published elsewhere and they recommend CRIgenetics for DNA testing. The review site discusses the scientific pros and cons of each site as well as examples of the reports they produce. Most sites operate better in Google Chrome.
Comparison of sites
|Ancestry.ca||23andme||My Heritage||CRIgenetics||Family Search||Geneanet.|
|DNA testing||$129||yes||DNA and Health $249||DNA $ 57||$200 DNA and health $ 100 DNA only||no|
|Export DNA test||yes||yes||?||?||na||na|
|Import DNA from another site||no||no||yes||no||na||na|
|Link DNA and ancestry||yes||no||no||no||no||no|
|Ancestry database||Yes $ 25 mo||no||Yes limited free access. $ 10 mo||no||yes||Yes $ 17 per quarter||Linked with Family Search|
|Export family tree to another site||yes||na||yes||na||no||yes|
|Import family tree from another site||yes||na||yes||na||no||yes|
|Comments||found 15 relatives and 1292 DNA matches||Found 2 relatives and 10,331 DNA matches||Takes too long to load||Found family tree of great grand parents.|
The need to import or export DNA data should be minimal if you use Ancestry.ca or Ancestry.com.
Once you have created your family tree you can export it to a free software program, so you don’t have to keep up a subscription.
DNA testing-The test involves spitting into a plastic tube provided by the vendor and returning it by mail.
I got DNA tested by 23andme before I understood the difference among the sites. I discovered 2 new cousins who are children of second cousins that I had met as a child and I made some virtual connections to them. About 15 people were related to me with % .8 % of their DNA with most related via great great grandparents but I shared DNA with over 1292 people. Not sure if that is meaningful.
I confirmed my ancestry of British/Scottish/Irish which was no surprise to anyone. Family stories have mentioned this, my family names were typically Scottish and people know it by looking at me. Apparently there is some Nordic ancestry but I have not verified with the family tree I created in Ancestry.ca. Tow years later the DNA testing site has done fine tuning on location of ancestors and apparently at least one ancestor tracks back to Cyprus. It was of course a British colony at some time. I think 23andme is limited by who has regiested in the website for DNA testing so it does not have an international database so it’s conclustions are limited to Europe and North America.
This site also screens for genetic diseases and some health conditions. I found I carry one of two genes for macular degeneration which my father had, but I am not likely to get it since you need 2 genes for the condition to occur. That was good to know. I did not find a lot of correlations for things like coffee drinking were accurate, although hair and eye colour were bang on. Correlations for body weight were not accurate.
You can’t tell how you are related to people on the 23andme site. So in order to do that I exported the DNA results and uploaded to another site with ancestry database (Myheritage) but I was not able upload the DNA data to Ancestry.ca. In retrospect it would have been better to do DNA testing with Ancestry.ca.
This was the next site I tried and I quickly became addicted to exploring my ancestry. It was so easy to use and I was intrigued as each generation of my family history appeared as I clicked on “potential mother/father”. It was easy to verify family members as the site brings up a record of birth/death/census/marriage etc. You can save records, photos and documents to your family tree or your computer. I was able to export the Ancestry.ca file to My Heritage and found a lot of different relatives from other parts of the world. Most of the people in the database that I reviewed are deceased but I suspect if you loaded your DNA you would find more living family members.
I found 2 distant relatives. I did not go much further on this site.
I did some further research but did not find anything new.
I found a detailed family tree for one arm of my family. There was a lot of history in French.
What I found interesting
I was able to track my family tree on Ancestry.ca back to the 1500’s. I discovered that New Brunswick was populated by immigrants from Scotland in the early 1800s who settled around Stanley where my father grew up. Some of my ancestors were early settlers of New France. There are many families of 10+ children. Some of my ancestors lived into their 80s. Many parents named their children after the male parent, making it a bit confusing to track ancestors unless you have birth data. I also connnected online with several living relatives that I had never met through 23andMe. One has a large repository of family pictures which she has shared with me from a family homstead in Rexton, NB.
Here is an example of what I have been able to find on Ancestry.ca over 2 weeks.
|Year born||Place born||Side of family||Ancestor|
|12th GGF||1451||Forfor, Angus, Scotland||mother||Andrew Patterson|
|11th GGM||1550||Ploermel, Morginhan, Bretagne, France||mother||Marguerite Hignon dame de la Mare Farault|
|10th GGF||1590||Montmain. Seine-Maritime. Haute Normandie France||mother||Michel Arbour|
|10th GGF||1620||Berwickshire, Scotland||father||William Hogart|
|7th GGF||1658||Loughborough, Leicestershire. England||father||Ambrose Wolfe|
|6th GGF||1700||Appin, Argyllshire, Scotland||father||John Buchanan|
|4th GGF||1748||Kelso, Roxburghshire. Scotland||father||Lord David Douglass|
Records from Canada, like the census, are free to view on Ancestry.ca but records from Scotland and the USA are a pay to view from about $ 2.00 a record. However, the data from the record is in their database so you don’t have to view the original record. One could spend $ 50+ or subscribe on a long term basis. You can send a link to share the family tree for free.
A free software app called My Family Tree can be downloaded from Microsoft Store. You can export of file from the family tree apps in a Gedcom format and import it into the My Family Tree app. There are lots of ways customize the app.
Pictures of some ancestors.