Joe Schwartz | DNA Testing Editor
Our chief content editor, Joe manages a diverse team of content writers. He holds a degree in online communications and his writing has been featured in a wide range of online publications.
Most Ancestry.com reviews agree that it is the premiere market-leading site for genealogical research today. With a treasure trove of document databases, lots of features, and a very user-friendly interface, it’s no wonder that people cite it as the go-to choice for making family trees, learning about their heritage, and many more activities.
Founded in 1997, Ancestry.com was one of the first companies to leverage technology and the Internet to make it easy for people to learn about their family history. These days, they also offer DNA test kits, to aid in genealogical research. How does this all work, what do they offer, and what does it cost? We’ll tell you all this and more in our AncestryDNA review. Just keep reading!
Pricing and Sign-Up Process
There are numerous levels of service available at Ancestry.com. Free sign up accounts require only a valid email address and give you browsing access to a lot of the features and interface of the site. To build a substantial family tree, do serious research, access primary source documents, and use many of the other features on the site, you have to become a paying member.
They offer a 14-day free trial of the basic Ancestry.com service. You can sign up for a monthly or six-month membership, with the longer option providing significant cost savings. The current rates are summarized in the table below.
|Subscription Type||Monthly Plan||6-Month Plan||Monthly Cost of 6-Month Plan|
|US Discovery (all US records)||$24.99||$99||$16.50|
|World Explorer (all US and Intl records)||$39.99||$149||$24.83|
|All Access (World Explorer plus other sites outside Ancestry.com)||$49.99||$199||$33.17|
The AncestryDNA service is a separate, a-la-carte service offering. It doesn’t require a subscription but is a pay-per-test kit purchase. It’s separate and apart from the basic Ancestry.com subscription, and costs are typically between $59 and $99 depending on sales and promotions. In this review we've tried providing an overview both of their family tree service and the popular AncestryDNA test kit.
As mentioned, the cost of AncestryDNA's comprehensive testing kit depends on promotions, but typically the price does not include shipping which will add about $10 to the overall cost. This shipping fee includes the cost of return shipping so you can easily return your DNA kit to Ancestry for testing and analysis.
DNA Test Kit & Features
Ancestry.com's service is primarily for family tree building, genealogical research, and accessing their over 20 billion primary source records, all digitized and archived. Many Ancestry customer reviews praise the site's ease of use and affordability. The site makes it easy to create family trees and discover ancestors and relatives, based on whatever information you may have, no matter how limited. As you build out your tree, you get more and more hints of relatives and primary source documents, which makes it really fun and exciting to use.
At the same time, the DNA test kits enable you to learn more about yourself and potential relatives by using medical science, rather than just relying on history. Each individual testing kit comes complete with an instruction booklet, testing tube, collection bag, and prepaid envelope for you to send your results back to the lab.
After you receive the test, you'll be instructed to register the kit (the number will be on the package) on Ancestry.com in order to easily view your results when the lab processes them. Then, the process is as simple as spitting saliva into the provided tube. Be sure not to eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum for at least 30 minutes prior to taking the test.
Once done, secure the cap on the tube, and place and seal your sample in the provided collection bag. Send your sample back in the prepaid envelope required.
Specifically looking at our Ancestry.com DNA review segment, it’s easy to purchase a test kit – regardless of whether or not you are an Ancestry.com member. You complete the test at home by taking a DNA sample of saliva. You send it off in the package provided, to be tested at one of their labs.
Then, in 6 to 8 weeks, your individual ethnicity results will be available online via your AncestryDNA account. Results are displayed on an attractive interactive world map where regions of your ethnicity are highlighted. On the left panel of the screen, scales are displayed with ethnicity percentages broken down by region. If you need clarification to how AncestryDNA calculated these percentages, simply click on the question mark icon on the bottom right corner of each scale in order to see a detailed explanation.
Customer Care & Support
Ancestry.com is very customer-focused and offers numerous ways to get in contact with support for both types of services they offer. They have an online knowledge base and FAQs for self-service. There’s a community message board set of forums that can also be highly useful.
For any technical issues, customers can contact an AncestryDNA support team member by phone 9 AM to 11 PM EST 7 days a week. Customers can also access help via their informative Help Center library, and message boards. In addition, customers can also join Ancestry’s online community, allow them to connect and collaborate with other members to build family tree’s or to reconnect with distant or lost relatives.
Based on our experience, as well as the information from customers and other online Ancestry.com reviews, their customer support team performs quite well and is usually able to handle any kind of account, billing, and technical problems effectively. What they can’t do, however, is find relatives or provide documents and such for you beyond the capabilities of the interface. For that, you have to hire a private research associate, which can also be done through the site (for a price).
There’s a lot to love about Ancestry.com and AncestryDNA, as we’ve highlighted in our Ancestry.com review. Just know that it comes at a cost – subscription prices are comparable to or more expensive than most other similar service providers. The flipside is you get superior service, an easy-to-use interface, and one of the largest repositories of documents and historical information available anywhere.
It’s a matter of what you want to do with the site, DNA test, or both, and how much that is worth to you. After all, the most important review of Ancestry.com is the one that you create for yourself by using the service.
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