For FTDNA, who does our DNA testing, the procedure is simply to order a test, scrape the inside of your cheek to make a sample, and send the sample back to FTDNA. See the description of making a DNA test sample on the FTDNA learning page.
There are three Types of DNA Tests. The type of test you choose depends on what you hope to find. With any of these three tests, one’s genealogy research helps determine how a person is related to those who match the kit by comparing trees and contacting each other. The Winder Wonderland researchers will also keep track of your matches and try to make sense of this in terms of all the others who have tested for our project. At FTDNA, our testing source, samples are saved so that upgrades to more markers or other tests can be ordered in the future.
1. The Y-DNA test for genealogy will trace the male's line to his father, to his father, to his father. Females don't have a Y chromosome so they can't be tested with this test. The number of matches one gets is dependent on the number of people who have submitted matching samples. Once a kit is submitted, the person who submitted it can opt to be notified in the future each time someone submits a kit that matches. The minimum level suggested is the 37 marker test.
2. The Family Finder test looks at 23 chromosomes that are not X or Y, so both men and women can be tested. The challenge with the autosomal test is determining if the match is to someone on the paternal or on the maternal line. Sometimes it is both!
3. The mitochondrial (mtDNA) test will trace a line back from child to mother to her mother to her mother, etc. One of the challenges using it is that the female’s surname changes with each marriage. We have not found a good use for this test in the Winder Wonderland project.
If you would like to participate in this project but cannot afford the price of the test kit, please contact us.
Once you have sent in your test kit, you can start getting ready for analysis even before you get the results. We have prepared a series of articles to help you get started.