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Reynolds Surname DNA Project
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Testing Questions:

Questions and Answers:

Who can be tested in the Reynolds Surname DNA Project?

You must be a male who descends (or who is thought to descend) from a Reynolds-surnamed male ancestor in an unbroken male-to-male line. This qualification means that in most cases you will carry the "Reynolds" surname or a variant like "Runnells." But please be assured that adoptees and other "biological Reynolds" are just as welcome. This limitation to Reynolds males is necessary because the Y-Chromosome DNA test is the only known way to track a surname that passes down from father to son. The result comes about not only because women don't carry the Y chromosome, but also because the Y chromosome is passed from father to son with very little change over hundreds -- even thousands -- of years.

Who does the Actual Testing?

Family Tree DNA, a firm in Houston TX, has been the contractor for about 95% of our tests. They make all arrangements for actual lab work, most of which is done in-house at Houston, with other tests done at the University of Arizona. We do accept test results from other labs and other firms, but we strongly advise testing via FTDNA, due not only to their unparalleled variety of tests and their excellent customer service, but also because they have by far the largest customer database in the genealogy-DNA business. The large size of this database greatly increases the probability that you'll find matches if you test via FTDNA rather than via the other outfits.

(We aren't aware that other firms have released info on the sizes of their customer databases. But FTDNA now has a database of more than 300,000 tests of the sort used by the Reynolds Surname DNA Study.)

Another reason for testing via FTDNA is this:

Even though some of the competing labs are entirely reliable in a scientific sense, they all test slightly different "menus" of DNA markers, meaning that it's difficult for our project to compare and incorporate some of their results. On the other hand, when you test via FTDNA, your results will quickly and easily compared, marker by marker, not only with the 200+ men in the Reynolds Surname DNA Study, but also with the hundreds of thousands of men in the FTDNA customer database who aren't members of the Reynolds Surname DNA Project.

The following link will take you to the FTDNA home page:


This site has detailed information on the uses of DNA for genealogy. In particular, you will find the title "Tutorial" on the right side of the page, below the search blocks. This link will lead you to explanations of the testing process, test kit contents and instructions, charts, and a host of other information. This FTDNA information link it is an outstanding resource, and we recommend it to you. Please note, however, that if you want to be part of the Reynolds Surname DNA Project, you should NOT order your kit directly from FTDNA. We say this because you won't get our special discount prices unless you order through the project.

The Reynolds project has a few members who have tested via other labs. So if you've tested somewhere other than FTDNA, please contact us for instructions on joining. Just email ReynoldsDNA@reynoldsfamily.org.

What does it cost to be tested?

Currently the lowest cost "basic test" for project members is the 12-Marker Y-chromosome test at $54.00. But we strongly recommend that most participants order the 37-marker test, which costs $154.00. Please be sure to keep in mind that these prices are discounted for the Reynolds Surname DNA Project. The kit must be ordered through a project like ours to get the discount. Individuals who order directly from FTDNA will pay higher prices. Also, kits sent outside the USA will incur an additional mailing charge of USD 2.00.

What is in the test Kit?

FTDNA will send a kit with contains two swabs, two vials containing a DNA preservative, instructions, and a release form to be signed. The following link has a picture of the kit contents and instructions:


How do I Order a Test Kit?

First, please remember that all test participants must be males who descend (or are thought to descend) from a Reynolds-surnamed male ancestor via an unbroken male-to-male line.

Second, just send an email with the information described below to: ReynoldsDNA@reynoldsfamily.org

Information Needed for an Order:

To implement an order, we need the male test participant's full name including middle name, shipping address, billing address (if different from shipping shipping address) and a contact E-mail address. A contact phone number is optional.

We'd also appreciate a bit of your basic genealogical information in the male-to-male line, most importantly the birth and death residences/dates of your earliest known Reynolds male ancestor. But if you don't have some of this information, please just send what you can. And you may send information on additional generations if you wish.

What if I have already tested with a company other than FTDNA? May I still join the project?

You may join to us if you've ALREADY tested with some lab or company other than our regular contractor, Family Tree DNA. Among our 200+ members, a few men fall into that category. But if you haven't yet had a DNA test, we recommend most strongly that you test only with FTDNA, simply in order to have results fully compatible with the overwhelming majority of Reynolds-surnamed men who have taken genealogical DNA tests.

Whom should I contact about the Reynolds DNA Study?

Volunteer Administrator: Reynolds Family Association