Comprehensive Review, Comparison and Explanation of Major DNA Tests

Regular readers will possibly know that I am a big fan of the DNA Geek blog. Once again, they have not disappointed, releasing their comprehensive 2018 guide to DNA tests

Three Types of Tests

The DNA Geek post briefly explains the 'types' of tests that are available for genealogy testing; Autosomal DNA, yDNA (paternal) and mtDNA (maternal) and helpfully suggests to newcomers that they will mostly be wanting to undergo Autosomal testing in the first instance. 

Autosomal tests are offered by many companies but there are five major players that should be considered. I have personally tested with three of these and have uploaded my DNA to the other two. 

Five Serious Testing Company Options

Each of the five major players in genealogy DNA testing has features and benefits that differentiate them from each other. DNA Geek compares these and provides a helpful explanation and recommendation of which they would choose for testing under which circumstances. 

I have to say, their advice is very much in line with my own opinions - formed through my experiences and that is discussions with Ancestorian members.

The five companies considered are; Ancestry DNA (see below), FamilyTree DNA, Living DNA (see below), 23andMe and MyHeritage DNA. Links to regional sites of these follow (where available):

Read the Full Comparison

Head over to the DNA Geek site to read the full post. And don't forget to subscribe to their Blog - they regularly provide information that is pertinent, up-to-date and interesting for family historians - be they new to genealogy and DNA or experienced researchers.

Why Newspapers Are Essential for Genealogy Research

The team over at Genealogy Bank have provided us with a helpful reminder about why newspapers are such an important tool for family historians.

Naturally, they are quite keen to get you to sign up to their service but we at Ancestorian would also point you in the direction of many free newspaper resources (more information about these will be coming soon in our community library) such as Australian newspapers at Trove, New Zealand newspapers at PapersPast and importantly, British newspapers in the British Newspapers Archive which is part of the collections at FindMyPast.

Primary Way to Stay Informed

Genealogy Bank reminds us that newspapers and periodicals were the most important source of information for our ancestors:

Our ancestors existed in a time before the Internet, electronic record keeping, social media, and in some cases centralized databases. A time of paper, ink, quills, and the printing press. Periodicals, local newspapers, and letters – not blogs or social media – were the primary way people stayed informed of the outside world.

Not only did newspapers provide stories relevant to their contemporary audience, they also included details that make them invaluable to those studying their genealogy today.

What You Find in Newspapers

There are many sections within newspapers that really stand out for family history research. Genealogy Bank helpfully lists those as follows:

  • Obituaries
  • Marriage announcements
  • Birth announcements
  • Local stories – the community’s trials and tribulations
  • Passenger lists, especially in port cities
  • Casualty or promotion lists for Armed Services
  • Event attendance announcements
  • School-related events (honor rolls, theater productions, graduations, etc.)
  • Classified advertising (ancestors’ businesses, personal ads, etc.)
  • Society news (birthday parties, club meetings and events, notable out-of-town visitors)
  • Immigration and naturalization-related events (ship sailings, naturalization ceremonies, etc.)
  • Legal notices (divorces, sales, purchases, probate, etc.)

Read their Blog in Full

Read the full Genealogy Bank post over at their website.

Library of Congress Releases Free WWI Newspaper Clippings

The US Library of Congress has announced a release of a large collection of WWI newspaper clippings. These are available for free on their website.

Quote from Library of Congress:

World War I: A Wartime Clipping Service Update: All 400 Volumes Now Online

The massive collection, World War History: Newspaper Clippings, 1914 to 1926, is now fully digitized and freely available on the Library of Congress website. The 79,621 pages are packed with war-related front pages, illustrated feature articles, editorial cartoons, and more. You can search by keywords, browse the content chronologically, and download pages.

Coverage begins on June 29, 1914 with articles focusing on the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and continues into the post-war world through Dec. 31, 1926. The clippings provide a tremendous resource for the examination of the devastating Great War and its aftermath. The chronological arrangement of daily press coverage from multiple sources is invaluable.


Find out more here:

View the collection:

Black Friday: Genealogy Deals Compiled in One Place

It's Black Friday!

Black Friday - Special Deals Starting on the 23rd November

Every year, Black Friday rolls around and folk all over the globe scramble to make the most out of the incredible deals that are to be had.  Family historians are no exception, pouncing on heavily discounted DNA test prices and, occasionally, on lowered subscription fees.

We've tried to compile as much information on deals that could be of interest to you in one place, here at Ancestorian. 

Please note that many of these deals won't show until the 23rd hits your locale. If that is the case, please return on Friday and follow the link then. 

Here goes...

DNA Tests

It seems that every DNA testing company is vying for our attention. The deals we know of are as follows:

Ancestry DNA

From Ancestry:

Let's help more people discover their unique family stories with what will be the holidays' most memorable gift. Only Ancestry:

  • Has helped 20 million members connect to a deeper family story

  • Combines the world's largest online collection of family history records with the largest consumer DNA network in the world

  • Delivers 2x more geographic detail than any other DNA test

Australia - Ancestry DNA - $88

United Kingdom - Ancestry DNA £49

Canada - Ancestry DNA $69   - 12:01am Eastern on November 23rd through to 11:59pm Eastern on November 26th

United States - Ancestry DNA $49 - midnight Eastern time on November 22nd through to 11:59 PM EST on November 26th


FindMyPast / Living DNA

From FindMyPast / Living DNA:


  • Findmypast in collaboration with Living DNA, has launched the most advanced biogeographical ancestry discovery experience on the market
  • This British brand partnership uses cutting-edge science to reveal users’ unique British and Irish heritage across 21 regions and is the first to connect DNA to Findmypast’s archive of more than 9 billion historical records
  • Findmypast and Living DNA’s combined service allows users to pinpoint exactly where in the UK their family roots come from and then use the findings to explore their family history in extensive archives
  • Those who have already taken a DNA test can upload their tests and make discoveries that only Findmypast DNA can provide
  • Special introductory Black Friday offer (see prices below) - ends Monday!

United Kingdom: £79 £59 - Living DNA  UK   - ending midnight (GMT) Monday 26th November

United States: $89 $59 - Living DNA US   - ending midnight Monday 26th November

Ireland: €89 €59 - Living DNA IE   - ending midnight Monday 26th November

Australia: $129 $99 - Living DNA AU   - ending midnight Monday 26th November


Family Tree DNA (FTDNA)

Family Finder - Family Tree DNA  $39 with international shipping for $9.99 (domestic kits have return shipping included, International kits do not)

Y-DNA - Family Tree DNA  Starting at $99

mtDNA Family Tree DNA  Starting at $139


Subscriptions to Record Sites


United States - Gift Subscriptions 50% off  - midnight Eastern time on November 22nd through to 11:59 PM EST on November 26th

It doesn't matter where you live, you can still use a US subscription the same as UK etc.

Also, it is possible to buy a gift subscription for yourself.


Books, Printers, Scanners, Cameras, Albums, Scrapbooks, etc at Amazon

Amazon runs fantastic time-limited deals and other promotions on Black Friday. This can be a perfect time to pick up that new camera you need to take photos of gravestones or to replace your printer that never seems to reproduce the colours you want. There are also often reference books that you might need in the sales.

The best way to be alerted of special items coming up for sale - in advance of many other users (you sometimes need to be first in to get the bargains) is to be a member of Amazon Prime.

Luckily, you can sign up for a Prime trial for free. If you cancel within 30 days, you won't be automatically renewed and you have paid nothing for the 30 days of benefits that you only get with Prime.

You can sign up for  a free Prime trial here: