Ancestry vs Heritage: The Best Family Tree and DNA Test Service

Was there ever an instance when you asked yourself if you’re descended from one of the most famous people in the world? How about asking who your ancestors are? Well, some people do, and they’re curious about where they came from and who their ancestors are. They seek to know their ancestry and heritage. So, what is ancestry and heritage? 

A person’s ancestry refers to the lineage of a person. It refers to your family tree or the people before you in your family. Many ancestry testing services help you find you trace your origins and family tree. By knowing your ancestry, you can also get to identify habits, diseases and birth place of your family.  Heritage is different from ancestry. It refers to the customs, traditions, and beliefs of our ancestors. It also includes the artifacts and physical objects inherited by future generations. 

Most people get to access their ancestry and heritage through their family records or to the stories from their grandparents. However, there are instances when some people don’t know their family origins. Good thing there are ancestry and test services to help them out. 

How Genealogy Testing Works

Genealogy testing is a way for people to know of their ancestry. It goes beyond what people already know about their family, and helps provide clues on where their ancestors have come from. Many genealogy testing companies offer the same services. They let you learn about your ethnicity, migration paths of ancestors, and genetic traits. 

To take these tests, a person sends a saliva sample to the lab where the DNA shall be extracted and analyzed. The DNA would then be compared and matched to a database of closely related genes of a given population. If the DNA matches with the genes of the population, the person can be identified from this descend.  

Ancestry vs Heritage

Many genealogy testing services are being offered. Two among them are AncestryDNA and MyHeritage. Both of the websites offer an intuitive platform containing a huge database of records for people to look into. They both offer annual paid subscriptions and DNA testing.  

Despite their close similarities, they have distinct differences as to the services they offer. AncestryDNA has a greater number of records than MyHeritage. However, the former doesn’t offer a downloadable family tree, unlike the latter. To get a good look into the services and features of the two, you may check the details below. 

AncestryDNA 

AncestryDNA is a DNA testing service that uses advanced testing technology to know your ancestry and family history. It is a subsidiary of Ancestry LLC, a privately held company in Lehi, Utah, and is the largest genealogy testing company in the world, with over 20 billion historical records and 3 million paid subscribers. 

AncestryDNA lets you travel 50,000 years in the past with its huge historical record. When you purchase its DNA kit, it grants you access to its huge database where it contains hundreds of family trees and documents. The DNA test is also not segmented, which means you can access all the utilities in a single test without paying for additional fees. 

AncestryDNA helps you find your genetic cousins and ancestors. It also estimates your ethnicity by cross-checking your DNA sample with others’ from more than 700,000 locations. You can find your distant cousins in different regions of the world.

Features 

This testing service caters to both men and women. It is one of the most popular DNA testing kits since it has over 20 billion historical records to look at and match with your DNA. 

They have five awesome features: ThruLines, DNA Matches, MyTreeTags, NewAncestry Messaging, and AncestryHealth Core.  

ThruLines

This feature lets you find your ancestors and relatives you never knew about. It links your DNA results to others, helping you create a family tree and learn new things about your ancestors. 

DNA Matches

The DNA Match feature helps you make more discoveries on relatives and ancestors you never knew about. It makes use of color coding, custom labeling and has tools to give you a clearer DNA match experience.

MyTreeTags

This lets you label the people in your family tree to give you a more detailed and organized experience. 

NewAncestry Messaging

NewAncestry Messaging lets you communicate with the people who share the same DNA as yours. Shortly, it would allow you to compare family trees, view DNA connections and browse all messages.

AncestryHealth Core

AncestryHealthCore provides information on potential cancer risk (breast & ovarian + Lynch syndrome), carrier status (cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and Tay-Sachs disease), and conditions associated with heart and blood. 

It also provides a wellness report and some valuable tips on how to stay healthy. This allows you to adopt a healthier lifestyle and avoid acquiring the same health disease. 

Data Quality

AncestryDNA has over 20 billion records to access from and break down your ethnicity results to intervals of 0.1 percent. Both men and women can take the test where a sample of your saliva is to be sent to the lab. Their DNA kits contain a sample of collection tubes, one sealable bag, prepaid return mailer, and instructions.

To analyze your DNA, they make use of autosomal testing technology to map your ethnicity, determine the region of your ancestors, and identify unknown relatives through your DNA matches. By using autosomal testing it helps you find DNA matches in any branch of your family tree. It is not limited to your paternal and maternal lines, because it analyzes all 22 pairs of nonsex chromosomes instead of only looking at the Y-chromosome and X-chromosome in your DNA. Through this test, it will let you look at your entire family tree. Also, they have high confidence in determining the specific region a person originated from.

The result would take six to eight weeks, then you would receive an email notification to view your results. The quality and precision of the data depends on how many marks were checked. The more marks are checked, the better the data quality is. 

Usability

AncestryDNA’s website is easy to use and aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. They offer a lot of tools and features you can use once you get your results. 

To analyze the results, you can check the Ethnicity Map Page, which is an easy and colorful interface to view your DNA test results. The colors on the map show the colors on the pie chart for your ethnicity. You may also download your results by clicking the print button down on the right side of the page. 

Pricing

Their membership fees range from $24.99 to $49.99 per month. It has three membership plans, which are U.S. Discovery, World Explorer, and All Access

If you choose U.S. Discovery for $24.99 per month or $99 every six months, you get access to all the U.S. record collections, connect with millions of Ancestry members, and learn from the exclusive ancestry hints. It also organizes and shares your family tree. 

If you choose the World Explorer for $39.99 per month or $149 for six months, you get  unlimited access to more than 3 billion international records, discover your immigrant ancestors and your family’s home. You also get to see handwritten records from the 16th century, and learn about your ancestors in more than 80 countries outside the US.

If you choose All Access for $49.99 per month or $199 every six months, it includes access to more than 537 million records on Fold3, which is a historical military records website, and find stories among 142 million articles on Newspaper.com.  

Pros

Huge Historical Records

It has a huge record of historical records that can help maximize the search experience of a user. The results can be more accurate due to the availability of data. 

Established Community

AncestryDNA has a lot of users and a big community. With over 10 billion historical records, 350 geographical regions covered, and over 7 million people on their website, they are proven to be a world-class genealogy testing service. 

Free Basic Account

It doesn’t require a membership fee to take the DNA tests. Also, users can pick a free account or a paid subscription.

Privacy and Security

In AncestryDNA, samples are carefully processed in a secure third-party lab in the US. The moment you purchase a DNA kit, you become the administrator of your sample and test results. You would be able to choose to whom the results can be shown.

Cons

Costly Subscription Fees

You have to pay extra fees to access all of AncestryDNA’s tools. It is also too costly to pay for full access. 

Feedback 

Users who gave AncestryDNA a 5-start rating stated that the results were 99 percent accurate and the delivery was fast. They have an easy and user-friendly interface. It has the best geographical coverage and can tell you the most about your ancient relatives and overall genetic background. Lastly, it gave them access to old documents. 

Meanwhile, users who gave the website a 1-star rating stated the results were nothing new and did not give them the exact results. 

MyHeritage 

MyHeritage is a genealogy testing company founded in 2003 by Gilad Japhet. It first started as a software for building family trees, and slowly evolved into a genealogy testing company that offers direct-to-consumer DNA testing services. 

The results from the DNA test can be tied to a person’s family tree. It also allows the person to view the family history and find genetic matches. 

Now, it has over 10 billion records and approximately 2.5 million kit users worldwide. It has more users outside the United States, which allows Americans to connect with long lost relatives outside the country. 

MyHeritage has expanded its services to the DNA health sector, as well. Although you have to pay to gain access to all their features, it’s way cheaper than its rivals.

It uses an autosomal DNA test, wherein it tests all 22 of your chromosome pairs to gain bigger and wider information on your ancestry rather than only checking your X and Y chromosomes. 

Through this test, you’ll get to have a picture of your ancestry both on the mother and father side. Geneticists say autosomal DNA testing accurately finds relatives within seven generations in your family or roughly 210 years from your birth. Talk about learning about your ancestors or your great-great-great-grandparents!

Features

MyHeritage has a simple and easy-to-use website that helps you navigate your family links. 

It has three basic services on its platform, which are the Family Tree, DNA testing kit, and Health+Ancestry DNA test kit. 

The details of each feature are given below. 

Build your Family Tree

With the huge amount of records available at MyHeritage, they give you access to building your family tree through their website. To build your family tree, simply enter the names, birthday, marriage and death certificate, yearbooks, photos, and location of you and your family members. 

The website will give you hints to links that would help you build your family tree. It also gives you clues on potential relatives and information on current relatives.  

MyHeritage DNA Kit

The DNA kit compares your DNA to other users’ to give you information on your DNA matches and genealogy. The kit includes two cheek swabs, two vials filled with DNA preserving liquid, one plastic bag, a return envelope, an activation card, and instructions. 

Instead of spitting on a vial, you swab your cheek to get a sample of your DNA. You put the sample in a vial, seal them in a bag, and put it in the return envelope. You’d have to wait four to six weeks before receiving your results. 

Lastly, use the activation card to view the results on the MyHeritage website.

MyHeritage Health+Ancestry Kit

If you want to know health-related information, you can try to avail of this feature. You will receive a 27-genetic risk and carrier status report, which gives a detailed report on your genetic health risks. 

This report includes heart disease, breast cancer, cystic fibrosis, and other monogenic conditions. Through this feature, you can get to know the diseases and ailments in your family, as well as let you learn if you are a carrier of a specific disease. 

Data Quality

MyHeritage has over 10 billion records in its database that can help you build your family tree. Through the photos, yearbooks, birth certificates, and census data, tracking your ancestors 210 years in the past is made easier. Although their records may be less than AncestryDNA’s, it’s still comprehensive and operates internationally. 

Usability

MyHeritage’s website is simple and easy-to-use, plus you can download its app on your phone. Creating your family tree is simple since the interface is easy to understand, and you’ll just have to input the necessary information on the website. 

To access your results, its website has an organized tab where you can view each result. The Overview contains the summarized results, while the Ethnicity Estimate provides you information on the ethnicities your DNA is closely linked to. 

It will also show which geographic area and the percentage of your relation to the ethnicity in the region. Meanwhile, the DNA Matches shows the information on the users you are related to.  

You can also use MyHeritage without paying any subscription fees. Although you need to pay fees if you want to access all its tools. 

Pricing

MyHeritage has four premium subscription plans. The basic one is free, and it allows you to create a family tree of up to 250 people. 

The Enhanced Family Tree – Premium is worth $79 per year. It allows you to create a family tree of up to 2,500 people, gives you priority in customer support, and has advanced DNA features. You can also access Smart Matches, which adds confirmation of matches, has faster processing, and consensus from multiple matching trees. 

The Enhanced Family Tree – PremiumPlus is worth $129 per year. It allows you unlimited family tree size, Instant Discoveries wherein you can find an entire branch on your family tree, and Tree Consistency Checker, which helps you look for errors in your family tree. 

The Data package allows you access to all historical records, record matches, and saves matches to your tree. But, it doesn’t give you access to the premium offers. This package is $129 per year.

The Complete package costs $189 per year, and gives you full access to all the features, such as unlimited members in your family tree and access to all the records. 

Pros

Cheapest to Use

Unlike other genealogy testing services, MyHeritage is cheaper than the rest, with only $189 per year for full access.

Comprehensive Genealogy Results

The interface for their website is easy and clear to use. They have different pages to show the results, which makes it organized and easy to understand. 

Large Database of Users to Match with

They have over 10 billion records for you to access. These records would help you create your family tree, and learn important points about your ancestry. 

New and Competitive Health Testing Services

Their competitive MyHeritage Health package allows you to gain knowledge on diseases passed on from one generation to the next. It also allows you to take precautionary measures to avoid acquiring or worsening the disease.

Cons

Requires Subscription for Advanced Services

To gain full access to all the website’s tools and features, you would have to pay the yearly subscription just like in other genealogy testing websites. 

Feedback 

Users who gave MyHeritage 5-Star Rating stated that they were able to use the platform to search for over 2,500 family members. They were able to track their relatives through the website while others were able to discover their heritage and place of origin. The yearly subscription was also helpful and cheap since it gave them access to billions of records.

On the other hand, users who gave the website a 1-star rating had problems ending their subscription, and the results were different from other genealogy testing services. 

Result Accuracy

Determining the accuracy of the DNA test result can greatly impact your decision in taking the services or not. But, it’s also important to note that these genealogy testing companies only predict your relationship based on the amount of shared DNA with other people. They make use of different methods to determine the accuracy of your ethnicity estimate.

The accuracy of the AncestryDNA and MyHeritage DNA test results would depend on the factuality of each step. The result is based on a multi-step process where the DNA is measured in a lab, and generates raw data from results. Instead of looking at it as a whole, you have to look at its accuracy in each step. 

Overall, the results generated from both testing services are accurate because they would update the results every time they acquire new data. Plus, AncestryDNA and MyHeritage are one of the biggest DNA testing companies in the world. They have proven experience in the industry and have an excellent reputation that will attract new and existing customers. 

Conclusion 

Learning about your origin and distant relatives is an exciting experience. Instead of asking for stories or photographs from your parents or grandparents, you can learn more about your ancestry through the different genealogy testing websites. Their services help understand your ancestry and ethnicity, plus their accuracy and proven results are worth your money.

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