Today I received an email from Ancestry.com.au that said they will soon be making their DNA tests available in Australia. Tests will initially be available by invitation only. The email gave the option to sign up for an invitation.
I am cautiously optimistic about this development. While I prefer to use Family Tree DNA for my own tests, and of course hope that my relatives near and far will choose to test there, I think that Ancestry will give genetic genealogy in Australia a real boost.
I have tested with all three of the big genetic genealogy players – Family Tree DNA, Ancestry and 23andMe. I tested with Ancestry when the product became available in the USA. At that stage, they shipped kits to Australia.
My hope is that Ancestry’s advertising will ‘normalise’ genetic genealogy. I think that is already starting to happen, but my perspective may be biased by the company I keep! I hope that by seeing a well known company such as Ancestry advertise their tests, more Australian genealogists (and their family members) will think of DNA testing as something that would be interesting to do and within reach of normal people. More potential matches for me!
The chief problem with testing at Ancestry is the sad lack of tools offered to work with matches. Two words... Chromosome browser. Tests done at Ancestry are not a lost cause, though, if you want to work with the information. It’s possible to download the raw data and upload it to free sites such as Gedmatch, or pay a small ‘transfer’ fee to load it into Family Tree DNA.
I think that it’s probably a larger leap to start DNA testing at all, than to expand your view to the additional services available. I will suggest to my promising Australian future AncestryDNA matches that they look a little wider.