Updated: Nov 8, 2019
Confession: I never really know what to get my father for a present. Over the years I've tried ties, books, groupons, etc., but I have a difficult time hitting it out of the park. This year, I wanted to get him something meaningful that didn't involve photos of my children.
For awhile, I've considered purchasing a Y-DNA test through Family Tree DNA (FTDNA), the only company of the big 4 (the other 3 being AncestryDNA, 23andme, MyHeritage) that offers it. I get questions about the Y chromosome all the time, so it's definitely worth explaining.
In short, X and Y are the two sex chromosomes. Women have two X chromosomes and men have XY. Men determine the sex at conception, as they either pass on their X chromosome from their mother or their Y chromosome from their father. Therefore, only males have a Y chromosome, which is passed down from father to father for generations. A Y-DNA test can only be used to learn more about the men in the family.
I waited so long because I wanted to exhaust searching for my father's family through talking to relatives, building trees, sifting through records, and taking autosomal DNA tests. Y-DNA tests are also pricier than autosomal tests and don't focus on the father's maternal line, so they aren't the first place to turn in researching your family through genetic genealogy.
With that said, having reached a brick wall in finding my father's grandfather's line, I knew it was time to take the Y-DNA leap and order a test for my dad. Not only that, Father's Day means Y-DNA discounts! So, I just purchased the Y-37 DNA test, which measures 37 short tandem repeats (STRs) on the Y Chromosome. Although this may sound confusing, the test is what FTDNA calls "a good start" to analyze the Y Chromosome. If the test yields some potential solid hits, we can then upgrade to more thorough versions: Y-67, Y-111, Big Y-500, respectively. In particular, Y-67 allows you to participate in various groups at FTDNA, so we will probably upgrade sooner rather than later.
Now, I have both a meaningful gift for Father's Day and a new tool to help me continue researching our family. A win-win!
If you're interested in purchasing an FTDNA test, click on the banner below:
Disclaimer: This is an affiliate link, which pays me a commission if you make an FTDNA purchase. The cost is the same for you.