Which DNA Testing Company
There are a number of DNA testing companies which you can easily find online. We are only covering 3 of them here. - Ancestry, Family Tree DNA and MyHeritage. We have picked these as they all have substantial databases to help track down your Irish Ancestors. This is not a full review as we haven't tested with them all, it is just some observations which you might find useful.
This is probably the market leader in the field and has a very professional website which is generally easy to use. They have a massive database and their provision of "ancestry hints' works very well. They have a very clear way of showing DNA matches and whether you share ancestors with others who have made public their DNA results. However it can be exasperating that some matches either don't have a family tree or their tree is private. Some genealogy programs will synchronise with your family tree on their website and this is very useful for keeping online and offline trees up to date semi-automatically.
If you do your DNA test with AncestryDNA you can download your DNA data for use with other companies. However, there doesn't seem to be any reciprocal procedure where you can upload DNA results from other companies to AncestryDNA.
Family Tree DNA (FTDNA)
The nice thing about the Family Tree DNA website is that you can upload the raw DNA data from DNA tests from other sites. This means that you may find DNA matches for someone who has their DNA test on FTDNA but not elsewhere. You can also get another interpretation of your ethnicity including locations of other DNA matches.
They also seem to be the only company that do Y-chromosome and Mitochondrial DNA tests, which can be very useful. See our articles on Y-chromosome and Father's Ancestral Line and Mitochondrial DNA and Mother's Ancestral Line
We didn't find their website very user friendly but upload your DNA results and a GEDCOM file to try it out for yourself.
Like FTDNA, you have the very useful feature of being able to upload DNA tests carried out with other companies. Many of the site's features are free including uploading a family tree as a GEDCOM file. You can then check your ethnicity and research DNA matches. If you find a DNA match you can then look at the corresponding family tree and add information from it to your own, this works very well.
Of course there are also features you need to pay for, either as a monthly or annual subscription. These include the very useful feature, "Instant Discoveries". With these you can add whole new branches to your family tree with the touch of a button, however it's best to review these thoroughly as you need to know that the other family tree hasn't errors in it.
The MyHeritage website is clear and relatively easy to use.
All three websites have their good and bad points and we have only scratched the surface on each of them.
For examples of ethnicity results from each of these companies check out our ethnicity section.
Regardless of which company you use for your DNA results, an absolute must is the GEDmatch website. GEDmatch is non-profit and practically all the tools available can be used free of charge. We will provide a run down on this in September 2017.
DNA And Your Irish Roots
• DNA and your Irish Heritage
• DNA, Discovery and Functions
• Types of DNA tests
• DNA testing companies
• Y-chromosome and Father's Ancestral Line
• Mitochondrial DNA and Mother's Ancestral Line
• DNA and Ethnicity