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View Full Version : Time to find an alternative to FTDNA



Theconqueror
03-04-2016, 03:28 PM
Hello all,

I ordered FF against my better judgment and it has been delayed, as were most of the other tests I took over the years. I tried to reach FTDNA to no avail and realized, after researching online, that delays and problems are now endemic at FTDNA. I am now convinced that something is going on with FTDNA and I want to make the switch to another company before things go to hell.

Do you have any suggestion for a responsive alternative to FTDNA?

Regards

evon
03-04-2016, 03:35 PM
From experience it is the best company I have tested with so far with regards to costumer service, and delays are common in this business, so nothing special about FTDNA..The worst company with regards to costumer service is clearly 23andme, have no idea about ancestry though..

jdean
03-04-2016, 03:57 PM
From experience it is the best company I have tested with so far with regards to costumer service, and delays are common in this business, so nothing special about FTDNA..The worst company with regards to costumer service is clearly 23andme, have no idea about ancestry though..

Ancestry ? that'll be the one that deleted all their Y DNA data !!

I don't think they do 'costumer service' : )

evon
03-04-2016, 04:08 PM
Ancestry ? that'll be the one that deleted all their Y DNA data !!

I don't think they do 'costumer service' : )

What do you mean deleted? I have been thinking about testing with Ancestry also, but it is not high on my list of priorities at the moment, so perhaps it will be next year..

MikeWhalen
03-04-2016, 04:18 PM
The only problem with being mad at FTDNA is, as I understand it, they have by far the largest data base for you to find connections, at least for Y-dna
That is priceless for some and is worth the disappointing 'everything else'

Understand I am not making excuses for any of their flaws or failures, but just stating what I think is a critical reality...
those with the biggest usable data base, win

Mike

jdean
03-04-2016, 04:23 PM
What do you mean deleted? I have been thinking about testing with Ancestry also, but it is not high on my list of priorities at the moment, so perhaps it will be next year..

Simply that, they decided to get out of Y DNA testing a few years ago and consequent deleted all their customers results.

They also bought the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) and then shut that down as well

http://www.smgf.org/

Possibly a coincidence but Ancestry suffered a colossal DOS attack shortly after that which took them out for a few days.

rms2
03-04-2016, 04:49 PM
Guess I've been lucky, because I have been an FTDNA customer since late March of 2006, have purchased numerous tests, and have never had any real problems with FTDNA or any serious delays. When I have called FTDNA on the phone to clear something up, they have always been very courteous and responsive. I recommend them highly and don't regret any of the money I have spent with them.

I have also tested with BritainsDNA and recommend them, as well. The only problem with BDNA is that they don't offer STR or SNP matching, so their services are not as valuable for genealogy as they might otherwise be. In fact, BDNA does not offer STR testing at all. BDNA's Chromo2 is a good overall test for y-dna SNPs, mtDNA, and autosomal dna, but it is not as extensive as FTDNA's Big Y or FGS mtDNA tests, and BDNA does not offer the chance to make connections with genetic matches.

psaglav
03-04-2016, 04:55 PM
I never had a problem with them until recently and I've been a customer since 2003. This time around, for whatever reason, my father's FF results keep getting delayed (happened twice already) although his mtDNA and yDNA results came either on time or earlier than expected.

I was wondering if it has to do with their long-awaited myOrigins update. Stuff other than the autosomal seems to be working fine -at least for me.

Afshar
03-04-2016, 04:58 PM
Every year after winter sales its raining complaints :)

psaglav
03-04-2016, 04:59 PM
Every year after winter sales its raining complaints :)

I guess, but their mt and y tests are on time. So I was really hoping it's because of the update! :)

GoldenHind
03-04-2016, 06:02 PM
Ancestry ? that'll be the one that deleted all their Y DNA data !!

I don't think they do 'costumer service' : )

That might explain why I can longer find my former YDNA matches anywhere on their site.

ancestryfan1994
03-04-2016, 06:15 PM
I think a new genetic company has to show up and save the situation IMO. FTDNA's product in my opinion is just extremely lame, but I've only done the family finder so i cannot speak on behalf of their other products. 23andme was great, then they began this whole revamp and its brought them into disarray and people are giving up on them, while ancestry are pretty decent, but like FTDNA their admixture calculations are extremely poor. There really isn't much options out there any more that a novice can choose from and be confident of receiving positive results. Best bet is to test with one company and obtain the raw data, then use that elsewhere to get informative conclusions.

ArmandoR1b
03-04-2016, 06:44 PM
All three companies should be used for autosomal DNA if you are going to get an autosomal test regardless of how long it takes to get results. That way a larger pool of possible matches is available and all three companies can be compared for the ethnicity results. I say that even though I agree with ancestryfan1994 that 23andme has the best ethnicity calculator and FTDNA is the worst.

Afshar
03-04-2016, 06:54 PM
I guess, but their mt and y tests are on time. So I was really hoping it's because of the update! :)
Probably less demand. People should not complain or pay double the price.

evon
03-04-2016, 07:21 PM
Simply that, they decided to get out of Y DNA testing a few years ago and consequent deleted all their customers results.

They also bought the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) and then shut that down as well

http://www.smgf.org/

Possibly a coincidence but Ancestry suffered a colossal DOS attack shortly after that which took them out for a few days.

Ah, that seems like one hell of a blunder on their part, but they did give their costumers the option to download their results prior to deleting them right?

evon
03-04-2016, 07:23 PM
I never had a problem with them until recently and I've been a customer since 2003. This time around, for whatever reason, my father's FF results keep getting delayed (happened twice already) although his mtDNA and yDNA results came either on time or earlier than expected.

I was wondering if it has to do with their long-awaited myOrigins update. Stuff other than the autosomal seems to be working fine -at least for me.

I am currently waiting for two FF results to come in, and I think you are right, any delay might be connected with the Myorigins update that was scheduled to come out this month...

ArmandoR1b
03-04-2016, 07:33 PM
Ah, that seems like one hell of a blunder on their part, but they did give their costumers the option to download their results prior to deleting them right?

Yes. See http://dna-explained.com/2014/06/05/ancestry-com-discontinues-y-and-mtdna-tests-and-closes-data-base/ and http://dna-explained.com/2014/10/02/ancestry-destroys-irreplaceable-dna-database/

I think that the SMGF database was deleted abruptly without notice http://dna-explained.com/2015/05/15/rip-sorenson-a-crushing-loss/

ArmandoR1b
03-04-2016, 07:36 PM
I am currently waiting for two FF results to come in, and I think you are right, any delay might be connected with the Myorigins update that was scheduled to come out this month...

They never really gave a month or even that it would definitely be in the 1st quarter although it could still happen. This is supposedly what they said:


When will the new extended MyOrigins be available? Will it happen magically on the site? Razib is coming back in December. There are a bunch of populations to add. Bennett is struggling on one population that he got 28 samples for that haven’t been run yet. It may be early or late Q1.
http://www.ancestorcentral.com/11th-international-conference-on-genetic-genealogy/

Theconqueror
03-04-2016, 08:19 PM
I first tested in 2007 and I can say they were on the ball. I did some testing with Ethnoancestry as well. I found FTDNA increasingly got worse with delays and customer service. The way they manage customer expectations is very unprofessional but they know they have a captive audience. Also, I am sort of underwhelmed with the way Continental Europe as a whole is still (mis)understood by these companies. I mean they got thousands of individuals that have tested and they still trying to figure out what's going on in Europe. Beyond pure testing, there is certainly an opportunity with open source analytics projects using secondary data.

MacUalraig
03-04-2016, 09:03 PM
Hello all,

I ordered FF against my better judgment and it has been delayed, as were most of the other tests I took over the years. I tried to reach FTDNA to no avail and realized, after researching online, that delays and problems are now endemic at FTDNA. I am now convinced that something is going on with FTDNA and I want to make the switch to another company before things go to hell.

Do you have any suggestion for a responsive alternative to FTDNA?

Regards

The Ancestry autosomal database is now 1.5 million strong. I tested with them and it took about 4 weeks. I get new matches almost daily.

Theconqueror
03-04-2016, 11:50 PM
This is interesting about Ancestry. What about the population classification? Seems pretty crude?

leonardo
03-05-2016, 12:44 AM
The Ancestry autosomal database is now 1.5 million strong. I tested with them and it took about 4 weeks. I get new matches almost daily.

I have tested with all three and have gained insight into my ancestry from each. But, the most matches I receive, by far, come from Ancestry DNA. At times it is daily for several days, and they are multiple matches - sometimes as many as 10 or 12 in one day.I have not had that many from 23andMe in the last 6 months. FTDNA gives me a handful per month. As for the ethnicity estimators, Ancestry DNA best captures mine. For a person with a good deal of central European ancestry, 23andMe is just too vague.

rms2
03-05-2016, 01:56 AM
My y-dna line is my primary interest, so FTDNA has given me more bang for the buck than anyone else. My y-dna matches have been invaluable in showing me where my y-dna line came from. That has been worth its weight in gold to me. What other company out there offers the y-dna matching that FTDNA does?

MacUalraig
03-05-2016, 07:55 AM
My y-dna line is my primary interest, so FTDNA has given me more bang for the buck than anyone else. My y-dna matches have been invaluable in showing me where my y-dna line came from. That has been worth its weight in gold to me. What other company out there offers the y-dna matching that FTDNA does?

Depends what your needs are. I already know exactly where I come from and all my meaningful matches I recruited myself locally via my one-name study and tested at other labs. For 'brick walled' folks your experience may be more relevant although you could do what I do too. One-name studies are best run locally though IMHO. The combined Stevens/Stephens pop. of Britain and Ireland is similar to that for my surname.

castle3
03-05-2016, 08:44 AM
I've tested both FTDNA's 111 marker test & Big Y, plus Scotland's DNA's Chromo 2. I'd cheerfully take FGC's test as I think it would be invaluable, but sadly, I have to consider the financial aspect!

psaglav
03-05-2016, 09:02 AM
For autosomal testing, does Ancestry have a good European database? They started offering tests in Turkey just last week and I was considering testing with them as well.

evon
03-05-2016, 10:38 AM
This is interesting about Ancestry. What about the population classification? Seems pretty crude?

here is an overview of the coming admixture updates to ancestry and FTDNA this year:
http://www.rootsandrecombinantdna.com/2016/03/coming-down-ethnicity-admixture-pike.html

for Myorigins:

The new update for myOrigins 2.0 will include 24 reorganized reference populations (new categories in CAPS) as follows:
Ashkenazi ... BALKAN ... East Africa ... Finland ... Germany ... British ... ITALY ... Mbuti Pygmies ... North Africa ... NORTH AMERINDIAN ... NORTH INDIA ... North West Asia ... Northeast Asia ... PAPUAN ... Slavic ... SOUTH AMERINDIAN ... SOUTH INDIA ... South West Asian ... SARDINIAN ... Southeast Asia ... SIBERIAN ... Spain ... Scandinavian ... West Africa
In comparison the myOrigins 1.0 was:
Western & Central Europe ... East Central Africa ... Eastern Europe ... Native American ... North Africa ... Northeast Asia ... Central Asia ... Southern Europe ... West Africa ... British Isles ... Finland & Northern Siberia ... Scandinavia ... Asia Minor... Ashkenazi Diaspora ... South-Central Africa ... Southeast Asia ... South Asia ... Eastern Middle East.

leonardo
03-05-2016, 12:43 PM
My y-dna line is my primary interest, so FTDNA has given me more bang for the buck than anyone else. My y-dna matches have been invaluable in showing me where my y-dna line came from. That has been worth its weight in gold to me. What other company out there offers the y-dna matching that FTDNA does?

I agree. My first interest was my y-dna and I have tested up to 111 str markers and have done the Big Y. While the delays at FTDNA have agitated me (I recently sent a harsh message to FTDNA when my "closest" Big Y match's BAM file was delayed - and is still forthcoming), the overall volume of those who have tested their y-dna at FTDNA keeps me in their corner.

Theconqueror
03-05-2016, 01:53 PM
I looked at the new population clusters and I find it lame. I think these companies are agenda-driven. I don't think they really want to analyze people of European descent.

Kwheaton
03-05-2016, 02:54 PM
I looked at the new population clusters and I find it lame. I think these companies are agenda-driven. I don't think they really want to analyze people of European descent.

The new beta population clusters are from my perspective an improvement over the others. This is a very small beta set of current customers so it is not yet ready for release. The improvements are in regards to my French/German ancestry which all 3 companies have difficulty parsing from the highly similar Southern UK ancestry. Not surprising as these folks have been traveling back and forth for thousands of years. The problem is the companies have hyped their population abilities beyond what has been possible. It will be interesting to see what the MyOrigins 2.0 looks like at FTDNA because its predecessor is the worst of the 3. This is due to their abysmally small data sets and their insistence in Not Reporting anything under 1%. Ancestry has invested heavily in data sets and it shows.

MitchellSince1893
03-05-2016, 03:17 PM
I looked at the new population clusters and I find it lame. I think these companies are agenda-driven. I don't think they really want to analyze people of European descent.

Usually I hear just the opposite argument...not enough analysis of non-European populations...i.e. they are too Eurocentric.

rivergirl
03-06-2016, 01:59 AM
Simply that, they decided to get out of Y DNA testing a few years ago and consequent deleted all their customers results.

They also bought the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) and then shut that down as well

http://www.smgf.org/

Possibly a coincidence but Ancestry suffered a colossal DOS attack shortly after that which took them out for a few days.

Yes, people were informed of the Ancestry yDNA being closed down, and had the opportunity to download their results.

The same with SMGF, I had the opportunity to have my relatives results removed from the SMGF database before Ancestry took control. He had yDNA and mtDNA results.
As well as submitting a sample to SMGF, you had to provide a 4 generation pedigree, which SMGF often took back further. Even though it was anonymous, and you couldnt contact anyone, you could easily search to see which other lines you matched and look at their pedigrees.

I did not want my relatives DNA and pedigrees migrating to Ancestry.com, where we would have no access to it.
I'm not sure if SMGF ever tested for Autosomal DNA, but that was part of the plan.

Does Ancestry have all that DNA data and pedigrees for all those who did not ask to have their results deleted.
Are they using this information in their matching and origins calculations?

rivergirl
03-06-2016, 02:09 AM
As to FTDNA, I've tested with them since 2006. MtDNA, yDNA to 111 marker, SNPs, Big Y, FF etc for myself and other family members.
I've also used SMGF and Britains DNA.

I'm not sure I want to test with Ancestry, but might give 23andMe ago one day, their postage has come down, it's only $40.00 to Australia now......... Maybe they will eventually get it below $10.00

FTDNA are lousy at communications, for a while I didn't receive any email at all, even for the projects I manage. They don't seem to fix things that are broken, but went through a period of changing the website for no reason. Their learning centre is a disaster.

Many test were delayed, some by months. Others came in very quickly. One year was very bad, with all sorts of excuses, hopefully they have got over that now......
One project member recently had his yDNA results back less than a month after it was submitted to FTDNA. can't complain about that.

I don't pay any attention to the My Origins, as far as I can see it is related to ancestry from over 1000 years ago, and of no value to me. I'm lucky I know where most of my ancestry came from in the UK and Europe.

evon
03-06-2016, 12:20 PM
Usually I hear just the opposite argument...not enough analysis of non-European populations...i.e. they are too Eurocentric.

I agree, both 23andme and FTDNA are very eurocentric...

rms2
03-06-2016, 01:24 PM
I agree, both 23andme and FTDNA are very eurocentric...

Guess I am selfish, because that's what I care about: Europe. I'll leave advocating for more testing among other populations to representatives of those populations.

From my point of view, FTDNA's eurocentricity comes at one or more removes; in other words, the bulk of its database is composed of people, like me, who are the North American descendants of European immigrants rather than Europeans themselves. I would like to see more FTDNA testing of Europeans.

We sometimes complain about the fact that FTDNA's database has a British Isles/Ireland bias. Let's double or triple down on that and test the entire population of the British Isles and Ireland.

evon
03-06-2016, 01:29 PM
Guess I am selfish, because that's what I care about: Europe. I'll leave advocating for more testing among other populations to representatives of those populations.

From my point of view, FTDNA's eurocentricity comes at one or more removes; in other words, the bulk of its database is composed of the North American descendants of European immigrants like me rather than Europeans. I would like to see more FTDNA testing of Europeans.

We sometimes complain about the fact that FTDNA's database has a British Isles/Ireland bias. Let's double or triple down on that and test the entire population of the British Isles and Ireland.

I am not complaining about it, just stating a fact. Every admixture analysis will have some form of centrism, as they are both driven by sample availability and costumer target group. Another thing is that many people have a naive view of DNA clusters, as they assume they are static and eternal, when in fact they are often very relative and change with the eye of the beholder in many respects, which is why, as an example, you see such a huge difference between FTDNA and 23andme in their analysis.

rms2
03-06-2016, 01:44 PM
Yes, human populations are fluid and ever changing. Certainly the population of Europe has changed since my ancestors left there, many of them in the 17th century. It is changing now, as Europe is being swamped by immigrants from the Third World. In a few more generations there may not be much point in modern European reference populations, and the North American population continues to morph, as well.

Theconqueror
03-06-2016, 03:20 PM
I don't see how FTDNA is euro-centric. There is difference between having a huge sample for euro-descent population and providing the analytical tools and research to understand those populations.

evon
03-06-2016, 04:43 PM
I don't see how FTDNA is euro-centric. There is difference between having a huge sample for euro-descent population and providing the analytical tools and research to understand those populations.

If you look at the number of clusters in Europe and contrast them with those in Asia and Africa, you see a clear pattern, now add to that the fact that Africa and Asia contain much more genetic diversity then Europe, and so they should have many more clusters to reflect this, but they dont, because the focus of these companies is mainly on Europe..

Theconqueror
03-11-2016, 01:50 AM
I understand your points. I think FTDNA plays it safe. I downloaded my data and tested pretty much all the open source models on Gedmatch. I got a pretty good snapshot of my ancestry by triangulating the information and relating it back to my known genealogy. The results are also in line with what we know of DF99 and DYS390=25. FTDNA has a chance to get the most of their database by leveraging better models.


If you look at the number of clusters in Europe and contrast them with those in Asia and Africa, you see a clear pattern, now add to that the fact that Africa and Asia contain much more genetic diversity then Europe, and so they should have many more clusters to reflect this, but they dont, because the focus of these companies is mainly on Europe..

wombatofthenorth
04-26-2016, 02:19 AM
The Ancestry autosomal database is now 1.5 million strong. I tested with them and it took about 4 weeks. I get new matches almost daily.

Is their database good for anyone not of long Colonial American or UK descent though?

wombatofthenorth
04-26-2016, 02:34 AM
here is an overview of the coming admixture updates to ancestry and FTDNA this year:
http://www.rootsandrecombinantdna.com/2016/03/coming-down-ethnicity-admixture-pike.html

for Myorigins:

Hmm mostly it seems good but man once again the poor Baltics are totally ignored as if they don't exist. I don't get it especially if you look at how they tested on MyOrigins 1.0 they seemed almost as distinctive as the Finnish. Also they would probably be one of the better references since they didn't seem to get quite as mish-mashed many parts of Europe. The Slavic group name is totally misleading. It will be just like with DNA.LAND where non-Slavic people score higher Slavic than any Slavic person, scoring twice high as some 100% Slavic people. Maybe not surprising since 75% of people in the world still think Russian is the native language in the Baltics and that they are fake country states that broke off from Russia and even many academics use the term Baltic and Slavic interchangeably.

On Geno 2.0 NG they will probably at least label it better and not call it a Slavic component. I note that the maps Geno 2.0 NG shows for the current MyOrigins make a lot more sense. They show the Eastern European category utterly solidly covering all of the Baltics while FTDNA shows it barely covering half of Latvia (nevermind many Latvians are getting 88%-96%+ of that component). And they also show the Finnish and Siberian covering the northern Baltics up into Finland and across a big swath of upper Northwest Russia which also seems a lot more sensible that what FTDNA shows with a sharp peak right in Finland and barely anywhere else at all. Geno 2.0 NG also does things much better in that they run the MyOrigins across more than 60 of their contemporary reference database region samples and provide average results as reference. FTDNA just leaves people hanging and clueless (especially since you can't even see the MyOrigins of your matches) as to what modern populations actually tend to score for the components they use.

Nothing against Slavic, heck I'm certainly at least a little Slavic myself, but sometimes it is tiresome that the history of the Baltics is always ignored everywhere, but they still exist despite 1000 years of trying to erase the people and/or the culture (although the Old Prussians didn't make it).

Kwheaton
04-26-2016, 03:13 AM
Is their database good for anyone not of long Colonial American or UK descent though?

Maybe not yet but with the advent of UK and Australiantestings last year and 29 new counties this year....I would say eventually yes.