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Ancestry
Overall Satisfaction Rating
1.06/5
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    1
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Based on 63 ratings submitted in the last year
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    Ancestry

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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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      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: 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.

      Be the first one to find 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.

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      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!!!

      Be the first one to find 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).

      Be the first one to find 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.

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

      I am of Middle Eastern descent. I have always been curious to know from which countries my ancestors originated, so I sent in my DNA to ancestry.com. On their website they list eleven possible countries. What I received back from them was a one-line report saying "100% Middle Eastern". No breakdown by country. Nothing I didn't know. When I called them to inquire, I was told that they did not have enough samples in their database to do such a breakdown. I suggested that they should tell prospective customers that they could not provide detailed analysis for middle eastern individuals. I also asked for a refund. They would not admit that they should inform individuals of their limitations and refused to provide me a refund because they "had sent the results". When I pointed out that what they sent was no better than telling someone they were 100% European, they just recited the refund policy again. Very disappointing and in my opinion fraudulent.

      6 people found this review helpful
      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.

      8 people found 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!!!

      10 people found this review helpful
      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.

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      15 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.

      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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