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Ancestry

Ancestry
Overall Satisfaction Rating 1.04/5
  • 5 stars
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    1
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    46
Based on 47 ratings submitted in the last year
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    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.

    PROS

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

    CONS

    • Pricey memberships

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        Are you this business?

        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 1 - 10
        Rated with 1 star
        Verified Reviewer
        Original review: Jan. 14, 2020

        Please Beware of this DNA testing, they want to say EVERYONE Is from England and they truly botched up my family. Their connections told me my mother is not only a man, but my third cousin... on my father's side. NEITHER IS TRUE! Also they took my Native American daughter and lumped her in with the rest of us. I sent them a picture of this OBVIOUSLY ethnic girl and they finally quit defending their bogus test. I don't feel our DNA ever went to an actual lab. They are crooks in my opinion. Please don't waste your money or ruin your holidays by gifting or getting this done. So infuriating, and someone needs to seek some lawyers on this.

        3 people found this review helpful
        Rated with 1 star
        profile pic of the author
        Verified Reviewer
        Original review: Jan. 3, 2020

        First I tried the DNA test, and the first results came back as expected, I am many German. Then they revised the results, now I'm English, something that would shock my half German grandmother. Being interested in my family history I signed up for a premium version of this site. Big mistake. It is almost impossible to clearly search for an ancestor. Even when you set for an exact search, most of the time nothing shows up even though if you broaden the search suddenly your ancestor shows up. Or, as in one case I traced an ancestor to Central Indiana in 1936. It is known she was in California in 1967, but cannot be found.

        And other cases, two great uncles, brothers, an entry by someone not in the family failed to include their youngest sister, who happened to be my grand mother. And a first cousin once removed was listed as have only one daughter, born in 1947. The other, born in 1951 and a high school classmate fails to show. And the original poster do not correct the date when pointed out the them. If the annual fee was $25.00 this site might be worth the price. However $198.00 a year it robbery. I did cancel my account before being charged.

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        2 people found this review helpful

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          Are you this business?
          Rated with 1 star
          Verified Reviewer
          Original review: Dec. 27, 2019

          I did a DNA kit test that my mom had bought me for Christmas. I set it up. Was getting all the notifications to my phone. Received my test results and then a couple days after my results came in I no longer could log in and see my results. They were gone. I have tried and tried to send emails with no response. They don’t respond and say my question has expired. I called the customer service line, talked to a Steve and he continually told me if I couldn’t remember the email account I used to sign it up he couldn’t help me. I know which email I used. I have my kit number but all he could do was file an error report and someone would contact me. I would not recommend this kit to anyone. Go somewhere else. These people are useless and their customer service sucks!!!

          2 people found this review helpful
          Rated with 1 star
          profile pic of the author
          Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
          Original review: Dec. 21, 2019

          It was Black Friday, I was video calling my family and we started talking about our heritage. My family has mixed appearances, some have blue eyes, very light skin while others have darker skins and brown/honey eyes. So we wondered what origins we had. I went online to look for a DNA test and found this was on 50% sale. I said to myself: why the hell not. Then I got it and got my entire family a bit hyped about it. I know some 700 years back in my family's history. We are Middle Eastern, my father's side came from the region of Syria/Lebanon/Palestine. Neither my father's nor mother's side has any history (AT ALL) remotely related to anything in Africa. Anyone with any basic knowledge about history knows how the area has one of the most mixed races on the entire planet given how many wars and migrations happened to and from the area. Therefore, a DNA test would be extremely helpful to breakdown what your DNA carries... Or so I've thought.

          The results came in and it says 98% Middle East and 2% Senegal (seriously). I was shocked when I first viewed it. I started looking for good 1 hour before I realized that was all they provided. Yes, they have over 800 locations to "scan" against in Europe, and yet still mark the ENTIRE MIDDLE EAST as ONE GEOLOGICAL region. Yes, the most racially mixed region of the world is considered as ONE ETHNICITY. The Senegal part was shocking at first, then I read that they actually slip in African results in many DNA test takers, so they probably decided to do so for me. I mean, I wouldn't be shocked if it actually gave anything that's remotely possible, but Senegal? Really? I'm a Middle Eastern guy who paid $60 (tax and shipping included) to be told I am... Middle Eastern. At best this is a scam. Stay away and I hope this review keeps anyone reading it from getting scammed like I was.

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          3 people found this review helpful
          Rated with 1 star
          Verified Reviewer
          Original review: Dec. 9, 2019

          More than two years ago, I paid Ancestry.com $100 to provide me with my ethnic history using a DNA saliva sample they collected from me. 1 month later, I received my results. In November 2019, I received an “update” from them with COMPLETELY different ethnical results! I wasted countless hours doing research with the WRONG data they provided. When I contacted them, they blamed “available technology” and refused to do anything about the issue. Unacceptable service... This unethical, and very shady, and should not be tolerated by anyone. I would NOT recommend this company to anyone. Also noteworthy, this company was founded in Lehi, UT - also very sketchy!

          4 people found this review helpful
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          Rated with 1 star
          Verified Reviewer
          Original review: Nov. 20, 2019

          I did my DNA test with AncestryDNA and I was told I was 45% Cameroonian. This was the case for 2 whole years after my results. I have a trip planned to Cameroon next year because of the large percentage I decided to visit the country with pride and a sense of belonging. Yesterday I received a update email stating I'm now 45% Nigerian and 30% Cameroonian. My first results of 2 years showed me to be 5% Nigerian! FRAUD!!! DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY.

          6 people found this review helpful
          Rated with 1 star
          Verified Reviewer
          Original review: Nov. 16, 2019

          Can't find family on dad's side include dad's correct information. Not even my info is not correct. Has my mother's birth date and death date wrong. Maybe that is why they can't find anyone. Tried for 3 months to get help from Ancestry to correct info. Talked with one person (actually may have been a computer) and then they never contacted back. This company is a joke and should be investigated. They now have my DNA. Will it show up somewhere else. UMMM Who Knows. Don't use this company.

          6 people found this review helpful
          Rated with 1 star
          Verified Reviewer
          Original review: Nov. 16, 2019

          My great aunt was given the Ancestry DNA test kit as a gift. Her mother was BORN IN CHEROKEE, NC AND WAS 100 percent Native American. However, her DNA showed ONLY EUROPEAN HERITAGE! We laughed like hell!!!! DON'T WASTE YOUR CASH - I (or any politician) can lie to you. WAY CHEAPER THAN THE COST OF A BOGUS DNA TEST!!!

          3 people found this review helpful
          Rated with 1 star
          Verified Reviewer
          Original review: Nov. 7, 2019

          Signed up for one month to confirm results made by another DNA lab, results were the same so I canceled the account only to find Ancestry debited my account for another month. Contacted Ancestry by phone (what a experience). Automated system could not find my account even after submitting 3X. Finally was transferred to someone who claims he couldn't find my cancellation, which was confirmed by an email from Ancestry trying to keep me active (save this email, you will need it). After 18 minutes on the phone I was given a confirmation number that confirms my account being cancelled... (TBD).

          2 people found this review helpful
          Rated with 1 star
          profile pic of the author
          Verified Reviewer
          Original review: Oct. 16, 2019

          Well, today I came very close to ending my membership with Ancestry.com. I have been a customer since the very beginning. Just so you all know-currently when you share a tree on the platform within Ancestry.com, it probably is not going to the person you want to share with. Over the past 10 days I shared 10 trees-some of them the same tree, some of them different trees. NO ONE, not one got an invite from Ancestry.com to join the tree. NOT ONE.

          On Saturday I spent 90 minutes on hold trying to get it resolved (I help a lot of people get started on their trees, and I use ancestry to share it-usually its easy that way. Especially if they have DNA there). After waiting on hold for 90 minutes-customer service disconnected me. On Monday I tried the corporate office-no one answering the phone there on Monday (Columbus Day must be an observed Holiday in the corp offices). So TODAY I was going to get through. (IN between I had emailed, and messaged via facebook-got some seriously comical responses too).

          Today I got a human-Brea-she had no comprehension of the issue and could not grasp the problem-so she put me on hold for 35 minutes and disappeared and finally disconnected me. So I called back (fuming this time) and I got Austin. Went through the issue for the 25th time- he looked at the account and said it wasn't possible!! REALLY people? I pay for the World Access Account, $400 annually. I think I am at my breaking point. Maybe its time to delete my trees and go to a company that actually wants my business. Does anyone else feel this way?

          Their idea of customer service is to ignore their customers and hope they go away. They don't respond to Facebook messenger in a viable time, they have no escalation resolution team at customer service, if you have had an issue in the past before-now they are happy to tell you "we can cancel your service is you are not happy". What they don't tell you is that they will keep a copy of all your research available on their website. YES-YOUR DATA.

          I would think they would want subscribers to let them know when things aren't working so that the engineers can FIX the problem. But alas they prefer to bury their heads in their screens and hope the customers go away. After nearly 22 years with ancestry.com I think its time to move on. They do not care about their customer. THey only want your DNA-which they do sell your mass data to the bio tech firms. Ancestry has lost their focus. And I am very sad to say that.

          Read full review
          8 people found 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.

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