Thought I would let all of you know that I have personally made the leap into the world of genealogy DNA. I chose to submit my DNA to Family Tree DNA also known as FTDNA. You can find them online at www.familytreedna.com.
One of our active participants in our genealogy program made me aware that FTDNA was having a short-term sale on their entry-level product called Family Finder. Normally, it is offered at $99. I was able to purchase the kit online for $79. It is a good idea to check the Family Tree DNA website frequently, especially around Holidays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. It is not uncommon to see sales of their line of products during such times. Oftentimes you might expect a 20% discount. I purchased the kit of choice for me at such a discount. It was only being offered for a very short time.
Thank you Barb P. for our many DNA conversations pertinent to Family Tree DNA. Thank you for making me aware of the sale of this “entry” level kit. Thank you for the encouragement to get me “off the fence”!
Now that I have taken the plunge (better late than never!) I also thought that perhaps this would afford me the opportunity to write about the process and my experiences. Perhaps you are on the fence yourself thinking whether you should or should not submit. My DNA curiosity finally got to me plus the fact that I think it is important for me to have a real-life experience with such a hot topic as genealogy DNA so that I can be more informed to share with other genealogy researchers. Maybe my own personal experience with Family Tree DNA will give you the confidence to take the plunge yourself. Plus, I will relate the process itself to give you a level of comfort.
My initial purchase of the “kit” was done online. You can contact them via phone number if you are inclined to do so to order a kit. If you are familiar at all with online shopping you will find this a piece of cake. Go to Family Tree DNA, select the kit called Family Finder, add it to your cart, provide mailing, email and billing information and click to make your purchase a reality.
Once submitted to FTDNA for purchase, you will receive a confirmation/thank you email from FTDNA very quickly. It will mention the kit number they have assigned to you as well as a temporary password for you to use at the FTDNA website to watch the tracking of your kit as well as to use the site when results are back to you. You can change the Password information at any time at the site and make them different from the ones they initially provide.
Expect to also receive some follow-up marketing emails as I did making me aware of the other kits and sales they have with FTDNA, other than the Family Finder one I ordered. I received one around the time of Mother’s Day when they were offering their mitochondrial (mtDNA) test kit (for tracing or confirming direct line maternal ancestry) . I did receive a marketing email related to Father’s Day that has come and gone since there is a test related to the paternal line of DNA (Y-DNA). So yes I have seen a couple of marketing emails! I do not feel abused with email offerings from FTDNA (thank you FTDNA!).
The kit with a unique kit number designated for me arrived in my mail box within about a week. It is a small plastic white sleeve that contains a welcome letter, an instructional page, 2 swabs, 2 containers having what must be a preservative liquid, a submission signature sheet giving FTDNA permission to share your e-mail address with other participants at FTDNA that are a match to your results in different degrees, and a return postage-paid envelope.
There are simple directions on what to do with the kit to collect your DNA, plus Barb P. was able to provide me with her own experience related to the scraping of your inner cheeks. In this case I needed to scrape my inner left cheek with one scraper for at least one minute and then push-button release it from the swabber into one of the vials with the preservative liquid. Repeat the process with the other cheek. Each cheek should be swabbed at a suggested time in the morning before you start having some coffee or eating or brushing your teeth. In other words, don’t submit scrambled eggs and coffee for DNA analysis!! The instructions did note that it is possible you might even see a little blood on the scraper when you remove it from your mouth. Mine were clear with no blood appearing at all. WOW! I did not even think that might be possible but at least they warn you. Other DNA testing companies may require you provide saliva rather than a cheek scraping.
FTDNA does make sure you check the kit number that appears on the return envelope along with the kit number on the vials that everything matches and is the same. In other words check and double-check wherever you see a kit number to be sure it is all the same number as the original one assigned to you. Mine was fine.
Barb P. and FTDNA made me aware of a Wednesday batch processing cycle at FTDNA when kits received by Wednesday are processed. So if your kit arrives back at FTDNA on a Thursday it may sit there for a few more days before they process yours and all the kits they received in the previous cycle. I don’t think this a big thing but if you are really wanting to get your results quicker get your kit to the Post Office in the return envelope by at least the Monday before the batch cycle Wednesday processing.
So now my level of anticipation is up. So far, so good!
I ordered the kit, received confirmation of the order and have received the kit at home. Swabbing was done and mailed back, albeit on a Thursday by me. So don’t be like me. If you have the kit in hand on a Monday, swab them cheeks and get the completed kit into the mail that very day so you have a chance to get into the Wednesday batch processing cycle by FTDNA.
So now I await to see that they received my kit and move on to the processing and results from FTDNA.
Will let you know when that happens.
Schaumburg Township District Library