Helligkorsgade, Kψlding, DK (built 1589; photo from WikimediaCommons by User:Mahlum, 2006)
Danish Demes
a Regional DNA Project for Danish Americans and Danes around the World
Borches gεrd, Kolding, DK (built 1595; photo from WikimediaCommons by User:Mahlum, 2006)
Frequently Asked Questions about DNA-testing
for the Danish Demes Regional DNA Project at FamilyTreeDNA
1. Are only Danes allowed to join?
2. What does direct line ancestor mean?
3. Which test should we take to be of most value?
4. Do I need to send in another sample to have additional tests done?
5. Should additional family members be tested?
6. What about the senior members of my family?
7. Can I join more than one project?
8. Can my test results be used for my mother's ancestry?
9. How is the sample taken?
10. What about privacy?
11. What is Ysearch?
12. What about SNP testing?
13. Is this a commercial project?
14. Will you sell my sample or my data?
15. How much will it cost?
16. Can I transfer my Y-DNA test results to FTDNA?
17. How can I get my GEDCOM to upload?
1.  Are only Dane's allowed to join?

Membership is limited to those with known Danish ancestry on their patrilineal (direct male) and/or matrilineal (direct female) ancestral line.  Having a known Danish ancestry means having ancestors known to have been born in Denmark as defined by its current national boundaries

I appreciate that there are areas outside the current national boundaries of Denmark that were once under Danish rule and that there are, even today, ethnic Danish enclaves outside the country, so my using the current national boundary is somewhat arbitrary, but that is the boundary I have chosen for the project. 

If a Danish ancestry is only suspected, please do not ask to join Danish Demes because, I'm sorry, I will have no choice but to deny the request.

The reason for the strict membership requirements are that one purpose of the project is to create a database of proven Danish haplotypes, against which people who simply suspect a Danish ancestry can compare themselves.  If those with only suspected Danish ancestry are allowed to join Danish Demes, they will cause the database to lose its value as a standard.  In other words, for the sake of the database, it's better to exclude a few potential Danes, than it is to accidentally include even a single non-Dane.

Just because you are not a member of Danish Demes, however, does not mean you are being "shut out" of comparing your results with Danish Deme members.  If you were tested at Family Tree DNA, you are in the FTDNA database.  Provided you have removed the sharing restriction on your member page (see the "User Preferences" tab), the FTDNA server will automatically notify you if you have a match with anyone who is a member of Danish Demes (or any other FTDNA project).  Even if you were not tested at FTDNA, you can at least visually compare your test results to the results of Danish Demes members, either at the FTDNA version of the web site or my version of the web site.

Bottom line:  the purpose of Danish Demes to create a dependable database of truly Danish haplotypes.  Adding uncertain haplotypes to the database would defeat that purpose.


2.  What do the terms "patrilineal line" and "matrilineal line" mean?

A direct male or direct female line is one where the gender of the ancestors doesn't change from generation to generation.  Each of us has only two such ancestral lines, one all male (patrilineal) and one all female (matrilineal).  If your line to your Danish ancestor zig-zags between males and females, you will not be able to participate in the project based on that ancestor.

Note that because females have no Y-chromosome, they can only participate using their mtDNA results, but if a male has Danish ancestry on either his male or female ancestral line, or both, he can participate using the results of either or both his Y-DNA and mtDNA tests.
Danish Male Female Male Female Male Female Male non-Danish Female
Male Female Male Female
Male Female
Eligible Male Test Subject — Y-DNA only 
test individual has a Danish Y-chromosome, but mitochondrial DNA is not Danish
Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Danish Female
Male Female Male Female
Male Female
Eligible Female Test Subject — mtDNA only 
test individual has Danish mitochondrial DNA, but has no Y-chromosome, at all
non-Danish Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Danish Female
Male Female Male Female
Male Female
Eligible Male Test Subject — mtDNA only
test individual has Danish mitochondrial DNA, but Y-DNA is not Danish
Danish Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Danish Female
Male Female Male Female
Male Female
Eligible Male Test Subject — both Y-DNA and mtDNA
test individual has a Danish Y-chromosome and has Danish mitochondrial DNA


3.  Which test would be of most value?

With regard to Y-DNA testing, all levels of testing are useful for something, but most researchers have found the more markers tested the better.  It partly depends on whether you turn out to have a common haplotype or a rare one, but of course, you don't know that until after you've been tested.  It's parallel to the situation with names, that is, identifying you is more difficult if you are John SMITH than if you are Engelbert HUMPERDINCK.  In identifying John SMITH, it helps greatly to know his middle initial and, better yet, to know his middle name.  Adding more markers to someone's haplotype is parallel to knowing John's middle name to help separate him from other John SMITHs.  The more clues you have to the identity, the more confident you can be of the identification, and the more common the surname or haplotype, the more clues you need.  And if you are Haplogroup R1b1a2 or I1, you can can consider yourself a genetic "SMITH," so please test at least 67 markers and be deep SNP tested, as well.

With regard to mtDNA testing, the mtDNAPlus test is definitely preferable to just the mtDNA test, to narrow down the size of the group with whom you match, and the FMS (full mitochondrial sequence) is much better still.

FamilyFinder test results cannot be utilized in this project because, among other things, there is simply no way to determine which chromosomal segments came from your Danish ancestors and which did not.


4.  Do I need to send in another sample to have additional tests done in the future?

No.  Your sample will be kept in cold storage for a guaranteed 25 years, so it will be available for additional testing.  It can be assumed that, over the next few years, more refined tests will be discovered.  Having your sample in storage will make it possible to have these tests done without submitting additional samples.


5.  Should additional family members be tested?

If you get an unexpected result, yes.  But even if you get an expected result, one reason to test addtional family members is to get them interested in their genealogy and identifying themselves with their ancestry.  DNA testing makes a wonderful gift to bring your family together.

But just as we are warned not to do our genealogy unless we can handle finding out something we'd rather not have known, anyone being DNA tested has to be prepared for an unexpected result because about 2-5% of people tested turn out — through hidden adoption or paternity — not to be descended from their "paper" ancestor.  Such a result is known as an "NPE" (non-paternal event).  In the case of an NPE, the testing of cousins (beginning with a first cousin, then progressing to increasingly distant cousins) can pinpoint where the NPE took place.

While people today are generally open about adoptions, in the past an adopted infant was much less likely to have ever been told they were adopted.  Likewise, a wife's infidelity was more likely to be hushed up than to result in divorce, even if the infidelity was uncovered.  For these reasons, assume that an NPE occurred in distant generations, rather than near ones, and don't jump to any conclusions because you get one.  Still, consider the feelings of everyone in the family before bringing the NPE out into the open.  By the way, this is the real reason to keep this testing anonymous, not because these STR test results reveal anything medically important about you (they don't).  So, I recommend quietly testing yourself, first. Then, after you have the result, decide whether to share the news with your family (or your fellow genealogists).

There is also some logic to the idea that everyone doing their genealogy would do well, at the outset, to test themselves and at least a first cousin, just to be certain they don't spend literally years working on the wrong surname. On the other hand, if other descendants of your progenitor have already been tested and you match them, you have your answer and need not test any near cousins.


6.  What about the senior members of my family?

There may be some urgency involved with testing your family's senior members.  For example, my father was 86 years old when I paid for his testing. He even joked with me at the time, "Oh, you want to get this done before I die."  Well, yes, actually, and I'm relieved that his testing was completed because he has since passed away.


7.  Can my test results be used with other projects?

Yes.  Typically, one would first join their surname project, then, once results are returned, possibly join one or more appropriate haplogroup, regional, or ethnic projects.  There's a blue Join button on your member page that will allow you to request membership in additional projects (pending approval of that project's admin). There is no cost for joining additional projects.


8.  Can my Y-DNA test be used for my mother's surname?

I'm afraid not.  For males, your Y-chromosome came from your father, and only from your father, so Y-chromosome DNA testing will be of no help in elucidating your mother's ancestry.  To research your mother's surname (i.e., her father's patrilineal line), you will need to get her father or one of her brothers or paternal uncles or paternal nephews of that surname to be tested for you.  For both males and females, it is your mtDNA test that will reveal your ancestry on your mother's matrilineal line.


9.  How is the sample taken?

Taking the sample is simple and painless, just read the directions carefully and don't hurry.  The kit arrives by mail and contains three plastic sticks — rather like small toothbrushes, without the bristles.  You take the sample by rubbing the inside of your cheek with the stick, then dropping the detachable tip into a vial.  You take the samples at least eight hours apart.  Then put the vials in the provided mailer and return the kit by mail.


10.  What about privacy?

You establish your level of privacy by the way you join and the options you select.

If you want complete privacy, you should not join a project, but simply order and pay for your testing on your own.  That way, your identity and results are known only to you (and to FamilyTreeDNA, obviously).

If you join a project, the project administrator knows who you are (i.e., has access to your full name and contact information), but only your test data, lineage, and surname — not your given name(s) — will be placed in public view on the project's web sites.  The administrator will not reveal your identity to anyone, not even to other project members or administrators.  That doesn't prevent you from revealing yourself, it just means that neither FTDNA nor I will do it.

By signing the Release that comes with your kit, your name and email address will be shared with others tested at FamilyTreeDNA whose results match yours (and vice versa), but your name and email address will still not be displayed at the project web sites nor be released by the project administrator.  Signing the Release is a condition of joining this project as it is unfair to refuse to share your results with others when others are sharing their results with you.  If you don't want to be the contact person (i.e., if you don't want to be emailed by "matchees"), you can substitute your "family genealogist" or me as the contact person.

You do have the option of Restricting match sharing to just the members of the Danish Demes project, rather than with everyone else tested at FamilyTreeDNA, the latter obviously being a much larger database.  Please note that the FTDNA database is not searchable or browsable, not even by project administrators, much less by the general public, which has no access to the FTDNA database.

If you want to get the most from your testing, then share the most, that is:  join a project, sign the Release, remove the sharing Restriction (via the checkbox at your member page), and upload your results to Ysearch (see next FAQ).

Lastly, and speaking personally (not as a representative of FamilyTreeDNA), I frankly do not see the need for privacy.  To demonstrate just how unconcerned I am, I have placed my mtDNA results online at my website and put my mtDNA FGS (Full Genetic Sequence) online at GenBank (EU979542).  You should be much more concerned about someone knowing your Social Security number or reading your bank account number off your checks or your credit card numbers off your sales slips.  (And I'd much rather have someone know my DNA test results than my weight!)  I do have these caveats:  I recommend keeping the fact that you are being tested quiet until you've seen the results because, if your results uncover a hidden adoption or illicit paternity, you may want to limit with whom you share that information.  I made certain I was an mtDNA match with a first cousin before I "went public" with my HVR1+HVR2 results; and I got a clean slate from a medical analysis of my mtDNA FGS before I uploaded the results to GenBank.  With regard to Y-DNA testing, my father has passed away since being tested, so I have de-privatized his name (scroll to the right to see the lineage).  I didn't see any reason to keep his identity secret in the first place, so I certainly see no reason to keep it secret now.

See also FamilyTreeDNA's privacy policy.  Your privacy is further maintained by Federal Law:  see the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) summarized on the FTDNA web site.


11.  What is Ysearch?

Ysearch.org is a publicly available and searchable database on the internet, sponsored by FTDNA, but open to anyone regardless of where they were tested. Once your test results have returned, the upload is a few easy clicks from a link on the "Y-DNA Matches" tab of your member page.

Even if you upload your data to Ysearch, your anonymity is still maintained if you so wish.  At Ysearch, only the test results and surname of the test subject are necessarily displayed. You have the options of including the name and origin of the most distant ancestor, uploading a GEDCOM, and/or revealing your name as the contact person (if you wish to remain anonymous, just enter "name witheld" in the contact name field). Visitors contact you via a form that reveals neither your name or email address, giving you the option whether or not to respond and reveal yourself.

The question then becomes, why upload to Ysearch? One reason is to seek a match in a larger database, one that includes individuals tested at other companies, not just FTDNA.  The other is to make your data available to researchers, in particular, to ones studying larger issues, at the paleoanthropological level.  Anything you do to help them ultimately helps you better understand your origins.

Lastly, I hope you will upload just to have mercy on your project admin.  If you don't upload your results, I have to manually enter your test data into Ysearch every time I want to check to see if you have any matches.  Please spare me this tedium!


12.  What about SNP testing?

Results from STR (Short Tandem Repeat) testing should correlate with results from SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) testing.  In other words, haplotypes should correlate with haplogroups, and they do.  Therefore, in most cases your haplogroup can be deduced from your haplotype.  In cases where the prediction of the haplogroup from the haplotype is weak or equivocal (most likely due to a rare or unique haplotype), FTDNA will do a "backbone" SNP test (without charge) as part of its "haplogroup assurance policy."  This policy means being STR tested at FTDNA assures that you will know your basic haplogroup with certainty, without the added expense of a backbone SNP test.

Deep SNP testing determines your haplogroup subclade and is offered by FTDNA without having to submit another sample.  This determination (and, thus, this testing) is not a requirement for participation in the project, but I hope you will consider doing it, for a number of reasons.

One reason is simply to "contribute to science."  Every one of us who undergoes both STR and SNP testing is contrbuting to the databases that allow these correlations to be made and is contributing to the success of researchers engaged in reconstructing human origins.  And then, there's your own curiosity.  I'm fascinated by the progress being made, and I find it far more meaningful to know that I'm part of the process of discovery and advancement.  If you want recent history to come alive for you and your children, do your family's genealogy.  If you want human history and earth history to come alive for them, have the family DNA tested — and once you have your test results, join the National Geographic Society's Genographic Project (a few easy clicks on your FTDNA member page).

On the practical side, haplogroups are a logical way to organize the project because people in different haplogroups have a zero probability of being closely related, so breaking up the project by haplogroups is simply useful.


13.  Is this a commercial project?

FamilyTreeDNA is a for-profit business.  The surname and regional projects based at FamilyTreeDNA are administered by volunteers (I'm a retired zoologist/paleontologist whose hobby is genealogy).  This arrangement is parallel to the mailing lists at RootsWeb.com and the message boards at Ancestry.com, which are administered by volunteers, but owned by a for-profit business.


14.  Will you sell my sample or my data?

No.  The sample belongs to you.  Your sample will be kept in storage at FamilyTreeDNA for 25 years, in case you wish to have more tests run (without having to submit another sample) — or you can have the sample destroyed if you so direct.  Your test results will be made public on the project's web site free of charge, which means there can be no incentive for anyone to try to sell the data.


15.  How much does it cost?

FamilyTreeDNA offers a variety of tests and services.  Please see descriptions of products at their web site:
FamilyTreeDNA Products and Prices
While I do my best to keep this FAQ up-to-date, the FTDNA web site is always the final word on prices.

When joining a project, please first order a Y-DNA test, if you're male, or an mtDNA test, if you're female, followed later with a Family Finder or other tests.

Your project admin recommends the tests highlighted in bright yellow.  In most circumstances, males will need 67 markers to be confident a match isn't coincidental*.

Gender Test List Price Group Price Holiday Sale Price
Y-DNA37  169 149 139
Y-DNA67 268 248 228
Y-DNA111 359 339 309
mtFullSequence  199   169
Family Finder    99      89
Plus shipping and handling (includes return shipping): $9.95

*If your haplotype is rare (i.e., distant from the modal haplotype in an uncommon haplogroup), you won't need to test as many markers as someone whose haplotype is common (i.e., close to the modal haplotype for a common haplogroup).. The problem is, you won't know which yours is until after you've tested — and, by definition, the majority of people will have a common haplotype.

It's ultimately cheaper to purchase the maximum markers from the outset.  Upgrading the number of markers in stages reduces the initial sticker shock, but testing in stages will cost more in the long run.

Gender Test Regular Price
Y-Refine 12 to 37   99
Y-Refine 12 to 67  189
Y-Refine 12 to 111 339
Y-Refine 25 to 37   49
Y-Refine 25 to 67 148
Y-Refine 25 to 111 249
Y-Refine 37 to 67 99
Y-Refine 37 to 111 220
Y-Refine 67 to 111 129
add mtFullSequence to HVR1 159
add mtFullSequence to HVR2 149

FamilyTreeDNA periodically has promotional specials, so I will also try to keep this web site updated with the current specials.  And, of course, don't forget to check the subsidies offered on the Danish Demes project's home page


16.  Can I transfer my Y-DNA test results to FTDNA?

Yes, if you were tested with any company using the Sorenson laboratory to run their customers' tests (viz., SMGF, GeneTree, or Ancestry), you can have your 33- or 46-marker results transferred to FTDNA.  The Transfer fee will give you an account at FTDNA and give your project administrator access to your results, allowing the results to be displayed at the project web site.  However, the transfer fee, alone, will not give you haplogroup prediction or allow you to receive automatic match notifications.  To enjoy the full benefits of being a project member at FTDNA, you need to be retested at FTDNA.  The retesting is done at a considerable discount (compare above prices), so I highly recommend doing so — and from the outset.

Transfer Only (33 or 46 markers) $19
Upgrade later from Y-DNA33 to Y-DNA25 39
Upgrade later from Y-DNA46 to Y-DNA37 39
Transfer Y-DNA33 including upgrade to FTDNA Y-DNA25 58
Transfer Y-DNA46 including upgrade to FTDNA Y-DNA37 58


17.  How can I get my GEDCOM to upload?

Some people have no difficulty uploading a GEDCOM to their FTDNA account, while others fail despite repeated attempts. If you are in the latter category, experience has shown me that the method outlined below does work.  (I'm assuming you are using standard genealogy software that will export a standard GEDCOM.)

To begin with, do not try to extract a subset of your existing database.  Create a new database expressly for this purpose.  While this may seem to be a waste of time, it doesn't take nearly as much time as you will waste trying — and failing — to get an "extracted" GEDCOM to upload.  The new database should have the following attributes:

Make certain the first person you enter in the database is the test subject, so they are ID No. 1 in the database (and, thus, @I1@ in the GEDCOM).  Also make certain they are marked as the root person in the tree.

Enter only 12 generations, including the test subject.  FTDNA will not display more, so there's no point in including more.

Enter only these five items:

name, birth date, birth place, death date, death place
Nothing else will be displayed — and no one can download your GEDCOM — so there's no point including anything else.  With regard to entering the name, don't bother including prefixes (e.g., Rev., Dr., etc.), suffixes (e.g., Jr., Sr., III, etc.), titles, nicknames, or alternate names; they won't be displayed.  If you want a prefix or nickname to show up, you'll need to place it in the given name field; if you want a suffix or alternate surname to show up, you'll need to put it in the surname field.  If you do this, be certain to use a single quote ('), not a double quote ("), to enclose a nickname; and be certain not to use a slash (/) to separate alternate names.

Do not skip adding locations.  Locations are important in helping your matchees decide whether an ancestor may be related, which may influence their decision whether or not to contact you.

Do not use "upper" characters, such as ø, ß, ü, etc.  They will likely display as "garbage."  I presume there will eventually be a fix for this, but not as of the last time I checked.

Include only your ancestors (viz., parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc.), no other kin.  Do not include additional spouses or adoptive parents — include biological ancestors only.

With regard to privatization, I don't see the need for privacy here.  Your pedigree is not on public display and cannot be downloaded, so the only people seeing it will be your genetic matches.  I have given my full name as test subject and the full names of my parents and everyone else.  To make certain everyone showed up, I deliberately set the Living Flag to "No" for the entire database before exporting it.  If you don't want someone to show up, then set the Living Flag to Yes before doing the export.  Do make certain the Living Flag is set, one way or the other, if you want control over the individuals displayed.  Otherwise, FTDNA's software will decide, and you may get unexpected results for people who don't have a death date.

Lastly, even if you do not know your ancestry (e.g., you are adopted), please include a GEDCOM with your name as test subject and with a father and mother named, "Adopted."  That way, your matchees won't waste your time and theirs emailing you to ask for your pedigree or urge you to upload a GEDCOM.

Whatever effort it is to create this special "lean and clean" database is likely to be well repaid in how small the file is and how easily it uploads.  If you continue to have difficulty, I can only recommend you contact FTDNA, directly, because if you follow the above, you've avoided all the reasons I know of why the upload might fail.  That is, I've never known a file created as I've described above to fail to upload.


Danish Demes
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Static Family Group Sheets

Memorial stone for King Erik I (c1060-1103), a.k.a., 'Erik the Good' or Erik Ejegod; Borgvold, Viborg Amt, DK (photo from WikimediaCommons by User:Calvin, 2007).
Privacy Policy______
Viking burial ground (700-1150 CE), Lindholm Hψje, Aalborg Amt, DK (photo from WikimediaCommons by User:Bunnyfrosch, 2007).