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Home: Surnames: Stewart Family Genealogy Forum

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Posted by: W. Stewart (ID *****8907) Date: July 02, 2010 at 14:04:47
  of 16484

The following is a brief guide about how both men and women can have their DNA tested, etc.


If you join a surname project before you pay:

* A Y-DNA37 test costs $149 (+ $4 shipping = $153).

* A Y-DNA67 test on sale costs $239 (+ $4 shipping = $243).

FTDNA's regular prices are listed under "Products & Pricing" at .

You can collect samples from people before they die and safely store them at room temperature until more family members are willing to help pay to have them tested. Just inform FTDNA before testing begins if you decide you want, e.g., a Y-DNA67 instead of a Y-DNA37 test. Your samples will not be tested until complete payment is received.


"The accessibility and affordability of family DNA testing is doubtless the greatest technical advance in the history of genealogical research because -- at long, long last -- we have a tool to break down those brick walls!"

A video that may help one understand the benefits of genetic genealogy and DNA testing is at I also enjoyed watching the Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) videos listed at .

The price one pays for a DNA test may seem insignificant in comparison to the benefits, e.g., if one's test results match those of people who have documented pedigrees over a thousand years old. This happened almost every time my cousins had Y-DNA tests.

Please help others to learn about DNA testing for genealogical purposes, e.g., by copying and sending this document to everyone on your mailing lists before this sale ends. The more people have their DNA tested, the easier it will be for us to find matches and improve our genealogical data.


Unless the person who provides a DNA sample identifies himself, no one will ever know from whom it came. Since many other people probably have the same test results as you, they can not be used to identify you. No matter how much others know about you, they will never be able to use your DNA test results to harm you. DNA testing is perfectly safe.

FTDNA's tests can only be used for genealogical purposes. They can not be used as a paternity test or to identify or convict anyone, not even a criminal. See .

FTDNA does everything possible to allay the fears of its most paranoid customers.

"Your unique test kit number will accompany your collection tube to the testing lab. The computer-generated number and your surname is the only information about you that the testing facility will see. Once your test has been completed the results of the Y-DNA or mtDNA test will be entered in a secure database. A comparison between your specific genetic results and those of others in the database will then be performed." See

Before you pay, join a surname project (ask FTDNA if you need help) that allows you to publicly display your DNA results while NOT revealing your contact information except to your matches. Why test if you do not want to connect to your matches? Sharing of results does not necessarily mean sharing of identity.


FTDNA's convenient sample collection kits are free. Each kit contains 3 numbered vials, swabs, instructions about how to obtain DNA samples, etc. Inform FTDNA if the Post Office fails to deliver a sample collection kit a couple of weeks after you order a test. You may easily order one or more FTDNA sample collection kits in the three following ways.

* Method # 1

Ask FTDNA to mail kit(s) to your street address by telephoning 713-868-1438, Monday - Friday, 9A-6PM EST, 8A-5PM CST

* Method # 2

Email your request and shipping information to

* Method # 3 - Online payment

Before you pay, make sure you join a surname project via the web page at .

a) Scroll down and use the Y-DNA SURNAME PROJECTS menu to select the first letter of a surname.

b) Select a surname from the next menu

c) Scroll down and click on "ORDER NOW", e.g., beside the $149 Y-DNA37 button.

d) Scroll down and click on the "NEXT" button.

e) Enter your name, shipping and email address, etc. and click on the "NEXT" button.

f) If you choose to pay via invoice instead of via your credit card, select "Billing address is same as shipping" and click on the "NEXT" button.

g) Click on FINISH if you provided the correct shipping, etc. information.

Note: When ordering via the Internet, if you click on your browser's "BACK" button instead of on the "PREVIOUS" button displayed on a web page, you may have to delete all of the cookies, etc. from your computer's cache in order to proceed.


Regardless of the price, I think you will be more satisfied if you pay only FTDNA to test your DNA samples for the following reasons.

1) Since FTDNA's database is far larger than all of the databases of the other DNA testing companies combined, more people's test results can be compared to yours. See

2) The more markers one can compare the better. Different markers tested by other companies can not be compared to FTDNA's.

3) Genealogists and your matches may pay attention only to FTDNA's test results.

4) 90% of genealogists use FTDNA.

5) It has a helpful web site

6) Its intelligent, knowledgeable, and caring employees patiently answer questions via telephone, etc.

7) It is trustworthy and reliable (some testing companies with attractive web sites are not).

8) FTDNA is the oldest (other companies may not last as long).

FTDNA has tested over a half million samples, according to .

I understood how much more helpful FTDNA's larger database is after I added my test results to the relatively useless databases of other companies, e.g.,, Genetree, and Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF). Some, e.g., National Geographic's Genographic Project, pay FTDNA's laboratories to test their samples.


I do not recommend the slightly cheaper 12 and 25-marker tests. Whether or not a family has 67-marker or 37-marker tests may be a mutual decision. Comparing 67-marker test results to 37-marker test results is no better than comparing the test results of two 37-marker tests.

67-marker test results may help us sort out more precisely who descends from whom in an extended family. One can upgrade from a Y-DNA37 to a Y-DNA67 test for $99, or save $9 by ordering the Y-DNA67 test first.

"Several groups of families have still not been able to completely determine the relatedness of group members with our flagship 37 marker test. Therefore we see two main advantages of testing 67 markers over testing 37:

1) Y-DNA67 can further refine our estimate of how closely related two individuals are,

2) By using additional markers groups of related participants have a better chance of finding mutations which identify sub-branches in the family." See

Y-DNA12 tests can prove that 90% of the people named Stewart do not belong to the same Stewart family as the kings of Scotland. A Y-DNA37 or Y-DNA67 test can prove to which branch of that family a Stewart belongs even if his paper trail goes back no further than the eighteenth century.

Y-DNA test results are the easiest for a beginner to understand and use. Every man inherited his Y-DNA from a male ancestor who lived millennia ago.

MtDNA comes only from one's mother. MtDNA tests are more useful for anthropological than for genealogical purposes. FTDNA will test one's entire mitochondrial genome (HVR1 & 2 & CR) for $299.00. I am glad I tested mine. I learned that I belong to mitochondrial haplogroup T2b - see .

Both men and women can provide samples for a "Family Finder" Test. See . "The Family Finder Test helps you find family across all your lines, up to 6 generations back, by checking hundreds of thousands of points in your autosomal DNA, and comparing your results with others in the Family Finder database... Family Finder is almost sure to detect your relationship if you are related within five generations (3rd or more recent cousins). Testing detects many 4th and 5th cousins and a small percentage of more distant cousins... You can discover connections to descendants of all sixteen of your great-great-grandparents!.. Results identify the ethnic and geographic origin of the maternal and paternal lines." See and


1) Test the oldest generation alive (in case a mutation occurred in a younger generation).

2) Test cousins who are the most distantly related to each other (in order to discount mutations that occurred after their Most Recent Common Patrilineal Ancestor was born.


Whether or not its laboratories have been operating at full capacity may determine whether FTDNA increases its prices, or has a sale during which its prices are temporarily reduced by about 20%. Gene testing technology improvements may continue to reduce costs.


I wrote this in order to help a few personal friends and family members order DNA sample collection kits, and to understand and use their test results without having to read much or pay anyone (contact me if I can help). I am not an FTDNA employee. Please help improve this draft, email it to others, and delete it if I email you an updated version (excuse me). I wish I were intelligent enough to do things perfectly the first time. I last updated this document on June 28, 2010 (I hope I did not over-complicate it).


You do not need to read the information below this sentence until after you receive your DNA sample collection kit.


Immediately sign the release form that comes with the kit and put it into the return envelope.

To avoid delay and having to order another kit, be sure to obtain the best quality samples possible, and avoid contamination.

I prefer for just one sample to be collected every day, immediately after waking up and washing hands, and that samples come from the cheek opposite the ear where one holds one's cell phone. Does radiation affect DNA? Wait for at least four hours between scrapings (preferably eight) if you are in a hurry to see your test results.

Instructions similar to the following came with the FTDNA kit that I recently received:

1) Avoid food, beverages and brushing your teeth for at least one hour before collecting each sample.

2) "When you begin the collection process, chew a little bit on the inside of the cheek (not enough to draw blood), before the scraping. This can help to create a better sample."

3) Brush the inside of your cheek (not gums) vigorously for one minute and switch cheeks if you experience discomfort:

These two brief videos show how to use FTDNA kits: (two minutes) (four minutes)

Returning the vials that contained my DNA samples to FTDNA via the US Post Office cost $1.22 (as non-liquid contents, uncertified and uninsured).

Keep samples at room temperature. FTDNA may store unused DNA samples for about 25 years in case an additional test is ordered.


After you pay for your test, FTDNA will email you a password so you can log in to the private personal web pages assigned to the kit number written on your sample vials. You can view your test results online a month or two later. FTDNA will also mail you a paper certificate that shows your final test results.

In order to benefit from our test results, we must compare and share information with other people who had DNA tests. Sharing of results does not necessarily mean sharing of identity. If you want to be contacted by strangers from the USA and abroad whose DNA matches yours:

1) Upload your pedigree and GEDCOM.

2) Select the options that allow FTDNA to display your DNA test results publicly, e.g., at


b) and


You may also post your FTDNA test results at other web sites, e.g., at ,
at , and at


Beginners may have difficulty understanding FTDNA's sophisticated web site. Most of the people I helped gave me their passwords so I could quickly identify to which genetic family they belong, and so I could set up their accounts as I would my own. I never disclose other's passwords, or betray those who trust me.

1) Go to and click on the "LOGIN TO YOUR ACCOUNT" button in the upper right corner to open the login window. Type your kit # xxxxxx into the upper field and your password xxxxx into the lower field and hit "LOGIN". I sometimes have to delete all Cookies and Temporary Internet Files in order to login.

2) Click on MY ACCOUNT, CONTACT INFORMATION in the left frame and make any changes you want after the new window opens.

3) Click on MY ACCOUNT, USER PRERERENCES in the left frame and provide details about your earliest known ancestors. I changed my preferences because FTDNA notified me several times nearly every day that I had new perfect 12-marker matches (you may need to refresh your Browser windows after you update your preferences).

4) Click on MY ACCOUNT, MY MAPS, PLOT ANCESTRAL LOCATION in the left frame and enter the geographical coordinates or the places in the USA or abroad where your earliest known matrilineal and patrilineal ancestors lived.

5) Click on MY ACCOUNT, YDNA MATCHES in the left frame to open the personal web page where your Y-DNA matches are shown. FTDNA will automatically upload your test results to Ysearch (another service of FTDNA) if you select CLICK HERE TO UPLOAD TO YSEARCH.ORG (above the names of your matches). Repeat this procedure every time FTDNA releases more of your test results. allows matches who tested with other companies to contact you without knowing your name or email address, and for them to compare their test results to yours and vice versa.

6) Explore more menus to read or change anything else.


"The most common complaint from DNA test customers is the failure of the company to make results understandable and meaningful to them." See

Without my help some newbies may give up trying to understand and use their test results, and feel disappointed.

Most DNA Project web sites display members' kit numbers and test results so genetic genealogists can compare them. When you email me, please provide your kit number and the name or URL of any DNA project(s) to which you belong. I may waste time and make mistakes if I guess. Knowing your test results will help me to:

1) Prepare and provide you and your matches with useful tables, statistical analyses, reports, your matches' pedigrees, etc.

2) Identify matches tested by other companies.

I enjoy solving puzzles and making people say "Wow!" by adding generations to their pedigrees and telling them who their matches are weeks before FTDNA's computer does so. I am as eager to see my cousins' earliest test results as a bloodhound is to track a rabbit. I can hardly wait.

Sharing of kit numbers does not necessarily mean sharing of identity. Some people are afraid to reveal their kit numbers even though no one can log into their FTDNA accounts without their passwords. FTDNA wrote: "We strongly recommend that you never share your kit number and password outside of Family Tree DNA as it may give away your personal information..."

I asked FTDNA President Bennett Greenspan if FTDNA creates unnecessary fear by warning its customers not to reveal their passwords AND Kit Numbers. On Feb 9, 2010 he replied:

"We don't ever say to NOT share your kit #. In fact most of our projects use a kit # reference which we make available as an option when making our cookie cutter web clearly we don't have a problem with sharing kit #'s... We certainly aren't trying to stand in the road of progress." See


Diana Gale Matthiesen is a retired zoologist/paleontologist. Her hobby is genealogy. She wrote the following wisdom.

" 67 markers, you can expect roughly one mutation every seven generations... two mutations within three or four generations is not uncommon ... Note that these distances (0 to 3) are from the model haplotype for the family. The distance between two individual descendants can be twice that and still constitute a good match... Instead of basing the meaning of genetic distance on a calculation so dependent on a constant mutation rate that isn't constant, base it directly on the data. Both the pedigrees and the DNA test results are real, so use them to tell you what genetic distances really mean which, of course, leads us to the issue of why having your members' lineages is so important and why I double-check, as best I can, the genealogy of my surname project members."

See and "Understanding the Time Predictor" at

" Mistakes mislead. If you don't know, don't guess."

" It isn't enough to compile your pedigree, you need to prove your pedigree."

" DNA test results should be used to support or debunk a paper pedigree, not to create a pedigree."

" Please note that sharing of results does not necessarily mean sharing of identity."

" Hypotheses exist to be tested, so I welcome correction."

" Share the data, don't sell it a rising tide lifts all boats."


Understanding census records is easier if you first read some of the information linked to at


One is less likely to find as many matches with the same surname if one's patrilineal ancestor changed or adopted his surname only a few generations ago (your matches may have a different surname).

That there is little difference between the 25-marker test results of people with the same surname indicates that their Most Recent Common Patrilineal Ancestor lived after most Europeans adopted surnames (less than a thousand years ago).

That nearly all of my 37-marker and above matches in FTDNA's entire database have the same surname may indicate how emotionally faithful the mothers of our patrilineal ancestors have been since surnames were adopted.

Almost all of my hundreds of 25-marker and 2,150 and counting perfect 12-marker matches have different British surnames. Their ancestors came from Scotland (mostly), England and Ireland. Might our Most Recent common Patrilineal Ancestor be a Celtic farmer whose descendants had many children every generation for thousands of years before surnames were adopted?

"Some BRYTHONIC CELTS entered the British Isles circa 700 - 100 BC, while others remained on the Continent, primarily in Gaul (west of the Rhine, in the modern territories of France, Belgium, Luxembourg)... Circa 2,500-3,000 years ago in Gaul the DNA of the Brythonic (British) Celts mutated -- DYS marker #391 mutated from a value of 11 to a value of 10. See Journal of Genetic Genealogy.


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