|Note the phone number and warning that this is currently|
available in the U.S. ONLY.
Ancestry.com has provided Y Chromosome and mtDNA testing in the past, but has jumped into the autosomal testing in the last year. You can order a Y Chromsome, mtDNA or combination of both here. Currently, their focus is on the autosomal test, so if you select DNA from their dropdown menu, the page to the left is where you'll land. And because of it's popularity and my own genetic genealogy desires, their autosomal test is the one I took and will be reviewing for the most part (as well as providing a fabulous "how-to"!). But I wanted to be clear for those interested that the other options are still there, just tucked away.
Why Choose Ancestry.com?
Of all your options, why should you consider Ancestry.com for your genetic testing? The best argument is the same one I'd give you for regular genealogy: It's the largest online repository for genealogical research. It has over 2.5 million subscribers (last time I checked) and that doesn't include all those folks taking the DNA test without subscribing to the research service. If you choose to include regular research along with genetic testing (which I whole-heartedly recommend), they will give you a jump start like you won't believe! And on top of all that, they have affiliate sites that include specialty records, photo sharing, and community forums at discounted rates (or free) that can help you take your research even further.
It's basically a "one stop shop". You take a DNA test, build a tree, compare matches and reinforce with documents all in one place. The famous hint leaf system will help give you clues along the way. And if you test your Y Chromosome or mtDNA with another company, you can transfer your results to Ancestry.com by following the instructions here. So even when you don't test with Ancestry, you can still use the system of members and hints to build your family history in ways many other genetic genealogy sites can't do simply because they don't provide family tree options!
|AncestryDNA Home Page|
So on Ancestry.com's home page, there is a row of dropdown menus along the top (grey bar). One is marked "DNA". Click on that one and you'll be taken to the aforementioned autosomal offer page. If you have a test already, or set up a purchase of one, the page to the right is what you'll see. I have one test completed, one test in progress. When the test is activated, you'll see a progress bar that will show you the status of your test from purchase to completion. Like most companies, they batch the tests (I believe updates are Thursdays), so you don't need to check daily. But you will. I did. For a month. Every. Day. Anyway, back to this DNA home page. If you order one test and want another, the right hand side has a box for buying another test. Above that you'll notice a green box with "BETA Send Feedback". A BETA anything is a test. I want to be very clear about this. Ancestry.com's autosomal DNA test is so new that we're getting it while they are still refining how they want it all to go. If you don't like something, don't think it's as accurate as it should be, or want a feature added, click the feedback button and tell them about it. Changes won't happen overnight, but if you don't provide the feedback with that button, they may not happen at all!
So you order your test, get it in the mail and activate it. Your next step is the settings for the test. You'll need to decide if you want email notifications of new matches weekly, monthly or not at all. Why would you choose to not get emails? Many people, including myself, didn't take this test for anything more than learning their ethnicity mix. Now, I'm also a thorough blogger, so I've used the other options of connecting to cousins and such, but it wasn't my focus. And it's not going to be the focus for everyone. After that is your privacy settings. You can show your real name or a user ID or something else. If the test is for someone else with you just administering the test, then their initials will show with a note that you're the administrator and that's it. The other privacy option is to show only matched ethnicities to other people. You'll see all your ethnic percentages, but your matches will only see the ones they have in common with you. Anything else will be marked as "other" to them. I'm not sure how this helps protect your privacy more than just making you feel like it does.
The grey box to the right is very important. When you first activate a test, you see the terms and conditions of a research project using AncestryDNA's results and have to accept or deny them before continuing. If you wish to review them, there is a link here. I like the idea of printing this out to show relatives I want to get samples from. The project is much like National Geographic in that they are trying to map humanity for language, culture, and migratory patterns. They also provide medical information to the study, so for those of you worried about handing that information out willy-nilly, you can opt out of participation when activating the test. If you do participate, your personal information will be stripped away. If at any time you change your mind, just email firstname.lastname@example.org to remove part or all of your information from the project.
My name is (name here ). AncestryDNA has matched me to you as a genetic cousin. I have a public tree (link here) on Ancestry.com that you can peruse to see if you notice any common names or locations. If you prefer, I would be happy to do the legwork for you if you invite me to your tree. I have recently added my results to Gedmatch.com (Kit #) if you have uploaded there as well and would care to compare. In any case, I appreciate the time you took to read this message and hope to hear from you soon.
And this seriously works. I've messaged 50 private tree owners and been invited to 10 trees, had 4 tell me of my connection rather than invite, 3 tell me that the test was for a relative and they weren't researching that line, and one tell me straight out that they weren't interested in connecting. Others haven't responded, but I don't take that as a bad thing. Maybe they haven't been on the system lately. I can wait. There's so much to do right now!