DNA testing has become the next big thing in genealogy research. In this Living DNA testing review I will show you what this company has to offer you and whether you should buy the test kit or not. Want to find out? Well then please read on.
Living DNA Testing Details:
|Type of Test||Autosomal (atDNA), Mitochondrial (mDNA) and Y-Chromosome (yDNA)|
|How Tested||Cheek swab|
|Results Waiting Time||10-12 Weeks|
|Additional Cost||$9.95 for standard delivery or $39.95 express delivery|
|Printed Results||A book of results will cost you extra|
|Available In||United States, Canada, UK, Europe and Australia|
|Place To Buy||Living DNA USA – Living DNA Canada – Living DNA UK – Living DNA EU – Living DNA Australia|
|Bottom Line||Most Comprehensive Testing|
Let your family history journey begin!
Isn’t it amazing just how much that you can find out about your ancestors? When I first started to trace my family tree I was just astounded at just how many ways and also where I could find information about them.
Genealogy search websites such as Ancestry and FindMyPast obviously spring to mind. But there are other ways that we can use as well.
How about looking around your home and trying to search for old documents, letters and even certificates? They maybe tucked away at the back of drawers or cupboards, down in the basement or up in the attic.
Who knows what you will find and where you will find it? You just need to look.
Interviewing relatives is also another great way that you can find out about your ancestors. And the best thing about this method is that it is completely free! Unless you want to bring round to your relatives some cake to share while you talk for hours.
Why not DNA testing then?!
You’ve probably heard of DNA testing and that it can help you with your genealogy research. And that is true.
But there are so many companies out there. Just which one do you choose?
Well in this review I will start off by explaining what DNA genealogy testing is all about. Then I will cover what kind of testing Living DNA can perform on your DNA sample and also how they compare to other companies.
Credit: Living DNA
Topics discussed in this post:
- What Is DNA Genealogy Testing?
- The Competition
- How To Take The Test and Getting Your Results
- Finding Your Ethnicity and Your Relatives
- What About Your Privacy and Is Your Information Secure?
- Other Peoples Living DNA Testing Reviews
- Pros and Cons
- My Final Thoughts
When you have finished reading this review why not check out The Best DNA Test For You To Buy guide where I cover the 5 best DNA testing kits on the market today!
What Is DNA Genealogy Testing?
If you want to know what DNA testing can do for you and your genealogy research you first need to know what exactly is DNA all about. It only makes sense to know the basics before you dive straight into a new world of family history research.
DNA is short for deoxyribonucleic acid which is a self-replicating material. It is in every single living organism. It is in every animal on the planet and that also means us!
DNA can be found in every living cell in the human body and contains instructions on everything about us. So it will describe our eye color and hair color, and many other things besides.
But that’s not all that it does. It can also tell us where our ancestors came from. It can tell us our origins.
This can be done by 3 different kinds of DNA tests that Living DNA can perform on the sample that you give.
3 different types of DNA testing!
- Autosomal DNA testing (atDNA) – This test is common for all of the DNA testing companies out there. It will give you information for both the paternal and maternal sides of your family, i.e. all branches. This is great, however it is only accurate to about 4 or 5 generations back.
- Mitochondrial DNA testing (mtDNA) – This type of testing will only look at your maternal line, i.e. your mother’s, mother’s, mother’s, etc. Despite the limited line of research it can tell you your heritage to about 25 generations back.
- Y-Chromosome DNA testing (yDNA) – The third test is quite similar to mtDNA, however this testing will look at your paternal line. Yes you guessed it, your father’s, father’s, father’s, and so on. And again this testing can show you your lineage to about 25 generations.
Living DNA will offer you all 3 of these tests within their product. This is great because some companies will charge you extra for additional testing.
Autosomal DNA Testing Overview
Autosomal DNA testing can help you if:
- You want to discover your most recent ancestors, (5 generations back).
- You want to discover ‘new’ distant cousins.
- You want to discover your origins.
Autosomal testing is a great way for you to dip your toes into DNA testing. As I have mentioned it is only really accurate to about 5 generations back.
That is alright if you only want to know information about your family tree to your 3rd great grandparents.
But why is it not so accurate the further back you go?
It all has to do with the DNA that you get from your ancestors. You see you get 1/2 of genes from your father and 1/2 from your mother. The genes are what carry a snippet of your parents DNA.
One step back and this means that you get 1/4 from each of your grandparents. Take this further and this means that from each of your great grandparents you get 1/8 genes from them.
Quite straight forward isn’t it?
But the further back you go the more diluted will become. And that is where the problem lies with autosomal testing.
Please check out the Unexpected Ethnicity Results post from Ancestry which goes further into detail about this.
Mitochondrial DNA Testing Overview
Mitochondrial testing can help you if:
- You want to discover your maternal line, which can go as far back as 25 generations.
- You want to discover where your maternal ancestry originated.
Similar to autosomal testing this kind of DNA test can be performed by both males and females. There are no restrictions.
So if you do want to find out your maternal heritage then this type of testing is just for you.
Y-Chromosome DNA Testing Overview
Y-Chromosome testing can help you if:
- You want to discover your paternal line, which can go as far back as 25 generations.
- You want to discover where your paternal ancestry originated.
- You want to connect with relatives that share the same surname as yours.
This type of testing is obviously useful if you want to know more about your paternal heritage. This can also mean that you can learn more about your surname and where your family came from.
If you are interested in your last name, (and most family historians are), then why not check out The Guild of One Name Studies? Not only can help you with your research but you may even find a living relative through them.
Even though you can find out a lot about your paternal line with this type of testing there is one significant drawback. And that is that it can only be conducted by males.
But if you are female then do not despair. You can get your father or brothers, or your father’s brothers, or your brothers sons to take the test for you.
So far I have shown you what kind of testing can be performed on your DNA sample. I have also shown you how these kinds of tests can help you and your genealogy research.
But how does Living DNA compare to the competition?
Well not only can you learn about the origins of your most recent ancestors, but also your paternal and maternal ancestry. This is obviously a wealth of data that you can really use to dig deeper into your family tree.
The real downside though of Living DNA is the fact that you do have to wait a considerable amount of time for your results. You can expect to wait about 10-12 weeks for your results to be returned to you.
But even though you do have to wait, and wait, and wait there is actually an upside. And that is that Living DNA cover more regions of the globe where your ancestors come from. They also break down the United Kingdom into more regions compared to other companies.
Comparing The Competition!
|23andMe||Ancestry DNA||Family Tree DNA||Living DNA||MyHeritage DNA|
|Tests||atDNA, mDNA and yDNA||atDNA||atDNA, mDNA and yDNA||atDNA, mDNA and yDNA||atDNA|
|How Tested||Cheek swab||Saliva||Cheek swab||Cheek swab||Cheek swab|
|Results Waiting Time||6-8 Weeks||6-8 Weeks||6-8 Weeks||10-12 Weeks||3-4 Weeks|
|Available||US, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, Republic of Ireland, UK||US, UK and Australia||US, UK and worldwide||US, Canada, UK, Europe and Australia||US, UK, Australia and worldwide|
|Bottom Line||Bonus Health Screening||Most Popular||Potential For More||Most Comprehensive Testing||Quick Results|
Living DNA vs. 23andMe
These two DNA testing companies both can offer you all 3 DNA tests. However, Living DNA outshines 23andMe as the results for both the mtDNA and yDNA tests will be more comprehensive.
This is because 23andMe bases the mtDNA and yDNA results on the autosomal, whic means that they will not be as accurate.
The advantage though of going with 23andMe is that if you can opt for a health screening as well as a DNA test. So you can see whether there are conditions or predispositions that you may need to be concerned about.
Living DNA will also outperform 23andMe when it comes to making connections with living cousins. The reason for this is because a large majority who go with them are not really interested in their ancestry. And so they may choose not to make their results public to the rest of the 23andMe community.
Living DNA vs. Ancestry
Living DNA clearly outperforms Ancestry when it comes to the testing that these two companies offer. I have already covered the 3 different kinds of tests that Living DNA offer.
Surprised as you may seem but Ancestry only currently offer autosomal testing. This is despite Ancestry being the largest genealogical company on the planet.
There is though advantages if you do side with Ancestry.
If you do decide to buy the Ancestry DNA testing kit then you will be able to get access to billions of genealogy records with the databases that Ancestry possesses. This is pretty cool as you obviously can find out so much information about your family tree from them, (like me).
However, you will need to pay a subscription in order to gain access to this data.
The second clear advantage with choosing Ancestry DNA over Living DNA is that you will have a much better chance of finding living cousins through them. And why is that?
Because they are the biggest genealogical company on the planet of course!
Living DNA vs. FamilyTreeDNA
Similar to Living DNA, FamilyTreeDNA will offer you the 3 different kinds of testing. However, you do have to pay extra for each of these tests. There is no upsell with Living DNA and so they will be cheaper.
But there is a cost when it comes to buying something cheaper. And that is the accuracy and the level of results that you will get back. For that reason FamilyTreeDNA is definitely worth buying if you are serious about your family tree.
The autosomal testing though is superior with Living DNA as they cover more regions than it’s competitor.
Living DNA vs. MyHeritage DNA
There are a number of differences when it comes to these two DNA testing companies. The first is the tests that they offer.
As I have mentioned Living DNA will offer you atDNA, mtDNA and yDNA testing all for a single price. However, MyHeritage at present only provides autosomal testing.
Despite not be able to give you a detailed guide to your ancestry your results can be returned to you as little as 3-4 weeks.
The second advantage of choosing MyHeritage DNA is that you can be connected to a large collection of family history records.
So if you want quick results then MyHeritage DNA is for you. But if you don’t mind waiting longer and getting deeper results, (and know more about your ancestry), then Living DNA is for you.
How To Take The Test and Getting Your Results
Once you order your Living DNA test kit you can expect it to arrive 5-7 days later. It is even quicker if you wish to pay for express shipping, 2-3 days.
Each kit has its own unique barcode. This therefore means that you will need to link this barcode to your Living DNA account. Doing this will mean that when your results are ready then they can be accessed by logging into your account.
Living DNA make it very easy for you to test your children as well as your elderly relatives. So once you have discovered your ancestry through this company then why not test other relatives as well?
You can learn more about your ancestry by getting your relatives to take the test as well. Why not ask them to buy the test kit, or maybe you purchase it for them as a birthday or Christmas present.
Receiving your DNA kit!
Included within your test kit is a set of instructions, a cheek swab, a vial, and a free returns bag to send back your sample.
You will obviously want to provide the best possible sample in order to get the best results returned to you. That is why you will need to swab both cheeks for a good 30-40 seconds.
After you have done that you will then place the swab into the vial. Then place the barcode sticker onto the vial and then put that into the returns bag.
But be warned, DO NOT forget to link your sample with your Living DNA account. Otherwise there will be no way of getting your DNA results.
Get the sample right!
To provide the best possible sample you will have to refrain from doing a few certain activities. These include drinking, eating and smoking 30 minutes before you take the test. Taking this step will make sure that your sample is in no way contaminated and will not affect the outcome of your results.
Please also do not brush your teeth or chew gum. And as an adding precaution please do not stand/sit next to anyone who is smoking.
Getting your results!
By far Living DNA test results take far longer to be returned out of all the companies that I have reviewed. Despite having to wait so long for me the results are worth the wait as the level that they go into is immense.
If you do not like waiting then why not crack on and research other branches of your family tree in the meantime. There are plenty of ancestors for you to choose from and plenty of resources out there that you can search through.
As with other DNA testing companies you will be notified that your results are ready via email. Once you have got this email then simply log into your account to access your DNA test results.
Living DNA is quite unique when it does come to the results that you get back from them. Not only can you access your results online but also you get a printed ancestry book with your results inside.
This is great as you can just pick up the book at anytime to look at your results. You will though need to wait a further 4-6 weeks for this book to arrive AFTER you have received your online results. And there is an additional charge for this book.
Finding Your Ethnicity and Your Relatives
I have always been interested to know where my ancestors came from. And the level of detail that Living DNA goes to really goes further than any other company at present does.
Despite giving you the 3 different kinds of DNA tests that I have already covered, (atDNA, mtDNA and yDNA), they do not yet match you with any other member in their database who may be a cousin. But this feature is coming soon!
Ok, so I have talked about the tests that are done on the sample that you provide. But what do the people in the lab look at when they view your sample?
Well they are looking at markers in your DNA. Each of us have markers, thousands of them in fact, and these markers can tell us where our family originated.
Living DNA have taken samples of people all over the world. They have looked at people who have been native to that area for a considerable amount of time. Hundreds, even thousands of years.
These people will therefore have characteristics within certain markers that show that they are native to an area, or region.
Living DNA has broken the world down into 80 regions. The most out of all the DNA companies. MyHeritage only has 42 regions, whereas Ancestry a mere 26 regions.
This doesn’t mean though that this company is more accurate with their testing compared to others. It all depends though on the sample that they use. If there were mass migration on the sample’s family tree then this could obviously throw out your results.
Your Motherline Ancestry!
The mtDNA test can look at your maternal line, or as this company calls it your ‘Motherline Ancestry‘. Anyone who shares the same mtDNA as you will be in the same haplogroup. This is really a group of people who share a common female ancestor.
And that is how Living DNA can actually link you to famous people. Pretty cool hey? Yeah I thought so too.
But that is not all as they can also show you where your motherline group can be found and also your own motherline’s migration path.
Your Fatherline Ancestry!
Following on from Motherline Ancestry, Living DNA can also look at your paternal line, or as they call it your ‘Fatherline Ancestry‘. This is essentially the same but remember only males can take this kind of test.
Finding Your Distant Cousins!
There are so many ways that you can learn about your ancestors. You may discover them through listening to stories from older relatives, or looking through old documents, letters and any heirloom that you may have around your home.
Learning about your ancestry through relatives is a great way for you to research your family tree. So why not take DNA testing a step further and get connected to living cousins.
Other companies do offer this feature. Living DNA have seen the potential of this and will soon be offering it to anyone who chooses to connect with others.
However, when this feature does arrive you will have the option whether you do want to connect or remain private to the other members of the community. If you do though decide not to join then you will lose out on finding out more about your heritage through these connections.
I should know because I have found out so much by connecting to distant cousins who I didn’t know existed. Obviously I did know that there would be cousins out there. But unless you take that step then you won’t know what you are missing out on.
What About Your Privacy and Is Your Information Secure?
Living DNA know fully well that you will want your information remain both private and secure within their database. They know that you obviously do not want your details and results be shared, or even sold on, to a third party.
So you can be rest assured that anything connected with you is safe with them.
Even the people within the laboratory who test your DNA sample do not know you from Adam or Eve. Well actually they will know whether you are male or female, but they will not know your personal details.
They just have your sample and a barcode. And that is it. No first name, last name or home address.
And when the Family Matches feature is made available then you will have the choice of whether you want to be public or remain private. However, as I have mentioned before if you do decide to be private then you will miss out on valuable information that could be shared with you by a distant cousin.
Other Peoples Living DNA Testing Reviews
Well that is what you can expect from Living DNA and what I personally think about their DNA test. But you are probably wondering what do other people think about this company.
Let me turn your attention to DNA Testing Choice. They have personally tested nearly 40 different DNA testing companies, and at present they come in at #5. That’s an excellent result considering that they haven’t yet added the Family Matches feature.
But what do the general public think about the product?
LivingDNA Reviews – Most people are impressed with the product/service!
Living DNA haven’t been reviewed as many times by customers as other companies but still they are regarded highly. Most people were very impressed with the results that they received.
And they were blown away by the break down of their results, particularly the Motherline and Fatherline results. Something that you do not get from Ancestry.
But obviously you will get people who will be dissatisfied with their results. You won’t be able to please everyone unfortunately.
Some people were unhappy with the lengthy wait for their results. But as I have pointed out at the start of this review there is a 10-12 week wait for your results. So please expect to wait.
Other complaints were the inaccuracy of the results. This as I have said before can be put down to the sample that you provide. So please make sure you follow the instructions given in your test kit before you take the test and send off your sample.
Although the sample of people that Living DNA compare you with can no doubt play on the outcome of your results. And sadly that is why there will be a chance that you will not get the results that you were after.
Pros and Cons
✔ Great to help you build an extensive family tree
✔ Break down brick walls
✔ Get ethnicity estimates about your ancestors
✔ Extensive testing that covers 80 regions of the world, (more than any other company)
✔ Upcoming Family Matches features that will let you connect with distant cousins
❌ Long waiting time out of all the DNA testing companies, 10-12 weeks
❌ No access to genealogy search websites
❌ Cannot upload your raw DNA results
My Final Thoughts
In my opinion Living DNA do give you the most comprehensive results based on the number of regions that you are tested against. You will though need to wait up to 3 months for your results.
So if you aren’t willing to wait this long then this test is not for you. But if you can wait that long then I say go for it and buy the DNA test kit.
Surely you can fill in your time by researching other branches of your family tree. There is more than enough ancestors in your tree to keep you busy.
And even though at present you cannot get connected with living cousins the feature is there in the pipeline. Once more and more people do go with this company and buy the test then the more of a chance that you will be connected with someone.
And then who knows what information that you will share.
Do I recommend Living DNA?
You maybe wondering therefore whether I recommend Living DNA. Well to answer your question yes I do recommend Living DNA!
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