My 2020 DNA Testing Christmas Wish List

The only DNA testing company that seems to fulfill any of my Christmas wishes is Ancestry, so rather than publish almost the same list again this year, I have listed my wishes by DNA testing company, in decreasing order of their database size.


Ancestry has the largest database of the five testing companies, and I admit that it is my favourite.  I check Ancestry for DNA matches twice per week, but check the others once per week or less.  The site layout is also best in class, with notes, groups, etc. being visible from the main match screen, without having to scroll to the bottom of the page or change pages, in order to see the details.  In 2020 Ancestry updated their messaging service and they now show when messages are read by the recipient, but most of my sent messages immediately show as read (even in the middle of the night), making this feature somewhat suspect.  My wish from Ancestry is to get some form of triangulation of DNA matches, even if they are not willing to provide more detail than simply telling me that a match and I do or don’t share the same segments of DNA with those on our shared match list.


In 2020 23andMe started moving to a subscription model rather than the previous one-time fee model, and in the process reduced the number of DNA matches that I can see.  I could see more matches if I paid to upgrade to the latest test version, paid an on-going subscription fee, but only if I live in the USA.  As an international customer who tested several years ago I am out of luck.  My wish for 23andMe is that they treat genealogists as critical to their success and not just a cash cow, and perhaps provide the option to include or exclude the X-chromosome in shared cM calculations .


MyHeritage was a late entry to the DNA testing field and they have come a long way in a few short years.  They have much more international appeal than Ancestry and 23andMe (which are very North American-centric).  But the DNA portion of their site needs a major update to make it more user friendly.  It would also be great if they facilitated sorting DNA matches into groups (Ancestry provides viewed / unviewed, favourites, and 24 more user-assignable groups), and if they told me when message recipients read my messages.


FamilyTreeDNA is the only one of the five testing companies to offer Y and mitochondrial DNA tests, which is a huge bonus, and they facilitate surname and other DNA projects through the site.  Kudos for that.  They also provide great tools for analysing shared DNA, so why is their database so small?  There is already a strong bond between MyHeritage and FamilyTreeDNA (MyHeritage uses their lab to process DNA samples), so my wish is that the two companies become one, to make them a major player in the industry.  If that cannot happen, then a revamp of the user interface, and some new features would be useful.

Living DNA

I originally had high hopes for Living DNA.  As a British company I expected that Brits would flock to the site and provide me with lots of meaningful DNA matches.  But after two years of promises, with no substance, I have basically given up on them, and rarely visit the site.  My wish for 2021 is that Living DNA either, provide something for genealogists beyond a list of DNA matches, or graciously exit the market.

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