How to submit your DNA to FamilyTreeDNA

Last updated: 11 April 2018

This page is designed to answer the frequently asked questions encountered when collecting DNA samples.

There are two ways to obtain a DNA kit from FamilyTreeDNA:

  1. order the kit from the website and pay for shipping (currently USD12.95 as of 30 March 2018); or
  2. obtain the kit directly from a representative of a project such as DNA Outreach IRL and avoid the shipping costs.
Project representatives may be able to provide you with a coupon code entitling you to a discount from the standard prices for some products.

You can pay by credit (or debit) card.

You should not eat, drink, smoke, chew gum or brush your teeth for one hour before swabbing. If you have to wait until an hour has elapsed, you can use some of that time to complete the necessary documentation, so read on.

Your next decision will be whether to order Family Finder (analysis of your autosomal DNA, which on average comes equally from all of your ancestors in each generation) and/or a Y-DNA product (analysis of the DNA which comes from your patrilineal - father's father's father's ... line - if you are male) and/or a mitochondrial DNA product (analysis of the DNA which comes from your matrilineal - mother's mother's mother's ... - line). Most people will begin by ordering Family Finder.

All kits should contain:
The same unique identifier of your kit (e.g. MI15458) should appear with the bar code on all the labels. Please note this identifier carefully as without it (and the e-mail address which you choose to use for your interaction with FamilyTreeDNA) you will have no access to your results. If you have more than one kit, please take care not to switch the labelled items between kits.

You may also receive or need:
At some events, kits will be returned in bulk by the organisers so there is no need for the pre-addressed padded return envelope.

As well as submitting your DNA, you must submit some personal details online (assuming that you have received a password) and/or on paper. If you do not submit your details online and even if you write as clearly as you can in block capitals throughout, then the FTDNA staff in Texas trying to decipher your scrawl may make transcription errors, as they are not familiar with Irish handwriting style or Irish personal names or place names or ISP names like eircom.net. Furthermore, they will probably change the kit password when entering your details for you. Please spare everyone unnecessary delays and confusion by entering your own details online before mailing your kit.

Bear these points in mind when completing the online documentation:
Bear these points in mind when completing the white order form:
Bear these points in mind when completing the green consent form:
Before swabbing, you should also watch Brad Larkin's YouTube video (duration 4:10).

You may be asked to complete a green customs declaration if you hand your package over a post office counter. You should declare the contents as "genealogy kit" and avoid any mention of DNA or the preservative liquid on the form. If you put the package in a postbox with the correct postage, then there should be no problems.

If a product has already been ordered but not paid for due to an error in transcribing card details, then you must use the Unpaid Product link in the left-hand column on the dashboard page to make payment before processing can begin.

Depending on how busy the lab is when your kit arrives (e.g. whether there is a sale on), your Family Finder results may arrive any time from 30 to 75 days after you mail your kit from Ireland. Results have been known to arrive even quicker when shipped in bulk after an event.

Make sure to upload a GEDCOM file from your favourite genealogy software showing your direct ancestors here and to fill out the rest of your profile on the FamilyTreeDNA website here (especially your most distant known patrilineal and matrilineal ancestors here) before your results arrive.

Submitting your DNA sample to FTDNA is just the start of the journey.  Please use your DNA to help your long-lost cousins to find you and to find your and their long-forgotten ancestors.  For advice on the next step of the journey, please read this page.