Comparing the 5 Major DNA Tests: An Introduction

By Shannon Combs Bennett Premium

DNA kits introduction

We are all curious about where we came from in the world. Or, at least I hope you are since you are reading a genealogy blog! DNA testing seems to many to be the ultimate “who am I really?” testing option. Over the next seven weeks, I am going to introduce you to five tests currently on the market and give you an introduction (and behind the curtain peek for those who have not tested) on each one. I’ve personally taken all five tests, and will be sharing my personal experiences, including images of my results. The tests we’ll be covering are:

For a variety of reasons, people turn to DNA testing hoping it will answer all their genealogical questions. Sometimes you do find the answers in the DNA. Often, you end up with more questions that you started asking! However, you will find out precisely what you inherited from your ancestors (which may be different from your siblings and cousins).

Fair warning

A word of caution. Don’t test unless you want to know. DNA testing can uncover deeply buried family secrets, and some of these secrets can be humiliating, shameful or painful to older members of the family. Also, realize that not everyone in your family may be as curious as you. You will need to respect the privacy concerns of other members of your family is you uncover something surprising.

One way that DNA can be helpful is if you think of it as a tool. Use it as you would a document to aid in your search for your family history. While DNA can help, it can also confuse, just like a census record that makes no sense. When used in conjunction with paper genealogy DNA can open doors to relatives you did not know existed.

Ethnicity breakdown

It is no wonder that with the DNA testing craze that many people are merely curious about their presumed ethnic breakdown. While the ethnic breakdown will vary dependent on the testing company, it is an excellent general guide to where your DNA originated. We will cover this in more detail over the next few weeks. I will even show you how my results vary from company to company (and why).

Our readers’ input

We polled our readers on Facebook and learned exactly which DNA test you would be most likely to take:

DNA kits introduction


First up, I’m sharing my results and thoughts on Family Tree DNA.

Ready to become a DNA expert? Our DNA Crash Course Value Pack is filled with an eBook, cheat sheet, and video downloads to help you discover what genetic testing for ancestry can do for you and how it can be combined with your existing genealogy research. Now is the time to dive into your DNA to discover your ancestry!