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AncestryDNA review: a great tool for budding genealogists

T3 logo T3 16/09/2019 Becca Caddy
a close up of text on a white background: AncestryDNA review © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. AncestryDNA review

Welcome to T3's official AncestryDNA review. Before AncestryDNA came along in 2012, Ancestry was already the biggest genealogy company in the world. The DNA testing added a new dimension to the family history site’s offering, allowing for integration with family trees, more opportunities to connect with new relatives and better connections into older records.

If you think that sounds really interesting, you’re not alone. More than 15 million people have had an AncestryDNA test so far, which means not only is the database fuller and more likely to have close connections, but it shows there’s a big interest in genealogy.

The test gives you some great info about your past, connections with new DNA relatives and your ‘ethnicity estimation’, which means whereabouts in the world you’re likely to have hailed from, but to get access to Ancestry’s records, family tree-building software and community, you’ll need to pay a subscription fee – this isn’t included in the price of the DNA test.

a close up of a map: AncestryDNA review © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. AncestryDNA review

We tried the AncestryDNA testing kit to find out how it works, what it can tell us and whether it’s worth it for family history buffs, as well as everyone else.

AncestryDNA review: DNA Collection

The AncestryDNA collection process is very simple. Once your kit has arrived, you need to set up an Ancestry account – if you have one already you can add your DNA results directly to it.

The test comes with easy-to-follow instructions. You’ll need to collect your saliva into a sample tube and then send it back for testing begins. Before you pop it in the post, make sure to register the serial number on the sample tube – this ensures your DNA sample stats anonymous, but is still trackable.

We received a review sample of the AncestryDNA testing kit. That means we can’t comment on how long the results take, but according to AncestryDNA the usual wait time is around six to eight weeks. Users are updated via email as their sample arrives, when it’s being tested and when the results are ready.

AncestryDNA review: DNA Results

It’s worth pointing out from the start that the AncestryDNA test provides you with results about your genetic ethnicity, allows you to create a family tree and connects you with living relatives. But to take advantage of Ancestry’s full suite of services, which includes access to the full Ancestry community and records, you’ll need to pay a subscription.

Again, this isn’t necessary to see your results and even connect with people. But you might be tempted once you see how much is on offer. Subscription plans may vary from country to country, but by way of example, in the UK they begin at £10.99 for one month through to £19.99 a month.

Once your results are in, you need to log-in to your Ancestry account. You’ll then see a large map of the world and on it there’ll be a lot of colourful bubbles – these show your ethnicity estimates, which is where AncestryDNA’s testing has revealed your ancestors are likely to have come from.

You can zoom in and out of different areas, as well as click on them to find out more. Some areas will contain extra information about the more specific regions your ancestors may have lived in.

As well as information about your genetic ethnicity, another huge appeal of AncestryDNA is its huge database of DNA matches, allowing you to connect with, literally, thousands of people that share some of your DNA. If someone has into being listed, you can also compare family trees and message them. These connections are really cool if you’re interested in connecting with distant, living relatives, but also allow you to create better family trees if charting your family’s history is more appealing.

If privacy is a concern, don’t worry. You don’t have to go combing through relatives and you don’t have to opt in to your details being listed either.

Although AncestryDNA offers a lot of features, it’s updating its service all the time. This means as new results based on scientific research, new reference samples, and improved tools come in, Ancestry DNA will update you.

AncestryDNA review: verdict

If it wasn’t obvious from the start, AncestryDNA is a fantastic DNA testing kit if you’re interested in family history. However, if you’re looking for a broader experience, which could include an overview of your ancestry, as well as extra info about your ancestors and even your health traits, then look to 23andMe instead.

This DNA testing service is a no-brainer if you want to find out more about where your distant relatives may have come from, connect up with living relatives and take advantage of some of Ancestry’s great genealogy features, like family tree-building and access to millions of records.

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