Live Science Verdict
We found the AncestryDNA Test Kit to be a comprehensive effective method for exploring genealogy and connecting with distant relatives.
Large ancestry database
Extensive historical and educational information
Connections with family members
No health/medical data
Viewing your traits is an extra fee
Wait time is on the longer side
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There are so many DNA test kits out there, and it can be tough to choose the one that’s right for you. Within the past few years, taking DNA tests to find out the facts of your genetic makeup has become more popular than ever before, and each test has something unique to offer.
Connect with close and distant relatives
Genealogy and ancestry information
Family trees built by available relatives
Start/build family trees of your own
Traits available for an additional cost
Educational videos and in-system content
Consistent updates based on data development
Build a public profile for others to view
StoryScout shows personal histories of family members
While there are some tests that offer in-depth medical and health data, others focus primarily on ancestry, and if we’re taking the name into account, it might be easy to discern which side the AncestryDNA test kit leans towards. Although you won’t get the same kind of health data you can find in other tests, the genealogy and family tree information with Ancestry is the main attraction.
If you’re looking for the best DNA test kit for you, the AncestryDNA test might be the right choice for you, especially if you’re on the hunt for more information about your heritage and your family. Luckily, we tested the kit out. Here’s everything we found.
AncestryDNA test kit review: Fees and Delivery
- $99 kit includes the kit itself, as well as the ancestry and family tree information
- Membership tiers range from $21.99-$59.99/month
Across the board, the AncestryDNA test kit itself costs $99 as a flat fee, and that fee includes the kit itself, as well as the genealogy and relative information. However, there are additional buy-ins and options that you can include in your Ancestry experience, such as the Traits feature for an extra $20.
Additionally, the Ancestry membership doesn’t come with the kit itself. There are tiered memberships that range in price from $21.99-$59.99 per month. The memberships tend to come with other historical information and access, not necessarily health data. Military records, historical documents, and other information like this tend to come with these memberships.
AncestryDNA test kit review: Using the DNA test kit
The Ancestry kit arrives in a compact and identifiable box. The box is even labeled as an Ancestry kit on the outside, and under most circumstances, it should be able to fit in a standard mailbox.
The instructions included were simple and easy to understand, especially for the simplicity of the process. All you need to do is spit in the included test tube, filling it up to the line. You also have to make sure not to eat or drink for 30 minutes beforehand (this includes water, brushing your teeth, and chewing gum). After you spit in the tube, you shake it, seal it, and mail it back with the prepaid shipping label in the included box. This process is simple, and relatively similar to any other DNA test you might expect to find.
AncestryDNA test kit review: test results
For us, it took about five to six weeks to get the results of the test back, although the company does say that it can take as long as eight weeks.
The main event of this test is the ancestry data, as the title might indicate. Our tester was split nearly 50% and 50% down the middle between Jewish and Irish, what she already knew her ethnicities to be. However, the results were much more in-depth with genealogy than other available tests, including information about countries and regions of origin, as well as historical timelines of those people groups across locations.
This test also managed to detect traces of Germanic and Baltic ancestry that other tests didn’t pick up on, indicating that the larger DNA sample size might have been of use in this case.
Ancestry also directly offers matches for family members and relatives, with full profiles and the capabilities to build your own. Elements like StoryScout also allowed our tester to see direct information and documents about ancestors and relatives, including grandparents, great-grandparents, and second great-grandparents. Most of these people were born/lived in Russia.
Our tester noted that the ancestry and genealogy information were the majority of the experience, as the traits and health data aren’t available with the standard package.
- Related: How accurate are DNA tests?
AncestryDNA test kit review: Customer Reviews
The overall customer review score on Amazon comes out to an average of 4.7 stars (notably, the same as the 23andMe test). However, Google reviews see a dip all the way down to 2.4 stars. The reviews for AncestryDNA are actually quite polarizing, and show a mix of extremely satisfied users and those who caution against it at all costs due to the extra fees. Really, it seems to depend on what you want out of the test, and what information you need is already included in the standard package.
One reviewer in particular wrote: “Love my AncestryDNA! Received my results in a few weeks. Found over 400 relatives. Very accurate ancestry results. I already knew most origins/regions and the ones I didn’t know about were not surprising. As more people test the DNA is updated to be more and more accurate. I believe it is done on a yearly basis. I have been in contact with a few relatives and am so happy I did it through Ancestry DNA.”
Another wrote: “Waste of money for what you get. I was so excited to find out more about my background, I've wanted to do this for so long. I'm no longer excited but disappointed. I got my results back and all it shows me is where I could be from. Either a mix of Poland or Russia. My relatives I can see show their "username" and how they are my 1st, 2nd or 3rd cousins. From what side of the family is a mystery.”
Should You Use AncestryDNA?
If you’re considering using AncestryDNA as your DNA test of choice, we would say to be aware of what you’re looking for and what you might find. If you’re looking for health data and traits, this probably isn’t the test for you, however, if that isn’t your aim, this is one of the best out there for genealogy and family information.
If you’re looking for relatives, family trees, historical documents, and ethnicity information, Ancestry will probably give you exactly what you’re looking for.
AncestryDNA test kit review: If this product isn't for you
If you're looking for health data as well as genealogy and ancestry information, then you might prefer the 23andMe DNA test kit. While it will set you back about $100 more than the most basic AncestryDNA package, it will be able to predict factors like sleep patterns, ideal diet and body composition.
Jamie Kahn is a Brooklyn-based journalist, editor, and certified yoga instructor whose work has been featured in HuffPost, Epiphany Magazine, The Los Angeles Review, Far Out Magazine, Atwood Magazine, and Live Science. She serves as the contributing features editor for Epiphany Magazine.