FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – FamilyTreeDNA
Have questions? We have answers.
Here are the most frequently asked questions about FamilyTreeDNA. If you have additional questions, feel free to visit our Learning Center or reach out to our Customer Service team.
Who is FamilyTreeDNA?
Founded in 2000, FamilyTreeDNA pioneered the field of genetic genealogy—the use of DNA testing to establish relationships between individuals and determine ancestry. As leaders in the industry, we provide advanced technology for users to gain further insight into their family history—all with a simple swab of DNA.
Over 2 million people have tested with FamilyTreeDNA, resulting in the most comprehensive DNA matching database in the industry.
Do I need to order a new kit for add-ons and upgrades?
If you have already purchased a DNA kit and submitted a sample, there is no need to order a new kit—we will use your existing DNA sample that is stored in our lab for any additional test(s) that you order. In the rare instance that there is no further DNA available for testing on your existing samples, we will send an additional collection kit, associated with your original kit, to you at no charge.
How is my privacy protected?
Your privacy is of the utmost importance to us. Therefore, you choose how your genetic information is used and shared with others. We use industry-standard security practices to store your DNA sample, your DNA test results, and other personal data that you provide to us. Additionally, we store DNA test results and samples without names or other common identifying information.
Furthermore, we do not share your name or other common identifying information linked to your genetic data with third parties, except as legally required to comply with a valid subpoena or a court order or with your explicit consent.
For more information on privacy at FamilyTreeDNA, see the FamilyTreeDNA Privacy Statement.
How is my DNA processed and stored?
Sample collection kits include two vials—one for each cheek— both labeled with a barcode associating the vials with your order. Barcodes are scanned at check-in, triggering a notification email to the kit owner that we have received your sample. A single vial is sent to our federally compliant CAP/CLIA certified lab for DNA extraction where the DNA is stored in our robotic freezer at -20 C, ready to be processed for the ordered test(s). The remaining DNA is returned to the freezer and stored for any future test(s) ordered by the kit owner. The second vial is stored in a secured room at room temperature for up to 25 years and is used only in the event that your DNA from the first vial does not provide sufficient quantity or quality for the test(s) ordered by the kit owner.
Can I give a FamilyTreeDNA kit as a gift?
Yes. When placing your order, you can either ship the kit to yourself or provide the recipient’s shipping address, and we will ship the DNA kit directly to them.
Kit activation happens at the time of purchase, and we will immediately begin sending relevant email notifications regarding order confirmation and tracking. If you provided your email at the time of purchase because the gift was a surprise, please be sure to send the sign in information to the DNA provider once they receive the kit, and have them change the kit owner’s email address after signing in using the information you have provided them.
How long does it take to receive my results?
Kits shipped between the U.S. and Canada typically arrive between 5–7 business days. International orders may take 3–5 business weeks.
Once we receive your DNA sample in the lab, you will be notified of receipt via the email address associated with your account. We send your sample directly to the lab for processing. Processing times vary depending upon the test(s) ordered.
Result processing times:
Family Finder results typically take 2 to 4 weeks
mtDNA results typically take 6 to 8 weeks
Y-DNA results typically take 3 to 6 weeks