The Family Tree DNA test kit consists of two cotton swabs and two vials designed to be used by one individual. Each vial contains a fluid designed to arrest bacteria growth, so you can scrape your cheek and return your kit in any type of weather (hot or cold). The freshness of your sample will remain intact for months.

Your kit also includes instructions for collecting your DNA sample (available in many languages) and a Release Form. The Release Form is your written consent that allows Family Tree DNA to share your name and email address with your genetic matches.

Return your sample kit in the self-addressed envelope provided, and send it back to Family Tree DNA.

How to take the Family Tree DNA Test

The following instructions describe how to take the Family Tree DNA test. Note that you will need to determine which swab type you have before following the DNA test kit instructions.

How to determine which type of swabs you have

Snap-off Swab

If the swabs you received have a rounded cotton end with a black line on the plastic stick, you have snap-off swabs. Please use the directions for the snap-off swabs.

Push-down Swab

If the swabs you received have a jagged cotton edge and a thin opposite end, then you have push-down swabs. Please use the directions for the push-down swabs.

How to take the DNA test (Snap-off Swabs)

To use the snap-off swabs:

  1. Wait at least one hour after eating or drinking.
  2. Wash your hands.
  3. Remove the scraper from the packaging.
  4. Insert the swab end of the scraper into your mouth. Hold the scraper at the opposite end.
  5. Rub the swab end of the scraper on the inside of your cheek. You may rub up and down, back and forth, or in circles. You may change the direction you rub at any time. Be sure that the part you are rubbing against your cheek is the swab rather than the plastic rod behind it.
  6. Rub gently for about a minute. You may rub for 30 seconds in one cheek and then 30 seconds in the other.
  7. Once the minute is up, remove the scraper from your mouth.
  8. Open one of the vials by twisting off the cap. Set it upright so that the liquid inside does not spill out.
  9. Insert the swab end of the scraper into the vial.
  10. Align the small grooved black line on the swab stick with the edge of the open vial, and snap it off at the break point leaving the swab end inside the liquid in the vial.
  11. Discard the remaining stick portion of the swab.
  12. Twist the vial’s cap shut. Please be sure that it is shut tightly so that it will not leak.
  13. Repeat steps 3 through 12 with the second swab and second vial.
  14. Place the sealed plastic bag with the vials and the release form into the included mailing envelope.
  15. Seal the envelope and send.

Notes:

  • If you wear dentures or have a condition that causes excessive dry mouth, we highly recommend you swab first thing upon waking before eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth.  Use one swab on one cheek and one swab on the other cheek with the above directions. This will increase your chances of a high-quality swab for testing.
  • The order form mentioned in the video is only provided to kits that are purchased from a genealogy event or conference and is not needed for kits purchased directly from our website.
How to take the DNA test (Push-down Swabs)

To use the push-down swabs:

  1. Wait at least one hour after eating or drinking.
  2. Wash your hands.
  3. Remove the scraper from the packaging.
  4. Insert the swab end of the scraper into your mouth. Hold the scraper at the opposite end.
  5. Rub the swab end of the scraper on the inside of your cheek. You may rub up and down, back and forth, or in circles. You may change the direction you rub at any time. Be sure that the part you are rubbing against your cheek is the swab rather than the plastic rod behind it.
  6. Rub gently for about a minute. You may rub for 30 seconds in one cheek and then 30 seconds in the other.
  7. Once the minute is up, remove the scraper from your mouth.
  8. Open one of the vials by twisting off the cap. Set it upright so that the liquid inside does not spill out.
  9. Insert the swab end of the scraper into the vial.
  10. Hold the scraper in the middle, and push down on the handle end. This will push out the swab so that it is loose in the vial.
  11. Twist the vial’s cap shut. Please be sure that it is shut tightly so that it will not leak.
  12. Discard the remaining stick portion of the swab.
  13. Repeat steps 3 through 12 with the second swab and vial.
  14. Place the sealed plastic bag with the vials and the release form into the included mailing envelope.
  15. Seal the envelope and send.

Note: If you wear dentures or have a condition that causes excessive dry mouth, we highly recommend you swab first thing upon waking before eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth.  Use one swab on one cheek and one swab on the other cheek with the above directions. This will increase your chances of a high-quality swab for testing.