The first step would be to decide exactly what it is that you would like to learn from your genes. The test itself is a once-off cheek swab, not different to what one sees in the CSI type programmes. FTDNA mails you the kit containing two tubes for two swabs on consecutive mornings and you mail it back. The sample will also be kept on record and used for any future tests or upgrades without the need for submitting a new one.
Anyway, let me give a brief explanation of how I personally made use of this exciting new field and what I have gained from it. 
There are basically three types of DNA tests:

Y-DNA – Y-DNA is passed on from father to son along a direct paternal line and it is therefore possible to track the paternal surname from one generation to the next.  For this reason, only men are eligible for this test.

mtDNA – All children inherit mtDNA from their mothers and since mtDNA traces generation after generation of one's direct maternal  ancestors, both sexes are equally able to determine the origin of their maternal line.

Autosomal DNA – this ‘Family Finder' test literally hundreds of thousands of possible SNPs for precise DNA correlations/matches with others across all of one's genetic lines.  This test is therefore also available to both sexes.

My Y-DNA is of the I2b1 Haplotype that has its epicentre in North Western Europe – in the approximate area of modern Friesland, Denmark and Lower Saxony. This Haplogroup is associated with the Vikings and was found all over their sphere of influence from the British Isles to Normandy and even Russia. (See for more information on these ancient roots) 
Since only one STRAUSS came out to South Africa during the period of Dutch rule, one would naturally deduce that all bearers of this surname would fall into the same I2 haplotype. But alas, of the six tests that have already been done, three are indeed 12b1, but the other three are R1b1a2 - the most common Western European Haplogroup. (See for more information on the ancient roots of this group) 
Thus far, us three "I2" men descend from the Progenitor's (Stamvader's) younger son, while the "R1" subjects descend from the older one. Further tests are now needed to try and determine what Georg Friedrich STRAUSS (1697 – 1749)'s actual Haplotype was. My Y-DNA Strauss Project can be viewed at
In addition I have also launched a Project for all the other Progenitor's en ancestress and the results of the current participants could be seen here and here Women who would like to explore their ancient paternal origins would have to recruit a direct male line relative, such as father, brother, cousin or nephew as they do not carry the Y-chromosome themselves.
A Basic 12 marker Y-DNA test could be ordered for $59, but FTDNA is currently running a special on some of their more comprehensive tests with the 37 and 67 marker tests offered at around 25% less. (See 

I can trace my direct female line (mother's mother's mother, etc.) back to a lady named Geertruij WILLEMSZ born in 1651 in Zaandam, NL and my mtDNA Haplogroup (H) is consistent with that research supports this view as it is also the most common European mtDNA Haplogroup. According to ‘The Seven Daughters of Eve' this group is known as ‘Helena'. 
In die Seven Daughters of Eve this group is named Helena. (See and The Cape Dutch DNA Project has expanded to now also display the mtDNA results of its members' ancestresses and they could be perused here: :
A Basic mtDNS test could be ordered for $69, but currently FTDNA is also offering the mtFull Sequence test at a $30 discount for $169. (See

Autosomal DNA
Since Autosomal DNA is inherited from both parent's, it provides links to all our ancestors. However great or small a specific relationship may be depends entirely on the "luck of the draw". FTDNA's Family Finder test analyses approximately 700 000 SNPs across 22 chromosomes and therefore provides a very convenient way of confirming (or improving ;-) on one's documented genealogy.
Recently, for example, I traced a RADEMEYER great, great grandnephew (once removed) to the USA.  Both of our branches originally came from the Langkloof in the Eastern Cape, but whereas my branch migrated to the Molteno area, his went to Rhodesia before emigrating to the USA via England.

Links with History
My RADEMEYER match and I are both descended from Cornelis RADEMEYER (1766-1843) and it is truly incredible that he and I should share a substantial chunk of our 17th Chromosome which has been passed down to us from a man who lived so long ago.  Coincidentally, Cornelis was the father of Commandant Jacobus Ignatius RADEMEYER, the hero of Trompetter's Poort. It is strange to think that the DNA coursing through my veins is also the same DNA that coursed through his veins when he led his troops on 9 March 1835 in a heroic effort to survive the onslaught of a numerically superior Xhosa fighting force.

Medical Information
Although FTDNA does not undertake medical analysis per se, the company nevertheless grants one free access to the raw data, which enables you to do your own analysis by way of free third party applications such as Promethease.
Out of literally hundreds of interesting facts, I discovered, inter alia, that I have genes associated with the following:
        An exceptionally long life expectancy
        Reduced risk for breast cancer
        Reduced risk for Alzheimers
        Increased risk for nicotine addiction
        Reduced risk for cocaine addiction
        Increased risk for severe hangovers
        Likelihood of having a sallow European complexion  (I have)
        The Warrior Gene (which helps one better anticipate, analyse and deal with risky        situations)
        An ample helping of Neanderthal SNPs!

Analysis of Origins

Various analyses could be done to quantify admixture, but the application probably most appropriate for New World people with diverse ethnic origins, is Dodecad's World9. According to their free analysis program, my genetic origins are as follows:



Northern Europe


Southern Europe


Eastern Europe, Caucus, Gedrosia




Southern Asia


Eastern Asia






Interestingly, when I break down my African component further, I find I have the following sub-components:  Central African Pygmy, Southern African Khoisan and East African Bantu!
The autosomal atDNS tests, or Familiy Finder as FTDNA calls them, are normally $99, but as part of the Holiday Season discounts they are currently available at the discounted amount of $89. (
For anybody interested in all three types, combinations are available that would lead to even bigger discounts. As an ideal minimum I would recommend a 37 marker Y-DNA test, mtDNAPlus and FamilyFinder, but any test one does would be a good start and one could always upgrade later without submitting new DNA samples
Tests should be ordered from here to qualify for the Project discounts.

Should you have any further questions relating to this exciting new field, please do not hesitate to ask:
Jaco Strauss Hierdie e-posadres word van Spambotte beskerm. Jy moet JavaScript ontsper om dit te lees.