Ease of Use
Ancestry makes it extremely simple to get your DNA analyzed. For starters, you can banish all thoughts of painful needle pricks from your mind. After ordering a kit from them, you’ll receive a box in the mail complete with everything you need as well as instructions. You simply need to swab the inside of your cheek enough to get some saliva, enclose it as instructed, and then send the whole thing back. The results will be available to you online in as little as 6-8 weeks.
When it comes to doing research after you have your results, Ancestry does a great job of turning a very complicated process into something completely accessible. One of their most popular features is the online family tree builder, which will generate a clean visual depiction of your family lineage. After inputting the information you have, you will find “leafs” added to individuals that have interesting potential connections. It’s a fun, intuitive, and very simple way to start making serious inroads into sketching out your family history.
In addition to research, Ancestry has a very active community that you can interact with on easy-to-use message board forums. Enthusiastic members are known for their willingness to help others. If you are new, you’ll have no problem learning the ropes easily so you can get the most out of all the tools and resources Ancestry offers.
Many people are rightfully concerned about the possibilities opened up by sharing their DNA. However, when it comes to Ancestry there is nothing at all to worry about. The company explicitly states in its policies that no “common identifying information linked to your genetic or health data with third parties unless we obtain your explicit consent”. It doesn’t get more iron clad than that. There is only one caveat to this policy – Ancestry does honor legitimate requests from law enforcement. But they will never do so without informing you first and giving you the opportunity to challenge the request in court.
On the other hand, if you are looking to share your results with as many people as possible in order to find previously unknown relatives, this is also possible. You have full control over your privacy settings, and can choose to share as much or as little as you want with whomever you want.
Ancestry is one of the few genealogy websites out there where the only thing holding you back is the amount of work you want to put into your search. For starters, they have accumulated a gigantic database of searchable records from their users that you can cross-reference for matches with nothing more than a last name. To go more in-depth, can add additional information you know about ancestors such as birthdates, gender, or birth country. Beyond its own database, Ancestry also offers the ability to search through a plethora of government and other documentation resources such as voter lists, draft cards, and school records.
Ancestry has a range of price options that offer different levels of access to their database of records for differing lengths of time. Their US Discovery option gives you access to all US records on ancestry for $19.99/mo or $99 for 6 months. If you want to do a global search, you need to join their World Explorer service for full access to their US and international records for $34.99/mo or $149 for 6 months. Finally, there is their All Access full membership which opens up Ancestry, Newspapers.com Basic, and Fold3.com for $44.99/mo or $199 for 6 months.
If you are having trouble using Ancestry, there is a very robust FAQ section that answers commonly asked questions about DNA, research trees, records and searching, accounts and billing, or their mobile application. If you aren’t able to get the answer you need there, there are live chat and phone options available as well.
There is a reason Ancestry is one of the best known ancestry DNA test sites out there. They take your privacy seriously, and have a huge database of records that is made manageable by tons of easy to use features. Overall, you won’t find a better place to dive into exploring your heritage.