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.
- No membership required for DNA tests
- Billions of historical records
- Free accounts available
- Pricey memberships
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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.
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.
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.
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.
You can choose to pay monthly or buy a six-month membership at a reduced rate.
|Plan||Monthly cost||6-month membership|
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.
Photos and handwritten documents
Ancestor immigration paths
- 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.
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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.
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.
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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!
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.
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.
The new system for conducting family research is really horrible. It causes information to be changed constantly. It made tracing genealogy go from being an enjoyable past time to a frustrating constant battle not to lose information. If, like me, you have spent years and even decades compiling your genealogy on Ancestry.com and you're contemplating rejoining Ancestry.com, I advise you to "let sleeping dogs lie". Better to maintain what data you've already collected than risk losing information through a horrible new system. I would give the old system 4 stars (some disparity between Family Search information and what comes up in "Hints" on Ancestry.com but otherwise fairly stellar). The new system just doesn't work.
Long time user with a paid All Access subscription for many years. For the past year the website has gone downhill. Frequent time outs, functions returning not available, having to refresh pages multiple times just to get data to show. Gets even worst during busy times. Recent changes to the hint system add more steps to saving records and facts, was pulled for a few weeks so I decided to renew my annual subscription, now the hints change is back and I am considering on canceling my subscription. The change also broke facts tab, where possible alternate names are no long visible, unable to tell if I have entered them, or if they are used in a search or even if saved. 6 am in the morning and no way to get support or leave feedback. Support phone opens at 9 am, web chat doesn't work, no email contact option.
A waste of money. My family is eastern European and taken by the Nazis. Ancestry has no information in this area. Ancestry is unable to pinpoint a specific area but instead said more than 80% from a huge area. Already knew this. Wanted more detail. The DNA matches were very remote. I sent two messages via Ancestry and did not receive a response. Go to ** if this is your area. They have tons more information and resources at no charge.
I like the website and love that they are so detailed. What I don't love is they have documents you can't view without paying money. How can I be sure you are putting down my grandfather on my page if I can't view his photo all cause I don't wanna pay money.
I call them once a month looking for results on my DNA test and they say the same thing every time. “There’s nothing we can do about that to speed up the process”. 4 months is ridiculous, at this point I want a refund so I can buy with a different company. But they can’t help me with anything. I wouldn’t recommend buying from them whatsoever!!!
AncestryDNA results include an ethnicity estimate, DNA stories, DNA matches, ThruLines and DNA traits.
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.
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.
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.
- Facial hair thickness
- Birth weight
- Wisdom teeth
- Cleft chin
- Finger length
- Earlobe type
- Earwax type
- Eye color
- Hair color
- Hair type
- Hair strand thickness
- Iris patterns
- Male hair loss
- Skin pigmentation
- Sun sneezing
- Asparagus metabolite detection
- Bitter sensitivity
- Cilantro aversion
- Sweetness sensitivity
- Savory (umami) sensitivity
- 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.
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