AncestryDNA Test Reviews: Pros, Cons, And A Personal Account

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Old family photoAre you interested in having your DNA tested to find answers to your family’s lineage? The AncestryDNA test can give you a breakdown of regions in the world where your ancestors lived, help connect you with living relatives and assist you in filling in your family tree.

Ancestry.com is the most popular genealogical research tool online, and its DNA testing service merits serious consideration. Check out our AncestryDNA test reviews to see how this autosomal DNA test can help you uncover your heritage and read a firsthand experience using the product.Ancestry DNA logo

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Article Overview

 AncestryDNA

Compared To Other Tests

AncestryDNA

4.6 / 5
AncestryDNA
DNA Tests Offered 4.3
Storage & Privacy Policy 4.8
Pricing 4.3
Online Community 5.0
Customer Support 4.8

Pros

  • Competitive pricing for autosomal DNA test
  • Largest DNA database by far — 10+ million people
  • Provides ancestry ethnicity estimates for 500 global regions
  • CLIA and CAP certified laboratory (third-party lab)
  • Reliable security for DNA test samples and results
  • Excellent online community forums and customer service
  • Stores your DNA sample indefinitely
  • Can connect with genetic matches via anonymous email and Ancestry.com message boards
  • Discover what your DNA tells you about 26 different physical traits (lactose intolerance, earlobe type, male hair loss, etc.)

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer separate Y-DNA or mtDNA testing
  • Can’t upload DNA data from other services
  • No chromosome browser available to compare shared chromosomal segments
  • Those tested must opt-in so that other users can see their results, meaning you may not be able to see all your matches

AncestryDNA Key Features

  • They analyze more than 700,000 genetic markers from your saliva sample
  • Database of 10 million DNA samples
  • Get ethnicity results from 500+ regions around the world
  • Access to millions of family trees — read our Ancestry.com genealogy software review
  • Largest online community when compared to similar services
  • Helps you pinpoint where your recent ancestors lived in North America and where they migrated from
  • New AncestryDNA Traits: Discover what your DNA tells you about 26 different physical traits (lactose intolerance, earlobe type, male hair loss, etc.) for an added fee. If you’ve already taken the AncestryDNA test, you can order this analysis without doing an additional test.

AncestryDNA Pricing

  • $79 DNA testing kit (saliva sample)
  • $14.99 AncestryDNA Traits (no additional DNA test needed)
  • $9.95 shipping
  • Get results in 6-8 weeks

AncestryDNA Coupon

AncestryDNA often has time-sensitive coupons. Click here to take advantage of any offers.

AncestryDNA Review: A Personal Account

Here is a firsthand account by Melissa Vickers who recently took the AncestryDNA test alongside her husband. We hope you will agree that her story is fascinating and inspiring!

This past Christmas my oldest daughter, who is 7 years old, was asking about our family heritage. My husband and I were curious as well and decided to try one of those DNA tests where you can spit in a tube or use a cheek swab to collect your DNA sample. We were not looking for anything too complicated or expensive.

There’s a ton of research out there about different tests and the information they can provide. Do your homework and make your own choice (we used this website to pick which company was the best for us). We were looking primarily for heritage and ancestry-related information and not so much chromosomal or medical genetic info. We also talked to a few friends who had done their DNA tests and were really happy and surprised with the results.

Why Did We Choose AncestryDNA?

The entire process was super easy and painless. We went online, ordered the kits, and within a few days they arrived. The instructions were simple.

  1. Activate your DNA kit on the website.
  2. Spit in the tube.
  3. Affix the appropriate labels.
  4. Stick the self-addressed stamped box back in the mail.
  5. Within days, we each received an email letting us know that our samples had been received and we could expect our results within 4 to 6 weeks.

In Less Than 4 Weeks, Our Results Were In

There were no major surprises in my husband’s result. He knows that most of his mother’s family is from Scotland, but he didn’t know much about his father’s side. The most interesting tidbit from his results is that small fraction of Melanesian DNA. It Looks like somebody somewhere got in trouble and spent a little time “down under.”

Ancestry DNA screenshot

My Results, On The Other Hand, Had A Few Surprises…

Ancestry DNA screenshot

I was born in La Paz, Bolivia, to a Bolivian mother and Argentinian father. My maiden name was Piscitelli, and I was told that my grandfather emigrated from Italy to Family photo of older manArgentina sometime in the early 20th century. Like most folks, I never questioned what I was told about my heritage.

Turns out I’m 32% Native American — from South America, of course. The next largest percentage is 28% and this is where the surprise came from… European Jewish! Say what?! The next largest percentage is 22% Iberian, which also makes sense. But let’s go back to the European Jewish! Where did that come from?

After a little intrafamily detective work, it looks like the previously unknown European Jewish connection is my grandfather on my father’s side. He is no longer alive, so I can’t just go and ask him, but it’s really neat to think about all the people and circumstances that had to come together to make me.

What’s crazy to think about is that sometime in the recent past, someone wasn’t necessarily telling the truth of who they were or where they came from. And for 40 years, I have thought I was part Bolivian and part Italian, when, in reality, I’m part Bolivian and part Jewish! What a revelation.

Is the AncestryDNA Test Worth It?

It became obvious pretty quickly in the process that the folks at Ancestry were setting us up for an, “under promise and over deliver” service experience. They met or exceeded each of the expectations about deadlines we were provided. My husband received his results a day earlier than mine, which is interesting because I sent mine in a day earlier. The hardest part was wondering how long it would take before my results would become available. But overall the customer experience was awesome!!

Now when I think of my ancestors, I not only envision a long line of South American Indians, but many other people and their unique stories that are all an integral part of who I am. I would highly recommend that anyone who is slightly curious about who they are and where they come from, to take the plunge and do a DNA test, with AncestryDNA or any other highly reviewed DNA company. 

I would definitely say that the AncestryDNA test is worth it. And if you decide to buy it at certain times of the year, I’ve heard that AncestryDNA offers coupons and discounts. Such a wealth of information and what a great gift to be able to pass along to the generations yet to come.

What’s the Buzz Online About AncestryDNA?

So, what do AncestryDNA customers have to say about their services and results? As part of our AncestryDNA kit reviews, we compiled both positive and negative feedback from users we found around the web. See below for a sample of our findings.

Positive Reviews

I originally bought the DNA kit out of ethnicity curiosity only to find my dad’s biological family. My dad was adopted and we spend years looking for his real family. I found out his biological family was looking for him too! I connected with a first cousin and discovered his mom and my dad were siblings! Beautiful and unexpected surprise that brought life changing events and happiness! – Mildred R., Trustpilot 3/24/2019

I had recently had a DNA done on a close family member, and realized we weren’t blood related. Spoke with Ancestry staff & their supervisor regarding such a delicate fragile situation. I was very impressed with their kindness & how they handled such a delicate scenario. Regardless of the outcome I needed to address this issue to this person delicately. It was stuff, but eventually went well. This doesn’t change the outcome we both agreed that I’m her only father & and she is my daughter. This has both made us stronger. Kudos to Ancestry.com. – Guadalupe V., BBB 12/10/2018

Negative Reviews

I received notice that my DNA results were ready to be viewed. I attempted to open my results several times. I received numerous messages that my password was wrong. I changed my password several times until I received an acceptable combination. and was still denied access! I wrote a letter to AncestryDNA requesting a hard copy be made and sent to my address. Still waiting and no response!! – Edward K., Trustpilot 3/26/2019

Ancestry.com customer service is terrible. After receiving notification that my results were ready I was disappointed to find that all I have are my ethnicity percentages and no migration map. After spending an hour on the phone with customer service basically talking in circles I was told an error report had been sent in and to continue to check my map for changes. There was no change. I called customer service again and after another hour on the phone I was informed that no report was ever formed, but not to worry she had completed one for me. When I asked to speak to a supervisor I was told there were none available to speak with me. She said she was sending a confirmation email to me on the error report of which I stated I would like to stay on the phone until the email is received, she repeatedly said she could not guarantee when the email would arrive (even though it had been sent) and eventually hung up on me. – Anne K., BBB 3/14/2019

AncestryDNA Competitors

Here’s a quick look at the key difference between AncestryDNA and its top competition.

AncestryDNA vs 23andMe

  • AncestryDNA’s database has 10 million people compared to 23andMe, which has 5 million people.
  • 23andMe’s genealogical community forums are lacking compared to AncestryDNA’s.
  • Easier to connect with genetic matches on AncestryDNA versus 23andMe.

See all the differences between AncestryDNA and 23andMe

AncestryDNA vs Family Tree DNA

  • Family Tree DNA’s database is just over 1 million people, quite a bit smaller than AncestryDNA’s.
  • Family Tree DNA offers separate Autosomal DNA and in-depth Y-DNA and mtDNA tests, while AncestryDNA does not.

AncestryDNA vs MyHeritage

  • You can upload your raw DNA results from AncestryDNA, 23andMe and FamilyTree DNA to MyHeritage’s database. AncestryDNA doesn’t allow you to upload other companies’ results.
  • Ancestry.com’s DNA database is much larger than MyHeritage.

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. Check out this video to learn more about their DNA analysis.

Final Verdict: Where Does AncestryDNA’s Test Shine?

Visit AncestryDNA’s Website

If you’re searching for living relatives or trying to fill in gaps in your family tree, AncestryDNA’s testing services is a top choice. Why? Ancestry.com’s DNA database is massive, so you’re more likely to find DNA matches with others who’ve tested with their service.

They also have an extensive database of historical records to help you trace your ancestors. If you’re looking for health-related results, AncestryDNA doesn’t offer those. But from an ancestry standpoint, this test is one of the best. See how they stack up against other best DNA ancestry tests.

Would you encourage others to use AncestryDNA’s test?

About The Author:

An international traveler since she was under 10 years old, Sally loves exploring the world’s mysteries first hand. Her favorite destinations? Greece and the British Virgin Islands. She grew up learning to question, explore, and discover new things and ideas — it’s probably why she went into journalism as a career! She loves what the Internet has brought to research and exploration, but she still hits the ground to travel whenever she gets the chance.

Disclaimer: The information provided through this website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.

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Sharon S
You mention a con as separate Y-DNA or mtDNA testing not being offered. What is Y-DNA and what is mtDNA testing?
Alex Schenker (Admin)
Hi Sharon, both males and females can take an mtDNA test, which reveals your direct maternal line ancestry. MtDNA is passed down from mother to child each generation.

The Y-DNA test on the other, hand, is only for males, since only males carry the Y-chromosome (so women won’t benefit from taking this test). A Y-DNA test traces direct male-line ancestry — son to father to grandfather and so on. Women can learn something from this test by having a brother, father, paternal grandfather, paternal uncle or a male cousin (your father’s brother’s son) take a test for you.

In our main DNA article we have a section on the types of DNA tests offered that gives a more in-depth explanation.