FTDNA Flash Sale

DNA kit sale

If you’ve wanted to stick your toes into DNA testing waters, but missed the summer sale season, now’s your chance.

Family Tree DNA is having a 72-hour sale, today through Sunday, September 30, at midnight, with some really good prices on its autosomal test — Family Finder — and its full sequence mitochondrial DNA test.

If you’re not sure what test you might be interested in, here’s an overview of these test types:

     • Family Finder (FF): This test looks at autosomal DNA (atDNA)1 and it’s used primarily across genders to locate relatives — cousins — from all parts of a family tree. Both men and women can be tested.2 The likelihood of a match drops off from generation to generation, so where first and seconds cousins have an extremely high chance of matching each other, third cousins will match only 90% of the time, fourth cousins only about half the time, and fifth cousins only about 10% of the time.3 Your matches usually won’t share a surname so finding the common ancestor in your paper trail can be confusing and challenging, but oh boy is it terrific when you do!

     • Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA): The mtDNA test offered here — called mtFullSequence (FMS) — looks at the type of DNA passed from a mother to all of her children — so both men and women can be tested — but that only daughters can pass on to their children, so it’s used to trace the female line.4 This type of DNA changes very little from generation to generation so matches can share a common female ancestor many generations back. The test looks at all of the mtDNA a person has and that dictates how close in generations you and a match may be: a match at the mtFullSequence level is likely within 16 generations. And you’ll get your female line haplogroup with this test.

For more information generally on these tests, see the Family Tree DNA Products and Pricing page.

These prices are good through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, September 30th, only, so if you want to get it on this, you need to act fast. Orders have to be placed and paid for before the sale ends.

Family Finder $289 $199
mtFullSequence $299 $199
FF + mtFullSequence $559 $398
Family Finder $289 $199
mtHVR1 to mtFullSequence $269 $199
mtHVR2 to mtFullSequence $239 $199
mtFullSequence $289 $199


Image: Open Clip Art Library, user gsagri04

  1. ISOGG Wiki (http://www.isogg.org/wiki), “Autosomal DNA,” rev. 8 Feb 2012.
  2. See ISOGG Wiki (http://www.isogg.org/wiki), “Family Finder,” rev. 8 Feb 2012.
  3. Judy G. Russell, “Autosomal DNA testing,” National Genealogical Society Magazine, October-December 2011, 38-43.
  4. ISOGG Wiki (http://www.isogg.org/wiki), “Mitochondrial DNA,” rev. 30 Jul 2010.
Print Friendly
This entry was posted in DNA. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to FTDNA Flash Sale

  1. Thanks for the heads up. I’ve been waiting for another sale to come along.

    Here’s my question. I’m wanting to get the autosomal Family finder test. I’m wondering if it would be worthwhile To have my mother and brother have the family finder test done also. What do you think?

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      Always always always test the oldest living generation first for Family Finder, Michelle. If you can only afford one test right now, test your Mom (a grandparent would be even better). That’s because this test measures a type of DNA that changes (through recombination) from generation to generation so you’ll get the best results by testing back as far as you can. And yes, testing multiple family members also gets you the best results: you and your brother will share about half your DNA but each of you will have received some major chunks from a parent that the other didn’t. But in terms of priority, oldest generation first.

    • Jim Bartlett says:


      There’s two sides to this coin, and it depends on your priorities and objectives. Let’s say you test a parent first – on average the parent will have matches that are one generation deeper; but on the other hand only one half of your ancestors will be included (the half on that parent’s side). For a grandparent, you’d only see matches for one-fourth of your ancestors; but it’s likely to be a deeper look.

      • Judy G. Russell says:

        Jim, you’re right of course that the results will be limited to the tested person’s ancestral lines — but I want to emphasize here the generational limits of the autosomal DNA test (Family Finder from FTDNA or Relative Finder for 23andMe). Every earlier generation you do NOT test means the potential for a permanent loss of results. So whenever you have to make a choice of who to test, I repeat that my advice is always, always, always test the oldest generation first. You could lose that generation tomorrow. I’m not saying don’t test yourself as well, but if you can only afford to test one person now, test the one who is oldest first.

        • Jim Bartlett says:

          Very good advice. And I’d add that it’s even more important to get these older generations to take ANY DNA test with FamilyTreeDNA. They store the DNA sample for 25 years, and can run other tests in the future. I had my maternal uncle take a Y-DNA test in 2003, and my father took an mtDNA test in 2005. Both passed away in 2006. I had the Family Finder DNA test run on their stored samples. Both of them must be smiling in heaven at the help they are still giving me in my genealogy hobby.

  2. Kelly Leary says:

    Hi Judy
    My mother is 100% Slovak and my father is 100% Irish so I’m a mixed breed. I’m looking for information on my Irish side. Should I have my father tested since he is 100% Irish? And which DNA test would be best for him? Last question – should I use this DNA test or keep waiting on Ancestry’s new DNA test?


    Kelly Leary

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      Kelly, the easy answer is test your father, yes, but as to what test you should ask him to do, the question is: what are you hoping to learn about your father’s side? What are you hoping DNA will tell you that you don’t know now?

    • Jim Bartlett says:


      I have taken the autosomal DNA test from FamilyTreeDNA (Family Finder), from 23andMe (includes medical info about which you should consult your Dr, before ordering) and from AncestryDNA. I got the most matches from 23andMe, but I got more reponses, sharing, and help from FamilyTreeDNA. The AncestryDNA test does not reveal any DNA info – they just tell you you match someone. If that’s all you want, then take the AncestryDNA test on sale – they do have the best tools for comparing Trees. And if you and your match both have roughly the same info for your Common Ancestor, AncestryDNA will draw a cute diagram down to each of you (using info from your respective Trees). But if you want to map your genome or do any analysis based on DNA segments, use one of the other two companies. The other companies also allow you to download your raw data, and then upload it at third-party sites like http://www.gedmatch.com where they have utilities to compare your results with folks from other testing labs, determine if/how your parents are related, etc. You can do none of these things with the DNA data that AncestryDNA won’t release.

  3. Jim Bartlett says:

    The percentages you quoted about the percent of the time you’ll get a match with a cousin are correct, but misleading.

    FTDNA is very conservative in their advertizing, and, although correct, many folks don’t understand these percentages.

    1. They represent an average. So about half of your real 4th cousins who take the FF test will show up as a match and half will not (any shared DNA may be below the FTDNA threshold algorithm). So even 1 out of 10 real 3rd cousins will not show up. This is the bad news
    2. On the other side of the coin, we have many more 4th cousins than 3rd cousins; many more 5th cousins than 4th cousins, etc. And so almost all of us have more 4th cousin matches than 3rd; and more 5th cousin matches than 1st to 4th cousins combined. So here is the good news: if you take this test, you are likely to get many 5th, 6th, 7th cousins who match you!
    3. If you get a specific cousin to test, the good news is you already know the relationship and the Common Ancestors; the bad news is you have to apply the percents (see #1), meaning you may not match.
    4. With the autosomal DNA tests (like Family Finder), the bad news is that the randomness of who tests does not let you target specific lines (like you can with Y-DNA and mtDNA tests). To target specific Ancestors, you are back to #3.
    5. What’s a body to do…If you test at FTDNA or 23andMe and download/upload your raw data to http://www.GEDmatch.com, you’ll find many more matches. This means you’ll increase the likelihood that you’ll get cousins who match on the lines in which you are interested. So some good news….

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      And if you do use Gedmatch (which I wrote about here in Gedmatch: a DNA geek’s dream site), remember that while it’s free, it’s donor-supported, so please consider making a donation to help keep it afloat. I just made another substantial contribution today for the good work that site does for my family!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>