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MyHeritage Vs Ancestry: How Do They Compare?

Written by Michael Principato, BPHE (Bachelor of Physical and Health Education) | Last updated:

About MyHeritage and Ancestry

This comparison will begin with an introduction of background information and a brief history of each platform. Both companies have been around for quite some time in the DNA testing space, and have been successful.

MyHeritage was founded in 2003 by Gilad Japhet, an experienced genealogist and software developer. The company is headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel and has received up to $49 million in funding from 12 investors.

Ancestry was founded in 1983 by Dan Taggart and Paul Allen. The company is headquartered in Utah and was acquired by the Blackstone Group, a large American investment firm in 2020.

Review of Products & Features

MyHeritage and Ancestry are both heavily focused on ancestry and family tree building services. There are minor differences, but the core services are very similar. Additionally, both companies offer at-home DNA testing.

MyHeritage gives genealogy tracing information such as ethnicity and ancestry tracing. The family tree building tool is their major offering. They also offer colorization of family photos.

Ancestry features a library of historical information and records that users can view and see their genetic relationship to. This can include finding potential relationships between people users may not know or know little about.

Notably, Ancestry discontinued their healthDNA services, which offered some basic health information based on genetic data. MyHeritage only tests for a specific set of common diseases and carrier genes and provides generic recommendations for how to mitigate risk to a given condition.

Review of Reports for MyHeritage Vs Ancestry

MyHeritage reports include a percentage match that corresponds to a specific geographic region, as seen in the image below. These maps are visually appealing and colorful.

Additionally, there are DNA matching reports that show who the member is most likely to be related to and specific information about the relationship such as shared DNA segments.

Ancestry also offers a ethnic breakdown service, with reports designed to show subscribers where they are from historically. Timelines are given to show users the history of the regions they are reportedly from.

Like MyHeritage, Ancestry offers a breakdown of people who may be related to the user, including a measurement of the scientific confidence of the relationship.

The reports offered by the two companies are very similar, and even the mapping of the regions look alike. As mentioned earlier, health recommendations have been discontinued by Ancestry, and MyHeritage only offers very generic health information and recommendations without embedded scientific references.

Cost Comparison

MyHeritage offers a DNA testing kit for $79.

Access to historical information will cost an additional $150 per year.

Their subscriptions are sold in different tiers, with the basic package only offering a 250 person family tree being free. The other packages cost more, with additional features:

  • Premium ($99/year): offers genetic relationship information and larger family tree size
  • PremiumPlus ($159/year): Unlimited family tree size, additional features
  • Complete subscription ($220/year): All available features and data access

NOTE: All prices listed above are for the 1st year subscription, after one year, prices increase by about 30% for most subscriptions.

Ancestry offers its at-home DNA testing kit for $99. They offer their service in a monthly, or 6-month payment plan.

  • USdiscovery ($25/month, $99 for 6 months): offers access to all US ancestry records
  • World Explorer ($40/month, $150 for 6 months): offers access to all US and international records
  • All Access ($50/month, $200 for 6 months): Includes access to all of the above plus newspaper and military records

Overall, both companies are quite expensive if users wish to have a subscription plan that allows them to use all the features available. It is also disappointing that there are no science-backed, specific health recommendations at this price point.

Health Recommendations for MyHeritage Vs Ancestry

Neither company offers much in terms of health information or recommendations. Ancestry does not offer any health information or recommendations, with the complete discontinuation of their health reporting service in 2021.

MyHeritage offers very limited health information in the form of genetic carrier risk reports, and generic recommendations. There are no “personalized” health recommendations made, and the focus is extremely narrow. One could consider these health reports to be underwhelming if they are interested in optimizing their health based on scientific research.

Review of Privacy & Data Security

Since both companies have been around for quite a while, a review of privacy and security can be especially useful for a comparison. Data privacy is a top priority for most individuals looking for insights on their genetic data, since so much can be learned from it.

Ancestry claims that all customer personal health information will be de-identified, stored securely, and customers will have the option to delete their data that is stored. They also ensure that there will be no sharing of data or personal health information to third parties without the direct consent of customers.

MyHeritage makes a similar claim to Ancestry, but has a different track record. MyHeritage claims that private information will never be sold or shared with third parties, and that all information will be stored securely. MyHeritage experienced a major security breach in 2017, with over 90 million members’ usernames and passwords compromised.

The privacy and data security policies for MyHeritage vs Ancestry are similar, but the outcomes are disparate. Potential users should take careful note of the privacy policies of both companies, and consider alternatives before making their choice.

Comparisons

SelfDecodeMyHeritageAncestry
Personalized & holistic health recommendationsYesNoNo
ProductsDNA testing, wellness reports, research-based personalized blog posts, health recommendationsAncestry tracing, DNA matching, genealogy database with family tree builder, and DNA disease testing.DNA testing,  ancestry reporting, family tree builder.
Raw data uploadYesYesNo
Raw data accessYesYesYes
Cost (USD)$97 – $389$79 for testing kit,

$99-$299 for reports

$99 for testing kit

$129-$309 per year for subscriptions to the service

Reviews of MyHeritage Vs Ancestry

MyHeritage Reviews:

MyHeritage reviews on Trustpilot – 3.8 of 5 stars with 13000+ customer ratings.

There are over 10,000 customer reviews for MyHeritage on TrustPilot, with most customers either loving, or strongly disliking the service. The majority of users still enjoy the services though. Many negative reviews discuss a disappointment with the customer service and issues with billing and payment.

MyHeritage reviews on the Better Business Bureau – 4.37 of 5 stars with 1200+ customer ratings.

For more information and insights about MyHeritage, read what people are saying about them on Twitter.

Ancestry Reviews:

Ancestry reviews on Trustpilot – 3.7 of 5 stars with 6700+ customer ratings.

Ancestry also has thousands of reviews on Trustpilot, and a fairly good rating.

Ancestry reviews on the Better Business Bureau – 1.25 stars out of 5 with 120 customer ratings.

Ancestry’s rating on the Better Business Bureau is very low, with many customers complaining about the payment service and customer service in general.

Ancestry also has a fairly active Twitter page.

Social media can give some more insights into the differences between these two companies, like this Reddit thread that compares the results from them.

Alternatives to Ancestry and MyHeritage

SelfDecode: The best option for health-focused DNA analysis with personalized reports and recommendations to improve your quality of life.

Summary

When looking for a DNA testing service for ancestry, both MyHeritage and Ancestry are strong options, but only if one has a sizable budget. If you want to get all the perks of either service, paying up to $500 annually should be expected.

Both offer very similar features like the geographical ancestry maps, family tree building, and finding individuals who have genetic similarities.

A significant drawback is that these companies offer nearly nothing in terms of health information and recommendations backed by the latest scientific research. Our genes hold so much more information than where our ancestors came from.

Alternatively, a subscription to SelfDecode gives users access to personalized blog posts. A symptoms analyzer, individualized wellness reports, and much more for under $100 annually.

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About the Author

Michael Principato

Michael Principato

BPHE (Bachelor of Physical and Health Education)
Michael received his BPHE from the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University

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