Ancestry.com is the best ancestry DNA test because of its fast turnaround time, its huge database of matches and its unique and helpful features. Though Ancestry’s test lacked the Neanderthal reports that 23andMe and National Geographic included, the Genetic Communities feature did more to automatically tell some of the stories of my family history than any features from other companies we tested. With its price and huge database of over 5 million people’s DNA, Ancestry.com is the best for most people.
Be aware that Ancestry, like 23andMe and the kit from National Geographic, requires a sizeable saliva sample. Ancestry’s kit came with a prepaid mailing box, and it was easy to put the saliva tube inside and send it away for testing.
It only took one day for me to receive an email from Ancestry that my DNA sample was at the lab for testing. This is likely because I tested in Utah, the same state where its lab is based. It took 20 days before I received an email letting me know I could access my results online. This was the second fastest time among the services we evaluated. FamilyTree DNA only took 13 days before I had my results, but the others took more than 20 days.
In terms of price, Ancestry’s DNA test is the second cheapest in our comparison. Only My Heritage DNA is cheaper, but the database size for Ancestry.com is the largest of all the DNA companies, which means you’re more likely to match with unknown relatives if you test with this company.
Ancestry divides its results into three general areas: Genetic Ancestry, DNA Matches and DNA Circles. Genetic Ancestry includes your biogeographical ancestry results as well as a proprietary interactive feature called Genetic Communities. The DNA Match section lets you review close genetic matches and includes a messaging platform that allows you to contact your genetic cousins. DNA Circles is an automatic feature that shows you other Ancestry users who are connected to a common ancestor.
Within the admixture results, this company displays large colored areas on a detailed zoomable map to represent your biogeographical ancestry. The colored areas are monochromatic, however, and not as descriptive as the topographical style of colors in FamilyTree DNA’s results. Within the admixture results, this company displays your percentages in two sections – high confidence and low confidence regions.
My favorite part of Ancestry’s DNA results was the Genetic Communities feature because it connected my DNA to two historical communities and featured interactive timelines. It connected me to a community called Central Norwegians and another called Mormon Pioneers in the Mountain West. No other company was able to use my individualized DNA results to connect to historical events and stories to such a focused degree.
As part of my testing, I contacted a previously unknown, unique relative from each of the companies. I had heard that some companies are more responsive and open to these contacts than others. I heard back from my second cousin within a day, and the communication was positive and helpful.
Due to its huge database size and detailed personalized features, Ancestry.com is the best DNA kit for learning about your ancestry. This company doesn’t have any health add-ons or extra tests you can take, but it offers the best capabilities and potential to connect with unknown ancestors without much effort on your part.