DNA Packs

This pack is designed to assist you if you are currently considering a DNA test, or if you have received the results of a DNA test, but don’t really know where to go from there.


The first thing to note is that there are 3 main types of DNA test, and which one you choose, depends on what you are looking for. The most common (and cheapest) test is autosomal DNA. Essentially, this just means you are testing DNA from all 23 chromosomes, which you have inherited from ALL your ancestors. These tests are marketed mainly to show your origins / ethnicity, and to identify cousins up to about 4th cousin level (DNA matches).

For ethnicity estimates,  your DNA is compared to the DNA from reference populations that each testing company has developed.

To make their reference populations, DNA companies find people whose ancestry comes from a single location and avoid including individuals whose ancestry comes from several different geographies. The initial criteria generally used to identify candidates for a reference panel is that all four grandparents originate from the same non-colonial geography (not USA, Australia, etc). DNA companies also survey participants for trans-national identifications that are important for distinct ethnicities that can form their own genetic populations separate from geography of origin (i.e., Ashkenazi Jewish, Cherokee, Basque and others). As each company has their own reference panels, results may differ depending on whether your test is from Ancestry, FamilyTree DNA, 23&Me etc. Also, these reference panels are continually being updated and getting more granular as new distinct ancestral populations are being described, so your ethnicity results may change over time as new updates are released.

DNA Packs

Everyone has different reasons for doing a DNA test.   We can advise you on the most appropriate test to take to answer your specific objectives such as:

Where did my ancestors come from / What is my ethnicity?
Confirm / discount a family theory
Analyse my DNA matches
Identify new close / distant relatives
Help with adoptions / foundlings & unknown parentage

DNA Starter Pack

  • advice on which test to take
  • explanation of DNA results 
  • analysis and grouping of DNA matches
  • suggestions for  next steps

DNA Segment Analysis Pack (advanced)

  • Advanced analysis of DNA matches at chromosome segment level
  • DNA download and transfer for chromosome segment analysis
  • Creation and setup of Genome DNA Analysis Tool (GDAT) 
  • Upload of Chromosome segment data to GDAT & DNA Painter

Ethnicity estimates

An example of the ethnicity results for the same person in 2018 and 2020 after an update to the Ancestry DNA reference populations, compared to their results from FamilyTree DNA. Earlier Ancestry results had a lot more less-specific results, but as more accurate reference databases are developed, the results are more granular and low confidence regions may be excluded. If you do a test now, you will get a refreshed set of results every time the reference databases are updated.

As you can see from the FamilyTree DNA report, the results are different …. Some of the difference can be explained by different regional definitions, but ultimately it all depends on each companies reference databases.

Autosomal DNA

The most common test

This is the most popular type of DNA test that many companies are offering at a cost of about USD 80 – 120. It is worth waiting for sales around mothers day, fathers day, thanksgiving, christmas etc. as there are often 20% discounts around these times.

The attraction of the autosomal DNA test is that it can be taken by males and females and that it tests all ancestral lines and can reveal relationships within a fairly recent timespan of around the last two hundred years. At present, this test seeks to report results back to around 5 generations with confidence. Matches are usually reported in ranges such as 2nd to 3rd cousins, 4th to 5th cousins, greater than 5th cousins. These results may help you to investigate unknown relatives and reveal information about branches of your family which you have been unable to trace using documentary sources alone. If you’re interested in learning more about your ethnicity, and finding or tracking down lost or unknown relatives, then this is the test for you.

Standard Autosomal test

For the autosomal DNA test, ALL your relatives contribute to your DNA that is analysed by this test. In this example Jeff Matthews DNA has contributions from everyone on this tree. Obviously he shares more with his parents, George & Marion (about 50%) than with William Stevens and Rebecca Murray (his 2nd GG grandparents (about 6%)


FamilyTree DNA also do an additional analysis of your matches based on shared DNA from the X-chromosomes. Because males only inherit an X chromosome from their mothers, if a male has an X-match in his DNA results, the shared ancestor must be on an ancestral line that follows the female X-inheritance pattern, as above. In the example, Archibald Wilson gets his single X chromosome from his mother Alice, and only received a Y-chromosome from his father Geoffrey Wilson. Therefore any of Jeff’s DNA matches that share DNA from the X chromosome could not be from his father, or great grandfather, Geoffrey Wilson’s line. Even though Ancestry DNA does not do this analysis, you are able to import your DNA from an Ancestry test to FamilyTree DNA to see these results

DNA Matches

DNA matches

With the autosomal DNA test, you also receive a list of your DNA matches based on the amout of DNA you share with other people who have done the test.

This list will obviously be biased by the countries in which the test is available, and the number of people who have taken a test. The good thing is, that once you have taken a test, new matches are added to your list continually, so even if you have very few matches when you first get results, these are constantly updated.

A likely relationship to you is estimated based on the amount of DNA shared (measured in centimorgans (cM). On average, you share about 3485cM with a parent, 2613cM with a sibling, 1754cM with a grandparent, 866cM with a first cousin etc. The relationships mentioned on the report are just an example of what the link could be, but we can help explore other possibilities.

You can also find out which of your matches are shared with other matches, so if you recognise one of your matches, or can persuade another relative to also do a test, this will enable you to work out if a match is on the maternal or paternal side ….. or even a particular branch of the family and Ancestry provides some useful tools to allow you to create your own categories and groupings to organise your matches.

If you have an online family tree with Ancestry, it will also compare the trees uploaded by your matches with your own tree and see if there are any overlaps. This is an incredibly useful tool that allows you to not only grow your own tree, but also to accurately identify where your DNA matches fit. We can certainly help you get stared with this analysis.

DNA Matches Ancestry
An example of DNA matches found using the Ancestry autosomal DNA test. A likely relationship to you is estimated based on the amount of DNA shared (measured in centimorgans (cM). On average, you share about 3485cM with a parent, 2613cM with a sibling, 1754cM with a grandparent, 866cM with a first cousin etc. The relationships mentioned on the report are just an example of what the link could be, but we can help explore other possibilities. Ancestry also provides a function where you can create your own categories and add notes to help with the analysis of your matches, and we can also help you setting this up. If you have an online family tree loaded into ancestry, this can help identify which part of your family your DNA matches come from.
The DNA matches report from FamilyTree DNA is similar, but also includes a column identifying any X-matches. Obviously the list of matches you will see on this report are dependent on which company the matches chose to test their DNA, so you will see a different set of matches (although people can load their raw DNA from Ancestry to FTDNA, and appear in both reports).

In addition to the autosomal DNA test, you can also do specialised paternal or maternal ancestry tests, which explore your deep ancestry


AUD150 – approx: USD116 / GBP84 / ZAR1750 / EUR97