Ancestry had its start as a genealogy magazine publisher in the early 1980s. The company now has the world’s largest collection of online genealogical and historical records with a database of 20 billion records and 100 million family trees.
Ancestry also offers AncestryDNA, an autosomal DNA test with precise geographic details and historical insight into the origin of your DNA, including information about the specific regions and living relatives, known as DNA matches. Ancestry pairs DNA analysis with data from its online records database and allows you to connect with your family as well as see where your family moved from place to place. The DNA matches give you color coding and custom labeling in addition to other tools.
More than 16 million people have taken a DNA test with Ancestry.
You've got options: Keep reading to learn more about AncestryDNA and how it works, skip ahead for pros and cons, or jump straight to consumer reviews for individual users' take on the company's service.
To take the test, you must purchase one of the company's testing kits online. The kit includes instructions on activating your test through the Ancestry website, as well as a plastic tube for collecting your saliva sample. Collected DNA samples are then returned via mail to Ancestry's labs. Direct purchases even come with a prepaid return mailer.
Consumers can choose between the standard ancestry test or upgraded tests that add data about personal traits or health data. DNA kits cost $99 for the basic AncestryDNA test, $119 for the Traits test and $149 for the upgraded health and wellness data. Along with the new health testing service, there is also a subscription option. Let's do a quick overview of your DNA testing options:
This autosomal DNA test looks for genetic markers that you have inherited from your mother and father combined. Your results include two main features:
This test adds information about 26 different genetic traits to your basic AncestryDNA results. These results will show how your genetics influence the following traits:
You will be able to compare some of your traits with DNA matches that have also purchased the upgrade. The results will also show how your traits compare across Ancestry's numerous ethnic regions.
AncestryHealth is a new offering. If you take the AncestryHealth test, you will get all of the AncestryDNA benefits, plus, for the extra $49, you get access to several different types of health information, including the following:
The test also includes several services:
After you purchase the Health test, you need to fill out a questionnaire. Because the tests are physician ordered, and there are some stipulations and not everyone is eligible for the service. This includes anyone under the age of 18, people that have had certain kinds of transplant procedures, and anyone living in New Jersey, New York, or Rhode Island. If you aren't eligible, you can get a full refund.
This service is slated to be available in 2020. You can pay to upgrade now, if you are already an AncestryDNA member. Then, as soon as the service is available, you will be billed for the first six months of service at $49. The subscription will automatically renew.
Health Plus adds next-generation sequencing technology, which is more comprehensive and can detect issues with more detail. Subscribers will receive additional health and wellness reports throughout the year, as well as ongoing updates to existing health reports as the testing is available and the science advances.
If you are unsure whether the AncestryHealth testing service is for you, Ancestry even gives you direct access to a genetic counselor through PWN health to ask Qs and see if this is a good option.
Keep reading for pros and cons, plus AncestryDNA test reviews from consumers.
A leading company in the industry, Ancestry's test offers in-depth results in the field of ancestry DNA. You can see the origins of your DNA by region, with more than 1,000 possible regions available in its ethnicity estimate. Ancestry uses two different using two different scientific methods to provide Regions and Communities.
These regions, or ethnicities, are found by testing your sample for genetic markers common to people with known roots (multiple generations of ancestors) in a specific region. This reference panel includes more than 40,000 samples from people across the world. The timeframe for your genetic regions goes back hundreds to 1,000+ years ago. Users are provided with a percentage estimate that shows how much of your genetic makeup is from a specific regional population. To get an idea of how detailed your regional ethnicity breakdown can be, your percentage breakdown will be created from the following:
While these are the current regions available to date, the details of your ethnicity test can be much deeper. That's where AncestryDNA Genetic Communities come in.
In addition to the ethnicity regions that Ancestry can differentiate, this company also offers over 900 in-depth DNA Communities, indicating recent ancestors from the same shared community or culture.
With more than 16 million samples, Ancestry has the largest consumer DNA database. Additionally, the company has the largest network of family trees in its database due to Ancestry.com's popularity as a genealogy research platform. This amount of data has allowed Ancestry to create what it calls Genetic Communities. This technology combines genetic similarities of test-takers in the database with historical records, public family trees, and ethnicity data to identify and trace the movement of distinct groups of people. Several different types of communities are considered, including religious groups, cultural groups, and groups that migrated together, either voluntarily or forcibly.
Communities represent more recent history, from the 1700s to 1975 and are not broken down into percentage-type results. Instead, you will be presented with Genetic Communities that your ancestors were likely a part of, and a general timeline of their movements. Not everyone will receive Communities in their results, it just depends on your DNA.
To get an idea of the available community subgroups, here is an overview:
*Note: Your saliva test sample will be tested for Native American ancestry, but the results will not provide a specific tribal affiliation. However, the test will determine Indigenous American heritage, with the following possible outcomes:
AncestryDNA testing has a one-time cost of $99–$149 (excluding taxes and shipping) for each DNA test kit.
After taking the test, you can use that information and connect it with over 100 million family trees and billions of records for more information about your genealogy. However, you do need to purchase an Ancestry subscription to do so. Many people that don't know much about their family use a DNA test as a starting point for their genealogical
You don't need to be an Ancestry member to order a DNA test and get access to your results. However, an active membership attached to your account opens up special features, combining your DNA data with the company's collection of family tree data to help you find users that you share DNA in common with, to try and pinpoint where your common ancestor lies in your shared trees.
The exception is the AncestryHealth Plus Membership, which adds a new testing technology and ongoing access to new, personalized health updates. This is a subscription-based service.
AncestryDNA customers benefit from the site's DNA Matches feature. It matches your genetic data up with other people who have taken the test, and, depending on how much DNA you share in common, it estimates how closely you are related, from parents and siblings to distant relatives. The company's DNA database offers to match with more than 16 million other test-takers. Users can easily message people that they match with through Ancestry's internal messaging system.
With the addition of the AncestryHealth testing product line, genetic counseling is now accessible for consumers to get advice about health reports. Ancestry has partnered with PWNHealth to provide board-certified physicians and genetic counselors to help Health users to understand results. If there is something that you wish to talk to your doctor about, your results can be downloaded with a quick reference guide to bring to your doctor.
Ancestry offers a mobile app for IOS and Android devices specifically for viewing DNA results, where you can easily peruse your ethnicity estimate results and your DNA matches.
If you started out with just the AncestryDNA test, and you want to get access to the new Health data, you don't have to pay the full test price to upgrade (as some other testing services require).
You can upgrade to Ancestry Health Core for $49. Most customers will not need to send in a new sample to get the added health and wellness data. If you do need to send a new sample, you will be notified and get a free collection kit in the mail.
If you have already taken an AncestryDNA test, you can refer friends to take one through your account. If they take it, they'll get a 15 percent discount and you will earn a $10 Amazon gift card to be delivered in your email.
You have to send the referral messages to your friends or family through the online platform for your referral to be properly counted.
Once you send in your DNA sample, Ancestry testing results take six to eight weeks to process. Although not the longest in the industry, this is still a long wait time. Some other DNA testing companies offer results in as little as three to five weeks after sample submission.
Ancestry only offers one type of genetic testing: autosomal DNA testing. This means that both men and women can take the same test and get the same type of results. However, when compared to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or Y-DNA testing (which can only be taken if you have a Y chromosome), it only offers information about much closer genetic ancestry, and ethnicity results aren't automatically attributed to your maternal or paternal line, because only your autosomal DNA, or non-sex chromosomes are being tested.
In years past, Ancestry offered a YDNA and an mtDNA test through the National Geographic Geographic Project, with static results viewable on Ancestry's site. This has since been phased-out in favor of autosomal DNA tests, which are universal, offering the same type of results for males and females, and closer genetic history which can more easily be integrated with the type of family history research and tree-building that Ancestry users are accustomed to.
While still an autosomal test, consumers can upgrade their DNA service to include the physical traits test for an additional $20.
The newer AncestryHealth product is only for adults. It is not available to consumers in New York, New Jersey, or Rhode Island.
AncestryHealth tests are not available outside the United States and its AncestryDNA genealogical DNA test is currently available for purchase in these countries:
When your test results are ready, you get an email notification, with a link to login and view your ethnicity results and matches. There is no physical packet of information sent to you. The results are only delivered online, because they are constantly changing as you get new matches and the DNA algorithms are being refined. This can be an issue, especially when considering this as a gift for someone who doesn't regularly use the internet, like elderly relatives or friends.
This is a common complaint when it comes to testing companies that offer at-home DNA test kits for genealogical DNA results. If you are looking for a company that offers to send printed-out results in the mail.
This test requires a saliva test sample, but it is not done with a swab. Ancestry uses what is commonly referred to as a "spit kit" in the consumer genetic testing industry.
DNA testing kits come with a plastic vial that you basically spit into. Some people find it difficult to collect enough saliva into the collection tube. Other ancestry tests from alternative testing companies are available, if you prefer to provide a cheek swab sample.
AncestryDNA and AncestryHealth sample collection kits are eligible for a refund if returned within 60 days of placing your order. However, a full refund isn't available. Each purchase will be refunded less a $15 processing fee.
While users have access to download their raw AncestryDNA data if they wish to use it or upload it to another site's algorithm, Ancestry does not allow third-party data uploads.
AncestryDNA was very easy to do. The instructions were very clear on how to give your DNA sample and the results were amazing. They helped me better understand my ethnicity and origin.
I tried a bunch of different DNA testing companies with my family and AncestryDNA was one of my least favorites. I think some other provided more in depth information for your money.
I received this as a Christmas gift and loved it. They made it super easy to process step-by-step. It was great to learn more about the origins of my ancestry.
I got this for a Christmas present. It was fun to see the results and to see they confirmed the research I have done on ancestry.com. I liked that it connected me to other family members who had submitted theirs too
Testing was simple and easy. Results provided a detailed analysis of family history and was updated as new results were compiled.
AncestryDNA is a great way to learn about your roots and find connections to others. I love the feature to be able to see how many matches to other people you have. This can aid in finding biological families.
It was fun to get my DNA tested. They have a simple app to use and results didn’t take as long as expected.
We sent in our saliva for a test to see if it could trace our ancestry. It did not disappoint! We found where our ancestors could be traced back too- even though it was a bit vague. We were able to connect with relatives. With more exploration we could find even more relatives. If more of our relatives were to also submit samples -a web could be established. I was especially impressed that they send updates as more relatives have joined and it changes the outcome. For more money we were offered a deeper investigation of our family lines.
I like the service they provide, but it's kind of hard for me to navigate through everything. Did find some interesting information about my family though, but I can only go back so far because I don't have the information I need to proceed further.
We used the AncestryDNA service for my youngest son. He is adopted and there was some question around paternity, so we decided to do an AncestryDNA test to see if it would shed any light on the matter and indeed it did! I still get updates from AncestryDNA when there is a possible familial match or even a change to to his overall heritage as the database grows. I am highly satisfied and would eventually love to do it for the rest of my children (also adopted).
Great test, great app! Life changing! I like how the app continues to update my test results to get a more accurate picture of my heritage.
This has helped me connect to family in Ireland, which was my road block from finishing my fathers side of the family.
Profile Keeps Changing. DNA is not protected. If you do the DNA test, they will OWN your DNA. Although the service is useful, I find it highly disturbing and unethical that they own your DNA.
If you want answers about yourself and about your ancestors ancestry DNA is supposed to go. You won’t believe the information that you’ll get.
Hate hate hate that they charge for everything! My husband was adopted and we don’t even know where to start to look for his father. My daughter and him took this DNA test worse mistake ever! It is not helpful at all!
My family took an ancestry test and it was exciting to see our lineage and see the migration patterns of my extended family. Ancestry is a good product if you're curious to see your whole family tree and find out where you came from.
We bought two kits last year for Christmas. We were so excited when they came in the mail. Getting enough saliva in the tube was a little difficult. When we got the results back we were stocked, but when it only provided us the regions where we were from I was greatly disappointed. Even though we got the kits for $49 I still felt ripped off. They should give you a couple free hints or something that will keep you spending money to find out more information For the most part, you have to fill in all of the information yourself. What's the point of saying it helps you find your family history if you are the only reason there is family history on the chart. Give me a break! I will not buy anything like this again!
It was fun getting my DNA done. It seems expensive but I am not sure how they compare with other companies
My husband and I did the DNA test together and had so much fun reading our results. Test was easy to take and send. We got text messages and emails letting us know the progress of our tests. The website is easy to navigate and I love the emails letting me know new relatives are found. You also get updates when there is new info about your ancestry and DNA, always learning new things. Pretty cool!
AncestryDNA told me things about my ancestry that I had no idea. I just wonder to what extent it is true, because no one in my family seems to know about certain parts of my ancestry. Whatever the case, it was still pretty cool to use.
A few years ago my mom bought all her kids the AncestryDNA kits. I was able to take the test, send it in and got my results quickly. As a result I bought the same kits for my married children and they were able to see where they came from. I found it interesting that my 3 siblings and I had a little differences and we even found out that we were from a different area of Europe than we previously had thought.
Quick, easy, and reliable. Highly recommended to everyone. It was interesting to learn about my identity.
Results came in with not any delay. Sending in the genetic sample was easy and no issues were encountered.
Took a lil while but was very interesting to find out. Very appreciative for this service !
I love AncestryDNA. I feel like it has accurate results and it can really help with family history and where you came from. I would totally recommend!!!
Finally decided to try out Ancestry and it was well worth it! The kit was very easy to use! I maybe waited a month for my results and even found out I was part European!
I bought my mom a kit for christmas and she loved it. Fast results and a super easy process!
Maybe this service is useful for families whose roots are deep in the United States and Europe. But for those with families in Asia, Latin America, or Africa, this service is worthless.
I love doing my genealogy and Ancestry makes it fun. I like the notifications for the hints. But I think are too expensive.
I've always been fascinated by ancestry and enjoy exploring my roots and where I came from. Since I already had an online family tree through Ancestry I decided to have my DNA tested through Ancestry DNA. I felt the sampling process to be simple and the timing was super fast for me - I received my results about 4 weeks after I mailed it. Also, I love that you can connect your results to your online family tree.
Using this service was one of the coolest things I've ever done. It was worth every penny so find out where around the world I'm from, and teaching me about ancestors I didn't know I had.
I love the break down of your DNA by percentage. The map in the app showing you all the different parts of the world you come from is awesome. My husband just got his health part done and it’s fascinating, I’m going to get that part done as well.
I ordered a dna kit from Ancestry.com. It Shipped fast. I got the results within 4-6 weeks.
This company helped me confirm that I am part Irish and help me clear up some blank spots in my family history. Ancestry .com is a safe and trustworthy way to find out all of your past memories and history.
I had a wonderful experience with AncestryDNA! It’s so easy and you get so much more information than I expected!
AncestryDNA is easy, quick and so exciting to see results about who you are and where you came from. Using Ancestry DNA was such a great decision and has helped us make so many unknown family connections.
It was through AncestryDNA that my brother and I discovered that our biological father had died. I am impressed by the amount of information that they are able to provide from just a little swab. We found out that we have family we never knew existed. Thanks AncestryDNA for the service that you provide.
AncestryDNA is the most trusted organization in the DNA industry. I trust their results and found information lost to our family. It is a great tool for genealogy related searches. Overall fantastic tool at a reasonable price.
It was quick and easy to submit the spit sample. The wait for results was a bit long, but it was fun to read the results and the migration patterns.
It seems pretty legit and accurate. Is a little expensive but worth it if you ever want to know about your ancestry.
The process for submitting my DNA was so easy with the saliva sample. I love that even after a year of submitting I'm getting updated information and I'm finding new family members.
Our DNA test gave us information about where we came from, and in the end, has helped us find unknown family members--2nd cousins who had been adopted when very young. It has been wonderful in building family relationships.
Provides a smooth process for customers and the product provides a good indication of personal history.
It was easy and fun to do. I received a kit as a gift. I still receive notices of relatives. My brother and his wife have 7 adopted children and some of them have been able to make contact with their birth families through this company.
Our family had each of DNA tested. It was an easy process. We received our results and it was easy to understand.
I sent in my sample and it was sent back really quickly. I’ve been able to see family that I’m closely related to that I didn’t know existed. I also enjoyed seeing my dna broken down and where my roots come from.
I was tired of everyone saying who they were. "I'm Irish, I'm Italian, I'm Dutch" So I applied to AncestoryDNA. Received the kit so send in my DNA with all the instructions. Sent it in and was able to track right where my orders was in the processing of the DNA. When it was received, processed, analyzed and sent back to me. It's been very educational and entertaining to know what ones background is. My daughter stated that one does not get more white bread that who I am. I'm proud to now being able to say " I'm English with the spice of Ireland lightly sprinkled." I've learned and have been able to contact others that have the same ancestors as I have. I have to be able to piece together the stories that have been passed down in the families.
Great way to get a glimpse into your past. Provides detailed information and the possibility of finding new relatives.
Ancestry has a huge data base of information throughout the globe, I have found hundreds of relatives, I'm very grateful for their dedication and perseverance to help people connect with loved ones.
I learned a lot from this genealogy tool and wish everyone has the opportunity to take this test to see where they lineage takes them.