Category Archives: Deals

$50 off 23andMe DNA Testing

I haven’t yet discussed Autosomal DNA testing in depth on this site (so much to do, so little time) but for those who are interested in DNA testing for genealogy AND for health reasons, 23andMe is a good choice. I won’t go into all the things you should do to evaluate the companies that provide these services, but if you’ve determined on your own that you’re interested in 23andMe, now might be a good time to go for it. 23andMe reduced their starting cost to $99 some time back (with a commitment of one year of subscription service at $9/month). You can get a no-commitment sign-up for $399.

Believe it or not, there are actually genealogical hints that can be derived from the heath side of 23andMe’s offering. Carrier status of diseases, or specific shared traits, can help group people together or show that someone’s origin isn’t exactly what they thought. A member of our local genealogical society who is Ashkenazi, who had suspected possible Sephardi roots, found on 23andMe that he was a carrier for Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF), which among Jewish people is almost exclusively in the Sephardi population (like the many other diseases which are unfortunately exclusive among Ashkenazi Jews). That doesn’t confirm a Sephardi link, but it is a good indicator that he may be on the right track.

Anyways, why do I bring all this up now? Simply because 23andMe is offering a $50 coupon this week (expires August 9), bringing the start-up cost to $49 (plus $9/mo or $118 in the first year for subscription). Even with the subscription cost, that’s very inexpensive compared to what these tests have cost in the past.

So here’s the coupon:

$50 Off
Coupon code: BG6HQY
Share with your friends!
(Valid for new customers only) 

In order to use the coupon, just add an order to the shopping cart on their site, and then add the above discount code to the order.

If you do order a kit, post in the comments how the process goes in ordering, using the kit, and when you get your results.

If you’re already using 23andMe, you can’t use the coupon, but feel free to comment on your experiences so others can learn about it.

FamilyTree DNA Upgrade Sale (June 15-22)

For those who have already purchased tests from FamilyTree DNA, they are offering a sale for the next week when ordering upgrades to those tests. For example, if you had a 12-marker Y-DNA test, you can receive a discount for ordering the upgrade to 25, 37, or 67 markers. No discount on the 111-marker test it seems, but I guess that’s to be expected since it is so new. The biggest discount is on the Family Finder test, which is $199 instead of the normal $289.

The upgrades that are discounted include:

Family Finder Was $289 Now $199
Y-DNA 12 to 25 Was $49 Now $35
Y-DNA 12 to 37 Was $99 Now $69
Y-DNA 12 to 67 Was $189 Now $148
Y-DNA 25 to 37 Was $49 Now $35
Y-DNA 25 to 67 Was $148 Now $114
Y-DNA 37 to 67 Was $99 Now $79
mt to FMS Was $269 Now $229
mtPlus to FMS Was $239 Now $199

The sale runs from June 15 through June 22. To get these prices, you must log in to FamilyTree DNA using your kit number and password, and then click on the ‘Special Offers’ link on the left-hand navigation bar.

If you’re new to genetic genealogy and want to get a discount for a new test, I suggest ‘Liking’ FamilyTree DNA on Facebook. They offered one-day discounts when they reached 5,000 and 10,000 followers, and have promised to do the same when they reach 15,000 followers. As I write this they’re currently at 12,208 people who like their page, so it will probably be sometime in the next month or two that they will reach 15,000. If you use Facebook, then Like FamilyTree DNA and watch the Like count so you will know when they announce their sale (which will be on their Facebook page).

Hebrew Ethical Wills from JPS 70% off – for three days

I have been meaning to write something about the topic of Ethical Wills, a very fascinating topic in my opinion. Ethical Wills have a long tradition in the Jewish community, and essentially outline one’s moral and ethic code for your children and other descendants (separate from a monetary will). The first ethical will might, ironically, be the same chapter in Genesis that I described in my last article where Jacob was blessing his sons and compared some of them to various animals. Those comparisons were in the context of what today we would probably consider an ethical will (although I don’t suggest comparing your children to animals in your will).

In any case, I haven’t had time to write about this topic yet, but I just saw that JPS is having an overstock sale for the next three days, and that their important work Hebrew Ethical Wills is one of the books that is on sale for 70% off. That puts the cost at $10.50 for a new copy from the publisher. I think that’s a pretty good deal for an important work on this topic. I’ve embedded the discount code into the link so it should get added automatically, but if for some reason it doesn’t show up the code is OS2011 and just add it once you add the book to your shopping cart. If you want to see the other books on sale, go to the sale page. Note that the sale ends in three days on May 20, 2011. Presumably that’s the end of the day Eastern time in the US, since JPS is based in Philadelphia, PA. The book itself contains excerpts of various forms of ethical wills that date back almost a millennium, including texts by Nachmanides (Ramban), Maimonides (Rambam) and the Vilna Gaon, but also lesser-known individuals as well. It is certainly interesting that the moral code shown in these documents over hundreds of years is essentially very similar, as they are derived from the same religious and historical Jewish sources. If one wanted to show that religion can dictate morality, then these documents would certainly make a very good case-study.

I’ll warn you that the book is a facsimile edition of a book originally published in 1926. As such is it not the easiest book to read. A new introduction was written in 1976, and some new material including excerpts of Gluckl of Hameln were added in 2006 to add a female perspective to what is otherwise all writings by male authors. If you follow the link to the book on Amazon (in a box to the left) you can use their ‘Look Inside’ feature to see what the book looks like, or if you prefer there is a Google Preview of the book as well on the JPS page on the book. Of course, if you’re reading this post after May 20, 2011, then the Amazon link is probably your best bet to find a deal on the book.

[The sale is now over, but you can get it from JPS or from Amazon if you’re interested in reading it.] Holocaust Records Free for May

Continuing the Holocaust records theme from yesterday, I noticed that has announced that for the month of May they will be making their entire Holocaust Collection available for free. Footnote, for those who don’t know, has a partnership with the US National Archives where they make many of the archival records from the National Archives available online. As I’ve mentioned on the Naturalizations page, this includes holding like Naturalization papers, but also records from the Civil War, US Census, and even records captured by the US military during WWII relevant to the Holocaust.

The Holocaust Collection includes records related to assets looted by the Nazis, German war crime records, pre-trial Nuremberg interrogation transcripts, captured German records including from concentration camps, and more.

While not all of these records are relevant to genealogy, many are, especially the registers from various concentration camps. As the records are free for the rest of May, it’s  good way to take a loot at these incredible historical documents if you’re not a subscriber.

UPDATE: If you are coming to this post from a search or some other way, note that is now and has changing its focus to military records only. While the older records are still on the site, they will not be expanding their non-military collections.

Thinking about trying genetic genealogy?

In general don’t do news and announcements on this blog, but for those who have been considering trying out genetic genealogy, I wanted to point out that FamilyTree DNA is running a day and a half sale on many of their tests today through tomorrow. If you’re been on the borderline about taking one of their tests, this might be a good time to try one out. The sale is in honor of National DNA Day and the simultaneous achievement of FamilyTree DNA reaching 10,000 followers on their Facebook page. The sale is not on their website, but if you go to order on their website, use the coupon code DNADAY2011 to get the discounts. Full details in their announcement below.

Some examples of the deals are:

The Y-DNA37 test is $129 instead of the normal $169.
Family Finder is $199 instead of $289.
Family Finder + Y-DNA12 is $258 instead of $398.
Their super-bundle of Y-DNA67, Full mtDNA and FamilyFinder is $657 instead of $837.

So if you’re new to genetic genealogy, what do you order?

Let me give a very brief explanation of the different kinds of tests. In the future hopefully I’ll write a more detailed explanation (but not in time for this deal).

Y-DNA is the DNA passed down from father to son. It does not change very often so if you are male, your Y-DNA should be exactly the same as any brothers you have, exactly the same as your father and grandfather, etc. Since surnames generally follow this same pattern, Y-DNA tests that match others with the same surname are usually a good indication that there is a connection to you. Over generations, the Y-DNA does get mutations, and those mutations are what allow one to compare DNA with others and try to find matches. FamilyTree DNA offer Y-DNA12, Y-DNA25, Y-DNA37 and Y-DNA67 tests, and recently introduced a Y-DNA111 test. The different numbers correspond to the number of markers each test checks. The more markers checked, the more accurate the test, which in general means that when you find matches with more markers, the person is a closer relation to you. Don’t even bother with Y-DNA less than 37 markers if you plan on using it for genealogy research. The reason this is the case is that Y-DNA12, for example, could match people that that only share an ancestor over a thousand years ago. That’s not very useful. Personally I suggest the Y-DNA67 test for genealogy, although that test is not part of this deal. Instead, you can order the Y-DNA37 test and upgrade it later. One thing to point out here, only men can take the Y-DNA tests. Women do not inherit any Y-DNA.

myDNA is passed down from mother to child. Both boys and girls inherit mtDNA from their mother, but only girls will then pass it on to her children. As such, mtDNA test are similar to Y-DNA, but track the maternal line (mother to mother to mother…) instead of the paternal line. Since surnames don’t generally follow the mother, this is a much harder line to track. Also, mtDNA does not mutate as often as Y-DNA, which means the connections you find are much more likely to be further back in time. One thing mtDNA can do is help you confirm a theory of relation. For example, if you find someone in your research that you think is descendent from the sister of your great-great-grandmother, and you’re both descendant from the female lines, then you can take this test and if there’s a match it will be strong evidence that you were right. In general, mtDNA is not considered a very useful test for genealogy though. Both men and women can take mtDNA tests.

Family Finder is what they call an Autosomal DNA test. Basically, all humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, 22 autosomal chromosome pairs and the pair of sex chromosomes (two X-chromosomes for a girl and an X and a Y chromosome for a boy). That, by the way, is why women cannot take the Y-DNA test, since they inherited X-chromosomes from each parent and no Y-chromosome. The 22 autosomol chromosome pairs each get combined with part from your mother and part from your father. You thus have about half of your DNA from your mother and half from your father. If you have siblings they also have about half from each parent, but not the same half (unless you’re twins). In each generation you continue to mix autosomal DNA, so you would have about a quarter of the autosomol DNA of each of your grandparents. What Family Finder does is look for chunks of DNA that match with other people in their databases, and if you have a certain percentage of DNA which is the same, Family Finder makes a prediction based on how much autosomal DNA you share to determine how close a relative you could be. This is a relatively new test and is far from perfect, but it does open up the possibility of finding relatives not in your direct paternal or maternal line. It is useful for finding people only within the last 5 generations or so, since beyond that there is not enough shared DNA. Both men and women can take the Family Finder test.

So what should you order if you’re interested in trying it out?

For men, I would suggest the Y-DNA37 test. They don’t offer the Y-DNA67 test in this deal, but they do offer the 37-to-67 upgrade for $79. I’m not sure if you can order the upgrade at the same time as the 37 test, so you might need to do an upgrade later (without the discount). If you want to use this as a serious tool for genealogy, you will want at some point to upgrade to the Y-DNA67 test. I don’t think there’s a enough information out there yet to determine if the Y-DNA111 test is worth it yet, so I’d probably hold off on that unless you already did a Y-DNA67 test and have many close matches that you want to refine.

Note that if you’re a woman and you want to test your paternal line, you can have another male relative (your father, you brother, your father’s brother, your father’s brother’s son, etc.) take a Y-DNA test instead.

For both men and women, I recommend the Family Finder test. It’s still a work-in-progress but it allows you to find people closely related to you from all of your lines, not just one line up through your mother or father.

I don’t think the mtDNA is very relevant for genealogy, unless you want to use it to confirm a specific theory that you and another person are descended from the same woman.

That’s all. See the full deal in the announcement from FamilyTree DNA below:

DNA Day is April 15th! Starting at 12:00 PM on April 14th, join the celebration!

New customers:
Y-DNA12…… $59
Y-DNA37…… $129
mtDNA……… $59
Family Finder… $199
Family Finder + Y-DNA12… $258
Family Finder + mtDNA…… $258
Family Finder + mtFullSequence + Y-DNA67 … $657

Y-DNA12 add-on … $59
Y-DNA12 to 37…… $69
Y-DNA37 to 67…… $79
Y-DNA12 to 67…… $148
mtDNA add-on …… $59
mtFull Sequence upgrade … $199
Family Finder add-on … $199

To take advantage of these promotional prices use the coupon code: DNADAY2011

The coupon code will expire on Friday at midnight (CT).

Please note, the Y-DNA67 to 111 upgrade will remain at the introductory rate of $101 (no coupon necessary) until the end of this promotion. The price will be $129 going forward.

Payment must be received at the time of the order. Valid only on products listed. No substitutions. This promotion was announced in advance, therefore no adjustments will be made on previous purchases. Offer valid from 12:00 PM CT on Thursday, April 14, until 11:59 PM CT on April 15, 2011.

This promotion is not valid in combination with any other promotions. Family Tree DNA reserves the right to cancel any order due to unauthorized or ineligible use of discounts and to modify or cancel these promotional discounts due to system error or unforeseen problems. Subject to change without notice.