The Best DNA Test For African Americans

article by Rachel Carr
August 29, 2019

Not all of us are lucky enough to know exactly where we came from or are lucky enough to be born into a family with a completed family tree. Luckily, however, there has been a rise in at home DNA test kits that can be used to answer health query questions as well as give a much better insight into someone’s ancestry - which can prove invaluable if they have been displaced from their ancestral line or original ethic region.

In this article, we look at the best DNA test for African American people who want to know more exact data regarding their background. We list four DNA test kits that we think are best for conducting African American ancestry DNA testing, but we also specify why. More specifically, while investigating which DNA test is best for African American people, we found a handful of characteristics and considerations that were important for that African DNA test to have.

For those that are unsure of what a DNA Test kit is, we also investigate briefly how to conduct an African American heritage DNA test so that those who are interested know what exactly is involved – it is ultimately an easy and painless procedure.

How To Conduct African Ancestry DNA Testing

Carrying out an African DNA test at home could not be easier. While steps will vary a little from manufacturer to manufacturer, in short, all users have to do is:

  1. After buying your home kit, sign up and register your home DNA test kit online following the brand’s instructions.
  2. Collect a cell sample. This can be by either swabbing the inside of your cheek or spitting saliva into a tube. Importantly, no blood is required.
  3. Send off your sample back to your manufacturer’s lab – more often than not in a pre-addressed and paid for an envelope.
  4. After a few weeks, your test maker will send you the results of your test, either online or by post.
BrandsPricingDatabase SizeResults Time 
MyHeritage DNA
>>Labor Day Sale<<
$59 Instead of $791,500,0003-4 WeeksGet Now
23andMe$992,000,0006-8 WeeksGet Now
Ancestry.com
$997,000,0006-8 WeeksGet Now
African Ancestry$30033,000 African Lineages8-10 weeksGet Now

What Makes the Best African American Heritage DNA Test

All the DNA test kits that we list below are more than suitable to conduct an African American heritage. There are a number of considerations and features to take into account when determining which DNA test is best for African American heritage testing. If anything, DNA testing is not cheap, so you want to make sure you get your money’s worth with doing your own African American ancestry DNA testing.

Look for autosomal DNA testing

We rate this form of testing as the best, especially when wanting to conduct a North African DNA test or carry out an East African DNA test. This is because this method of testing is quite simply the best test to produce the most comprehensive set of results possible. When conducting autosomal DNA testing, users find that they will get a robust snapshot of ethnicity as well as insight into living relatives

Look for kits that return racial or ethnic information

When purchasing an African DNA test kit, we found that the best brands were able to return information regarding a subject’s racial makeup as well as the ethnic groups that they are more than likely going to come from. Sadly, it is difficult to nigh on impossible for any African Ancestry DNA test to tell a person their exact ethnicity, but they can definitely point to the most probable options. This is particularly the case should an ethnic group has resided in one region for a very long period of time.

Look for kits with a family tree option

While some people may not like the idea of it, when a company offers a customer the option of having their profile saved, it means that they get added to a vast database of other customers. The reason that this can actually be a good thing, in an era where we are timid of having our sensitive data recorded, is that it means you could actually find a long lost relative, should they also be saved on the same database.

In terms of a family tree, African Ancestry DNA test kit products will then be able to complete your family tree for you without you having to do any of the hard leg work.

Ultimately, however, if you are not happy with a company keeping hold of your information, you can always opt out of this option.

The African Ancestry DNA Test Kits

#1 MyHeritage DNA

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myheritageDNA Logo

MyHeritage DNA is one of our preferred suppliers for African ancestry DNA test kit packs as it provides users with a full break down of their ethnic past that is split up into percentages. Additionally, it has the ability to find relatives that a customer’s family had lost touch with over six generations. The test kits are suitable for men and women alike and they also test on both the maternal side and paternal line.

  • Cost: Around $80
  • Type of Analysis: Autosomal
  • Family Tree Option: Yes
  • Does MyHeritage Sell Or Use Your DNA?

Reassuringly, MyHeritage does not sell or use a customer’s DNA. Their terms and conditions stipulate that:

“When you test on MyHeritage, you are the sole owner of your DNA data. You can delete it from MyHeritage at any time. Personal information provided to MyHeritage is never sold, licensed or shared with any third parties and MyHeritage will never sell or license DNA data to any third parties without your explicit consent.”

However, do be aware that the company does record your data and keep it on file for a length of time. That being said, users are allowed to ask MyHeritage to destroy that data whenever they want.

Finally, perhaps the best thing about MyHeritage, other than the relatively low costs, is that the company is able to cover 42 ethnic regions making it perfect for African American ancestry DNA testing. This is in conjunction with the fact that the company has one of the largest databases of customers that users can match themselves with. The likelihood of a person finding where exactly they are from is therefore increased exponentially.

Read more about MyHeritage in our expert review.

Reveal All Your African DNA Secrets Now, With MyHeritage DNA Testing Kit

#2 23andMe

23andme logo

We rated 23andMe due to the wide range of types of analysis they conduct in addition to autosomal testing. While they also cover many ethnic regions too, they don’t cover quite as many as MyHeritage. More specifically, 23andMe cover 31 areas, with MyHeritage covering 42.

  • Cost: Around $100
  • Type of Analysis: Autosomal, Y-DNA, and mtDNA
  • Family Tree Option: Yes
  • Does 23andMe Sell Or Use Your DNA?

In short, just like Ancestry, 23andMe does sadly use your DNA and have the jurisdiction to sell it on. Users give them this ability when signing up to the tests. Again, potential customers may not like the idea of this, particularly when considering that the company actually has a large, lucrative contract with GlaxoSmithKline with regards to their customer’s DNA data. GlaxoSmithKline purchase this data for their drug testing and clinical trials.

Read more about 23andMe in our expert review.

Find All You African Genetic Markup, With 23andMe DNA Testing Kit

#3 Ancestry.com

ancestry logo

We rated Ancestry.com DNA kits as one of the best DNA Test for African American people possible for the following reasons and features.

 

  • Cost: Ancestry DNA have a number of kits available but they cost around $99 in the main.
  • Type of Analysis: Autosomal
  • Family Tree Option: While there most definitely is a family tree option within the Ancestry DNA kit product, it is only available with a subscription.

Does Ancestry DNA Sell Or Use Your DNA?

The short answer to this is yes, Ancestry DNA most definitely do have the right to sell or use your DNA. However, they are very honest about their approach to customer privacy in their terms and conditions which state that while you still own your DNA, so does Ancestry.com. This means that even after you have passed away the company will still technically own your DNA. This may not scare some potential customers, but it might others.

More specifically, when you send off your saliva sample to Ancestry.Com you agree to “grant Ancestry DNA and the Ancestry Group Companies a perpetual, royalty-free. world-wide, transferable license to use your DNA, and any DNA you submit for any person from whom you obtained legal authorization as described in this Agreement, and to use, host, sublicense and distribute the resulting analysis 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 are now known or hereafter developed or discovered.”

Furthermore, according to the Terms of Service, “it is possible that information about you or a genetic relative could be revealed, such as that you or a relative are carriers of a particular disease. That information could be used by insurers to deny you insurance coverage, by law enforcement agencies to identify you or your relatives, and in some places, the data could be used by employers to deny employment.”

This last point, in particular, may be off-putting to some customers, which is a shame given that these tests are incredibly robust and return a comprehensive set of results for users.

Read more about Ancestry.com in our expert review

Celebrate Your African Pride, With Ancestry.com Testing Kit

#4 African Ancestry DNA Test

African Ancestry Logo

While there are obvious benefits to purchasing African Ancestry DNA test given how specific the product has been made to answer the questions and queries of those interested in testing their African American heritage, we found that the cost was too high and the quality of the results too low to justify the price. The big problem with African Ancestry DNA is that to test both your mother and your father’s line, you need to buy two kits. Additionally, the results that are then spurned from those tests are quite sparse -, especially when compared to competitors.

  • Cost: Around $300
  • Type of Analysis: Either Y-DNA or mtDNA
  • Family Tree Option: No
  • Does African Ancestry Sell Or Use Your DNA?

African Ancestry has no shortage of shortcomings, but as a company, they neither sell or use your DNA. Here is what their terms and conditions say:

“The Company will not disclose or sell a Customer’s name, genetic information, or other personally identifiable information (“Customer Confidential Information”) to any third party, other than to its employees, consultants or other agents who must have access to such Customer Confidential Information for such party to perform certain duties in connection with such Customer’s order (collectively, “Employees”).”

Whether this has had an effect on the size of its database that allows making links with long lost relatives or not is clear, but that database is nevertheless much smaller than others on the market. The result is the data you are given in your report is much more generic and also less reliable than others.

Reveal African Heritage Now, With African Ancestry DNA Test

The Bottom Line

In this instance, we recommend the use of MyHeritage when looking for a test that is best for investigating African American DNA tribes or DNA testing African American lineage. We like it due to its relative low cost, the comprehensive nature of its reports and the reliability of the results it produces. Plus, it does not record personal data and sells it on. It simply, if allowed by the customer, maintains a database that improves a person’s chances of finding a long lost relative.

For those interesting in African American ancestry DNA testing, this is the best test for them.