On the lookout for genetic DNA tests and family tree tools? You’re in the right place.
AncestryDNA is a leading DNA-testing company to consider, and this article will equip you with all the information you need to decide whether you should go with them or not.
For starters, AncestryDNA is a DNA-testing service that is able to take your DNA and utilize the data gathered from it to provide information about your family tree.
Like similar competitors on the market, AncestryDNA ships its DNA Testing Kit to you so that you can take the test from your home and then return it at your convenience.
They’ve racked up thousands of positive reviews online, but should you trust the hype? Below, we’ve taken an in-depth look at AncestryDNA.
AncestryDNA - Company Background
AncestryDNA has been in the genealogy business for a long amount of time. During their earlier days, they created and distributed their own magazine, Ancestry Magazine, and they were one of the very first companies in the world to computerize family trees.
Founded just out of Utah, this company has ties to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka the Mormon Church), which is currently based in Salt Lake City.
In partnership with this church and via their very own genealogy website known as ‘FamilySearch’ members of this church are each given free access to AncestryDNA’s long line of genealogical tools and information totally free of charge.
Though they’ve stayed true to their roots and remained in Utah, the ownership of AncestryDNA has changed multiple times throughout its existence.
As of late, AncesryDNA was recently purchased by Blackstone Group, which is a private equity fund that paid just under 5 billion dollars for AncestryDNA, and the 18+ million user DNA database that they have built over the years.
So, since AncestryDNA essentially owns your DNA/genetic data after you get a test with them, this, therefore, means that your data is worth big bucks to companies looking to sell it on to private interest companies, pharmaceutical companies, and researchers.
If you’re wondering what that means for you, don’t worry, we’ll be covering your data privacy a little bit further down.
Back in 2012, Ancestry introduced its very first DNA testing kit. The DNA kit was specifically created for those interested in a family tree service and is a very effective way of uncovering and finding distant and long-lost family members.
Their kit and tools can provide ethnicity reports, and can even connect you with living relatives, as well as those that have passed away all thanks to their extensive records database that dates all the way back to 1790.
From just these figures along, it’s easy to see why AncestryDNA is one of the most respected companies in the game. However, that’s not to say that they’re a company free of any drawbacks, though. Before we jump into their kits, here’s a breakdown of their pros and cons:
- They have one of the largest user databases in the world, which means you’ll get more specific and accurate results.
- They’re a company with integrity and longstanding experience in the genealogical field, with a devoted history to helping people build their own family trees.
- Unlike other companies, AncestryDNA will use totally authentic historical records and data to help carve out your family tree and provide insights into your ethnic background.
- All of their family tree and genealogical tools can be accessed via their safe and secure online website.
- Covering over 1,000 ethnic regions, you’ll be able to uncover insights about your ancestral background that may have otherwise gone unknown.
- If other living relatives are on the database, AncestryDNA will be ab;e to find and match your living relatives to you via their very own family match list.
- Though it is offered to you, the standard AncestryDNA results do not include any access to your historical records, so if you are interested in accessing them you will have to pay an additional fee.
- Their historical records service requires a monthly subscription fee that isn’t cheap.
- Though they have recently branched out to health DNA-testing, their health knowledge and testing process are much less advanced than other companies that specialize in it.
What Should You Expect From AncestryDNA?
AncestryDNA is, first and foremost, a company that specializes in family tree building.
Their standard AncestryDNA kit is cheaper and includes only the ancestry results, while the more premium AncestryHealth Kit includes additional insights about your health traits as well as your ancestry results.
They also offer a test that can provide you with insights on your genetic traits. To break that down, they offer three main kits, which are as follows:
- AncestryDNA Genetic Ethnicity Test
- AncestryDNA + Traits Test + Report
- AncestryDNA Genetic Ethnicity + Health Test + Report
The Kit Ordering and DNA Collection Process:
Regardless of which test you choose, when you order a DNA kit from Amazon, you will receive your package promptly in the mail that will contain everything you need to provide your DNA sample and send it back to the lab, including the pre-paid return letter and the saliva sample tube.
All you will need to do is fill the tube with your spit, and then place it in the designated labeled bag, insert it into the letter and then post it back to AncestryDNA. It’s as simple as that!
As soon as their lab has received your sample, the cells within your saliva contain your DNA, which the qualified lab workers will be able to effectively extract, analyze, and then compare to regions around the world to compile your ancestral data.
Your AncestryDNA results will be presented to you in a simplified breakdown of where your genres come from, and which regions come out on top.
In addition to this, you’ll also have the option of choosing to opt into their subscription service that will allow you to delve into their extensive amount of historical records and to make matches to your family tree.
This subscription service can also connect you to any DNA matches, which can help you to get in touch with distant or long lost family members. However, they will have to have their DNA in the shared database for this to be viable.
In addition to this, if you select the slightly more premium AncestryHealth kit, you’ll also have your health results available in a separate section on your results page.
As a side note, keep in mind that this subscription service requires a monthly payout that adds up to a hefty annual sum - just something to keep in mind before opting in.
The Ancestry Results:
Below, we’ve provided you with a summary of what to expect from your DNA results with AncestryDNA:
- You’ll receive ‘Ethnicity Estimates’ of populations and regions that you are most related to by analyzing your specific genes.
- You’ll get your own personal pie chart with all of your biggest region matches, including areas all over the globe like Europe, Asia, Northern Ireland, and others.
- A timeline of historical events specifically related to your DNA, all curated from an expert team of historians
- You’ll be provided with all potential migration paths your ancestors may have taken, as well as any communities they may have been a part of.
- Via the ‘Match List’ AncestryDNA will allow you to connect to distant or long last family memes, as well as revealing whether or not you are related to any historical figures.
Regardless of the test, you should expect a 6 week processing time before you receive your results from AncestryDNA. They will be available via their online portal, and the tests will be completely private and you will be the only person that can view them.
Within the test results, you’ll receive an ‘Ethnicity Estimate’ which consists of providing approximates of where your genes stem back to, and from which regions in the world taken from their reference populations.
AncestryDNA covers regions across the entire globe, so whether you have ancestors from the UK, or your gene pool roots itself in East Asia or even Europe, AncestryDNA will be able to tell you this.
As everyone’s gene pool and genetics are different, you will be given your very own personal pie chart, that will be specific to your genes, and your genes only.
Plus, besides the ethnicity estimate, you will have a number of other tools available to you on the AncestryDNA’s website. Not only will you learn about your ethnicity, but the company will also provide background information on the region your ancestors came from.
You will also be able to explore a timeline of life events that your ancestors may have taken. This includes possible migration routes, as well as communities they were a part of.
We really like this feature, as this is something other companies don’t offer. It will allow you to learn about yourself, while also learning about your ancestors.
Not only that, but while using AncestryDNAs’s online platform, you can also connect with long lost relatives or distant family members. AncestryDNA features an innovative ‘Match List’ that will link you to anyone in their database that you share DNA with.
It can include close relatives, second cousins, or even a famous historical figure. Who knows? Maybe you’ll discover that you are distantly related to Charles Dickens or Alexander Hamilton.
Plus, if you do decide to go ahead and purchase the subscription packages we discussed earlier, you will also get access to Ancestry’s massive historical records database. This will allow you to build your family tree in more depth, as AncestryDNA’s database goes back to 1790!
With these two incredible tools combined, AncestryDNA is the leading competitor in the ancestry sector and is able to provide more accuracy than any other company.
Expected Health/Trait Results
Below, you can see what to expect from your ancestry DNA results with AncestryDNA.
- Reports related to your genetic health, carrier status, and wellness traits
- Status reports on common genetic diseases: Cystic Fibrosis, Sickle Cell Anemia, and Tay-Sachs Disease.
- A report on cancer risks
- A report of your heart and blood health, including cholesterol
- Wellness Traits, including proneness to alcohol flushing, caffeine metabolism, nutrients, and more.
If you were to go ahead and purchase the more expensive AncestryHealth or Traits package, you will get all of the ancestry results described above, plus insights into different health areas.
It’s important to note that AncestryDNA is not as advanced in this area as 23andMe, which is able to provide over 40 different carrier status reviews, as well as other conditions like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. None of these particular health conditions are covered by the AncestryHealth tests.
So, if you’re looking for a test that can provide in-depth information on your health, then you might be better off going with a company that specializes in it, such as MyHeritage, or 23andMe.
The AncestryHealth test and the AncestryDNA Traits test will cost you additional money, and we feel that competing companies are better equipped at providing insights in this particular area.
Nevertheless, if you are simply seeking to learn more about your ancestry and don’t mind paying extra, AncestryDNA will provide you with basic information about your health and unique traits.
AncestryDNA ensures that your DNA data and personal information will remain strictly confidential and in your ownership at all times. You do need to be aware, however, that if you do decide to opt in to create a family tree, AncestryDNA will use your data to help you build it.
However, you will remain in control of your DNA at all times, and you can delete your data at any time simply by notifying AncestryDNA that you would like them to delete your data from their database.
Although you will be in control of your DNA, AncestryDNA does sell your genetic information. This is one of the main reasons why they were recently purchased by Blackstone Group for a cool $5 billion dollars.
As they have the largest database on Earth, access to this information is a hot commodity, and AncestryDNA makes it clear in their fine print that your DNA information will be kept in this database, and that this database is up for sale.
Now, while we may not agree with it, this is pretty common for a DNA testing company, as most of the major DNA testing companies, follow this type of method.
At the time of writing, alongside your AncestryDNA kit you can also subscribe to their ‘Family Tree’ service, which ranges from $19 to $45 per month.
These subscription packages will grant you access to thousands of historical records and allow you to create your very own family tree.
The most basic package gives you access to all the US records available, while the more premium subscriptions will give you access to international records and Fold3, which is a military records site.
Nonetheless, here are links to three of AncestryDNA’s three bestselling tests. They’re available on Amazon, and you can check them out below:
Besides being industry leaders, AncestryDNA also knows a thing or two about what it means to offer exceptional customer service, and their great reputation and consistently positive reviews online are a testimony to this.
If you find that you need any help throughout the entire process (no matter which stage you’re at), you can easily access their wealth of extensive online resources, which includes how-to articles, an active user community, as well as a frequently asked questions section.
However, if you have a question that you’d like answered directly, you also have the option of calling the AncestryDNA support team.
They’re open seven days a week, and operate between the hours of 9:00am to 11:00pm EST, which we think is really impressive. One thing to note, however, is that if you do phone customer service it’s likely that you’ll be put into a waiting line that can sometimes span up to one hour.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking to discover more about your ethnicity (and maybe even discover your long lost relatives along the way) then AncestryDNA is the company for you.
Their service is very easy to use, features a team of qualified lab technicians, and gives you access to a wide variety of online tools.
AncestryDNA are also cost effective, although we will say that their subscription service seems a little pricey. Nonetheless, the company is continuously adding new and improved features in order to deliver more precise insights and genealogical evaluations.
Alongside thousands of five star reviews online, AncestryDNA has got our seal of approval, too!