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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Purchased a DNA kit Nov 2019. They screwed up results. Want to send a replacement. Don't want one. I wanted a refund. They will not give me one. It took this long to get a reply. No working email. Disgraceful.
Was ok with service until ordered Health kit. They admitted they sent results prematurely, asked me to provide numerous screenshots, continue to request from me more documentation, all the while surpassing eight-week limit on kit viability. And when I finally received what appears to be a new kit, link they sent won't work. Their web tech may not be compatible with Android phones. Again, customer service admitted they prematurely emailed health results, took them away, different reps asked me repeatedly since early March to supply screenshots and explanations, while I get no explanations and no product that I paid for. After this, I should get complete refund plus free health test plus explanation plus apology.
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My ancestors are in the Museum of the Native American & have been pictured in ALL of the Jamestown reenactments but Ancestry shows Zero Native blood even though their database says my ancestors are from Indian Town Virginia. The site will list the same person as the sibling 3 times & has no way to join together data from once it makes a mistake. Instead if I delete one of the duplicates it sometimes deletes them all. Will not link them all but will delete them all. Frustrating!!!! The site will not link other family member trees. If you chose a family member to link to the site will not allow you to go back to check other family trees once you picked 1 you like. So you have to hand enter every single person already linked by others.
They also have ThruLines now but they don't simply give you all the DNA ThruLines for your family. If the DNA Proves we are related we should have access to all of that data if we chose to link to it. Ancestry wants a lot of money for very little service & you must do a lot of work over many months to accumulate basic info that is already linked in the database. They do this to take more of your time & money. Too expensive for what they provide. My daughter could not link her account to mine for 2 years even though I paid for her to join at the same time I did. Once I chose a Free account, then they suddenly figured out how to link Mother/Daughter TODAY, 3/17/2020 because & stated that as one of many reason I decided to stop paying them.
Now they are saying they have better data but it is less accurate than it was last year. They decreased my Native percentage & moved them to Mexico when I am a cousin of Pocahontas, a Powhatan Virginian Indian. My grandmother was given a Federal Government job because she was at least 25% American Indian but still Ancestry says that side of the family has NO Indian even though the census record listed them as Indian, then changed them to Mulatto. If they need more data on what Native DNA looks like they need to check my family! They recognize Cherokee from my mother's DNA but nothing from my father which if at least 20% Native from 4 great grandparents.
They consistently change your DNA results. ;( I do not know much about family so I signed up and purchased their DNA kit. It showed I was 49% Irish and 51% Greek/Italy. NOW it is completely different and I don't even have the Greek/Italy anymore but it shows Scotland!!?? How can it change so drastically?? My DNA is my DNA! CONSUMER BEWARE! It is saddening that they would mislead people like that. SHAME ON YOU ANCESTRY.COM!
My husband got the DNA kit for me for Christmas. I did exactly as stated on the instructions. When the results came back, they were only Maternal matches or connections. Nothing on my Dad's side at all. To make matters worse, nowhere on the website or advertising does it tell you that you'll have to pay for another kit for Paternal DNA checking. Once you get your results it tells you about getting other testing for Paternal results. Incredibly disappointed!!
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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.
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.
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!!!
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.
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!
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.