Your DNA kit includes instructions for collecting your DNA sample (available in many languages) and a DNA Processing Consent Form. The consent form is your written consent to allow FamilyTreeDNA to process your DNA sample.

After you have collected your sample, make sure to place the vials and your signed consent form in the self-addressed envelope that came with your kit, and send it back to FamilyTreeDNA.

Important: 

  • 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, smoking, chewing/dipping tobacco, inserting your dentures, or brushing your teeth.
  • For all other test takers, we highly recommend you swab first thing upon waking before eating, drinking, smoking, chewing/dipping tobacco, inserting your dentures, or brushing your teeth.
  • If you cannot take your test first thing upon waking, do not eat, drink, smoke, chew/dip tobacco, or brush your teeth for at least one hour before taking the test.

This will increase your chances of a high-quality swab for testing.

How to take the FamilyTreeDNA Test

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

Snap-Off Swab Kit

If the kit you received contains two small vials and two swabs that have a rounded cotton end with a black line on the plastic stick, you have the snap-off swab kit. Please use the directions for the snap-off swabs.

Push-Down Swab Kit

If the kit you received contains two small vials and two swabs that have a jagged cotton edge and a thin opposite end, then you have the push-down swab kit. Please use the directions for the push-down swab kit.

Dry Swab Kit

If the kit you received contains two swabs only (and no vials), then you have the dry swab kit. Please use the directions for the dry swab kit.

The FamilyTreeDNA snap-off swab 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.

To use the snap-off swab kit:

Step 1: Wait at least one hour after eating or drinking.

Step 2: Wash your hands.

Step 3: Remove the scraper from the packaging.

Step 4: Insert the swab end of the scraper into your mouth. Hold the scraper at the opposite end.

Step 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.

Step 6: Rub gently for about a minute. You may rub for 30 seconds in one cheek and then 30 seconds in the other.

Step 7: Once the minute is up, remove the scraper from your mouth.

Step 8: Open one of the vials by twisting off the cap. Set it upright so that the liquid inside does not spill out.

Step 9: Insert the swab end of the scraper into the vial.

Step 10: Align the small grooved black line on the swab stick with the edge of the open vial, and snap it off at the breakpoint leaving the swab end inside the liquid in the vial.

Step 11: Discard the remaining stick portion of the swab.

Step 12: Twist the vial’s cap shut. Please be sure that it is shut tightly so that it will not leak.

Step 13: Repeat steps 3 through 12 with the second swab and second vial.

Step 14: Place the sealed plastic bag with the vials and the signed consent form into the included mailing envelope.

Step 15: Seal the envelope and send.

*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.

The FamilyTreeDNA push-down swab 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.

To use the push-down swab kit:

Step 1: Wait at least one hour after eating or drinking.

Step 2: Wash your hands.

Step 3: Remove the scraper from the packaging.

Step 4: Insert the swab end of the scraper into your mouth. Hold the scraper at the opposite end.

Step 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.

Step 6: Rub gently for about a minute. You may rub for 30 seconds in one cheek and then 30 seconds in the other.

Step 7: Once the minute is up, remove the scraper from your mouth.

Step 8: Open one of the vials by twisting off the cap. Set it upright so that the liquid inside does not spill out.

Step 9: Insert the swab end of the scraper into the vial.

Step 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.

Step 11: Twist the vial’s cap shut. Please be sure that it is shut tightly so that it will not leak.

Step 12: Discard the remaining stick portion of the swab.

Step 13: Repeat steps 3 through 12 with the second swab and vial.

Step 14: Place the sealed plastic bag with the vials and the signed consent form into the included mailing envelope.

Step 15: Seal the envelope and send.

The FamilyTreeDNA dry swab test kit consists of two cotton swabs. After taking your samples, make sure to air-dry your swabs for at least 30 minutes so that your sample stays intact on the swab.

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.

To use the dry swab kit:

Step 1: Wait at least one hour after eating or drinking.

Step 2: Wash your hands.

Step 3: On a clean surface, remove one swab from its pouch, and place the pouch to the side for future use.

Step 4: Insert the swab into your mouth, and firmly scrape the inside of your cheek while rotating the swab for 45 seconds.

Step 5: Place the swab on top of a clean paper towel or paper surface and allow it to air-dry for at least 30 minutes. For best results, samples must be completely dry prior to placing them back into their pouches.

Step 6: On the opposite cheek, repeat steps one and two using the second swab. Do not allow the two swabs to touch one another.

Step 7: Once the samples are dry, take each swab and place them back into their individual pouches. Then seal each pouch.

Step 8: Place the sealed pouches and the signed green consent form into the return envelope provided.

Step 9: Seal the envelope and send.