DNA testing is such a fascinating topic. When you ponder everything that a DNA test can discover, it is mind-blowing to think that it only started to be used in 1986. DNA testing revolutionized criminal investigations and has since helped to solve many crimes.
Not only can DNA testing be used to identify a person, but it can confirm biological relationships too. If you enjoy shows like Jerry Springer then you will know all too well how DNA testing can prove to be useful, especially in a “who's the daddy situation”.
Although DNA testing is commonly linked to paternity testing and criminal investigations, there are many other things you can discover through DNA. In recent years, Genealogical DNA testing has become a popular choice. This type of DNA test digs into your ancestral history and helps you to understand your origins.
If you have been researching ancestry DNA tests, you have likely come across many different companies. It can be a tough choice deciding which company to choose from.
In this article, we will be taking a closer look at one company, in particular, Oxford Ancestors. We will be discussing all of the different types of ancestral DNA tests they have to offer and their accuracy. We will be talking through the company history and overall credibility.
Why Should You Get An Ancestral DNA Test?
Ancestral DNA testing is something people choose to undertake out of choice rather than necessity. If you are interested in your family history, it can be a great and fun way to discover the information you may not have found out without a test.
If you are unsure of your family heritage it can help you to discover this. It may even provide you with some interesting results on where your ancestors originated.
An ancestral DNA test can also help you to find lost relatives. If you are currently trying to track your family tree and have come across some gaps, it may be a great way to fill in some of the blanks.
Ancestry DNA tests can help you to feel closer to your heritage, roots, and family members. While it is not essential, it is a great way to find out more information about your family if this is something that interests you.
Who Are Oxford Ancestors?
Oxford Ancestors are a UK based company that specializes in ancestral DNA testing in particular. They began in 2002 thanks to a professor called Bryan Sykes. Brain Sykes was researching mitochondrial DNA and his research picked up much press coverage.
He focused on the genetics of human evolution and how all Europeans were descended from one out of seven female ancestors. His book, The Seven Daughters Of Eve, which was published in 2001, spiked interest with the general public wanting to find out more about their genealogical history.
From here, Oxford Ancestors grew into a widely popular and trusted company. They began to offer different types of ancestral DNA tests as their research progressed too.
DNA Tests Available With Oxford Ancestors
There are three different types of ancestral DNA tests that Oxford Ancestors have to offer. While there are a handful of companies that offer more tests and results in comparison to Oxford Ancestors, this company focuses on maternal and paternal ancestry testing.
In this section of the article, we will be taking a closer look at the three different types of DNA testing that Oxford Ancestors have to offer.
MatriLine Classic DNA Service
This DNA test focuses on your maternal ancestry. It can be undertaken by both men and women as it is a mitochondrial test. Both men and women have this present in their DNA.
This DNA test works by showing the personal links you have with your ancestral mother clan. As touched upon above, the maternal test will trace which out of the seven different daughters of Eve your DNA originates.
When you order the MatriLine test there are many things that you will receive that will help you to find out and display your DNA results. Here is everything that is included with this DNA Test:
DNA Sampling Kit - This kit is what you will use to take your DNA sample and send it off to Oxford Ancestors.
“Seven Daughters of Eve” certificate - This certificate will display all of the information found in your DNA and will state which daughter of Eve you have originated from.
MatriMap - This map will show you the history of your maternal ancestors, where they originated from, and where they were likely to have migrated.
Explanation - You will receive a complete and detailed explanation of all of the results that you have received. These are easy to understand and follow. It will give you more of an insight into your DNA overall. The explanations will talk through all of the scientific procedures that were carried out and how they use science to analyze your DNA.
Database access - What is great about Oxford Ancestry is that they have their own DNA database. When you receive your DNA results, you also gain access to this database. If you are tracking down your family tree or want to find out more information, this is a great feature. The database allows you to search for potential relatives and is a great addition.
When you receive your results, you will have a personalized letter that gives you an explanation of your results, a “Golden Thread” certificate, and a “WorldClans” certificate.
What is great about this test is that everything that is included above with no additional charge. It is all included in the price and you do not have to worry about any extra or hidden charges.
Y-Clan Classic DNA Service
The Y-Clan Classic DNA Service is a paternal DNA test. Men can only carry out this ancestry test. This is because women do not have the Y chromosomes that men have. It is through the Y chromosomes that Oxford Ancestry can track the ancestral history of a man’s paternal clan.
The test uses the 26 Y chromosome markers. Through this, it can show you your Y chromosome signature. The results that you receive with the Paternal Ancestry test are similar to the MatriLine Classic DNA Service in some aspects but there are fundamental differences.
Here is everything that is included with the paternity test:
Sampling Kit - The sampling kit is what you will use to collect and send off your DNA sample for testing.
PatriMap - This is similar to the MatriMap. However, the PatriMap is a detailed map that presents you with the history of your paternal ancestors. It will show you where it is likely they originated and where they may have migrated to.
“Paternal Clans” Certificate - This certificate will verify the findings of where your paternal ancestors originated. This is personalized and unique to your results.
Y-Clan Signature - This DNA test will provide you with your Y-Clan signature. The results will explain in detail what your signature is and what it means. In addition to this, it will explain how it is used in genealogical research.
Report - The report that is included will explain in detail all of the scientific procedures that were used to examine your DNA. It will also explain and break down your results in detail.
Database - Similarly to the Maternity test results, you are also given access to the database where you can find those who have similar results to you.
Tribes of Britain
The final ancestry DNA test that Oxford Ancestors offer is the Tribe of Britain. Men can only carry out this test. This is the cheapest test that the company offers, but it requires you to have already taken a Y-Chromosome test.
This test is a great addition if you want to get the most out of your DNA sample. You can purchase both of these tests together.
The Tribe of Britain test will not only show you your links with your ancestral clan, but it will link you to any ancient tribes in Britain that may be linked to your ancestors.
If any of your ancestors did originate from any of these ancient tribes, this test will determine this. When you receive your results, you will have everything that is included in the paternal ancestor’s test but you will also receive the Tribes of Britain certificate.
The certificate will show you all of your results and these results will be explained in detail to you. This is a great added extra. It is worth keeping in mind that this test can only be carried out if your distant relatives did originate from Britain or Ireland.
Combination of Tests
It is worth mentioning that Oxford Ancestors offer a combined maternity and paternity test for men.
You will receive all of the results and everything that is included with both tests.
If you want to find out as much information as possible about your genetic history, this is a great option.
Taking The Swab Sample
When you order your DNA test, it will arrive pretty quickly. Everything that you will need to collect your DNA sample is included in the box. The sampling kit arrives in a high-quality box to help prevent it from being damaged during transport.
As it is nicely presented, it makes a great gift for someone interested in finding out their ancestral history.
When you receive your testing kit, it contains all of the instructions you need to take the mouth swab sample correctly. The swab is a little brush that you will need to use to swab inside your mouth.
Sending Off The Swab SampleAlthough these three tests are slightly different, they are all taken and sent off in the same way. Once you have collected your sample you need to send it to the lab via post. The postage costs are included in the price of your test.
Unlike with some other DNA testing companies, you do not receive confirmation that your DNA sample safely reached the laboratory.
Result Waiting Period
The waiting period for all three of these results is around six weeks. This tends to be the maximum length of time you will be waiting for the results. They can arrive sooner than this.
The waiting period allows time for your DNA to be tested, to collect all of your results, and for it to be mailed out to you. The results arrive efficiently and Oxford Ancestors provide a good service overall.
When you take a DNA test, the accuracy of your results is always important to consider. While ancestral DNA tests are fairly accurate on the whole, they are never 100% accurate. As every different company uses a different database, your results may vary from company to company.
Oxford Ancestors DNA tests are as accurate as possible and provide you with as much information about the DNA that they have available. They are completely open and honest in regards to the limitations that testing Y chromosome mutations can have.
Benefits of Oxford Ancestors
There are many benefits to choosing Oxford Ancestors in particular. Unlike many other DNA testing companies, they focus specifically on ancestral DNA tests.
Given this, they are more niche and experts within their field. They have a great team of experts and were founded by Professor Bryan Sykes who is a well-known and respected professor that focuses on genetics.
In addition to this, you receive a lot of results and explanations with your tests. While some companies only send a certificate and a little bit of information, you receive multiple certificates with Oxford Ancestors.
They also explain all of the results in detail and suggest why there are limitations to some forms of ancestral testing.
Ease Of Use
Overall, Oxford Ancestors makes the process very easy. The testing kit arrives promptly after around 5 days after purchasing. Everything is included and it is easy to send off.
The results arrive within the time frame and are detailed and easy to follow and understand. The company explains everything in detail and does not overcomplicate things.
One thing that is worth noting is that the Oxford Ancestors website does not go into a lot of detail about what is included in the test results pack on their shop section. While it does give you an overview of what you will receive it does not explain in detail what each certificate means.
If you want to find out what all of the results you will receive mean beforehand, we would recommend checking out their frequently asked questions and glossary section. This covers what each feature means in more detail.
Overall the Oxford Ancestors DNA tests are reasonably priced.
While they are not the cheapest on the market, they are also not the most expensive.
When you take a look at all of the information you receive in your results kit, the quality does reflect the price.
Data Protection And Confidentiality
As your DNA is personal, Oxford Ancestors allows you to request to remove your data from their databases if you would prefer this. This is great because it gives you complete control over your data and who has access to it.
Your results are entirely confidential and Oxford Ancestors will not share them with anyone else. They do carry out anonymous research for them to further their research, so if this is something that you are uncomfortable with, it is worth bearing in mind.
To summarise, we think that Oxford Ancestors are a great company overall. They provide extremely detailed results and are good value for money. As they focus specifically on ancestral testing they provide a wide variety of results.
It is worth noting that they are a UK based company so the shipping costs may be a little higher to the US. The personalization of the results you receive is great and they pride themselves on their confidentiality.
Overall, they are a great choice if you are looking to find out more information about your history and past. Access to the database is a great additional feature too.
If you are interested in purchasing any of these three DNA tests, you can find out more information on the Oxford Ancestors website here.