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From ISOGG Wiki

AncestryDNA is the genetic genealogy database service of (the owner of AncestryDNA offers an autosomal DNA test. The test was first launched in the US in 2012. It became available in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada in 2015. It was launched in a further 29 countries in February 2016.

Ancestry's autosomal DNA test

  • venturing into autosomal DNA Testing? by CeCe Moore, 6 October 2011. She reports that some subscribers are being offered the chance of a free upgrade to Ancestry's new autosomal DNA service. The offer is limited to the first 2000 who register.
  • More details on's new autosomal DNA test offering by CeCe Moore, 1 November 2011. She reports that Ancestry is "offering the opportunity to 10,000 more 'selected' subscribers (apparently chosen from among those who have manually uploaded DNA results to their site) to submit their DNA for the cost of shipping only". The offer is restricted to subscribers in the US.

Ancestry announced the launch of its new autosomal DNA testing service on 3 May 2012.[1] The Ancestry autosomal DNA test was initially restricted to US residents.

The AncestryDNA autosomal DNA test was launched in the UK and Ireland in January 2015.

In January 2015 Ancestry announced that non-subscribers in the US would be required to pay an annual subscription of $49 in order to access the family trees of their matches. For details see the blog post by Annette Kapple AncestryDNA non subscription accounts downgraded plus people behind the segments.

The AncestryDNA test was launched in Australia and New Zealand at the end of May,[2] and in Canada in June.[3]

The AncestryDNA test was launched in a further 29 countries in February 2016.[4]

The AncestryDNA test was launched in Germany in November 2018.[5]

See the AncestryDNA Support Centre article AncestryDNA availability by country for a list of the countries where the test is sold.

Chip versions

From mid May 2016 onwards AncestryDNA began using a new chip for their autosomal DNA product:

Rebekah Canada has produced some heats maps showing the distribution of SNPs on the two Ancestry chips:

For a comparison of the v1 and v2 chips see the blog post by Roberta Estes on Ancestry V1 vs V2 test comparison (5 October 2016).

Features of the Ancestry DNA autosomal DNA test

Shaky leaf hints

The Ancestry autosomal test has a unique feature whereby possible common ancestors are identified by Shared Ancestor Hints as can be seen from the screenshot below. Results can also be filtered for those who have a "hint". A number of ISOGG members in the US have reported receiving a large number of meaningful matches thanks to this feature. See also the blog post from AncestryDNA discoveries made easier with the help of the shaky leaf.

Shared ancestor hint.jpg

DNA Circles

Note that the Ancestry DNA Circles product was discontinued 1 July 2019

New Ancestor Discoveries

Ethnicity estimates

From 12 September 2013 onwards Ancestry began to roll out updated ethnicity estimates.[6] The ethnicity results incorporate six new West African DNA regions to provide an improved ethnicity estimate for customers of West African ancestry.[7]. The updated ethnicity estimates were rolled out to the entire database by 17 October 2013.[8] Updated estimates were rolled out in 2018.

AncestryDNA help centre articles:

Genetic communities

The Genetic Communities feature was introduced in March 2017. It has now been integrated into the ethnicity report. The communities are now labelled as regions. If the region does not fall within an "ethnicity" it is labelled as a migration.

AncestryDNA white papers

AncestryDNA videos


You can download your raw data from your AncestryDNA and upload it to a number of other company websites in order to get a different range of matches, reports and tools. At all all the companies the matches are provided free of charge but there is a small fee to access the additional features.

AncestryDNA raw DNA results can also be used with a wide range of third-party tools. See the Wiki article on autosomal DNA tools.

Extracting Y-DNA data

The chip used by AncestryDNA includes a small selection of Y-chromosome SNPs. Ancestry does not provide a Y-DNA haplogroup report but it is possible to get a haplogroup assignment from the raw data. See the blog post by Steven Frank Updated method to get YDNA haplogroup from AncestryDNA results for details of how to do this.

Reviews of the AncestryDNA autosomal DNA test

Ancestry's Y-DNA tests

Ancestry no longer sell Y-DNA tests. This section needs updating.

Y-DNA tests can be purchased from Ancestry which reported results for 33 markers or 46 markers. Note, however, that these tests included three markers that are very rare in the normal population, so most males ordering those tests will not receive results for the full number of markers claimed. Other testing companies will report values for these markers where found but will not include them in the total count. Note also that Ancestry do not currently have any facility to test single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to confirm haplogroup predictions.

Y-chromosome DNA test results obtained from companies other than AncestryDNA can be manually entered into AncestryDNA's database (although currently, some marker results may require conversion to the AncestryDNA format), and thus can be used to find matches within this database. For access to the database, a free "Registered Guest" account suffices.[9] Paid accounts, at either or, are not required. (Some web links at AncestryDNA will, under certain conditions, send the browser to a site, suggesting that an account be purchased there.) A separate account is required for each DNA result you wish to add to their database.

Comparing Ancestry and FTDNA results

The way in which testing companies report the values for the various markers is not yet consistent though eventually all companies will conform to the NIST (US National Institute of Standards and Technology) standards. Ancestry's markers now conform to the NIST standards but Family Tree DNA, with their much larger database, have not yet completed the upgrade. In the meantime to compare results between the two different testing companies it is necessary to convert some of the marker values. A useful guide to the conversion process is provided here.

AncestryDNA results can be uploaded free of charge to Y-search, a public Y-DNA database sponsored by Family Tree DNA. Results can also be compared with those on other public DNA databases such as the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation's database and the Y Chromosome Haplotype Reference Database.

In August 2011 Family Tree DNA announced that it would accept third-party transfers from people who had taken a Y-DNA test with companies that used the Sorenson Genomics Laboratories. Ancestry customers are therefore now eligible to transfer their results to the larger FTDNA database and join the various surname, haplogroup and geographical projects. It is however necessary to pay a small fee for the transfer to preserve the integrity of the database. Further information on the process can be found in the Third-party transfers FAQs. Y-DNA results from third-party Sorenson transfers are prefixed in the FTDNA database with the letter B.

Reviews of the Ancestry Y-DNA test

Ancestry's mtDNA test

Ancestry no longer sell mtDNA tests. This section needs updating.

Ancestry offers a single mtDNA test which sequences hypervariable regions 1 and 2 (HVR2 bases 1-390 and HVR1 bases 16000-16569). Note that the testing companies do not use the same nomenclature to describe the hypervariable regions. At Family Tree DNA HVR2 includes bases 1-574. Companies that use the Sorenson Genomics Labs split HVR2 into two sections HVR2 (bases 1-390) and HVR3 (bases 391-574). Note that Ancestry does not provide any SNP testing to confirm the mtDNA haplogroup assignments. Haplogroup assignments can be checked by using James Lick's mtHap utility which can be found at In many cases it will not be possible to provide a definitive haplogroup designation without additional testing.

For information on Ancestry's mtDNA matching system see the blog post by Roberta Estes entitled The trouble with matches.

History previously offered a short-lived DNA testing service in 2002 in partnership with Relative Genetics. They sold a 23-marker Y-DNA test, which was known as the "GenetiKit Genealogy Paternal Ancestry Signature". They also offered a mitochondrial DNA "Native American Haplotype Test" and a "Mitochondrial DNA Sequencing Test" used for establishing maternal relationships.[10][11] Family Tree DNA subsequently accepted transfers from These transfers appear in FTDNA personal pages as an "AncestryconversionKit".

Contacting AncestryDNA has toll-free/freephone telephone contact numbers in six countries: United States, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Sweden. A list of numbers can be found here. They provide a telephone service for DNA enquiries in five countries: United States, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada. The contact numbers are the same as the numbers but outside North America the operating hours are much shorter. Details can be found here. ISOGG members in the UK have reported that if they ring the UK Ancestry telephone number with a DNA query they are transferred free of charge to the US site if the UK representative is not able to answer the question. The call must be made within the appropriate hours.


See also

Official Ancestry websites


  1. Launches New AncestryDNA Service: The Next Generation of DNA Science Poised to Enrich Family History Research press release, 3 May 2012.
  2. Gallager B. AncestryDNA is now available in Australia and New Zealand. Ancestry blog, 27 May 2015.
  3. Wells K. AncestryDNA is now available in Canada. Ancestry blog, 9 June 2015.
  4. Murray J. AncestryDNA now offered in 29 new countries. Ancestry blog, 23 February 2016.
  5. Larkin L. Sind wir verwandt? Are we related. The DNA Geek, 8 November 2018.
  6. Pam Velazquez. Sneak peek into the AncestryDNA ethnicity update – coming soon to your DNA Results! blog, 12 September 2013.
  7. Julie Granka. AncestryDNA makes scientific breakthrough in West African ethnicity. Tech Roots blog, 12 September 2013
  8. press release. AncestryDNA™ Now a More Comprehensive DNA Test for Exploring Ethnic Origins. 17 October 2013.
  9. Link to manually enter results from other testing companies (you must be logged in to in another browser window for this link to work) - accessed 6 January 2013
  10. and Relative Genetics Partner to Deliver the Most Extensive Genetic Genealogical Service in the World Ancestrycom press release, 2002.
  11. Roberta Estes. Is history repeating itself at Ancestry? DNAeXplained blog, 30 August 2012.