Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why don’t you offer testing?
A: There are already several companies which offer genetic testing for genealogy and/or general health purposes. Some of these companies do great labwork and are very user-friendly. However, their main function is the testing itself. Their function is not to fully explain the ramifications of the results to the general population. That is where Footsteps of Ancestors comes in. We assist in helping people understand their Deep Roots (the anthropology and history) as well as finding new family.


Q: Are you affiliated in any way with FTDNA?
A: No. We are an independent company and have no formal affiliation with Family Tree DNA or any of the other companies mentioned at the site in any way. However, many of our staff and even more of our customers have had much interaction with FTDNA. We highly recommend them for genetic testing for genealogy and anthropological goals. They offer haplogroup (Y-DNA and mtDNA) testing as well as autosomal testing. Some companies only offer one or the other.


Q: How reliable are the results?
A: Various testing companies have different guarantees of laboratory precision. It’s safe to say that all professional labs try the best they can to get the most accurate results. Your testing results have a very high probability of being accurate. As far as the analysis, Footsteps of Ancestors does its best very job to correlate the genetic results with the most current information on human population genetics and historical, anthropological, archaeological information.


Q: High high is your customer satisfaction?
A: We have 100% customer satisfaction as of Summer, 2016.


Q: How do I get tested?
A: Please see the ‘How to Get Tested’ page at our website. [have a link]


Q: If I am tested, which family members do my results apply to? Do they also need to be tested?
A: 1) If you are male and have your Y-DNA tested, your results also apply to your brothers (if they share the same father as you), your sons, your brothers’ sons, your sons’ sons (if you have grandchildren), your father (if he is alive) and his brothers, and so on. If you are male and have your mtDNA tested, your results apply to ALL of your siblings (if they share the same mother as you), to your mother, her sisters, her sisters’ children, and so on. Likewise, if you are married and have children, your children do not have your mtDNA, they have your wife’s mtDNA. 2) If you are female and have your mtDNA tested, your results apply to ALL of your siblings (male or female; if they share the same mother as you), to your mother, her sisters, her sisters’ children, and to your children.


Q: I was tested through Ancestry DNA (or another service which does not perform Y-DNA and/or mtDNA lineage testing) and do not know my haplogroup(s). Can I still order your products?
A: Ancestry DNA formerly offered haplogroup determination tests. Today it only tests for autosomal mutations between people to help with genealogy. And so, we recommend that you test through Family Tree DNA or 23andMe (or another service which offers Y-DNA and mtDNA testing).


Q: I am female. Don’t I have my father’s DNA? Why can’t I get tested for Y-DNA?
A: Yes, half of your regular (autosomal) DNA is from your father, and half is from your mother. However, you did not inherit your father’s Y-Chromosome (Y-DNA). Instead, you inherited your father’s X-Chromosome. You also inherited an X-Chromosome from your mother. And so, you are double X: XX. Humans have two sex chromosomes. In humans, XX is a female (like you). XY is male. If you are a female you do not have a Y-Chromosome and therefore you do not have Y-DNA. If you have brothers, they have your father’s Y-DNA.


Q: Can I order FOA packages for another family member? What about for a non-related friend?
A: Footsteps of Ancestors packages make great gifts. You are definitely able to order FOA packages for family members as long as you have access to your or their genetic testing information. Likewise, you are more than welcome to order a package for non-related friends. However, if you are customizing the gift to reflect them and their family, you will need access to their genetic testing information. Note that we can help you make the gift of a package more of a surprise, if possible. Sometimes the haplogroup itself is a surprise until the Deep Roots document is received and read. Other times the recipient knows his or her haplogroup but not all that it entails We can assist in any of these types of situations.


Q: Friends of the family have the same haplogroup (Y-DNA or mtDNA) as we do. Can’t I just read their document to learn my deep ancestry?
A: Let’s supposed your friends are Polish-Americans and your family is Irish-American. Even if your main haplogroups are identical (which they likely are not), these involve two totally different modern ethnic groups, separated by thousands of miles. Also, your subbranches and sub-subbranches (haplotype) of your ‘same’ haplogroup could be very different. Some of the story will be the same, but it’s best that your family have its own customized document.


Q: Can I have Native American (or Jewish, or any other ethnicity) ancestry even if my family’s mtDNA and Y-DNA are not Native American?
A: Yes. The mtDNA and Y-DNA lineages are direct gender lineages. In other words, if you are male and you know your mtDNA and Y-DNA haplogroups, these represent the lineage from you to your mother, from her to her mother, from your grandmother to her mother, and so on, back only in the direct female line for mtDNA. Likewise, your Y-DNA lineage represents the line from you to your father, from him to his father, from your grandfather to his father, and so on, all the way back in the direct male line. As you know, on both of these lines your ancestors had spouses. You could have an ethnic/ancestral input via one of these ‘married-into’ lines. You may be ¼ Irish-American, ¼ German-American, ¼ French-American, and ¼ Native American. However, if the Native American lineage is not direct gender (mother’s foremothers or father’s forefathers) then your mtDNA and Y-DNA haplogroups will not reflect this ancestry. Only an autosomal test would show this ancestry. However, note that in most societies worldwide, past and present, a person’s direct male line and/or direct female line is considered themost culturaly important. Autosomal tests are very useful things, but haplogroup testing opens a direct ‘highway’ to the recent past and the very ancient past as well.