Saturday, January 10, 2015


I have a serious brick wall in my ancestry.  My current theory regarding my 2x Great Grandfather, John McGovern, is that a spaceship dropped him off in Colorado in the late 1800's.

In an effort to try to solve the mystery - I have had my own DNA, as well as several relative's DNA tested.   I have also had several other family members tested - on that side of my family I had my paternal aunt and paternal great-uncle tested, as well as my brother.   So far - no luck!!!!

I enjoy the sciency part of DNA and can spend hours evaluating and hunting down possible matches. I go to many DNA related break out sessions when I attend family history related conferences, and I have talked about it at work so much that several people there have become interested and had their own DNA evaluted.   I also find the ethnic differences interesting - particularly those between me and my brother.

Until last week - I had worked with AncestryDNA only.    I have heard quite a bit about FamilyTreeDNA and 23andMe.      When FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA) introduced their new program for DNA transfer - I decided to try it.    FTDNA has some tools that AncestryDNA does not have, and another database to find out the origin of the spaceship that dropped my 2x Great Grandfather off.

I'm still trying to learn the in's and out's of the FTDNA user interface and tool set - but here are my comments so far - comparing the experience with AncestryDNA and FTDNA.

User Interface:   Ancestry wins hands down.   The interface is more intuitive and pretty easy to start poking around in and finding what you need.    Watch a couple videos and you quickly become an expert user.    I find FTDNA's user interface confusing - I think I've been able to figure it out, but  I'm either missing something, or they are.  Even after watching the videos.  It's not winning any points on usability.

Matches:    I'm looking for the driver of the spaceship - so far that hasn't happened anywhere!    I have made contact with several cousins through Ancestry.    I've yet to hear from anybody on FTDNA, and I have not had a response from anybody I have emailed.

Ethnicity:     Ancestry seems to have more categories.   I'm not a geneticist - so I have no idea who is better here.    For the major components - they are pretty close.

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