I will try to keep this short and basic. If you can afford it, I would recommend a Y-DNA 67 marker test and a Family Finder from Family TreeDNA (http://www.familytreedna.com). They usually have a holiday sale. (Ed. – I think it is going on now.)
For researching the Neve surname definitely the Y-DNA test. This is the test where you can join the surname group to find the origins of your surname. This is the test that I would be interested in seeing your results.
If you are interested in genetic genealogy in general and want to research your entire family ancestry, then I would add the Family Finder test.
There are 3 basic tests for genetic genealogy.
1. Y-DNA is the Paternal lineage or surname line. The Y chromosome is passed down from father to son unchanged with each generation. Every few generation there may be a mutation that occurs in one of the segments. This is how they track the “relatedness” of males with similar markers.
The Y-DNA test is the test you want to do if you want to find out about your surname line. Not to confuse things further but there are additional tests inside the Y-DNA that can narrow your surname group into more precise haplogroups. For instance I have done extensive tests that show my Y chromosome type is most common in the Belguim region. This makes me think that my Neves surname originated from the surname Neve which is common in that area.
There are several Y-DNA tests available depending on how many markers you want tested. 67 is the minimum suggested markers if you are interested in finding out more about your surname. 111 markers is the most you can test at this time. Anything under 37 is a waste of time unless you are only interested in finding out what your Haplogroup is.
Kaarin’s father tested 67 and I have tested 111. We are 3rd cousins and we match 66/67 markers. That tells us that in the last 3 generations there has been only one mutation since our common ancestor.
The more markers you match to someone the closer your relation. If you were to test 67 markers and we matched 60/67 that would tell us that we definitely have a common paternal ancestor. This is just a guess but within 20 generations for example.
2. atDNA (Autosomal DNA) or Family Finder as Family Tree DNA calls it, is all of the combined DNA from all of your ancestors. This is the test you want to do if you are interested in finding others who share common ancestors with you. By matching others you can find who your common ancestor is. This confirms that that particular ancestor is correct when you do not have any paper trail.
This is helpful when you do not know much about your family tree and want to build it by discovering cousins who can contribute to your tree through matching.
In Kaarin and my own case, this will help us find links to our unknown great grandfathers family by matching others who descend from our great grandfathers ancestors.
3. mtDNA (Mitochondrial DNA) is the Maternal lineage. Mitochondrial DNA is passed from mother to child but only females pass it on to their children. This is the best way to trace your maternal lineage. Your mtDNA is the same as your mother’s mother’s mother etc…
The mutation rate in mtDNA is low so it is almost impossible to find relatives this way. You may match someone exactly from 1,000 years ago. This test is basically a way of finding your maternal haplogroup.