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Ancestry
Overall Satisfaction Rating
1.13/5
  • 5 stars
    1
  • 4 stars
    0
  • 3 stars
    1
  • 2 stars
    5
  • 1 stars
    59
Based on 66 ratings submitted in the last year
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    Ancestry

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    This company is not yet accredited. To learn more, see reviews below or submit your own.

    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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      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.

      624 Ancestry Consumer Reviews

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      Page 1 Reviews 1 - 10
      Rated with 1 star
      Verified Reviewer
      Original review: Sept. 12, 2019

      Ancestry DNA has no way to access your account if you misspell your email or forget your username. They have no security questions, they can't use your name, they can't use the phone number that they send text updates to, there is no forgot user name option, they can't use the kit number they provide, they can't use your credit card information and they have no technical department. They have no way to access your account and yet it's 2019, you paid a lot of money for the kit, you waited 6 weeks, and you gave them your DNA but they cannot help you. Their reps cannot help you whatsoever.

      Be the first one to find this review helpful
      Rated with 1 star
      Verified Reviewer
      Original review: Sept. 12, 2019

      I just received my DNA results...to start. My father is 100% Italian.. We knew his mother's family and they were from Italy and were Italian. My mother is 50% Italian (again we know her mother's side very well and again - some were born in Italy and others here) and my mom is also 50% Irish.. My great grandmother was right from Ireland. My results - 64% FRENCH??? 30% Irish and only 12% ITALIAN plus a few other odd and ends... To be 46% FRENCH one of my parents or grandparents would have to have been at least part FRENCH! When I called my mother and family - I told them I must have been adopted or switched at birth!!! My family found it funny - my mother did not!!!

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

      I originally did the free trial Ancestry.com. To do this, you need to enter a cc number. (I blame myself, I should have known better). Once the trial is over, they automatically begin to charge your cc, no notice via email. Upon the first charge, I called my cc company to dispute, but they would reverse the charge. I called Ancestry to cancel but they couldn't find my account. A supervisor was notified and they told me to email support. I did not get a response from this email.

      I called my cc company and they put a block on my account for Ancestry. I finally got an email asking me to update my cc information so they can charge my card. Coincidentally, I got a response email from support with a laundry list of information they need to cancel the account, no.1 being the email address used to create the account. Hello! You are the ones saying you can't find the account even though the other credit card update email is sent to the correct email address! I called again and I finally got a cancellation email but after they charged me for 5 months! Buyer beware.

      View more
      2 people found this review helpful
      Rated with 1 star
      Verified Reviewer
      Original review: July 21, 2019

      I click to see how I was related to my half sister, this was the result: How are you and [My Half Sister] related? Common Ancestors. According to Ancestry member trees, these are the common ancestors that connect you and [My Half Sister]. View a common ancestor to see the relationship path that connects you. [My Half Sister] could be your 2nd great-granddaughter through: {My Great Great Grandfather} 1840–1919. Today is 07/20/2019, I initially complained about this error on 05/01/2019, with several other contacts made between these two dates. Certainly calls into question Ancestry's credibility, does it not? Hopefully, this latest contact with Ancestry will see that this error in their software is corrected.

      3 people found this review helpful
      Rated with 1 star
      Verified Reviewer
      Original review: July 16, 2019

      I watch the Ancestry commercials and it appears you can get all of this stuff and searches for unknown relatives for the initial cost. "I found that I am related to Geo Washington', says TV ad. They are very deceiving and causes me to not trust any of the Ancestry type sites. If I were to send more money I would be able to find out more about my family tree. I am living on a fixed income and cannot afford more money for nothing. All they did was repeat what information I entered when joining.

      If this is all Ancestry does for the cost of admission then I guess I may never see my family history. All I want is to have some HONESTY IN ADVERTISING. Had I known the cost would be more than double I would either have saved to afford it or not purchased. For anyone planning on locating their family history, you can do this yourself for free. At least you can do what Ancestry does for a small fee. I feel this is a SCAM, although I wish it wasn't. I would really want to know my family history but I am afraid to join any other sites. Thanks for reading. Dan.

      View more
      10 people found this review helpful
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      Rated with 1 star
      Verified Reviewer
      Original review: July 10, 2019

      Ancestry.com does not screen the Message Board posts for harassment, abuse or attacks. Every time I go to one particular family name, every post I enter is attacked by one person who uses profanity, foul language, personal attacks, etc. I complain with no results. Some people I have heard from who also USED to post have complained for 16 years with no results. Why can't Ancestry.com screen posts to make sure there is nothing that violates their guidelines. I pay for a subscription and have paid for at least a dozen DNA tests for family members but I cannot be protected from attacks and harassment? They sometimes remove angry, hateful posts, but they leave them up for weeks at a time before they are removed. They need a better system for protecting paying members.

      5 people found this review helpful
      Rated with 1 star
      Verified Reviewer
      Original review: June 28, 2019

      My 80 year old mother called to get testing kit because she saw ad (for fathers day) for $59. She signed up and I was alerted because of the charge to her card.

      The charge was almost double what she thought and I called to see if we could get discounted price. The rep said sale coming up next week, for 4th of July. The rep also started discussing the subscription cost. My mother wasn't interested and I started thinking this wasn't what she wanted or could use. She has never used a computer. Then when I asked for refund I was told sure she could have it for $59. But there is a cancellation fee of $25. My mother signed up 6 hours earlier. I would understand if kit was sent out or even processed. The person she talked to originally either didn't explain everything or my mom clearly didn't understand the charges.

      11 people found this review helpful
      Rated with 1 star
      Verified Reviewer
      Original review: June 7, 2019

      I did the Ancestry testing approximately three years ago for $100. The results were 72% Germanic Europe, 12% English and 14% Irish and negligible Greek. Ancestry just sent me an update which now says 2% Germanic, 88% England/Wales, 5% Norway, and 5% Ireland/Scotland. They tell me that they are able to be even more precise with greater numbers of DNA in their database. This is NOT a refinement. It is a completely different report! So my recommendation is that you save your money and don’t bother getting an ancestry analysis. They are completely bogus.

      19 people found this review helpful
      Rated with 1 star
      profile pic of the author
      Verified Reviewer
      Original review: May 21, 2019

      After Ancestry failed to obtain my results twice I asked for a refund. I waited weeks in between the tests to find out that they were sending yet another test. I asked for a refund instead of a 3rd test. They said a flat NO. Told me I had to take the 3rd test before they would consider a refund. Never got a 3rd test. They ignored my requests for results or a refund until time ran out to get either. I have no money and no DNA results but Ancestry got paid anyway. NOTHING BUT A SCAM.

      18 people found this review helpful
      Rated with 1 star
      profile pic of the author
      Verified Reviewer
      Original review: May 13, 2019

      Updated on 05/13/2019: We waited for an hour and half to speak to a supervisor. My husband was finally transferred to a MATT who put my husband on speaker phone while the employees were laughing. My husband has a cold. Matt was disrespectful and rude. My husband's results were incorrect and they refused to credit us, send a new kit or say they were sorry. We were told that DNA changes over time! HAHAH Seriously, I bet a few inmates in prison would love to hear that their DNA results may change over time. SERIOUSLY? Stay away from this scam agency!

      Original Review: I called Ancestry.com and sat on the phone for 1 hour and was given the run around. I asked for a credit or to have a new kit sent out. I was continually told that a supervisor was finishing up with another customer. I asked for the employee's name and she would not give it to me saying against policy.

      View more
      19 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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