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Ancestry

Ancestry

 3.7/5 (572 ratings)
  • 5 stars
  • 4 stars
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  • 2 stars
  • 1 stars

About Ancestry

This profile has not been claimed by the company. See reviews below to learn more or submit your own review.

Overall Satisfaction Rating

  • 5 stars
  • 4 stars
  • 3 stars
  • 2 stars
  • 1 stars

Pros

  • No membership required for DNA tests
  • Billions of historical records
  • Free accounts available

Cons

  • Pricey memberships

Bottom Line

Ancestry.com provides advanced genealogy tools and DNA testing. While memberships can be pricey, the website offers a large database that can’t be matched.

Ancestry review

Ancestry.com is a genealogy website that allows users to trace their historical and genetic genealogy using its database of more than 10 billion historical records. Ancestry.com offers mail-in DNA kits that help users identify their ethnic background and find genetic matches.

Ancestry database

Users can search the company’s ancestry database of different record types, including:

  • Census and voter lists
  • Birth, marriage and death certificates
  • Immigration and emigration travel records
  • Military records
  • Court, land, wills and financial records
  • Newspapers and periodicals

Users can also search public member stories and photos, and the company provides access to reference materials, including maps, atlases, dictionaries and encyclopedias.

Family trees

You can start a family tree on Ancestry.com for free, but you need a paid membership for full access to hints and world records. The company’s hints provide recommended relatives and additional information about names already on your tree, including photos and historical records. You can upload your photos, stories, audio and video to your tree to keep a full family record and help build the ancestry network for other users.

Ancestry.com membership

The website offers three paid membership levels: U.S. Discovery, World Explorer and All Access.

  • U.S. Discovery: U.S. Discovery is the most affordable of the three plans and gives members access to the full collection of U.S. records on Ancestry.com. With the membership, you can connect with other members, ask for help and share hints. Members also get access to advanced search tools and Ancestry.com hints, plus the ability to upload photos and stories and access to Ancestry’s collections of African American and Jewish family histories.
  • World Explorer: The World Explorer membership includes everything from the U.S. Discovery level and adds unlimited access to more research material, including international birth, marriage, death, census and military records. These records date back as far back as the 16th century for more than 80 countries outside of the U.S. This is a popular choice for people looking to trace their family’s immigration story — it includes access to detailed immigration records, including passenger lists and border crossing documents.
  • All Access: All Access is the most comprehensive level of membership and includes everything from the U.S. Discovery and World Explorer levels. It also provides basic subscriptions to Newspapers.com and Fold3, which contains more than 500 million military records.

Ancestry cost

You can choose to pay monthly or buy a six-month membership at a reduced rate. 

PlanMonthly cost6-month membership
U.S. Discovery$19.99$99
World Explorer$34.99$149
All Access$44.99$199

Ancestry.com DNA kit

Ancestry.com’s mail-in DNA kits are one of the company’s most popular features. AncestryDNA kits cost $99, but the company often offers them for sale for as low as $59. You do not have to purchase an Ancestry.com membership to purchase a DNA test and receive your results.

Once you receive your DNA kit, you activate the kit online, provide a small saliva sample and mail it back to Ancestry.com in the provided secure box. Ancestry.com processes the test in the company's lab, which typically takes six to eight weeks.

ancestry ethnicity estimate
Ethnicity estimate
Ancestry family tree
Family tree
ancestry photos and handwritten documents
Photos and handwritten documents
ancestry immigration paths
Ancestor immigration paths

Ancestry FAQ

How accurate is AncestryDNA?
According to their website, AncestryDNA measures and analyzes more than 700,000 locations of a person’s genome. DNA samples are held to quality standards that ensure the tests generate accurate results. As the company’s database grows and new information is discovered, users may receive updated results with additional information.
How long does AncestryDNA kit take to arrive?
Your DNA kit should arrive within 10 business days.
How long does AncestryDNA take?
Processing the kit can take six to eight weeks or more at peak demand times.
Can you return an unopened AncestryDNA kit?
The company does refund kits if you cancel within 30 days of purchase, but it charges a $25 cancellation fee. You do not need to return the kit.

Ancestry Reviews

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Page 1 Reviews 0 - 5
Rated with 5 stars
Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 5, 2021

I think this is a good site. Because there are a lot of adopted children that don't know where they come from. And it's a way for them to find out who they are. It also help people from slavery time when they were taken from their families and didn't know who their aunts and uncles and siblings were. And even the ones who were artificially inseminated and want to find their genealogy. It's some many great things that happens when you know who you are. I encourage everyone to know where they come and who they are. You never know you may be kin to your neighbor and spend decades unaware. Take this opportunity to know you. You won't be disappointed.

2 people found this review helpful
Rated with 4 stars
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Feb. 27, 2021

Ancestry is a good site. However there are better sites that have maybe a more accurate person to person connection. I am a niece to my uncle however ancestry states my uncle is my cousin. It does this in many relationships where I am absolutely POSITIVE of the relationship. I have heard 23andMe is more accurate in this sense. And when researching your heritage that relationship notification is important. Other than that the site is fairly straightforward to use. I do wish that the different ancestry sites shared information with each other. But I suppose if they did they wouldn’t make any money. So don’t be surprised if you do not match up to a family member if you use one testing site and they use another. You must use the same testing site to compare your DNA. But that’s true on all testing sites. It’s a lot of fun and I’m glad I did it.

4 people found this review helpful

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    Rated with 5 stars
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Feb. 19, 2021

    I was given an ancestry DNA kit as a father's day present, from my daughter in June 2019. I had been wondering who my biological father was, ever since I reached adulthood. However, I did not want to hurt my mother, by searching for my father. I was raised by my mother and my maternal grandfather, who did a phenomenal job in raising me and my siblings. However, I still had that urge to find out who my father was. My wonderful, beautiful mother passed away, and my urge to find my father increased; however, I still thought it would be disrespectful to my mother if I tried to find my father. So, two years after my mother passed, my daughter surprised me and gave me a DNA kit from ancestry. I still felt guilty and did not open the kit for a week, but my wife opened the kit and convinced me to submit a sample. I am so happy that I did. ☺

    The process was so, so simple. Ancestry kept me informed and updated on each step of the process. The process was also more expedient than I had thought. I submitted my sample in late June and by late July, I had results, and by early August, I had found my father. Unfortunately, he had passed away, but I found that I had 3 living siblings: 2 sisters and 1 brother. I was also surprised when I made contact with them and they welcomed me. Although they had absolutely no idea that our father had fathered another child, they were receptive to me. They initially were in shock and asked me to send them pictures of me. As soon as they received my pictures, they called me and told me that they needed no additional DNA testing, beautiful I looked as if my father and I were twins. They sent me pictures of our father and when I saw the pictures, I thought I was looking at myself.

    We live hundreds of miles apart in three different states; but agreed on a mutual state, convenient to each of us, and met and hung out for a weekend. We met up a month later, in their and our father's home state and city. They took me to our father's gravesite and they took me around and introduced me to other family members, as well as to our father's hangouts. My siblings provided me with numerous pictures of our father, as well as many of his treasured, personal belongings, such as his barber's clippers, his favorite hat, his death certificate, etc.. My wife bought me a curio cabinet for me to put those items in, and the cabinet is permanently established in my office of our home.

    My siblings and I have bonded and we now share a close relationship with each other; we talk on the phone, by text messaging, or video call about 4 to 5 times a week. We love each other! I could go on and on about my satisfaction with ancestry, but I'll stop now with my final comments of thank you Ancestry; if you are searching for a part of your life/yourself and have not tried Ancestry, look no more! Find the missing pieces of yourself with Ancestry!

    3 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 5 stars
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Feb. 18, 2021

    You need to do your research about what the DNA test can and cannot do. Ancestry's is super easy to do (you just spit in a tube and mail it off) and you can track the progress over the course of several weeks as they process it. I'm very familiar with my family's background going back to the 1600's, so I wasn't expecting any real surprises with this. However, there were multiple interesting bits of information that point to where my ancestors came from. If you give them permission, they will also publish your results so that others using the service can see your results. This potentially could help track down close relatives that you may not even know about.

    2 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 4 stars
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Feb. 15, 2021

    There is no definite numbers on the areas they say you are from. In Europe, just example i.e.: percentage 20 to 40 percent European, French etc.. In my case my father was full blooded Italian-mother & father but the number for Italian DNA is very, very low. That low a number doesn't seem correct. I sent an email to Ancestry but no response about the Italian issue but next update from them suddenly they show Italian as 4 or 6 percent. They also don't mention Crevisa in Northern Italy by the Swiss border where a street is named after my family. My husband found the town etc on his computer fairly easily. My latest update said I was 4% Scottish? Huh? Where did that come from? Be very careful about the truth & percentages they give you, I'm now suspicious of anything I'm told by Ancestry or any other of these services.

    10 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Oct. 13, 2021

    Do not use the site. Cancelled my membership before the 2 week trial ended, a month later they charged me for the account I Cancelled, 2 weeks later I am still waiting for my refund. All I can say is "Buyer Beware". I will not recommend this product to anyone. MyHeritage is so much better

    Be the first one to find this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Oct. 3, 2021

    Unhelpful and dismissive of my enquiries. Overpriced. You are being scammed out of your money and receiving not much in return. They trick you into a full subscription of $140 with a “free trial” and automatically deduct from account will not have any association with this website or any other websites, etc from this company. Customer service super unhelpful and just a money making endeavour on their behalf.

    Be the first one to find this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Sept. 21, 2021

    Someone has gotten into my family tree and made a number of incorrect changes. When I called Ancestry.com, I was told that anyone has access to making changes and that I could contact the other party but I had to subscribe ($20/month) to do so. Ridiculous amount of money to pay. And there is zero quality control. What their information offers is last in/first out. One idiot can sabotage hundreds of family trees with misinformation. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY!!

    2 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 3 stars
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Sept. 20, 2021

    They renewed subscription 9/17. 9/20 I called because I hit the end of the line on research. I was told that the money was nonrefundable. I said I was blasting them on social media and immediately they gave me a full refund. So heads up.

    Be the first one to find this review helpful
    Rated with 5 stars
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Aug. 9, 2021

    After using ancestry.com I only had a nickname to go by to find my real father. It took 44 years but after using this product it took a little while but after some detective work by my wife. I found my biological father and sat down with him for lunch. Thanks to this my dream came true.

    Be the first one to find this review helpful
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    AncestryDNA results

    AncestryDNA results include an ethnicity estimate, DNA stories, DNA matches, ThruLines and DNA traits.

    Ethnicity Estimates

    Your ethnicity estimate shows you where your ancestors came from over the past 600 - 1,000 years. Your results are broken up into ethnic regions and communities found in your DNA from largest contributor to smallest.

    Ancestry.com points out that it’s important to remember that the true genetics of a region are often influenced by migration patterns. This means your English ethnicity estimate could include traces of Scandanavian and Western European if your ancestors originated in those regions and migrated to England.

    Your DNA Story

    Once you’re matched with regions, you can explore the history and migration patterns of the people in those areas to get a better picture of what life was like for your ancestors. Ancestry.com’s historical database also provides context for why your ancestors migrated when they did.

    Ancestry.com also groups people by how they arrived in the U.S., which allows users to trace their lineage to Ellis Island and beyond by looking at the provided communities, such as Northeastern State Settlers. The company allows you to track movement down to an individual ancestor if enough information exists in its database.

    DNA matches

    ancestry dna matches

    Ancestry.com also provides a DNA matching feature. This service is particularly useful for adopted children seeking to find a biological connection and don’t know where to start. The company matches you with other people who have taken an AncestryDNA test. Your DNA matches show up with the level of connection — such as parent/child or second cousin — and whether the connection is from your maternal or paternal line, if known.

    Once you’re matched with someone, you can view your shared DNA matches, send them messages and view their family tree, if they’ve made it public. The ThruLines feature searches the sizable collection of Ancestry.com trees and suggests how you may be related to DNA matches through common ancestors.

    DNA traits 

    ancestry dna traits

    Ancestry.com added AncestryDNA traits to its service lineup in 2018. The feature gives users into how their DNA influences appearance, sensory and nutrition traits. Many users are interested in nutrition traits because they let you learn how your DNA affects the way your body processes vitamins and other nutrients. You can also compare your traits to your DNA matches.

    Appearance traits

    • Facial hair thickness
    • Birth weight
    • Wisdom teeth
    • Cleft chin
    • Finger length
    • Earlobe type
    • Earwax type
    • Eye color
    • Freckles
    • Hair color
    • Hair type
    • Hair strand thickness
    • Iris patterns
    • Male hair loss
    • Skin pigmentation
    • Unibrow

    Sensory traits

    • Sun sneezing
    • Asparagus metabolite detection
    • Bitter sensitivity
    • Cilantro aversion
    • Sweetness sensitivity
    • Savory (umami) sensitivity

    Nutrition traits

    • Omega-3
    • Vitamin C
    • Vitamin D
    • Vitamin E

    Do we recommend Ancestry.com?

    Yes. If you’d like to research your genealogy, build a family tree or discover your ethnic background, Ancestry.com is a powerful tool. You can begin your family tree for free, but you’re limited in the number of records you can search without a paid membership. The AncestryDNA test does not require a membership, and you have access to your results forever.