Ancestry DNA Testing Kit Review

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Richard Hill

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    Now more than ever, we have the opportunity to trace out family history with the help of DNA testing kits. There are many services available that will bring your information about your genetic account. AncestryDNA, founded in 2012, is top amongst competitors in terms of database size, value, and simplicity of DNA collection. 

    With AncestryDNA, you can learn more about your family history and dive deep into the world of genealogical data. Collecting your genetic information is simple, and so is creating an account. 

    Once you have access, you can keep returning to your dashboard as the system grows, and results become more precise. The interface is beautiful and packed with interactive features that make your genealogy research more engaging.

    Pros and Cons


    • Collection and shipping is straightforward
    • Match with possible relatives from around the world
    • Permanent access to your important genetic information
    • Results will become more accurate over time as more data is collected through AncestryDNA
    • Family tree service that is more detailed and utilized than ever


    • AncestryDNA does not support the upload of raw data files from DNA results of other tests
    • An extra fee for detailed medical/trait reports
    • Available in only 36 countries
    • Lack of a chromosome browser

    Collecting your DNA

    AncestryDNA sends kits to all fifty states in the USA and more than thirty other countries. Once you order the DNA Kit, it should arrive within a week.

    The AncestryDNA kit includes a saliva collection tube, a funnel, a cap with DNA Stabilizing solution, a collection bag, and a return mailer box that is prepaid. The package includes instructions. Most DNA testing services will ask for a cheek swab, but ancestry DNA collects your saliva instead.

    The first thing you should do when you receive the kit is to input its unique code into AncestryDNA’s database. You will need to activate an online account with AncestryDNA so you can collect your results with ease.

    There is a 15-digit activation on the collection tube, and you will need this number to activate your account. This code keeps your sample anonymous but allows you to track the progress throughout the testing process. 

    It is important to note that you cannot eat, drink, or smoke anything within 30 minutes before you spit your sample into the tube.

    Once you are ready, you have to spit until the amount in the tube reaches the line. Using the funnel helps improve your aim. When you have filled it up, you screw the cap tightly onto the tube.

    The cap for the funnel is DNA stabilizing, meaning that it will release a solution to preserve your DNA before it arrives at the lab. Shake the tube once it is shut. You should shake it for at least five seconds so that the solution evens out. 

    Once you have your tube set, you will seal it in the collection bag, put it inside of the collection box, and mail it back to the lab. 

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    What Will be Measured

    The human body has 23 chromosome pairs that is shared with the parents’ family within seven generations of your birth. Twenty-two of these pairs, numbered by size, are used by AncestryDNA in the autosomal DNA test. 

    This test determines your genetic cousins and child parent-relationships. Unlike some other services, the primary testing kit does not conclude your health history based on your ancestors. The accuracy for finding fourth-degree cousins is almost 90%, and the more distant the relationship, the less accurate the results will be.

    AncestryDNA works well to find your ethnic origins by measuring your DNA from over 700,000 people from all over the world. As more genetic samples are collected, the more accurate the results will be.

    How Fast Do Results Come Back?

    Results are delivered in a well-packaged report of all of your information. The process takes some time, but the wait is worth it once you have your detailed data available and stored for reference.

    It can take anywhere from six to eight weeks to receive your results from the lab. Some other DNA services claim to take four weeks, but six is the standard out of the competition. 

    Your membership and results will never expire. The company suggests that as they collect more samples, your results will become more accurate, and you will be able to re-access these in the future. 

    How to Read the Results?

    Your results are delivered through your online dashboard. The interface is straightforward, and the company truly makes use of effective data visualization. There will be a pie chart with an ethnicity estimate and any possible relative members. 

    AncestryDNA categorizes the world into 363 major regions and ethnicities. Your chart included in your results will show which percentage of your DNA is from these regions. You are likely to find traces of multiple areas considering that families have migrated at increasing rates over the past few hundred years. 

    Results will include an interactive ethnicity map feature where you will learn where your ancestors most likely lived. The colors on the maps will match the colors on your chart. You can zoom in to find more details. As you zoom in, you will zoom closer; you will be able to look at the regions from many levels. There are even reports on your localized family origin.

    From your results, you will learn or find justification for some traits that are both physical or hidden. Explore your DNA traits, and you may start to understand why you hate cilantro or why you have super short fingers.

    If you want to learn more about your ancestors and how Ancestry calculates your information, you can find videos and read more directly on their site. 

    AncestryDNA and Your Family

    With AncestryDNA, you could match with members of your distant family. You can extend your familial network by reaching out to living relatives. This process is straightforward if you have distant cousins who have used this service. 

    You will have to opt-in and allow other members to see your results. Your relatives would have had to do the same for the algorithm to have the ability to match you. If you do match with some relatives, you can easily connect with them through email.

    Your siblings will have DNA results that is very close to yours if you have the same parents, but they will not be precisely the same. Taking this test, along with your family members, will be interesting because you may find that you have different living relatives. One may match you more than your sibling. 

    Build your family tree, connect with third, fourth, or fifth-degree cousins through your online account. 

    Your kids can be tested at any age, as long as you can get them to spit enough into the collection tube. Parents or legal guardians are given the right through AncestryDNA to decide if this kit is appropriate for children who are under their care. 

    Your whole immediate family could take a test to grow your family tree and share exciting results. If you wish, you can manage other member’s results through your account. Each test that you want to manage has to be associated with its own account. 

    How AncestryDNA Protects your Privacy

    It is essential to read the consent forms before testing your service. There are two agreements involved in AncestryDNA. The first contract is to allow the collection, testing, and storage of your DNA. You must consent for the company to use your results in the future. If you do not agree, you will not receive your results.

    There is also an optional “Research Consent” this means that your data can be used for further research. It is essential to understand that this is not always as innocent as it may sound. Private pharmaceutical companies and other projects can use your data.

    If you are not comfortable with the second consent form, you may opt-out. If you do opt-out, your data may still be accessed and utilized by law enforcement.

    The privacy policy does offer some control. Under this policy, you have the right to have your data deleted, to download the raw data, or to have the DNA sample destroyed. 

    The people at the lab will associate your DNA results with the anonymous ID number on your tube. The results are your own, and you can choose to share them with whoever you would like.

    AncestryDNA Prices and Details

    Let’s take a closer look at the value and features you will receive with the Ancestry full kit and the optional extras you can choose.

    AncestryDNA Kit

    AncestryDNA comes as a full kit for a price tag of $99. The AncestryDNA kit is worth the price, especially if you have been interested in becoming closer to your roots.

    • Full report on origins and ethnicity - percentage breakdown of your DNA’s regionality
    • DNA matches - gives you the chance to find your relatives based on your DNA
    • Historical and geographical insights - details of your family’s history and movements geographically.

    The service is surprisingly accurate and very detailed. Your membership and your results that are stored never expire and will only become increasingly engaging in the future. Let’s look at some of the essential features:

    AncestryHealth Core

    The cost if fair, and by paying more, you receive more from AncestryHealth. For a monthly fee of $19.99, you can combine your results with historical records and family tree service. You can pay $149 dollars upfront to get that included. Here’s what it gets you:

    • Actionable health and wellness reports - information on how you could improve your health based on your genetic makeup
    • Access to genetic counseling resources - a team of experts that can help guide you on what your results mean
    • AncestryHealth core - a look at the history of illnesses in others that match your DNA

    Paying the additional fee for AncestryHealth, is a good investment, especially if you do not have records of your risks based on your genetic makeup. If you don’t have this kind of concern, then the basic package will cover your needs.

    Ancestry Subscription

    Another option with AncestryDNA is the membership subscription which you can join for $99 per year. This opens up the service and the extra benefits you will get are as follows:

    • Unlimited Access to over 11 billion records and millions of family trees worldwide
    • Share photos and documents to your family tree
    • Contact any Ancestry members
    • Access to any public full family tree
    • View surnames and birth locations for DNA matches, and more

    If you find that some of your family come from outside the US and you would like access to the European database it will cost you extra. That fee could range from $149 to $199 depending on the geography of your DNA matches. If you are interested in finding other family members you didn’t know about, then this is a service for you.

    Ancestry Traits

    Ancestry traits is another service that can give you a variety of extra information about your genetic history. It’s priced at $20 and you get a whole host of extras for that price. Let’s take a look at some of those now:

    • 26 traits available including eye color, hair color and curl, male baldness, freckles, pigmentation and many many more
    • Potential of more traits as the science improves
    • Can be purchased for you and others

    The traits pack is a fantastic addition for those wanting the full rundown of everything that makes them who they are genetically. If DNA is one of your interests, then the traits package plus everything else is the option you should go for.


    AncestryDNA is a reliable genetic testing service with the most extensive database among its competitors. If you are interested in learning more about your family lines and genetic makeup, it is worth taking this test. Collecting and sending-in your DNA is simple and secure.

    The site algorithm improves as the number of DNA samples in AncestryDNA’s database; the results will become more precise and accurate. Your membership will never expire, so you will always be able to access your account. 

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