Each entities lab's time are different and it also depends on what test you perform. This is due to them queuing up tests into large scale batches to use shared labs since many do not have their own lab with the exception of FamilyTreeDNA.
The general process for the tests appears to be the following which is important to understand when examining timeframes.
- Email Notify Received (sometimes several days after they have received)
- Batch Assignment (up to a week or two later after receipt)
- Processing by Lab
- Post Results to Website (usually notification does NOT occur at this point)
- Process Matches (usually in batch the next evening)
- Email Notification of Processing Complete / Match Notification
I have executed the following tests and found the following time frames to be applicable for each service.
All sites say 6-8 weeks for most tests which is an 'average'.
Time frames all from November 2014-> February 2016 and multiple tests executed for multiple individuals on all sites but 23andMe and the Genographic Project which only one individual was ordered and processed through.
- FamilyTreeDNA Autosomal : 3 - 6 weeks; depending if they have had a sale.
- Ancestry Autosomal (AncestryDNA) : 4-8 weeks
- FamilyTree DNA mtDNA Full : 3-5 weeks, sometimes faster.
- National Geographic Genographic Project : 7-10 weeks
- 23andMe.com Autosomal : 2+ months
- FamilyTree DNA Y-111 : 2-3 months (This applies to all Ys, not just Y...)
- FamilyTree DNA Big-Y : 6 weeks to 4 months
- FamilyTree DNA Specific SNP markers : 3-5 months
- YFull BigY / Full Genome BAM File Examination : 1-4 weeks for initial results
Note: Most testing companies, especially ftDNA & Ancestry, have major sales during the month of December of 10-20% off most tests. I have seen this now three years in a row result in extended wait times with these companies in the first quarter of the year as most of these kits tend to arrive in mid-to-late January which can creates a bit of a backlog until about the April timeframe where the above processing times return.
The record though was my Ancestry.com turn around of looking at my emails were only 10 days between them receiving them and having the results.
My preferred site is ftDNA so I have the most experience with it. If you ordered multiple tests at once you will receive lab results as they do them. For one individual I ordered Autosomal, mtDNA Full, and Y-111 at the end of January. By 3rd week of February I had Autosomal, I had mtDNA first week of March, and am told due to a machine breaking my Y-111 on them is delayed until the first week of April.
I would HIGHLY recommend no matter what site you order your test from that you download your full data set and save it away for either loading onto another site. Ancestry.com just changed their privacy notice on DNA again this week and there has been multiple rumors of them taking away the ability to download your raw data to make it transferable to ftDNA or GEDMatch. So as soon as you receive your results. I would download them and save the ZIP file form of it.
FamilyTreeDNA updates their ETA's at least weekly, but usually daily (M-F) and it generally is spot on. They post results in the middle of the night so when I am waiting for something I check in the morning for any changes. Their email notification system is both sometimes broken and consistently delayed (if it works at all) so if you are waiting for that login and check your results.
If you are doing multiple tests with ftDNA check the batch numbers they assign to each test as different tests are sometimes done at different times in different batches which are 'typically' done in sequential order. On this if your test has a time frame estimate but does not yet have a batch number take the estimate with a grain of salt, but once batched it is fairly reliable.
Note: FamilyTreeDNA will, if your sample was not clean / adequate / broken in transit / or otherwise basically unusable in any way, will automatically send you out a new kit to resample and it will be reflected in your order history (as well as you should receive a notification from customer service).