Ancestry has become the go to place for people to find out about their genealogy. This Ancestry DNA testing reviews post will discuss what this company has to offer you in order for you to discover your family history.
I will explore the features that you will benefit from as you order your DNA kit and set up an account with Ancestry.
Ancestry DNA Testing Details:
|Type of Test||Autosomal (atDNA)|
|Results Waiting Time||6-8 Weeks|
|Additional Cost||$10 for shipping|
|Subscription||Subscribe to Ancestry to access records and connect with cousins|
|Available In||United States, UK and Australia|
|Place To Buy||AncestryDNA|
|Bottom Line||Most Popular|
Begin your family history journey today!
There are many ways that you can research your family history. You may decide to check out any number of genealogy search websites that have a ton of genealogical records.
Or you may want to delve into historical newspapers trying to find articles about your ancestors.
You may even want to ask your relatives for help, join a genealogical society or visit your local archives.
For some the next step to family history research is to look at your DNA and get it tested. This is a great way for you to break down any brick walls that you may encounter.
There are many benefits of DNA genealogy testing, and Ancestry DNA for that matter. It has become a popular choice for a lot of people. And it is thought to literally be the next step in the pursuit of your ancestors.
Credit: Ancestry DNA
Topics discussed in this post:
- What Is DNA Genealogy Testing?
- The Competition
- How To Take The Test and Getting Your Results
- Finding Your Ethnicity and Your Relatives
- How Do I Interpret My Ancestry DNA Results?
- What Else Can You Do With Your Ancestry DNA Results?
- What About Your Privacy and Is Your Information Secure?
- Other Peoples Ancestry DNA Testing Reviews
- Pros and Cons
- My Final Thoughts
When you have finished reading this review why not check out The Best DNA Test For You To Buy guide where I cover the 5 best DNA testing kits on the market today!
What Is DNA Genealogy Testing?
Do you know what DNA actually stands for? Well its full name is deoxyribonucleic acid. It is a self-replicating material and it is in every living organisms. And you and me!
It is in every living cell in our body. It is basically our genetic information that tells us what color eyes we have or the color of our skin. Apart from this information it can tell us where we came from.
But how can it do that you maybe asking?
3 different types of DNA testing!
- Autosomal DNA testing (atDNA) – Looks at your DNA that you get from both sides of your family, looking at male and female lines. This is the most basic type of testing and the only one at the moment that is offered by Ancestry.
- Mitochondrial DNA testing (mtDNA) – This type of testing looks at your maternal line.
- Y-Chromosome DNA testing (yDNA) – This type of testing looks at your paternal line.
How accurate is atDNA testing?
You maybe here because you are wondering how accurate is this type of testing. And rightly so. You want to make sure that you are getting value for money. And also getting what you paid for.
I will discuss what other people have thought about their DNA test results later on.
For now though I want to clear up where our Autosomal DNA comes from.
As I briefly mentioned just before this type of testing looks at your genes from both sides of your family. So with that said 1/2 of your atDNA comes from your father, while the other 1/2 comes from your mother.
The genes are what carry a snippet of your parents DNA.
You get 1/4 of your atDNA from each of your grandparents, while 1/8 is from each of your great grandparents.
If you go back five generations to your third great grandparents this value drops to 1/64. So the accuracy of the results dwindles the further up your family tree that you go.
Please check out the Unexpected Ethnicity Results post from Ancestry which goes further into detail about this.
This type of testing though is still very much popular with people researching their ancestry. But if you want to further back then you will have to try another type of DNA test.
OK, so you want to know how does Ancestry DNA compare to the other DNA testing companies. Ancestry DNA testing is very much popular as I mentioned earlier.
But why is that?
Well it is probably because we do in my opinion get ‘bombarded‘ with TV adverts all the time. I know that I do.
But also it is because this type of testing can help us with our genealogy research up to a certain number of generations, about 4 or 5.
Ancestry DNA and Ancestry do offer you a lot. Not only can you get an estimate about your ethnicity, but also you can get connected with your cousins through the DNA Matches feature.
And if you are already subscribed to Ancestry you can also get access to their billions of records that they hold within their databases. They can help you to break down that proverbial brick wall in your research.
Comparing The Competition!
|23andMe||Ancestry DNA||Family Tree DNA||Living DNA||MyHeritage DNA|
|Tests||atDNA, mDNA and yDNA||atDNA||atDNA, mDNA and yDNA||atDNA, mDNA and yDNA||atDNA|
|How Tested||Cheek swab||Saliva||Cheek swab||Cheek swab||Cheek swab|
|Results Waiting Time||6-8 Weeks||6-8 Weeks||6-8 Weeks||10-12 Weeks||3-4 Weeks|
|Available||US, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, Republic of Ireland, UK||US, UK and Australia||US, UK and worldwide||US, Canada, UK, Europe and Australia||US, UK, Australia and worldwide|
|Bottom Line||Bonus Health Screening||Most Popular||Potential For More||Most Comprehensive Testing||Quick Results|
Ancestry vs. 23andMe
Ancestry only offers atDNA testing, whereas 23andMe offer you all three types of DNA testing. You can buy these tests for a single price. So there are no add-ons with this company. Which is great!
Based on your DNA sample 23andMe do offer you a full health screening. This is something that Ancestry DNA do not offer.
One thing that Ancestry excels at compared to 23andMe is what you can do with your results. With Ancestry you can connect with other members and also get hints.
23andMe do not offer this. You are pretty much on your own when you get your 23andMe test results.
Ancestry vs. FamilyTreeDNA
Again this other company offer you the 3 different types of DNA testing, compared to only type for Ancestry. But it’s what you can do with your results once you get them that counts.
FamilyTreeDNA has, at this current time, close to a billion records. They still have a lot of records but it doesn’t compare to the 8 billion that Ancestry have in their collection.
FamilyTreeDNA is though a popular choice among family historians.
Ancestry vs Living DNA
Living DNA will cost you $60 more compared to Ancestry but your DNA sample will get tested against atDNA, mtDNA and yDNA. For Ancestry it is only atDNA. So you do not get the full package.
You will though have to wait about 10-12 weeks for your results to arrive through this competitor. But if you are passionate about your research then I would recommend you check them out.
Unfortunately you will not get access to any genealogical records like you will for Ancestry. And for me that is the real downside of choosing Living DNA.
Ancestry vs. MyHeritage DNA
Ancestry DNA and MyHeritage DNA are pretty much the same in my opinion. But there are advantages and disadvantages with both companies.
They both offer the same kind of testing, autosomal. However, MyHeritage will break down your results far more than Ancestry.
In Ancestry’s favor though you get a lot more support, more records to sift through and the possibility of connecting to living cousins.
How To Take The Test and Getting Your Results
When you order your DNA testing kit from Ancestry you will also need to set up an account with them. This is so you can receive your results.
Don’t worry though about additional costs for doing this as you can set up a free Ancestry account.
Signing up is very simple and easy to do. As with any signing process you will need to agree to several terms and conditions.
One of the conditions it to agree that your sample may be used for testing. You can agree to this if you wish to help the larger genealogy community with the science behind DNA testing.
Receiving your DNA kit!
Once you have ordered the kit it will arrive to you in a matter of days. Included in your kit will be a saliva collection tube and some instructions for you to follow. And there is even a prepaid package that you can simply put your sample in and post off.
Your results are completely anonymous as you will be given a unique ID number. You will though need to link up the serial number of your kit with your Ancestry account.
The scientists at the lab though will not know anything about you. I mean they won’t be able to connect you and your details with your results.
Get the sample right!
You will need to refrain from a number of activities before taking the test. This is only so the results are as accurate as possible.
So please be prepared not to eat, drink or smoke at least 30 minutes before the test. Also, do not chew gum or brush your teeth. I would say though to stretch it out longer than this time frame.
Also, you may not want to be near anyone who is smoking.
Once you have followed the instructions you can then pack your sample and post it off.
Getting your results!
You will need to wait a while for your results to be sent to you. There is about a 6-8 weeks wait!
To get these results you will need to log into your Ancestry account that you initially set up. When your results are ready you will be sent an email from AncestryDNA.
Finding Your Ethnicity and Your Relatives
You want to take the AncestryDNA test because you are interested in where your ancestors came from. You want to know your ethnicity. And this can be done with Ancestry up to a certain level of accuracy as I mentioned before.
The scientists in the lab will take your sample and look at 700,000 markers contained within it. From these markers they will be able to help you find common ancestors that you share with distant cousins.
To find where your ancestors came from AncestryDNA has divided, or grouped, the world into 150+ regions, (it was previously 26 regions).
They have looked at the markers of many people from all over the world. This has helped them to build up a picture of what to look for within these markers and where in the world that these should appear.
Do bare in mind however though as our ancestors traveled more easily in recent times the results may not be too accurate. But it’s a pretty accurate result nonetheless.
Your Ethnicity Estimate Explained!
To find out where your ancestors come from you will be presented with a chart. This chart will give you a percentage of your ethnicity.
As the name suggests though this is an estimate. So please be warned.
Your sample and the results that you will get back will be compared to the 150 regions. So a percentage of each of these regions will be contained in your results.
You will also be able to check out an interactive map which is color-coded. This will make it easy for you to see where you came from.
One reason that I became interested in genealogy research was to find out about my cousins. Both of my parents are single children, and so I never knew of any cousins growing up.
I therefore wanted to make this connection. I found it very exciting to do this detective work!
You can find any of your distant cousins through the Ancestry DNA Matches feature. However, in order to make this connection they will obviously have to be subscribed to Ancestry and have taken the DNA test.
In order to make these connections and be matched up you will have to share your results with the Ancestry community. And likewise your cousins will have to do the same.
Even though you may not like this idea of sharing I must stress that sharing is a great way for you to go beyond your own research. I have learned a lot about my ancestry by making contact with new found cousins.
This is what genealogy is all about, the sharing of information.
However, you may not make a connection at first and this may take a while. So please be prepared for this scenario.
Ancestry DNA’s Genetic Communities!
Your Ethnicity Estimate can tell you where your ancestors came from, up to about 4 or 5 generations. This estimate will give you an older picture of your ancestry. On the other hand the Genetic Communities feature will give you a much more recent picture.
This is a helpful community of Ancestry members who share the same recent ancestors. This community is built up by the DNA matches that Ancestry has found.
Through this feature you will be able to tell the migration patterns of your ancestors as they moved around the world. This is another great way to help you further your family history research.
Ancestry’s DNA Circle!
This section of your DNA results will help you discover other living relatives. And it doesn’t matter if they took the test or not.
By searching through other Ancestry’s members family trees it can calculate whether they are a distant relative to you. It is another great way to make connections with your cousins.
How Do I Interpret My Ancestry DNA Results?
This type of testing looks at 700,000 markers as I explained earlier. Your sample is also broken down into 150 different regions of the world that Ancestry has assigned. But the results may, or may not be as you expected. And they may leave you a bit baffled as to what they actually mean.
You first need to know how Ancestry have arrived at your results. Yes they look at 700,000 markers in your DNA and assign a percentage to each of the 150 different regions of the world.
But how do you get these percentages?
Well obviously Ancestry need to have a sample to compare your results with.
To perform this comparison Ancestry have tested the DNA of 4,245 individuals. To make your results as accurate as possible the individuals must be native to one of the 26 regions.
That way they will be fairly confident that your results will be as accurate as possible. But there is also room for error. And that is also why it is called an estimate.
It is though their best shot to giving as near-accurate results as possible. And so this is why you may not get the results that you were after.
What Else Can You Do With Your Ancestry DNA Results?
Ancestry DNA is pretty impressive as you can get hints to records within their database that you didn’t know about before. There is every possible chance of this happening as they have the biggest collection of genealogical records on the planet, 8 billion and counting.
Plus, you can also get connected with distant cousins as well. This is another great way for you to break down a brick wall in your research.
But what more can you do with Ancestry DNA?
Well, in order to get more from Ancestry DNA you may want to consider asking your family to take the test as well. This way you will get more information to work with for your genealogy research.
Everyone is unique and so their results will almost certainly differ from you. Your siblings and your parents DNA will be similar as to yours but they won’t be the same.
So by them doing the test you will get different ethnicity estimates and more of an idea of where your ancestors came from.
What About Your Privacy and Is Your Information Secure?
The scientists in the lab will not be able to connect you and your personal information with your DNA test results. This is because you will be assigned an anonymous ID number. So your personal information is secure in that sense.
But in order to make connections with other Ancestry DNA members you will need to share your DNA test results, and vice versa. Despite this alarming statement you will be rest assured that only people that share a common ancestor will be able to see your results.
If you are not completely satisfied then you can request that Ancestry DNA remove your results from their database, as well as your sample.
Your results are stored within a secure third-party testing laboratory. Ancestry therefore take the security of your information very seriously.
Other Peoples Ancestry DNA Testing Reviews
So far you have learned about what Ancestry DNA has to offer and what I personally think about the testing that they provide. But you are probably wondering what do other people think of this company and whether you should also take the test as well.
Of the nearly 300 people that reviewed Ancestry DNA at DNA Testing Choice most people gave them a favorable review.
Although there were some people who were not totally satisfied. This is because they either got an estimate from a region that they totally didn’t expect, or didn’t get an estimate that they were hoping for.
This seems to be the main grumble from this small group of reviewers, apart from others who were not satisfied to wait so long for their results.
Pros and Cons
✔ Great to help you build an extensive family tree
✔ Break down brick walls
✔ Access genealogy records through Ancestry hints
✔ Get ethnicity estimates about your ancestors
✔ Get connected with distant cousins
✔ Impressive 150+ regions
❌ May receive anomaly in your DNA results
My Final Thoughts
In all, in my opinion Ancestry does what it says it does. It gives you an ethnicity estimate based on the DNA sample that you have provided. As the science improves you will get more accurate results sent to you to your Ancestry DNA account.
Please though let these further results take time. But just to let you know that you can expect them. And they can help you further with your genealogy research further down the road.
Results will obviously vary for anyone taking the test. So if you don’t get the results that you were after do not be dismayed.
There is certainly room for error with these results and some people have become perplexed with their results. This is especially true with their quite unexpected ethnicity estimate percentages. I thought that I would better tell you that.
I do suggest though that in order to make your results as accurate as possible that you do refrain from eating, drinking smoking, chewing gum or brushing your teeth at least 30 minutes before you take the test. I would though suggest maybe a bit longer than this.
Do I recommend Ancestry DNA?
Yes I do recommend AncestryDNA as it can tell you a lot about your roots. Through the results you can find out where your ancestors came from and also get hints for possible records connected to your ancestors.
Plus you can connect with distant cousins.
It is a great tool for you if you want to build an extensive family tree. So there is every chance that you will get what you are looking for with Ancestry DNA. However, this kit is not for you if you are wanting to know more about your own personal ancestry.
I wish you all the best with your genealogy research if you do decide to take the test.
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