Although it was established back in 1984 as a publishing company, Ancestry Inc. has developed into so much more. It was listed on the NASDAQ back in November of 2009 and has various offices around the world. By February of 2018, as many as 7 million people had taken one of their DNA tests, making them one of the most successful DNA testing services in the world. Today we offer you insight as to why they are so popular and the features that come with this service.
Ease of Use
Collecting your sample
When it comes to usability, Ancestry.com have their game on point. When you receive your kit you need to activate it. To do this you will have to enter a code online that you have received with the kit in the mail. It is quite long so make sure to do it correctly. Fill in your name, agree to the terms and conditions and you are on your way.
Once you have activated your kit online, it’s time for the fun part. Extracting your sample is simple just by filling up the plastic tube to the marked line with your saliva. It is recommended that you do not eat, drink, smoke or brush your teeth around an hour prior to giving your sample.
Swish your sample around for five minutes, place it in the collection bag and send it off in the prepaid shipping box. It will take 6-8 weeks for your results to come in so all you have to do now is wait! A lot of the time the results come back even earlier than specified, which is a bonus.
Receiving your results
Once your results are ready, you will receive an email notifying you. Upon logging in to your account, you will find a short two-minute video which will explain the process, touching on genetic analysis, human migration and how they come up with the ethnicity percentage estimates.
There are also many features that set Ancestry.com apart from other DNA testing companies such as their online tree builder. This is a fun and interactive way of growing your family tree and finding out new information regarding your family history.
In addition to all of this, the Ancestry.com community is well known for being one of the most active when it comes to sharing information and their willingness to help out others. If you have any questions, you can ask other users as well as their excellent team of customer service representatives.
They have undergone numerous redesigns of their graphic interface which makes for a perfect balance between aesthetics and practicality. You might think that so much information in one place would make the site intimidating for beginners or first-time users, but it should take just a few minutes for you to fully understand how to navigate your results on the site.
The good news is that you own your DNA data, and you can ask Ancestry.com to delete it whenever you wish. On the other hand, you have clauses in the privacy section of your terms and conditions which retain the rights to manage your DNA results even though they will remain anonymous, which is evident in the following caption:
“Also, by submitting User Provided Content through any of the Services, you grant Ancestry a sublicensable, worldwide, royalty-free license to host, store, copy, publish, distribute, provide access to, create derivative works of, and otherwise use such User Provided Content to the extent and in the form or context we deem appropriate on or through any media or medium and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed or discovered.”
Additionally, your results can get handed over to law enforcement if they require them. In that case, you will be notified before this happens and will be given an opportunity to challenge this action in court.
In terms of testing, Ancestry.com only offers autosomal testing, so if you want paternity tests of mtDNA testing done also, you will have to shop around with other companies for those services. In saying that though, Ancestry has found what they are good at and have stuck to it. This has led to them being one of, if not the best in the business at what they do.
Having the largest database in DNA testing is a bonus as, realistically, your DNA is being matched with those that are already in the system. With so many users, you can be sure that you will have as many match options as possible. They offer specific results and five times more than other DNA testing services. This is particularly great if you are looking into your Jewish, African, or Native American ethnicities.
There are a number of offers that you can choose from.
- Basic US Discovery Plan
This plan is priced at $19.99 per month or $99 for every six months. It will allow you to explore US records, connect with millions of members, organize your family tree and will afford you ancestry tips and tricks from the experts.
- Explorer Plan
The explorer plan will set you back $34.99 per month or $149 for six months. This plan affords you access to all of the US as well as their international records. Again, connecting with millions of members and building your family tree is also an option within this plan.
- All Access Plan
This plan is a little more expensive, with a cost of $44.99 per month or $199 per six months. This is the big one that will give you access to ancestry, newspaper.com, and Fold3 information. With more than 15 billion historical records at your fingertips, you will be able to use advanced search tools to find new relatives and family records.
Fold3.com has more than 440 million military records as well as millions of non-military records including:
Native American records
Interactive 1860 and 1930 US Census
An all access membership will give you an exclusive members service that you can enjoy from 9am -11pm E.T. as well as getting separate emails from Newspapers.com, Ancestry.com and Fold3.com.
- DNA Test – No Subscription
The $99 one-time DNA test without the Ancestry.com subscription will offer you uncovering your ethnic mix, connecting with relatives you didn’t know existed, a database of over 7 million people. You will be able to contact your matches and connect with them as well as receiving automatic updates on your ethnicity estimate as the database grows.
The cool thing about Ancestry.com is that they offer a 14-day free trial which you might have to dig for a little on their site. In saying that, you will have to give them your credit card number, so make sure the days do not get away from you as you will get charged if you don’t take any action after those two weeks.
Some cool features found in your Ancestry.com report include the following:
- Ethnic estimate percentage and regional details
- Deep ancestry (including migration paths from African to modern times)
- Neanderthal DNA
- DNA relative matching
Want to know if you have Viking blood running through your veins? Not a problem, Ancestry.com will tell you everything you need to know about your lineage. The cool thing about your report is that no matter how much you know about your family history there is bound to be at least one surprise when it comes to your ethnicity estimate.
When you receive your report, you will find your results are split into three sections:
1. Genetic Ancestry
The genetic ancestry section will give you percentages of your ethnicity estimates. With over 350 regions available, the report will attempt to break down your ethnicity in percentages.
2. DNA Matches
The second section will show a list of all the individuals that have matched with your DNA and are your cousins. Additionally, you will see how your genetic communities migrated across the globe and over which periods of time. This is incredibly interesting, however, it is important to note that this is specific to those communities and not to you as an individual.
3. DNA Circles
Thirdly, the DNA circles section will show you if you have any living relatives according to the direct-line ancestors you share with them. For your DNA circles feature to work, you need to have your Ancestry.com profile public. There are other underlying factors which need to add up in order for this feature to be activated. Those conditions include:
- Whether Ancestry.com found at least two other DNA matches which are 2nd cousins or closer
- If those two matches are matches with each other (also being 2nd cousins or closer)
- Whether Ancestry.com sees that you all share a common ancestor
The great thing about this feature is that if you can create DNA circles, then you will be able to see whether or not your previous family tree research has been correct or not. Imagine connecting with all the people you had no idea were related to you!
Getting support is something that you want to be covered when you are accessing family history records and ancestry information. Although the reports are very straightforward, we all work differently and understand things in different ways. That being said, Ancestry.com are thorough when it comes to customer service.
On their website, you will often come across various how-to guides explaining everything from activating your account to providing your DNA sample.
If your question still has not been answered, you can turn to the online Ancestry community, start up a live chat with one of their customer service representatives or call the support line. This is available seven days a week from 9am to 11pm E.T.
When it comes to DNA testing there is a reason that Ancestry.com comes out on top. Offering the highest database size of both members and records you can be sure that the information you receive will be incredibly on point.
As one of the most comprehensive services out there it is definitely worth the investment. Although you cannot further your research by getting your hands on health information relevant to your DNA, you can be sure that the details dating back to ancient times are correct.
There is no reason that you should not invest in something as useful as an Ancestry.com DNA testing kit. You will find out more about yourself, your family and your past. Who knows, you might even end up with an extra family member, or two.