If you are looking to purchase a DNA kit but don’t know which is the best to choose, then you are in the right place.
When you have completed basic research, you will likely have encountered ‘Find my Past’. With so many different companies on the market, purchasing a DNA kit is a big purchase and you want to ensure you make the right choice.
To help in your search, we’ve put together this guide full of all the information you should know about ‘Find my Past’ to ensure you make the choice that is best for you.
What is ‘Find my Past’?
Before we get too far into ‘Find my Past’ and the excellent features that their DNA kit features, let’s take a look at the company’s history.
The company was first founded in 1965, in the UK, when a small group of genealogists and heir researchers grouped together, however, the company would not yet be known as ‘Find my Past’.
Instead, they called themselves ‘Title Research’, and in the years before computers, employees had to use microfiche machines to research and read documents.
Fast forward to 2001, and the internet has entered the market with a boom. The England and Wales birth, marriage, and death records have been digitized, and ‘Title Research’ has the idea to place these records on a website so that family historians can have easy access to them.
This is a ground-breaking idea, and it isn’t until 2003 that people were able to access these records on the website. Within a year, this idea has made the company £1 million, and this just grows when they publish the 1961 census the following year.
This is the first time that a UK census has been published online. As the 1891 UK census was published online, the company rebranded, and ‘Find my Past’ was born. The following year their database booms with the introduction of Parish records, and outbound passenger lists from the 1800s are added.
In 2010, ‘Find my Past’ expanded and added British Army Service Records to their database, allowing the families of soldiers to research their ancestors more thoroughly.
Within the next 2 years, the company will first expand its offices across the UK before going global in 2012 as operations open in Ireland and, further afield, Australia.
2014 is a big year for ‘Find my Past’ as they become the first company to publish 100 new record sets onto their database in 100 days and they pledge to upload new documents to their database every week.
By 2016, operations have expanded across the pond, and a partnership with Utah-based company ‘Family Search’ begins a mission to create the largest collection of US marriage records. Therefore allowing US-based customers to access ‘Find my Past’ for the first time.
The company continues to grow and in July 2018 they announced yet another partnership, this time with leading DNA testing and analysis company, LivingDNA. Together they will produce a new DNA testing service targeting those worldwide who have British and Irish roots.
The new service launches in Fall 2018 and LivingDNA kits become available in conjunction with ‘Find my Past’ for the first time, as the company’s DNA service begins.
How does it work?
As we have established by looking at their history, ‘Find my Past’ offers two products: family tree research and DNA testing.
Their primary product is their vast, and ground-breaking, database of familial records, however, their partnership with DNA legends, ‘Living DNA’ has launched their DNA testing kit, which is still in its infancy, to a household name.
Their family tree service is pretty self-explanatory, so let’s instead look at how their DNA testing system works.
Before we look at exactly how their DNA testing process works, it is first worth noting how inclusive this company is. As well as offering their DNA service, ‘Find my Past’ also allows you to input DNA results from AncestryDNA, 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, and MyHeritage.
All of which are leading companies in the DNA field. Inputting your DNA onto their site will allow the company to match you with any possible relatives that some of the other companies might have missed, or family members who have completed their DNA kit through ‘Find my Past’.
So how does the ‘Find my Past’ DNA kit work? Like the majority of home DNA kits, it is a very easy process to complete. Simply order your DNA kit online and it will be sent to you in the post.
It will come with all the tools that you need to complete the kit, and a set of instructions to tell you how to complete it. The first thing you will need to do is activate your kit online. This notifies the company that you have received that kit and informs their DNA researchers that they should expect that kit in the post soon.
Every kit has a unique code which will then be connected with your name. ‘Find my Past’ uses a cheek swab to harvest your DNA, so you simply complete this swab, bag it up, and return it in the pre-paid envelope.
During the activation process, you will be asked to create a profile with ‘Find my Past’, and within 6-8 weeks of you returning the sample, you will be able to access your DNA results on this portal.
Your privacy is completely protected throughout the entire process, and your data is encrypted and stored securely on a database that can only be accessed by a few select people.
You will also be asked if you want to make your DNA available for potential familial matches. This will allow possible relatives who also complete the DNA kit to find you through similarities in your DNA that are identified in the analysis process.
But you also have the opportunity to withdraw your DNA sample at any time, at which point the company will destroy your DNA sample and remove you from their records.
But up until this point, the process is extremely similar to other DNA companies, so what makes ‘Find my Past’ unique? Let’s take a look.
Why choose ‘Find my Past’?
If you have completed any research into DNA kits, which is likely if you are reading this article, you will notice that up until this point everything that ‘Find my Past’ is extremely similar to other DNA testing companies.
You might be asking yourself, ‘How can Find my Past be the world’s most advanced kit when it is so similar to its competitors?’ and the answer is simple. It is all in its results, and the use of their database to aid this.
‘Find my Past’ can advertise themselves as the world’s most advanced because of the great detail that they can provide in their test results. This is partly because long before they started producing DNA kits, ‘Find My Past’ has an extremely detailed database of British and Irish family history.
As the company’s history lies in British and Irish history, ‘Find my Past’ has further cemented its position by advertising their DNA test as a product for those with British/Irish ancestry.
Due to the colonization that happened all over the world by the British empire, there are a lot of people all over the world who have their history founded on British land. As well as this, there are a lot of Americans who have known Irish ancestry, so this test will be hugely appealing to these individuals too.
As well as their targeted advertising, ‘Find my Past’ produces one of the best DNA analysis kits because of the great amount of detail that their results go into. It is the only DNA kit specifically designed for British and Irish ancestry, which has allowed the company to complete a vast amount of research into these ethnic groups.
Due to this, ‘Find my Past’ has double the amount of research about these ethnicities than other DNA testing companies. They test your ethnic history across 150 different world regions, 21 of which are located in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Your DNA is tested against the database containing all of this information to determine whether or not your ancestry lies in these areas and if it does, how much comes from each region. From this information, you are then provided an ethnicity estimate of where your family line comes from.
This is partly aided by the company’s partnership with LivingDNA. Just like ‘Find my Past’, LivingDNA also has a large focus on those with British/Irish ancestry making them the perfect partnership for a company that is tailored for those of this descent.
It is because of their partnership with LivingDNA that ‘Find my Past’ can provide so much detail in their results. LivingDNA can provide a regional breakdown of your DNA results, not only connecting you to specific constituent states in the United Kingdom but also counties and regions within these States.
This works perfectly alongside the company’s database which is targeted for British and Irish ancestry, as it allows ‘Find my Past’ to provide you with twice the detail that other companies could.
As well as their basic Ancestry DNA kit, ‘Find my Past’ also offers an upgrade should you want to find out more about your family history. Should you want to, you can purchase the Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA test which looks at both your maternal and paternal DNA to show you on a map exactly where your DNA comes from.
These maps are interactive and give you greater insight into your family history allowing you to track migration patterns in your DNA up to 80,000 years ago. While this upgrade will cost you money, the company does also offers the opportunity to access potential relatives at no extra cost.
Thanks to its combination of ancestry DNA kit and family tree database, your DNA kit can be used to match you with potential relatives who are living today. Find my Past has a highly intelligent computer system that takes a lot of the hard work out of researching your family tree.
In conjunction with providing tips on potential relatives from the past, the company will also compare your DNA against other samples that have been added to the database. Should any matches be found you will be notified, allowing you to match with potential relatives who are alive today. This can be a massive help in researching your family tree, especially if you find yourself at a dead-end with a specific piece of research.
It is also an excellent opportunity to make contact with potential families and connect through your bloodline. With so many excellent features on offer, it can be hard to see any potential faults with ‘Find my Past’.
But for this to be a balanced review, we must also look at the good and the bad, so let’s take a look at areas where ‘Find my Past’ does not perform as well.
Potential Issues with ‘Find my Past’
Up until this point, it might seem that ‘Find my Past’ is faultless, but even the ‘world’s most advanced’ DNA kit has its faults. No product is entirely perfect, but the ‘Find my Past’ ancestry DNA kit is pretty close.
The main issue that most people have with the ‘Find my Past’ DNA kit is down to its connection with LivingDNA. While the partnership hugely benefits both companies, some eagle-eyed users have noticed a discrepancy.
As well as offering their DNA kits through their own ‘Find my Past’, LivingDNA also sells their DNA kits through their website. Should you purchase your DNA kit through LivingDNA you will get the same kit as if you were to buy it through ‘Find my Past’. However, it is significantly more costly to purchase it through ‘Find my DNA’.
Some people view this as a bad thing, however, there are several benefits you get when purchasing the kit through ‘Find my Past’ that you do not when buying directly from LivingDNA. This includes access to a lot of different historical records that can begin your journey into researching your family tree.
Additionally, using ‘Find my Past’ allows you to connect with potential relatives who have also completed the DNA kit with this company. While using LivingDNA will give you access to the regional detail on your ethnicity estimate, you will not get the documents that come with it to support your research and give you names of the people behind these estimates.
Another potential issue that some people have identified with ‘Find my Past’ is that they are too heavily focused on ancestry and ethnicity. In recent years, it has become incredibly popular for DNA kits to also look at health and wellbeing as well as history.
While the majority of companies that primarily focused on ethnicity estimates have started to produce tests for health and wellbeing too, ‘Find my Past’ are yet to do this. For people who solely want to find out more information about their history, ‘Find my Past’ might still be the perfect option.
However, a lot of people now want to find out information about both their history and their future, which might make them more likely to choose a company that offers both tests rather than choosing ‘Find my Past’.
While there is no obligation for ‘Find my Past’ to start selling this type of test, not producing it is a sign that the company (which has always moved with the times) has stopped growing with societal moves.
But just because the company is not offering this test doesn’t mean that they never will, and ‘Find my Past’ could potentially start offering health and wellbeing tests in the future.
Before we wrap up this review, it only seems right that we take a quick look at the alternatives to ‘Find my Past’ which are available.
A lot of DNA testing companies started out as ethnicity estimates for ancestry but have now moved on to health and wellbeing tests. As ‘Find my DNA’ is yet to do this, it seems only fair that we look solely at the companies that only offer ethnicity estimate tests.
On this front, Find My Past’s main competitor is AncestryDNA. While there has been talk of a new test becoming available by Ancestry that looks at health, nothing is yet to come from this talk, and their main focus is still ethnicity estimates and matching relatives.
Ancestry is one of the biggest names in DNA and family research so there’s no doubt that they are one of the main competitors. As well as Ancestry, there are also companies like MyHeritage who are big competitors for ‘Find my Past’, and even their partner LivingDNA could become a major competitor due to the difference in price depending on where you purchase the test from.
However, ‘Find my Past’ offers detail that no other company can, making them one of the best DNA tests available.
In short, ‘Find my Past’ is one of the best DNA tests available on the market.
They offer details that no other company is able to, and have a rich company history that makes them an excellent option if you want to buy a DNA test kit.