AncestryDNA Review

UPDATED May. 2020
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This AncestryDNA review will serve as a well-rounded introductory course for the brand pertaining to the largest genealogy company in the whole world. We’re talking about Ancestry.com LLC, a private Internet company located in Lehi, Utah. The said enterprise was founded in 1983 and has since launched numerous brands and products. Apart from AncestryDNA, it incorporates Ancestry, AncestryHealth, Archives.com, AncestryProGenealogists, Find a Grave, Family Tree Maker, Rootsweb, Newspapers.com, and Fold3.

From June 2014 onwards, it has provided access to 20+ billion historical records with 2+ million paying subscribers. The users have generated over 700 million names in family trees, with 200 million scanned documents, written stories, and photographs.

Under its subsidiaries, it operates foreign websites, services, and region-specific records in their own languages. These include Canada, Australia, China, the UK, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, and others. In this AncestryDNA review, we will focus on Ancestry’s most famous service, so keep reading to discover more about AncestryDNA. 

AncestryDNA Homepage

How AncestryDNA Works

With AncestryDNA, performing a DNA test is pretty effortless and straightforward. The whole procedure includes just 5 simple steps:

  • Online order – This is done directly through the AncestryDNA website.
  • Sample collection – After you place your order, the test kit should arrive in a couple of business days. Once you have it, just fill the saliva collection tube. Filling the top line of the tube with saliva might prove challenging. It’s completely natural if it takes you a couple of minutes to do it. There’s no need to worry about your sample not arriving at the lab in an optimal condition, as the tube cap features a chemical solution for keeping your sample fresh and bacteria-free.
  • Returning the test kit – Once your sample is ready, simply mail the kit back to the company using the return mailer. Keep in mind that mailing the kit back doesn’t incur any extra charges.
  • Activating the kit – You will do this with 15 alternating numbers and letters found on the collection tube. This is necessary to connect your sample to your account.
  • Explore the results – This is done directly on the website. Once your results are ready, which can take between 6-8 weeks, you will receive an email notification to inspect your report.

The test kit contains:

  • Full instructions on handling the kit
  • 1 sample-collection tube
  • 1 sealable bag
  • Pre-paid return mailer.

Why Choose AncestryDNA

AncestryDNA is a natural expansion of Ancestry.com to incorporate genetic testing. With AncestryDNA, we can “travel” up to 50,000 years in the past, which is something we would never be able to do using only genealogical sources.

Having said that, here are some of the main reasons to perform your genetic and genealogical research with AncestryDNA:

  • Part of a conglomerate dedicated to reaching the ultimate levels of genetic science
  • It features a high-quality DNA test
  • The test is not segmented; you are offered all the utilities in a single testing solution, meaning there are no additional expenses
  • 700,000+ genetic markers checked, which is beyond impressive and results in high accuracy and test reliability
  • 350 geographical regions covered, which is significantly more than any other ancestry DNA test on the market includes
  • Insights into your potential Native American ancestry
  • Purchasing the test grants you access to one of the biggest databases with countless family trees and documents uploaded by users. The AncestryDNA database has over 7 million people
  • Good security and safety of your personal information – only you choose what you want to share and with whom
  • Substantial number of research projects you can be a part of, contributing to the advancement of genetic studies
AncestryDNA Why Choose

Tests

Ancestry’s primary test is simply called AncestryDNA and it is sold at a price of 99$. This test examines your entire genome, which means it addresses both autosomal and sex chromosomes.

Every human being has 23 pairs of chromosomes. In every pair, one comes from our mother, the second from our father. The first 22 pairs are called autosomal chromosomes and they are used for determining our entire family ancestry. The 23rd pair decides the gender of the person (thus sex chromosomes). Y stands for male, X for female.

Y-chromosome helps determine the direct paternal lineage whereas X-chromosomes or “mitochondrial DNA” reveals direct maternal ancestry. Mitochondrial DNA passes down from mothers to children unchanged, so it can point to direct maternal relatives.

The quality and precision of the test depend on the number of markers checked within our DNA. The more markers, the better. AncestryDNA test surveys 700,000+ locations in your DNA. To put things into perspective, solo Y or mt tests check 25, 37, 65 markers within chromosomes.

Another key difference is the fact that both men and women can take the AncestryDNA test. The same locations in their genomes are inspected and they both carry relevant DNA.

Apart from its ancestry screening solution, the company features a health-related test called AncestryHealth. Another service called AncestryHealth Plus will be introduced in early 2020. Unlike AncestryHealth (Core), which is a one-time purchase, the Plus version will incur membership fees.

AncestryHealth Core provides insights into potential cancer risk (breast & ovarian + Lynch syndrome), carrier status (cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and Tay-Sachs disease), and conditions associated with hearth and blood (hereditary thrombophilia, hereditary hemochromatosis, cardiomyopathy, and familial hypercholesterolemia).

AncestryHealth Core also features wellness reports, including the effects of DNA on levels of vitamin C/D/E/B12 and omega 3. It determines the genetic likelihood of developing lactose intolerance and explores the effects of caffeine consumption as well. Lastly, the test provides some valuable tips on how to stay healthy by adopting healthier habits, from the foods you eat to your exercise regimen.

Understanding The Results

The accuracy of the results is held at the level of 98%. If any of the results fails to meet the required standard, the company will call for a new sample collection.

The test results include:

  • DNA matches – Your DNA is measured against one of the most unique and comprehensive DNA collections in the world. Every potential match will be followed by a “confidence percentage.” It ranges from 0-100%, so you should focus on the higher percentages for closer relatives. You can then add the newly found relatives to your family tree, located on your AncestryDNA page.
  • Ethnicity map – This is an easy and interactive way for you to visualize/interact with the results of your DNA test. The colors on the map correspond to the colors found on the pie chart of your ethnicity results. Ethnicity maps might show a completely different picture than you hoped for, but this happens on a regular basis.
  • DNA circles – It provides a way for DNA matches to come together around at least one common ancestor with shared DNA.
  • Map and Locations” map – This is an option Ancestry Magazine subscribers have. If both you and your DNA matches have family trees linked to your DNA results, you will have access to this feature. It’ll show pins in different colors, indicating the birth locations of all the direct-line ancestors in your family tree within 10 generations or less.
  • Raw DNA download – You can download your raw results and use them on genealogy research sites or with other DNA testing companies.

The company no longer offers stand-alone Y or mt test results, so there is no way of separately viewing your ethnicity from your mother’s/father’s side of the family.

AncestryDNA Family Trees

Research

AncestryDNA aims to advance research in the fields of human genealogy, genetics, health, and anthropology. It offers its customers the opportunity to support these research attempts by participating in the Ancestry Human Diversity Project.

Your data will be bundled with millions of results in order to:

  • Help make important advances in understanding human history and migrations;
  • Improve and learn more about human health;
  • Explore the connections between human traits and genetics;
  • Improve or develop new diagnostic tools or therapies for treating diseases and other conditions.

You can find more info on the projects in the “informed consent” section of the site, where you can also authorize AncestryDNA to use your data. You can always review, change or even withdraw your consent, no questions asked.

The research may be conducted by academic institutions, scientists from AncestryDNA, non-profit/for-profit businesses or government institutions.

Privacy And Security

With AncestryDNA, DNA samples are processed in a secure third-party lab in the US. All the steps from handling your sample to providing you with your results fall under the company’s Privacy Statement and Terms and Conditions.

Once you purchase and activate your test, you will become its administrator. You’ll be able to choose who can see your test results. If you want to use the invite option, you will have to share your info with your target audience. For example, if you want to send an invite to your ethnicity matches, you’ll have to share details on your ethnicity.

You can also share access to your account by granting people editor or guest titles. They will be able to inspect your DNA results and even modify your info to an extent.

You can also transfer your administrator rights to another person, but you’ll then lose those rights and be listed as an editor. The main point is that only you decide who sees your personal information. You can share nothing or everything with whoever you choose, it’s all up to you.

Shipping And Handling

The Ancestry blog states that the AncestryDNA test is now available in 35 different countries. Unfortunately, the company doesn’t provide too much information on shipping and handling, except for stating that prices may vary depending on location. We did a bit of research and found that you can order your test kit through Amazon Prime and get free shipping. Unfortunately, not all countries have access to Amazon Prime. Shipping cost and other expenses should be clearly stated on the website and the excuse of providing semi-worldwide shipping is simply not good enough. This is one of the aspects of AncestryDNA’s service that we feel needs the most improvement.

Bottom Line

Our AncestryDNA review painted AncestryDNA as a superb choice for all your ancestry-researching purposes. It does have its misgivings, but they all pale in comparison to the high quality of service provided.

What we like the most about this company is its proactive approach. You’ll never see AncestryDNA standing still, not for a moment. There’s always new data to be uploaded and users to be matched, new projects to take part in, and new scientific grounds to break. That is what makes AncestryDNA one of the best choices for your ancestral explorations.


User Reviews (38)

AncestryDNA customer rating based on 38 user reviews.

The AncestryDNA reviews listed below reflect the opinions and experiences of real users and are in no way influenced by the company reviewed here. Before publishing each review, our team checks whether it was submitted by an actual user in an effort to prevent false or spammy reviews.

  1. Alan | April 27, 2019

    Interesting results that align closely with the likes of Gedcom/gedmatch. When you think about that many people constantly migrate from one region to another (or historic invations and conquests) everyone’s bloodline gets pretty much mixed up so no test will be able to guess where our ancestors decided to locate. Despite this, I was shown to have 25% French. We always thought it was Germanic, but then, there was a lot of migration across the ages through this area. It accurately showed our dna from 3 continents, though there was much discussion in my family of the countries selected. Only downside is that Ancestry won’t accept results from other testers (eg, Myheritage etc) but accuracy is probably about as good as it could get.

  2. STEVEN WOOTEN | April 13, 2019

    AncestryDNA is a complete rip off. Everything they told us, we knew from googling our last name (which I had done). They did not include anything outside of that information. They did not include anything from my Native American ancestry at all. A person can look at me and tell it’s there. I certainly do not look like I am completely Irish and British considering my dark skin, hair, and eyes. What a total waste of time and money. I do not recommend ever using them. There has to be more reputable companies out there.

    • Science | July 22, 2019

      Lots of people get upset because they think they have some genetic ancestry that they actually don’t have. Native American is one of the most claimed ancestries, unfortunately, most people do not actually have that ancestry. I’m sorry that the test showed you something you didn’t want to see… the truth.

  3. Abigail Hunt | October 15, 2018

    After testing with Family Tree DNA, my husband and I decided to expand our list of relatives and explore the database offered by Ancestry. We found so many new relatives, some of which were located in Europe, out of all places. If you’re adamant about researching your genetic past in-depth, doing a single test is not enough, not by a long shot. Ancestry gave us much more information than FTDNA, but we still have to do the 23andMe test and check their database as well.

  4. Roy Fisher | September 13, 2018

    Ancestry definitely has the best geographical coverage and can tell you the most about your ancient relatives and overall genetic background. On top of that, it’s also great for family genealogists like myself since it gave me access to soooo many old documents I almost started crying when I thought of the time wasted elsewhere.

  5. Roger Wallen | August 3, 2018

    Report did not show any native American ancestry and I know it is strong Cherokee. Even some of my Father’s cousins have names like White Bird, Red Bud and James Crow. I called the company and was told that it is almost impossible to show native American ancestry, yet they show a commercial where a woman it surprised that she is 27% native American. VERY misleading. They did not even suggest a second test. Probably would be a lot different.

  6. Eve Rogerson | June 6, 2018

    I think a lot of people turn to AncestryDNA expecting some magical DNA analysis only to end up with more questions. After centuries of marriages/couplings there is no way you can find exactly where your DNA traces back to. For example, with the European DNA, we simply saw western European but there are so many countries there and the people that lived in those countries moved and migrated and mixed with others, that mixed with even more. It would be impossible to directly trace that. Also, If you know anything at all about DNA, you would know that you get a random 50% from each parent…each child will carry a different trait or amount of a trait per parent. For me trying to trace the DNA of my father and I, gave me a few surprising details but our full ethnicity but his was vastly different from my own. After he was matched as my father and he found an older half brother, we opted out of further matching. Having that option gives me something to look forward to in the future but not right now…I don’t like surprises and definitely couldn’t handle any new additions to our small family.

  7. George c pospisil | June 3, 2018

    Very disappointing. Results for me… Western Europe, eastern Europe; for my wife from Lebanon, middle eastern. Really? Tell us something specific we didn’t know. For example, how many countries are in western Europe? Poor waste of money and spit.

  8. L. E> | June 3, 2018

    They lie like a rug on a continual basis. I am supposedly to start researching my family members based on information that I have, UH NO. It is so loaded down with federal restraints. I am not impressed. Looking for a backup company to get accurate results for I have my doubts that anything will be of use for me.
    I have talked to corporate so much and I am very underwhelmed with this company. I am so over calling this company. Go elsewhere!

  9. Beverly Boyd | May 19, 2018

    Easy as pie, just spit in a tube, mail it, and wait for your results. My results came back pretty quickly (around 4 weeks), which is nothing when you realize I had to wait 3 months with one other company. Oh, and my results were 99% what I expected them to be. I especially liked the fact that you can track your test from the moment of activation all the way to your final report.

  10. Bobby Gomes | May 18, 2018

    Great testing experience! I particularly liked the fact that you can upload your raw data to gedmatch absolutely free of charge and find your matches from family tree and 23andme. I also have the chrome extension, which makes my results much easier to manage.

  11. Ronald roberts | May 1, 2018

    Underwhelming. This test added almost nothing to what I already knew. For me, this test was a waste of money, but their family tree research site is excellent.

  12. D P | April 24, 2018

    What a joke. It helped connect to some of my relatives, but not my brother. It says I have lots of European DNA nothing specific. But It could not find any Native American., Joke so I did all that for nothing. I have since found I have 6 family lines that are Native American. This is a waste of time and money

  13. CB | April 15, 2018

    If you are looking for a DNA test to tell you what “ethnicity” you are or what country your ancestors were from, then you need to read a bit more about how DNA works. The ethnicity estimates for any company are different because they use different methods for calculation.
    The big strength of Ancestry DNA over other kits is the easy family tree matching and very user friendly interface for matches. It was very useful in establishing some more certainty regarding some family tree “hunches” and helped to make my searching more directed.
    The ability to download the raw data is where you can really get into analysis. Download the raw data and upload to Gedmatch or FTDNA. Use chromosome painting to establish links.
    It is useful to solidify preexisting family tree matches and reveals links you may not have considered for further research.

  14. Ellen Butler | April 13, 2018

    Ancestry was my second DNA test. The results between tests are like day and night.. One test stated 41% Scandinavian, the other stated 1%. Huge difference! My issue with Ancestry is the sloppy presentation of results and the fact that everything on website could be printed except the DNA RESULTS!

  15. Jerelena | April 4, 2018

    My dna test looks more like a weather report than actual results. For example its say im 95% African 4% Europe and 1% Pacific Rim but when looking at the ranges i have to deal with results such as Nigeria 0-18% Benin/Togo 0-30% Cameroon 1-28%. So i spend another $250 to test both of my children, what a waste its like they are 2 completely different children even though they are are full siblings. One of my kids has Asia South and the other one has 13% mali, which is a little interesting because i only have 1% of mali, and since it makes up her regions technically she only got 29% of my dna and 71% of her father’s dna. very strange. If my dna isn’t even showing correctly just think about all the other people that could be looking at results that aren’t accurate. I guess they think because there are pretty graphics and access to family trees its supposed to make up for the flawed dna test. Another lady did the test Ancestry claims shes 100% African but after transferring to dna.land.com realized she actually has some Indian in her dna. Thanks Ancestry for taking over $370CAD from me, for random results.

    • Kay | April 22, 2018

      Sometimes the DNA tends to skip generations. What’s found in your DNA might be different from your kids as they may have more DNA make up from previous ancestors. Everyone in the family will show different results depending on the amount of mixture in your lineage. But I agree, they might be flawed but it is a possibility that DNA from past ancestors are showing up in you kids hence the variety between them.

  16. Paul | April 2, 2018

    Complete waste of time. Told me nothing new. No insights into my heritage at all.
    Note that they consider eastern Europe everything between Germany and Russia.
    Your aren’t Polish or Lithuanian, but just Eastern European. I’m sure they can do better.
    Basically they just want more personal info to input into their database.
    Waste of money

  17. Shearon | March 21, 2018

    My results showed 30% Ghana, 29% Britain, 9% Nigeria, and 7% Senegal. That left 25% “inconclusive other”! That’s a lot of “inconclusive”. I was pretty sure there was Native American Seminole somewhere in my DNA. I don’t think they have a good data base for Native American. So if that is part of your background they have nothing to match it with.

    The other DNA matches were pretty good. I saw family names of my mothers cousins. However you can only access that information for a short period of time. Then you have to sign up for subscription services, for more info… which of course has a fee. Just seems like tricky marketing especially when you are giving them family information that they can use to enhance their services.

    My adult children will be using 23 and me and not Ancestry.com

  18. Bernadette | March 13, 2018

    Disappointed in that I used it to see if it could identify dna links unknown to me. Instead it failed to identify that which I knew which was my maternal heritage of Italian, Eritrea and Native American ancestry. Instead it identified the 30% Cameroon/Congo connection and its “Virginia & Southern States African Americans” connection .

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