What is the Best DNA Company? (2020 Genetic Genealogy Review)

One of the most popular questions that I'm asked is "what is the best genetic

genealogy website?" and the answer really depends on what it is you want to get

out of your DNA test. Today I'm gonna give you my updated view of what I think

the best genetic genealogy website is.

Howdy, I'm Andy Lee with family history fanatics where we help you understand

your DNA, climb your family tree, and write the story of your ancestors along

the way. Today we're talking about genetic genealogy websites. And what are

the criteria that make a really good website? Well let me first preface this

whole video by saying it really depends on you and so as you're seeing my

ratings it may be different for you and I encourage you to go to the spreadsheet

that I have linked in the description and change the numbers up based on your

personal preferences to see which website you think is the best. There are

three major criteria that I think make a good genetic genealogy website, the very

first one is matches. If you're doing genetic genealogy you need to match with

other people DNA by itself is of no use you need to have somebody else's DNA to

see if you match and so the number of matches plays a big role in how good of

a genetic genealogy website it is. Now the second thing is the tools, if all you

can do is see matches and you're not going to get much out of it you have to

have some tools to be able to do different types of comparisons to see

who you share in common with all sorts of different things so the tools

that websites offer is another big component of genetic genealogy. And the

last one is collaboration really all of genealogy should be a big pool of

collaboration we all have information and we're all related we're all

researching ancestors that interconnect with other people so there's got to be a

way to collaborate with other people on the genetic genealogy website otherwise

you're just doing it in a silo and you're probably not going to get as

much out of it as you would with collaboration. So in 2018 and 2019 I did

a couple of reviews of the different websites and came up with who my winners

were for each year and so this year's no different, but there's going to be

changes just like every year I'm refining my formula some things don't

mean as much to me and so it's a little bit hard to compare from year to year,

but let me go over some of the changes from the 2019 formula. First off I

removed the multiple kit criteria and the phasing criteria, now this is not to

say that these two things were not important, because they're still you know

somewhat important, but when I look at it from a you know what do I do for genetic

genealogy they're not that important and they're not used as much and that may be

because from a phasing standpoint I've already got everything situated between

my paternal and my maternal side as far as who matches who and then there's

other methods that are better than just a simple maternal-paternal phasing. For

instance like the Leeds method or clustering now that allow you to group

your matches in much more compact and much better forms than just separating

out maternal paternal, but that's a good starting place but it's not gonna have a

place in my formula anymore. At least not this year maybe I'll add it back in next

year. Now the next thing is I changed the weighting factor how much each of these

criteria is worth to the overall score and I've played around with this a lot

and I'm still not fully satisfied with where I have it but I think it reflects

something close to what you know in my actual practice I think is most

important. Now that some of these companies are getting to have large

databases one of the things that I'm noticing is the increase inside doesn't

always reflect more matches to me. Now this is because some of these companies

are doing a lot of outreach to places the world where I don't have any close

relatives or at least ancestors that might be within the last ten generations.

For instance, the databases start up focused on the United States is where

most of the people were from and the United States primarily is made up of

different populations from Europe that emigrated over as well as some of the

Native American populations and some Sub-Saharan African populations. One of

the major populations that wasn't represented really well was the Asian

populations and that is more than half of the population of the world

so as these databases grow in size as they do outreach to Asia

I'm not going to necessarily see any matches even though this database size

is increasing and it can increase enormously without really affecting my

matches and so I've arbitrarily limited the database size. And the last thing is

I've updated of course each of the websites ratings for each one of the

categories they've all had different changes over the last year where they've

added some features and some features have been taken away and so I've had to

relook at each one of these and decide on what the new rating is going to be. So

let's start off and let's describe something that is really important for

genealogy and mentioned it already and that is collaboration.

Now collaboration is not a category that I'm awarding points to in and of itself

but collaboration affects a couple of the other categories. So what do I mean

by collaboration? I mean how much genealogical activity is happening on these

sites and it's different for every website because each website doesn't

necessarily have the same focus for instance ancestry and my heritage

started off as tree websites and the DNA was added later. On the other hand

23andme started off as a DNA website and they've had a tree before with my

heritage and then that was gotten rid of and now they've got a new tree

functionality. So you can see that this is actually a little bit difficult to

create a criteria between these different websites and it's really

loosely based on tree activity how many people put trees in and whether or not

those trees have enough people that you might be able to find a common match

from, but I'll be honest this figure is pretty much

yeah. It's gonna change greatly between person to persons so if you go again to

the spreadsheet and see how I calculated it you can pull up your own information

and you might come up with vastly different numbers and that's okay.

Now what this resulted for me was it created a multiplier from about 0.25 to

about 0.62 that I'm using with the number of matches and the quality

matches which I'll get to in a second and basically what this does is this

actually brings those two numbers down more so that they are comparable with

some of the other criteria. Let's get started and go through each one of the

criteria and who the winner of that category was so we can find out who the

overall best genetic genealogy company is. The first one is database size I said

at the beginning that matches are important and then database size then is

going to have to be important it constitutes 25% of your overall score

and what I'm doing for this is I'm taking the number of millions of kits in

that database and multiplying it by that collaboration score and that's going to

give me a value that is added into the total score. I mentioned before that I

limited this to about 13 million kits because what I'm saying is you know

beyond that I'm not seeing as much matches as I would otherwise I think it

is because these companies are doing more outreach, which is great for those

people who are from some of those populations in Africa and the Middle

East and in Asia where we haven't had a lot of testing already. So which company

ended up with the best score here well you probably guessed it and that is

ancestry now ancestry has the largest database and they also have a fairly

active population that puts trees on their databases links that DNA to trees

and so they end up with a score of 5.3. So good job to ancestry you're the winner

of this category the next category is called the quality match and this is

something that I made up myself and it is 40%. It is the most

important attribute of a database so when you're thinking about you know

where you want to go one of the things to look for is quality match. Now what do

I mean by a quality match? Well I mean that it is the number of matches between

35 centimorgans and 600 centimorgans. That means that there's a likelihood

you're going to be able to find out how you are related within a genealogical

time frame. Now it doesn't mean that if there's matches less than this you're

not gonna find out how you're related it's just that this group of matches is

much more likely that you're going to be able to identify that specific

relationship. Now the quality match score is created by taking the number of

quality matches and dividing it by the millions of kits in the database. So if

you have more quality matches with a smaller database you can actually have a

very high-quality match score. One thing to bear in mind is if you're using

Family Tree DNA data you need to make sure that you actually correct that by

removing out these small segments so for instance you may have some matches that

look like they are 70, 80, 100, maybe even 150 centimorgans but once you

remove out those small matches they may only be twenty or thirty centimorgans.

That's a big difference because it goes from a quality match to just one of your

lower centimorgan matches so before you use the family tree data then make sure

you correct that information and the winner of the quality match score

actually it's family tree despite the fact that you actually have to correct

for the amount of centimorgans that they're reporting they still have the

highest quality match score and they get a score of one point seven eight in the

quality match category so congratulations to Family Tree DNA for

winning this category one caveat I'm going to mention though is Family Tree

DNA is the only company that does not report their database size now I use the

database sizes based on lay Larkins most recent blog about what the sizes of the

different databases are Family Tree DNA information is estimated around 1.15

million turns out that that's actually provides a quality match score that's

double what almost all the other companies are so it could be that family

tree DNA's database size is actually closer to two to two-and-a-half million

unless they actually release those numbers we're just gonna have to go off

of their estimate so the next category is triangulation now I've talked about

triangulation a lot there's several videos on this channel about

triangulation I like to teach people about triangulation this constitutes 15%

of the overall score and it's because it is a really powerful tool to verify that

you have matches who are related to a common ancestor so what does this score

made up of it's really the ability to triangulate segments on that website so

when you start thinking about this you got to have a chromosome browser to be

able to actually see the segment data some of the companies actually have some

automatic triangulation that is very helpful for it and that of course

increases their score so who's going to be the winner

well it's actually jet match is the winner they get a score of three and

that's just because they have several different tools all that can be used for

triangulation and some of these tools are free some of them you can pay for on

their tier one but you can triangulate segments with any of your kits with

other people on Jed match and that's why they get a score of three the next

category is the transfer category this is actually one I was toying with taking

out of the whole equation but I decided to leave it in for now

because it is a great money-saving opportunity if you've tested at ancestry

and 23andme they don't allow transfers so the only way to get into those

databases to test with them so you're paying for the regular cost of a DNA kit

however to get into the JED match and the Family Tree DNA and the my heritage

DNA databases you can transfer in for free now some of them limit you as to

the number of tools but for just a small fee which is not as much as the cost of

a new kit you can have full access to all of those websites so then this is

based on the ability to transfer in and to use tools and so on

23andme and ancestry they both get a zero for this category because they

don't allow that transfer but who's the winner

well it's Jed match again and this is because while you can transfer in for

free for the others they usually only give you matches for that transfer kit

with Jed match you still get to use all of their free tools which you would be

able to use no matter what now you can also upgrade for the Tier one tools if

you want it's sort of like you can pay for that transfer kit to be able to

access tools on Family Tree DNA and my heritage but for right now I'm giving

Jed match a score of two which wins them this category the last category this is

my favorite I like to call the x-factor and this is 15 percent of the overall

score and the x-factor is great because I can make it whatever I want and you

can make it whatever you want to but for me I look at all the different tools on

the website how they integrate together and how you can use those in genetic

genealogy so which website is going to win I think this should be obvious that

it's Jed match dead match hands-down has the most amount of tools when you're

talking about the free ones or when you're talking about the paid ones they

do lots of things and in several cases they do things in many different ways so

that while you may not be able to find your match or you may not be able to

find the exact relationship using a certain tool there may be another tool

that you can use to help you with that they also have a lot of tools that

nobody else has and so hands down I think Jed match wins this x-factor

category with a score of 3 let me point out though this is not to say that the

other companies don't all have their advantages because they do so I'd

encourage you to go and take a look at what extra things you can get with each

one of the different companies so that is all of the different categories now

you may be thinking well which websites did you actually look at and I've loaded

it right now to 6 websites living DNA Family Tree DNA my heritage ancestry

23andme and now most of those five of those in fact

all are testing companies and one of them is not it's just a third-party

tools in the future I plan on adding other companies like Borland genetics or

DNA land but right now because the size of their database just does not allow

that many matches to show up I find the websites are great for

certain individual things but just as a general I haven't decided to add them in

yet so with that said let's go through our countdown of which company is the

best starting with number six and number six right now I'd say is living DNA now

living DNA is one of the newest companies I just did a review video a

few weeks ago on living DNA and they're still you know having some bumps as they

get out of the out of the gate there I've got one match so when you think

about genetic genealogy if you only have one match or like my wife zero matches

it's very difficult to do genetic genealogy without any matches so living

DNA needs to increase the size of their database they need to get their matching

algorithms better if they want to be able to move up this list let's go on to

number two which is Family Tree DNA now family tree two you name one one of

those categories but unfortunately some of the other categories they fell behind

on particularly in their database size which was 25% of the overall score they

are the smallest of the databases now again this is based on estimated values

so it's possible that if they released what their actual database size and they

would be larger and they might get a better score but for right now I'm just

going off of the estimated values cuz I don't have anything else to go off of

so they come in at number five and that's gonna lead us now to number three

now you say what about number four well we got a tie for a third two companies

ended up with the exact same score and those two are 23andme and jed match and

then these are two companies I use a lot they have a lot of tools they have good

matching 23andme is actually the second largest database they've been around I

think they were the original ones that did autosomal testing as well so 23andme

and jet matched I for third place in second place I know

the tensions just mounting who's gonna win well it's my heritage now this may

be a surprise for many of you because when I was going through each one of the

categories my heritage did not show up on there however my heritage was usually

in second place in almost all of these categories and so just because they are

not number one in anything yet doesn't mean that overall they don't still get a

really high score and in my hair just case they do now their database has been

growing it's about I think twice the amount of DNA kits as there were a year

last time I did this review a little over a year ago so I expect that they're

going to continue to increase their score and they may take the number one

spot in 2021 we'll have to see so that leaves number one and who's going to be

number one its ancestry for the second year in a row I'm actually reading

ancestry as the best in a genealogy website and really the reason is is

because of their massive database and the massive amount of people that are

building trees that are you know attaching that DNA to trees and so there

is a lot of collaboration in it and those two the the quality match score

and the database size score while they're related they do should look at

different things but that's 65 percent of your overall score and ancestry was

the top in one of them and near the top in one of the others so they get the

number one spot in 2020 if you haven't tested with ancestry I'd encourage you

to test with ancestry now that I've given you my ratings why don't you put

in the comments below which company you think is the best

is it 23andme my heritage living DNA Family Tree DNA ancestry Jed match or

one of the other companies that I haven't even rated on here I mentioned a

couple of things in this video if you want to see how to correct your family

tree DNA then go to this video up here and if you want to see my last review of

the different companies then just go to this video right down here and make sure

that you subscribe to this channel and click on the bell if you want to be

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