Misinformed review

It is most unfortunate to read a review of Family Tree DNA by a popular young American genealogy blogger, Heather Collins, that is full of misunderstandings about how to use DNA and how to use Family Tree DNA itself. The review criticises the absence of features that are actually available; for example, it is possible to download a spreadsheet of all segments from the chromosome browser. The reviewer criticises the functionality of the chromosome browser as a tool, but does not understand how to use it. It would seem that Heather also has very little understanding of the value of Y-DNA and mtDNA testing as important specialised tests, which she incorrectly suggests are ‘niche’, ‘nostalgic’ and ‘from back in the day when these tests were all the rage’. The comments on the admixture also show a considerable lack of understanding about the limitations of ethnicity results at any of the testing companies. Finally, the comment about using AncestryDNA simply because of the larger database ignores the motivations of the people who have tested with each of those two companies: quantity does not equate with quality.

Whilst I think that DNA has been a wonderful catalyst for encouraging younger people to become actively engaged in genealogy and family history, this kind of misinformation spread by a popular young blogger is very disappointing.

Family Tree DNA: My Review by Heather Collins, Young & Savvy Genealogists

2 thoughts on “Misinformed review

  1. I agree with your criticisms of Heather Collins blog, which misses some major understandings about FTDNA. However one of her points is reasonable: the limit of 5 people at a time on the Chromosome Browser is a major pain. 10 would be more reasonable. She also really misses the benefits of FTDNA’s downloads, which I find really useful, but what FTDNA could do is put the contact information in with the segment download as well. Having to download that separately is also a major pain.
    We get so much from FTDNA from our initial testing payment that these criticisms seem niggly, but if FTDNA is losing business, even if it is from inadequately informed commentators, these small enhancements could be well worth while.


    • Yes, Christopher, I agree if FTDNA is to remain competitive it would be great to see that chromosome browser expanded – it is such a valuable tool.


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