The 5 Best DNA Test Kits For Ancestry To Explore Your Genetic Heritage In 2020

article by Maria Perinic
August 05, 2020
If you’ve always wondered about where your roots stem from but never knew how or where to find out, we’re here to tell you that the search is finally over! With DNA testing being easily accessible for all, the answers to your ancestry questions will soon be revealed. A simple DNA test can be completed from the comforts of your own home and will open your eyes to the mysteries of your family tree, once and for all. We have tested the best DNA tests for ancestry and gathered all the available information so you would be able to get the best decision on the journey to discover the realm of your genetic heritage. We recommend MyHeritage as the best Ancestry DNA test available.
Home DNA testing has come leaps and bounds in the past few years, proving to be an easy way to map out your family tree. All it takes is a simple saliva sample or cheek swab with a reputable DNA testing kit company and you are well on your way to discovering your ancestry or even determining paternity. With many DNA testing kits becoming affordable, people are increasingly turning to DNA testing to uncover the secrets of their past.

After testing and comparing different DNA testing kits, we’ve come up with the five best DNA test kits for exploring genetic heritage in 2020.

BrandsPricingDatabase SizeResults Time 
MyHeritage DNA$49 Instead of $79

Limited Time Offer
1,500,000 ,3.9 Billion Family Trees & Over 50 Million Users Worldwide3-4 WeeksGet Now
23andMe$992,000,0006-8 WeeksGet Now
Ancestry.com$997,000,0006-8 WeeksGet Now
HomeDNA$691,000 Reference Populations and 41 Gene Pools6 WeeksGet Now
Living DNA$99Small But Growing10-12 weeksGet Now

Our Top Picks for Best DNA Test Kit for 2020

#1 MyHeritage DNA

 myheritageDNA Logo

A simple cheek swab with MyHeritage DNA will tell you everything you need to know about your ancestors. This DNA testing company has a database that includes more ethnicities than any other testing service. There is also a 14-day trial available which will allow you to look into the online database.

You will have access to more than 4 billion profiles as well as additional information regarding 12.4 billion historical records, and +50 million users. The great thing about MyHeritage is that it automatically searches for updates regarding its family trees, notifying you by email when this happens.

  • Genetic Markers Checked: 690,000
  • Geographic Regions Covered: 42
  • Database Size: 1.5 million
  • Family Tree Integration: Yes
  • Ancestral Makeup Report: Yes
  • Paternal Lineage Available: No
  • Maternal Lineage Available: No
  • Neanderthal Percentage: No
  • List of all products available + pricing:
    • DNA Test Kit – $79 (Plus free shipping on 2+ kits)
    • Family Tree Basic plan – Free
    • Family Tree Premium – $82.50 per year
    • Family Tree PremiumPlus – $131.34 per year
    • Data – $119.40 per year
    • Complete – $175.77 per year
  • Countries Available: Worldwide
  • Average Results Time: 3-4 weeks
  • Additional Subscription Options:
    • None

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

Still unsure if MyHeritage is the best DNA test kit for you? We have compiled a more extensive review on MyHeritage, so make sure to check out our MyHeritage DNA review.

#2 23andMe

23andme logoComing in at a close second is DNA testing giant, 23andMe. This is because 23andMe offers a range of in-depth testing such as those that analyze potential health risks like Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

While you will be paying double the price for a health test in addition to the basic DNA test, it might be a worthwhile investment. Users are provided with results that include things like general health risk information, trait reports, wellness reports, carrier status reports, and other specific information based on your DNA sample.  When it comes to looking into your ancestry, 23andMe offers both matrilineal and patrilineal line testing which can locate your DNA in more than 1,000 regions.

  • Genetic Markers Checked: 570,000
  • Geographic Regions Covered: 150 worldwide
  • Database Size: 2,000,000
  • Family Tree Integration: No
  • Ancestral Makeup Report: Yes
  • Paternal Lineage Available: Yes
  • Maternal Lineage Available: Yes
  • Neanderthal Percentage: Yes
  • List of all products available + pricing:
    • Ancestry testing kit – $99
  • Countries Available: 56
  • Average Results Time: 6-8 weeks
  • Additional Subscription Options:
    • Buy one, get 10% off each additional kit

Reveal All Your DNA Secrets Now, With 23andMe DNA Testing Kit

Want to make sure if 23andMe is really the best DNA test kit for you? Make sure not to miss out our in-depth 23andMe review.

#3 Ancestry.com

 ancestry logoAncestry has a connected and active genealogical community offering users a large number of research resources, a wide range of databases and various family matching features. The DNA test results received has origins traced to 500 geographical regions worldwide. You can also learn of up to 26 traits you may have inherited from your ancestors.

Users have access to a family tree search tool as well as the ability to add your specific results in their database.

  • Genetic Markers Checked: 700,000
  • Geographic Regions Covered: 350 worldwide
  • Database Size: 7,000,000
  • Family Tree Integration: Yes
  • Ancestral Makeup Report: Yes
  • Paternal Lineage Available: Yes
  • Maternal Lineage Available: Yes
  • Neanderthal Percentage: No
  • List of all products available + pricing:
    • DNA testing kit $99 (Excludes taxes and shipping)
    • US Discovery – access all US records – Monthly membership at $19.99, and 6-month membership $99
    • World explorer – access all US and international records – Monthly membership at $34.99, and 6-month membership $149.99
    • All-access – full membership to Ancestry.com, Newspapers.com and Fold3.com – Monthly membership at $44.99, and 6-month membership at $199
  • Countries Available: 6
  • Average Results Time: 6-8 weeks
  • Additional Subscription Options
    • Free trial of any plan for 14 days.

Reveal All Your DNA Secrets Now, With Ancestry.com DNA Testing Kit

Additionally, we have explored their features in-depth, so if you are intrigued, make sure to read our Ancestry.com review.

#4 Living DNA

Living DNA LogoThis UK-based company that offers to track your DNA to 80 different regions around the world. If you have family history that can be traced back to the UK, your results will include a map of where your paternal and maternal ancestors once lived on the islands. There is also a tool available which allows you to upload DNA data from other services to find matches in the Living DNA database.

  • Genetic Markers Checked: 650,000
  • Geographic Regions Covered: 80 worldwide
  • Database Size:  Limited but growing
  • Family Tree Integration: No
  • Ancestral Makeup Report: Yes
  • Paternal Lineage Available: Yes
  • Maternal Lineage Available: Yes
  • Neanderthal Percentage: No
  • List of all products available + pricing:
    • Ancestry DNA test – $99.00
  • Countries Available: Worldwide
  • Average Results Time: 10-12 weeks
  • Additional Subscription Options:
    • Personalized ancestry book – $69.00 one-time addition

Reveal All Your DNA Secrets Now, With Living DNA Testing Kit

Check out more information on Living DNA by reading our extensive Living DNA review.

#5 HomeDNA

HomeDNA logo 210x100You can find HomeDNA tests sold at Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid. It is one of the cheapest options around, allowing for not only ancestral testing but also offers tests to determine pet and food sensitivity, diet and exercise strategies based on your DNA, as well as skincare testing. Testing is completed through a quick mouth swab, and shipping is free, with the results being kept for 25 years.

  • Genetic Markers Checked: 80,000
  • Geographic Regions Covered: 450 worldwide
  • Database Size: 1,000 reference populations and 41 gene pools analyzed
  • Family Tree Integration: No
  • Ancestral Makeup Report: No
  • Paternal Lineage Available: No
  • Maternal Lineage Available: No
  • Neanderthal Percentage: No
  • List of all products available + pricing:
    • DNA Origins® Maternal Lineage, $69.00
    • DNA Origins® Paternal Lineage, $69.00
    • HomeDNA™ Advanced Ancestry Test, $124.00
    • HomeDNA™ Food & Pet Sensitivity, $99.00
    • HomeDNA Healthy Weight, $119.00
    • HomeDNA Paternity, $164.00
    • HomeDNA Skin Care, $99.00
    • HomeDNA Starter Test for Ancestry, $69.00
  • Countries Available: Worldwide
  • Average Results Time: 6 weeks

Reveal All Your DNA Secrets Now, With Home DNA Testing Kit

Check out more information on HomeDNA by reading our extensive HomeDNA review.

Why Test Your DNA for Ancestry?

There are many reasons people choose to go down the path of DNA ancestry testing. One of the biggest highlights of such a service is that you will receive a detailed breakdown of your ethnicity and ancestry, with various migration patterns that your ancestors might have taken. You might already have a vague idea of your ethnicity already, but we’re sure there will be a couple of curveballs thrown in there as well.

If you choose to, you can also look for and connect with long lost relatives online by matching up your DNA with other users that have taken part as well.

DNA testing is also a fantastic tool to better understand your body. Health DNA tests can indicate which conditions you might have a predisposition to. This way, you can see what health conditions you could possibly pass onto your children as well as communicate with your doctor how you can make changes today for a better tomorrow.

How Do DNA Test Kits Work?

When it comes to your DNA testing kit, it’s important to do your research and choose the best DNA test kit company for your needs.

Let’s have a look at some of the common procedures that you will find across the board in all DNA testing kits. They are:

  • A simple questionnaire
  • Instructions for collecting your DNA sample
  • A guide for how to register your DNA kit and return it to the company
  • An explanation of your impending results

After collecting your DNA sample and sending it back to the company, all you have to do is wait for the results to come back and tell you where your ancestors came from.

What Your DNA Testing Kit Can Tell You

Each testing kit provides different end results for you and some are better than others, depending on what you’re after.

Different DNA test kits can give you access to the following information:

  • Ethnic Heritage Analysis
  • Food Sensitivities
  • Genetic Health Issues
  • Predisposition to Diseases
  • Genetic Mutations
  • Risks for Cancers
  • Fertility Issues

Different Types of DNA Tests

DNA testing can be used for various reasons, so we have broken down the different DNA tests that might suit you:

Autosomal DNA

This is the most common DNA test. It will reveal where in the world your family DNA derives from and is known as the DNA ethnicity test. Both males and females can take this test and receive the same type of results.

The autosomal DNA test is only useful to trace back relatives like third or fourth cousins, as it only goes back about four or five generations. You will, however, find out how close you are related to another person. This is fantastic if you do not know a lot about your parents or grandparents.

It will also tell you where in the world your ancestors lived during the past few hundred (or thousand) years

mtDNA:

Also known as the mitochondrial DNA test, this only looks into the DNA data that comes from your mother’s side. It will reveal information to do with everything tracing down your mother’s line, but will not be able to give you information for any males.

It will also reveal how closely you are related to a single common ancestor (or haplogroup).

This means that you can find out where your maternal line originated, sometimes tracing back as far as 10,000 years

Y-DNA:

This is what we generally refer to as a paternity test. As we have 23 chromosomes, the last is divided into X for women and Y for men. This test only searches the Y chromosomes.

This will tell you just how closely related you are to someone with the same surname. It is very useful for people who have been adopted or are looking into their Jewish ancestry.

What Makes a DNA Test Great?

There are a few factors to take into consideration when taking a DNA test, so we pulled together the elements we thought were the most important. Here are the top six factors we explored when looking for the best of the best.

The Sample

It is important that this part of the process is as hassle-free as possible. Although home DNA test kits take saliva or skin samples, some of them are more of a pain than others. Some people prefer to give a spit sample, where others would rather opt for a cheek swab, so it’s important to find out which type your DNA test company offers.

Information Needed

Obviously, the more information you can provide, the more results you will receive. But not everyone has access to all of their ancestral information. Digging up various info about yourself can be time-consuming and downright impossible for some. That’s why it’s important to look for services that are flexible with how much information they’ll require from you.

Simplicity of Returns

You have to send your DNA sample back to the company for analysis, and some companies make this process easier than others. Things like a pre-addressed envelope are made returning your sample effortless.

The Waiting Game

Depending on how urgently you want your results back, you need to check the time it takes for the DNA test company to get back to you. All companies will give you an expected range of time to receive your results.

Extras

We love a service that goes out of their way to provide customers with that something extra. Some home DNA testing services provide things like mobile services and family tree builders.

The Privacy Policy

There is nothing more important than looking after the privacy of the individuals using a service, especially when we are talking about something as sensitive as DNA. Be sure to check the company’s privacy policy to see exactly what they can and cannot do with your data once they have it.

DNA Testing Kit Myths Debunked

There are a lot of rumors going around about the so-called dangers of DNA testing. Can you guess which of the following claims are true and which are not?

You can use DNA testing to solve a murder in about an hour, CSI style.

False. These tests take at least three to eight weeks to complete, so you might have to wait a little longer, Nancy Drew.

You can earn money from your DNA data.

True. Cha-Ching! Some companies offer money in return for your DNA data for research purposes. This is usually related to health studies.

Your DNA might one day catch a criminal.

True. Hey, it might not take an hour, but sometimes you can come out on top. One case ended with the arrest of the suspected Golden State Killer after investigators used his DNA from back in the 80s to find matches for relatives online.

You can find relatives you didn’t know existed.

True. You might not know this, but a lot of testing services actually allow customers to see whether they might be related to other users of the same service. Don’t worry, this is only for people who log their information into the system and want it there.

You have no privacy once your DNA results are “out there”.

False. This is completely untrue. Your DNA results are yours only and will remain so until you change your mind. In fact, there are numerous laws in place to protect your ownership of your DNA data.

How We Test DNA Services

Whilst all DNA test kits are pretty much the same, the results you receive can vary drastically. There is also a difference in how long the testing takes, and the privacy policy of each DNA testing company is also quite different. Here is what we looked at when reviewing the top DNA testing kits for 2020.

DNA Collection Kit: When using a testing kit, we look at how simple the test itself is, as well as how difficult it is to get our sample and returning it to the company from the clarity of the instructions included.

Speed: DNA testing can take anywhere from 4-8 weeks. We look at how long it took for our results to return when compared to the competitors.

Results: While details can be incredibly important in your report, there is also a lot of jargon used when talking about DNA results. We uncover how the results are presented, including both the data and visual presentation. Then, we look at how you can use those results and which added services come with your results.

Privacy: This is by far the most important factor when it comes to selecting the best DNA testing kit as your DNA holds a lot of useful information. We want to know whether the DNA testing company in question takes complete ownership of your DNA and whether it possibly sells it off to third parties. It is important to understand how transparent the DNA testing company is and how easily you can find your privacy settings to alter your permissions.

Value: In comparing services, we always look at the costs involved and whether users are getting a fair price in comparison to the competition.

DNA Test Kits: What to Look Out For and Why

Before diving into the world of DNA testing, it is important to remember the following elements:

Match database size: For those of you searching for living relatives the size of the database is very important. In short, the larger the pool of data available, the higher your chance of finding a match.

Privacy Protection: For all of the DNA testing providers mentioned above, look out for their customer’s privacy. This is why it’s mandatory to fill out a registration form which will link it to your identity. When you send your kit back and when the tests arrive in the mail for you, they will not contain your name so as to protect your privacy completely.

However, if you are aware and quite frankly a little creeped out by how much information platforms like Google and Facebook have on you based on what you get up to online, you should remember that these DNA companies will basically have your medical history on hand. The DNA testing kit you choose should come with an encrypted database as well as two-factor authentication.

Don’t expect perfect: These DNA testing companies will provide you with indications, however, if the people you are looking to connect with haven’t taken a similar test result, chances are you might not find them. Also whilst you may not find your biological parents, you can always connect with second or third cousins you never knew you had.

Consult Your Doctor: Although DNA tests for health are indicative of various health conditions to which you have a predisposition, it doesn’t mean you have serious ailments like heart disease right now. Rather, it gives you a starting point to speak to your doctor about the steps that you can take in changing your current lifestyle.

DNA Test Kits – Are They Worth the Hype?

Yes! There is a plethora of cool information out there about your past ancestors that most likely not even your parents or their parents know about. Getting a DNA test not only for yourself but also as a gift for someone close to you can not only be a pleasant surprise to the person but will also make your matches that much more accurate.

Got a family reunion coming up? Be sure to take a DNA test and share the results with the rest of your family.

56 comments
desiree davison says:

My curious 10 yo. My sons Nana is Pima Indian/Mexican, no idea much about his Grandpa as he passed and was adopted. My grandma’s both state German and Other European ethnicity. What would be the best one to give us all some information rather than having to buy 3 different ones as this is my Son’s Birthday Present.

Bonnie Walker says:

Good day,
My son’s father passed away and we want to test his (my sons) dna with his paternal aunt. What would be the best option for us? We reside in Michigan and his aunt in North Carolina. All your help is appreciated.

Maria P. says:

Hi Bonnie,
Thanks for your comment.
What exactly you wish to check with the DNA test?
You want to clarify that their deceased father is indeed their father?
or maybe you wish to get an idea about their ancestry.

keep in touch,
Maria P.

Nancy Gallagher says:

I just want to know what my medical past may be cause I’m adopted. Also I can let my children and grandchildren know. Thank You in advance.

James M. says:

Hi Nancy,
I think that you are looking for DNA Tests for Health.
We recommend you to read our piece on this type of tests.

Hope that helps,
James

Shanel Ramsey says:

I Am trying to find my daughter’s dad. I was young when I had her & just met her dad. We lost contact & he doesn’t know she exists. I don’t know his last name or anything about him except he’s from Jamacia… Can some type of DNA testing help me to find him or a family member?

Maria P. says:

Hi Shanel,

I would suggest you the following,
Get your daughter an ancestry DNA testing kit. The best choice would be ancestry.com kit because it offers the biggest DNA samples database and a family tree feature.
After your daughter will get the test results, build a family tree (as accurate as you can). In this way, you can find relatives that have DNA affinity to your daughter’s father.
Please note that this method might not provide you with any actionable results.

Hope it works for you,

Maria

Judie Reich says:

If You took two or three different tests from different companies, would the results all come out the same? Are they all sent to the same lab?

James M. says:

Hi Judie,

If You take two or three different tests from different companies, you probably would get a little bit different results.
This is because of the different analysis labs, algorithm, and databases.

You can try it yourself, even without buying an additional kit. For instance, if you purchase MyHeritage DNA testing kit. After your results will be analyzed at the lab, you can export your DNA raw data results.

With the raw results, you can do the following:
1. Purchase database access only, at other DNA company, for instance 23andMe. Upload the results file and compare the analysis results.
2. Upload your raw data into an open source DNA service. The most famous one is GEDmatch. You can find additional databases here. Compare your results to the results you got previously.

Hope that helps,

Marie says:

My daughter had her DNA tested recently with Ancestry.com and at first it tied in very well with my research. But then they changed it. Now she has just 6% “Germanic European” (whereas before it was 12% North European). I had mine done. My mother’s family were Northern Italian (Tuscany) for as many generations as I have been able to trace, but mine resulted with 41% France!!! Consequently the rest of my family think it’s all rubbish and I’m thinking it hasn’t helped me at all.

Jen says:

Hi, I’m just a bio major, but my genetics professor was just talking about this. These tests are not complete genome sequencing. They only look for SNPs (genetic markers) parts of the genome that tend to have a lot of variation. They determine your ansestry by comparing your markers to those of others in their database, but because their database is always expanding, the numbers change. Its still a good approximation and gets more accurate as more people take it, but if you want to be certain you have to have complete genome sequencing. There is a company called Nebula that does it. Hope that helps.

Zorica says:

Do you send Dnk test to Montenegro, Europa?

Maria P. says:

Hi Zorica,
Thanks for your comment.
First thing, just for clarification,
We are not the DNA testing operators, but an independent reviewer.
We are not sending DNA testing kits, nor providing analyzed test results.

To your question, beautiful Montenegro can be serverd by MyHeritage DNA company. According to thier sources, they deliver the kit to Montenegero in 8-12 days.

There is an awesome promotion going on with MyHeritage: You can purchase a DNA testing Kit for 59 USD (excl. shipping). If you purchase two kits, the shipping will be 100% free.

If you like, share your insights with us. Hope it helps.

Maria P.

David Zachary says:

Hello, I have done fair amount of research into my genealogy. I have found extensive info on many of the family trees yet have hit a wall with my paternal line. I have only been able to trace back to my grandfather, his father, my ggrandfather, is a mystery. I have only found a marriage certificate and some minutes from a church meeting. Would the y-dna test be the most revealing? (My brother did an Ancestry test that was interesting but not that revealing.)

michael anthony fisette says:

i would love to know my anscestery,i would like to find out any health issues,thank you so much.

Bestonlinereviews DNA Testing Team says:

Hi Michael,
Thanks for your comment.
We advise you to read our piece on the best DNA test for health.

Susan Donnahoe says:

There are two questions I would want answered through DNA testing. I never knew my mother but was told my great grandfather was “full blooded Cherokee Indian” and my six year old grandson is told by father “he is direct descendent of the Zulu nation”. Their words! Which DNA testing company would be able to answer these questions? I’m a little confused with the info presented. Thank you!

Bestonlinereviews DNA Testing Team says:

Hi Susan,
You got a very interesting family tree…ethnically wise.
We would recommend you to use the services of Ancestry.com.
In your specific case, you would benefit both for their ancestry DNA analysis(that is based on the largest genetic database in the industry) and their family tree builder (based on the DNA analysis).

Good luck.

Stacey (genealogy geek) says:

….or second choice to recommend after DNA Tribes, would be CRI Genetics, as they test autDNA, mtDNA, Y-DNA, and have a patented algorithm using 642,824 hand-chosen genetic markers by Nobel Prize winning geneticist Harvard apprentice, and also are the only lab offering an 8 week efficiency guarantee return policy.

Stacey (genealogy geek) says:

Hi Susan,
It may cost a little more, but I would highly recommend saving the extra and using DNA Tribes® rather than spending over half the cost for minimal tribal/biogeographical pinpointed information. The primary benefit of STR rather than SNP testing is the availability of rich reference data. DNA Tribes® tests industry standard autosomal STR systems, which allow the identification of a person’s DNA profile not shared with any other person. Because these STR markers have been tested and used in the court systems around the world, they allow DNA Tribes® to perform the most thorough comparison of a person’s own DNA profile to over 1,200 ethnic groups (populations) around the world. At present, SNP testing from these other autosomnal DNA testing kits does not yet match the geographical detail of DNA Tribes® autosomal STR analysis.

Stacey (genealogy geek) says:

….second choice would be CRI genetics, as they test autDNA, mtDNA, Y-DNA, and have a patented algorithm using 642,824 hand-chosen genetic markers by Nobel Prize winning geneticist Harvard apprentice, and also are the only lab offering an 8 week efficiency guarantee return policy.

Grandma says:

I am just starting to research DNA tests. My stepson has passed away and we would like test his children’s paternity, as none were done at their births. Is there a test out there that works best using child/grandfather DNA for this?

Bestonlinereviews DNA Testing Team says:

Hi Grandma,
That is a tricky situation.
Paternity DNA tests usually work by comparing the samples of the child and the alleged father.
In your case, sadly, you cannot pick a sample from the father.
There is always a possibility that your stepson might have a sample from when he was alive, but the odds are very low.
We can suggest an indirect approach, but you have to take into consideration that the results might be inaccurate.
His children can take MyHeritage or Ancestry.com. Both services have huge databases of samples and family tree builders. Build as detailed a family tree (that includes your stepson’s branches) as possible. Then crosscheck the DNA test results with the family tree.
You might find a genetic connection between the children and other relatives within the bloodline of your stepson. This will shed some light on the genetic affinity of your stepson and his children.

Hope this works for you and you get your answers. Update us on how this ends up.
Good luck.

carmen argudin says:

I am a Cuban lady. My two daughters born in USA with a Cuban dad. One daughter wants to know more of her heritage. Can you find the information even if the family came from Cuba.

Bestonlinereviews DNA Testing Review Team says:

Hi Carmen,
Ancestry.com has a huge database, which includes data for people with Cuban heritage! Try building your family tree with Ancestry.com, and you might even find some potential relatives you didn’t even know existed.

Melissa Dooley says:

Looking to find out exactly what percentage of Native American I am and where the native American bloodline comes from in the family tree which kit do I get?

Bestonlinereviews DNA Testing Review Team says:

Hi Melissa,
I recommend using Ancestry.com, they’ve got an enormous database with tons of information. They also have a great family tree feature which could potentially find you some relatives you didn’t even know about!

Stacey (genealogy geek) says:

Hi Melissa,
It may cost a little more, but I would highly recommend saving the extra and using DNA Tribes® rather than spending over half the cost for minimal tribal/biogeographical pinpointed information. The primary benefit of STR rather than SNP testing is the availability of rich reference data. DNA Tribes® tests industry standard autosomal STR systems, which allow the identification of a person’s DNA profile not shared with any other person. Because these STR markers have been tested and used in the court systems around the world, they allow DNA Tribes® to perform the most thorough comparison of a person’s own DNA profile to over 1,200 ethnic groups (populations) around the world. At present, SNP testing from these other autosomnal DNA testing kits does not yet match the geographical detail of DNA Tribes® autosomal STR analysis.

Stacey (genealogy geek) says:

Hi Melissa,
I recommend one of two options. It may cost a little more, but I would highly recommend saving the extra and using DNA Tribes® rather than spending over half the cost for minimal tribal/biogeographical pinpointed information. The primary benefit of STR rather than SNP testing is the availability of rich reference data. DNA Tribes® tests industry standard autosomal STR systems, which allow the identification of a person’s DNA profile not shared with any other person. Because these STR markers have been tested and used in the court systems around the world, they allow DNA Tribes® to perform the most thorough comparison of a person’s own DNA profile to over 1,200 ethnic groups (populations) around the world. At present, SNP testing from these other autosomnal DNA testing kits does not yet match the geographical detail of DNA Tribes® autosomal STR analysis.
….second choice would be CRI genetics, as they test autDNA, mtDNA, Y-DNA, and have a patented algorithm using 642,824 hand-chosen genetic markers by Nobel Prize winning geneticist Harvard apprentice, and also are the only lab offering an 8 week efficiency guarantee return policy.

Sandra Palmer says:

If you’re already using a specific geneology program, use their DNA test. I used My Heritage while I was using Ancestry for my family tree. I got called by a high pressure salesman to sign up for the My Heritage geneology program. (I had uploaded my gedcom to the My Heritage site.) I told him that I couldn’t afford two geneology sites. The guy was snotty and condescending. We figure we just wasted our money with My Heritage and will do the Ancestry DNA as soon as we can afford it.

Roberta says:

What test would be the best to use if you wanted to find the ethnic background of your mothers father. I am the granddaughter.

Bestonlinereviews DNA Testing Review Team says:

Hi Roberta,
Thanks for your question.
We can suggest the following two solutions:
First, if you wish to inspect your maternal lineage, look into LivingDNA DNA testing service. They got a specific “motherline” ancestry analysis.
Your second bet would be Ancestry.com. Despite they don’t have that specific analysis, their database is the biggest in the industry. Biggest database equal to more accurate and detailed results.

Good luck and update us what have you choose and if it has satisfied your expectation.

Celeste says:

I have never met my father and know nothing about him or his family.
What would be the best test for me to find out a little about that side of my heritage?

Bestonlinereviews DNA Testing Review Team says:

Hi Celeste,
In this case, I would recommend two options:

1. Ancestry.com – If you choose to take their DNA test, you can also take advantage of their family tree feature. Your DNA test results would be compared to other samples in the database. Combining this, with a manual lookup you can do, you might trace relatives on your father’s lineage.

2.LivingDNA – LivingDNA provides a separate unique analysis of the paternal lineage. This analysis will give you an in-depth picture of your father’s heritage. The only drawback is that LivingDNA database is relatively small (compared to ancestery.com and other big competitors). You can bridge that gap using GEDMatch service, by uploading your raw DNA data (acquired by LivingDNA). You can read more about GEDMatch here.

Good luck and I hope you would find what you are looking for!

Dianne says:

Your review of the various testing companies is misleading and incomplete. The only test that can give information about recent relatives ( 5 generations back only) is the autosomal test. The others only give our ‘deep’ roots out of Africa migration thousands of years ago. But for the autosomal test to provide us names with whom we can contact, we have to give permission to have our email and name listed (and of course so do others). The tests that say we are such-and-such % of this or that ethnicity isn’t very accurate because, keep in mind, the wars and the spoils of wars that humans have been engaged in forever, mean we all have a mixture of genetic material from around the world. I can tell that the author(s) of this review did not really understand what these tests are about.

Bestonlinereviews DNA Testing Review Team says:

Hi Dianne,

First thing first, thanks for your comment.

“he only test that can give information about recent relatives ( 5 generations back only) is the autosomal test” – autosomal test is indeed a DNA test that gives you the info regarding your relatives, both from the paternal and maternal lineage. We clearly specified it in the article. Ancestry.com, our best-rated provider, offer this test in their Ancestry DNA test. Regarding the accuracy of the time frame you specified, there is indeed a diminishing marginal utility of accuracy as you go back deeper into the past (generation wise). According to one of our most trusted sources (University College of London), the accuracy is 10 generations back and not 5 as you specified (Please provide a source to your number, so we would be able to check it and revise if needed). 10 generation back is a quite long time span – 300 years (more or less).

“The tests that say we are such-and-such % of this or that ethnicity isn’t very accurate because keep in mind, the wars and the spoils of wars that humans have been engaged in forever, mean we all have a mixture of genetic material from around the world” – Indeed, most of our ancestors were mixed due to historical events (wars, migration and etc.), but I don’t find how your statement is connected to the fact that this test is not accurate. DNA test is objective and gives you the naked facts.

To conclude,
Your comment didn’t manage to provide a solid explanation to why “Your review of the various testing companies is misleading” or “I can tell that the author(s) of this review did not really understand what these tests are about”. Following that, I don’t see what can be revised.
Yes, this is not an academic-scientific article – and frankly, it wasn’t the purpose of this article in the first place. I find it quite comprehensive, accurate and helpful.

Thank you for expressing your doubts, it is always challenging for us. Keep reading and participating! because “doubt is the fuel of progress”

Scott says:

You mentioned some local restrictions are possible with DNA tests. What kind of restrictions are you talking about? You can’t name them all, but example what they could be would be helpful.

Gill says:

Wow. I never thought about having DNA testing to screen health risks. How accurate is this? I know my Dad’s side of the family is prone to heart disease and diabetes but I don’t know as much about my mom’s side. That would be great to find out as I am getting to the age where health issues can start to be a major part of life.

Gabriella says:

Didn’t know I could be related to Neanderthals. Crazy.

jihyiopyhpyh says:

I’m really tempted to try one of these but i’m always worried its a scam? have you got any proof that they actually work?

Jane Leavell says:

I’ve been working on my family tree for decades. When I took the AncestryDNA autosomal test, the ethnic results matched my expectations, with mild variations. I knew my mother was of completely Irish heritage, but I came up 58% Irish, so apparently some of Dad’s British ancestors were Irish, not English, for instance.

The section that matched me to other DNA test-takers was also accurate. I recognized a couple of my second cousins listed there. Other people had taken the test but hadn’t created a family tree, so there was no point in contacting them to figure out which ancestors we had in common.

Be sure you’ve done some research on your own family–these kits do NOT tell you where you grandparents came from, or their occupations, or their names. They tell you how much of your DNA is common with certain nations or areas. I know I have some Germanic ancestors, so when my kit said “14% West Europe” and that turned out to include Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, and Lichtenstein, it made sense.

Allison says:

Family Tree DNA sounds amazing. Do you know anyone that has been able to find birth parents through this service? I was put up for adoption as a baby and I would love to find my birth mother and/or father. I wonder if this service could help me or if what I want is just a pipe dream at this point. I just turned 24 last month.

Cindy says:

Allison,
There is a TV show called Long Lost Family on TLC that uses Ancestry DNA and records to identify and locate families. I am not an adoptee but have taken tests with Ancestry and Family Tree DNA. I think using the Ancestry test would be better to help identify your birth parents since you could view your close matches and their family trees (if public). You can also download the raw data from Ancestry, FamilyTree, or 23&Me and upload them to gedmatch. Gedmatch is a free site where test-takers from different companies can compare results/matches without having to test with all three companies.
Good luck in your search!

Sandy says:

Family Tree DNA – Missed an entire side of my family (Russia) of which I have documented proof that I have ancestors that lived there. Wrote a letter to the owners telling them that they screwed up and NEVER received a response from any of their management. Customer service also was of now help.

Bestonlinereviews DNA Testing Review Team says:

Hi Sandy,
Sorry to hear that.
I suggest you a rule of thumb when dealing with DNA testing accuracy.
The Key feature is the database size of the DNA testing supplier.
As you can see in the summary table, in the article, the database of LivingDNA is quite small in comparison to the other companies.
Small database, will increase the probability of a disinformation.
We can suggest you take a test with one of the big companies, like Ancestry.com. With a database of 7,000,000 samples, you bet you will get much more accurate results.

Jane Leavell says:

The only way to identify your parents would be if they (or someone closely related to them) also used the same DNA site and marked it to show close relationships. It definitely has happened. Not only have people found biological parents, they have found illegitimate half-siblings that they never knew existed.

Natasha S. says:

As a genealogy nut, I have really enjoyed My Heritage’s family tree features. Learning so much, thanks.

Alicia says:

Had an interesting thing happen when I took one of these tests. Ended up finding out my dad actually isn’t my bio dad. When my background didn’t include most of his, they ended up coming clean. That was awkward…

Lisa says:

I can’t imagine engaged couples are going to be using these services after reading this. Maybe it’s a good point, but I’d be scared away!

Kate Smith says:

I used one of these kits and was absolutely blown away. It confirmed what we already knew about the family but also came with some surprises!! Apparently I have Native American blood and would never have known without this! Amazing! Would definitely recommend to friends.

Anna says:

Some of these services are way less expensive than I expected. Good to know!

Hannah says:

The family tree builder with MyHeritage sounds pretty awesome. How do they do the research? Is it through computer programs or do they have people that physically help you search? Just interested in the process is all.

Mora M. says:

Will people know if I have one of these tests since its sent to my home?

joe says:

Never knew this existed. thanks for sharing!

Yvonne says:

Do you know if these are legal to use in the UK?

Scaredy Cat says:

Was really glad to learn there are no needles involved. That would have been a deal breaker!