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Ever wonder what mysteries lurk within your family tree? You might be surprised at what you can dig up about your roots and how fun Ancestry.com makes genealogy research. The most well-known genealogy website, Ancestry.com lives up to its high-profile reputation. This company placed first in our best genealogy software online comparison review and second in our best DNA ancestry test comparison review.
In 2012 private equity firm Permira acquired Ancestry.com for an impressive $1.6 billion. And in April 2016, Ancestry.com received a $1 billion investment from Silver Lake and GIC. Obviously, genealogy research pays off!! We give you an in-depth Ancestry.com review to help you see if it’s the right path for your genealogical journey. We’ve broken this article down into two ancestry review sections —the first explores Ancestry.com’s genealogy research offerings, and in the second section, we review Ancestry DNA testing.
Ancestry Review (Genealogy)
Ancestry’s abundance of features far surpasses what its competitors offer. Their historical records top 16 billion—much more than any other site.
Ancestry Key Features
- User-friendly Card Catalog that allows you to filter searches by collection, location, dates, and languages
- In-house professional genealogists for hire to help you with research
- My Shoebox tool: a place to store records from your searches
- Highly active social media presence including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr
- AncestryDNA: discover your genetic ethnicity and locate new family members with their advanced DNA autosomal testing technology (see next section for our Ancestry DNA reviews)
PricingAncestry.com offers a 14 Day Free Trial, click here to take advantage of this offer.
U.S. Discovery Plan: access to all of their U.S. records
- $19.99 per month
- $99 for 6-month membership
World Explorer Plan: access to all of their U.S. and international records
- $34.99 per month
- $149 for 6-month membership
World Explorer Plus: access to all records on Ancestry.com, Newspapers.com and Fold3.com (a fun and helpful U.S. military genealogy website)
- $44.99 per month
- $199 for 6-month membership
Ancestry.com offers AncestryDNA testing as a separate feature on its website. While the parent site came in at number one in our rankings for overall genealogy research, one of Ancestry.com competitors (FamilyTree DNA) beat them out of the top spot for best DNA ancestry test, primarily because Ancestry DNA suspended its offerings of Y-DNA and mtDNA testing, which FTDNA still offers. Still, AncestryDNA was our number two pick for best DNA ancestry test.
Ancestry DNA Key Features
- They analyze your saliva sample at more than 700,000 genetic markers
- Database of 3 million DNA samples
- Access to millions of family trees
- Largest online community when compared to similar services
- New Genetics Communities feature helps you pinpoint where your recent ancestors lived in North America and where they migrated from
- $99 DNA testing kit (saliva sample)
- $9.95 shipping
- Get results in 6-8 weeks
Ancestry DNA Coupon
AncestryDNA often has time-sensitive coupons, find and share them here!
What’s the Buzz About Ancestry.com?
We did some digging of our own around the web to see what customer feedback we could unearth about Ancestry.com. Here’s a sampling of Ancestry.com reviews by real users.
Positive Ancestry Reviews
I’ve been involved doing family research for over twenty years. I’ve used most of the available sites on-line, and have found Ancestry.com to be the best of these. It has proven to be indispensable [sic] in my research. They are continually working to improve it and add features. It’s relatively easy for anyone to use – whether you’re a beginner or an expert. I definitely recommend it to anyone who is serious about genealogy. – Susan M., TrustPilot.com, 6/9/2015
I started with Family Tree Maker and have been using Ancestry.com for years. I find it to be well worth the money and have found lots of info on my family. I guess if you expect something for nothing you might not be happy with it. I will continue using it for years to come. – Ardelle G., SiteJabber.com, 5/20/2015
Negative Ancestry Reviews
Don’t even waste your time and money on this service. I’m certain the DNA I sent in wasn’t even tested, they just did a name search on my maternal grandfather (the only family member I listed) and put in the ethnicities found associated with it. My test results are absolutely incorrect. My maternal grandmother is a very specific (and full-blooded) ethnicity and it didn’t even come up, only the ones associated with my grandfather’s name. I completely wasted my money! – Stacy B., TrustPilot.com, 1/21/2017
My warning to others is that if you sign up for the free trial, ensure you set a reminder/alert on your calendar to go cancel it. I never received notification that I was about to be charged the $50 monthly subscription fee. First off, way overpriced. Second, most service sites that have trials like this will notify prior to ending it/charging you. – Dave, ConsumerAffairs.com, 2/11/2015
What Can You Find From Your DNA?
One of Ancestry.com’s most exciting features is the ability to have your DNA analyzed, allowing you to drill down into your family history (if you can trust DNA tests after reading Anna’s comment above!). Check out this video to learn more about their DNA analysis.
Why Pay for Research When You Can Do it for Free?
You can only get so far in your research with free websites, say experts. And most free sites don’t give you the advanced tools you get with Ancestry.com. Yes, free online genealogy websites help get you started, but statistics show that paid sites can take you the distance. GenealogyInTime Magazine conducted a study of the top 100 genealogy websites and found that website traffic for paid services accounted for 56% of all traffic, compared to 44% for free sites. If you’re serious about tracking down your ancestry and want to do it right, Ancestry.com is an excellent choice.
Have you uncovered any family mysteries using Ancestry.com or other genealogy tools?