Genealogy services

Ancestry review: can this DNA test reveal your family history?

Ancestry DNA Test

Whether you want to authenticate beloved family histories or you don’t know your family history and need a starting point, personal DNA testing has never been easier. Home DNA tests are a popular and affordable way to discover genetic information, including early ancestry, ethnicity, and genetic predisposition to disease. However, some people wonder if a simple home DNA test can really reveal your family history.

Ancestry claims to put these family history opportunities at your fingertips with the world’s largest online collection of genealogy records. Different levels of membership are available, so users can choose to receive the information that matters most to them, including marriage records, passenger lists, or connecting with other Ancestry members.

We wanted to see if Ancestry can actually reveal a person’s family history and what records were available in its database, so we put it to the test. Here’s what we found.

Test the ancestry

Our tester wanted to know more about their family history, myths and traditions. They were more intrigued by Ancestry compared to other genealogy services because of its well-known name, the ease of finding printed and historical records in one place, and the option of an at-home DNA kit. to provide additional ethnic information.

Some of our tester’s family members had used the service before the tester tried Ancestry. This provided our tester with family tree information, shared resources, and historical records.

We asked our tester to use Ancestry and interact with dashboard features, historical records, and family links. They primarily used it as a learning resource to build their family tree and explore other users’ information and records.

What is ancestry?

Ancestry is an at-home DNA testing service that combines its patented genetic communities technology and autosomal DNA testing technology with a large and substantial DNA database to help you uncover your family history. They can map ethnicity going back generations, estimate your genetic origin, help you find new family ties, create a detailed family tree and more. If you want to explore your background, Ancestry can help.

How to use Ancestry

Ancestry subscription

Ancestry requires a monthly subscription after its 14-day free trial period. There are several levels to choose from, depending on how much data you hope to find. You start by registering on the Ancestry website, where you can start building your family tree.

For this step, you should provide as much information as possible about your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and extended family members such as aunts and uncles. Some data they ask for includes dates and places of birth, marriage, and death. The more you know, the better chance Ancestry has of profiling your story.

Ancestry family tree

Once you are sure you have provided Ancestry with your family history, they process your information in their database. Ancestry then provides you with “ancestry clues,” which look like leaf emoticons and include documents and family member records to verify their accuracy. For example, Ancestry can feature your grandmother’s immigration papers from Ellis Island with original notes.

When Ancestry has enough verified information, they begin building your family tree. Each person has their own profile, including their story, life events, and family photographs. Ancestry continues to provide clues to older ancestors, giving you the ability to dig even deeper into your family history.

If people in your family tree also use Ancestry and have given permission to share their information, you can connect with newly discovered family members.

Ancestry DNA test

If you want to dig deeper into your DNA rather than just genealogy, Ancestry can also send you an at-home DNA test kit, in which you provide a saliva sample. Once you mail it back, they analyze your DNA and send you a detailed report including an ethnicity, possible family members based on a DNA match, and a map of where your ancestors lived.

Key Features of Ancestry

Ancestry’s most attractive feature is its extensive database. With more users entering new information each time they sign up, Ancestry can cross-reference records and provide you with new data at any time. Although larger companies are not always better, in this case having a larger database gives you the best opportunity to discover information about your family history.

Ancestry’s family tree feature is intuitive and helpful. Our tester has family members on his family tree who also use Ancestry DNA, so he was able to share resources and find information even faster. Although Ancestry protects your information if you wish, they can also connect you with newly discovered family members if that is what you prefer.

Ancestry Awards

Ancestry is free to use for 14 days. After this period, you have several Ancestry membership options to choose from.

  • Discovery of the United States provides access to all US records on Ancestry, public family trees, advice, and the ability to contact members on Ancestry for $24.99 per month.
  • world explorer provides access to all U.S. and international records on Ancestry, public family trees, advice, and the ability to contact members on Ancestry for $39.99 per month.
  • All access provides access to Ancestry, Newspaper.com Basic and Fold3.com for $49.99 per month.

If you want to order the DNA test kit, it needs extra charge.

Where is Ancestry sold?

You can subscribe to a subscription at Ancestry website.

Benefits of ancestry

If you want to learn as much about your family’s genealogy as possible, Ancestry is one of the best options available. With their large database, it has more records and data to sift through than other services, giving you a more comprehensive history.

Our tester found the sheet hint feature particularly useful, and it provided suggestions with actual documents and records that they probably couldn’t have found on their own. From newspaper articles and photographs to detailed life timelines, Ancestry is incredibly comprehensive.

We also thought the dashboard and user experience was intuitive and easy to navigate for those who might not be as tech savvy.

Disadvantages of ancestry

The monthly subscription is one of the main disadvantages of Ancestry. Unless genealogy is exceptionally important or meaningful to you, we do not recommend that you subscribe to Ancestry indefinitely. Our tester appreciated the information Ancestry was able to provide, but will likely cancel his subscription once he has gleaned all the data he is looking for. However, it is easy to cancel your subscription at any time.

If you don’t know much about your family members, the genealogy section of Ancestry might not be able to uncover much information unless you also provide a saliva DNA sample. Also, some members don’t believe the data provided by Ancestry is correct, so that’s something to keep in mind.

Should you use Ancestry?

We think a Ancestry Subscribing is a great way to reveal your family history, provided you know the basics about your immediate family members. Their database is one of the largest online collections of family history records, so you’re likely to discover some fascinating new information.

Based on our experience, we recommend Ancestry to anyone interested in learning more about their origin and discovering generations of their family members, even if you don’t plan to keep your subscription long-term.

Register here to receive the weekly BestReviews newsletter for helpful tips on new products and great deals.

Bre Richey written for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.