At some point in your life, you probably asked yourself, “Where did I come from?” The answer to that question is far more complex than just saying your parents. Ancestry DNA tests will provide you with a detailed answer to that question by showing you where your ancestors lived. As you read your results, it will be like taking a time machine to the past as you get an up-close look on your family tree. There’s no need to go to a doctor’s office or even a lab because now you can do it all from home. We’ve compiled a list of the Best Ancestry DNA tests that are not only easy to use but will help give you a better understanding of who you are.
Table of Contents
- 10 Best Ancestry DNA Tests Reviewed
- 1. AncestryDNA
- 2. MyHeritage
- 3. Family Tree DNA
- 4. National Geographic Geno 2.0
- 5. Native American DNA Test Plus
- 6. Vitagene
- 7. Silverberry Genomix
- 8. Rare Genes
- 9. 23andME
- 10. Our Family Tree
- Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Ancestry DNA Tests
- Additional Factors to Consider
10 Best Ancestry DNA Tests Reviewed
You can track migration patterns Twice as much detail as other tests Access to over 350 locations History is traced back over several generations Will draw modern-day connections You'll need to be a member of the Ancestry site to have full access to full extended details
The incredible thing about this kit, in particular, is its ability to give you twice the amount of geographical detail than many other kits out there. That means you’ll be able to virtually pinpoint where your family came from and where they ended up.
What We Like About It
The detail in the maps you receive as results with this kit is exact and precise, helping you to point out to your child exactly where their family is from. It’s hard to believe that something as small as DNA can lead to such a great discovery, but that’s something they’ll learn when they open that envelope full of results.
You can track migration patterns
Twice as much detail as other tests
Access to over 350 locations
History is traced back over several generations
Will draw modern-day connections
You'll need to be a member of the Ancestry site to have full access to full extended details
Very affordable Simple test results Requires only a mouth swab You can choose to have the DNA sample destroyed afterward Accurate location mapping You need a prescription for extra services
This test is extremely accurate due to the technology that MyHeritage users. It enables them to give you nearly exact locations along with relatively precise percentages to give you an idea of how much of a certain culture you represent.
What We Like About It
We really like that this testing kit is kid-friendly and won’t confuse or overwhelm them. The results are easy to read and won’t leave anything open-ended or require further research to make sense of them.
Simple test results
Requires only a mouth swab
You can choose to have the DNA sample destroyed afterward
Accurate location mapping
You need a prescription for extra services
They have the National Geographic stamp of approval Highly accurate The results are easy for kids to read Free return shipping Additional features are optional The information is general and not as exact as other tests
3. Family Tree DNA
Family Tree is the partner for the National Geographic Genealogy Project which is a pretty big deal when you’re going for accuracy. These tests are well-known and have a reputation for accuracy, which is definitely something you’re looking for when you commit to a DNA test.
What We Like About It
Did we mention that free return shipping is a feature when you get your results back? Not only is this test high-quality and accurate, but it saves you money on the little things.
They have the National Geographic stamp of approval
The results are easy for kids to read
Free return shipping
Additional features are optional
The information is general and not as exact as other tests
Powered by National Geographic Can be used alongside the smartphone app History can be traced back 500,000 years Testing only requires a saliva sample Results can be shared easily The geographical information can be vague
4. National Geographic Geno 2.0
The fact that this test can trace DNA so far back is truly unique and definitely makes it one of the best. It will really give kids a feel for their family history as well as the fact that at one point, their ancestors were part of the science they learn about in school.
What We Like About It
Using this alongside the smartphone app is genius because it engages kids and holds their attention. It’s the perfect way to encourage them to do something else on their phones besides play games and text all day!
Powered by National Geographic
Can be used alongside the smartphone app
History can be traced back 500,000 years
Testing only requires a saliva sample
Results can be shared easily
The geographical information can be vague
Fast results Easy to use Provides information on your Native American and non-Native ancestry Anyone can take this test Results are not broken displayed by a pie chart with percentages
5. Native American DNA Test Plus
Once you receive the kit, follow the included instructions to obtain a cheek swab of your DNA. You will then mail your sample back to DNA consultants via the return envelope. You should receive your results in three weeks, which is a much faster turnaround time than most DNA home testing kits. Anyone can take this test regardless of age or gender.
What We Like About It
DNA consultants will use your sample and examine your ancestry lines to Native Americans, Europeans, Middle Easterners, Africans, and Asians. The best part is you only have to wait three weeks to receive your results.
Easy to use
Provides information on your Native American and non-Native ancestry
Anyone can take this test
Results are not broken displayed by a pie chart with percentages
Interesting and different It can be beneficial to your overall health Kids will learn about their genetic makeup Results come back in four to six weeks They'll be more prepared for the future of their health There isn't much to go on in the way of knowing where your family came from
Healthy skin care is important, but it’s even easy to maintain when you know where it came from. Learning about your genetic makeup is just one more way that DNA testing is coming in handy.
What We Like About It
We love that this test is so much more than spots on a map. Your kids will get a feel for what their ancestors were like simply by learning about their physical DNA.
Interesting and different
It can be beneficial to your overall health
Kids will learn about their genetic makeup
Results come back in four to six weeks
They'll be more prepared for the future of their health
There isn't much to go on in the way of knowing where your family came from
The test is widely comprehensive Includes completely personalized results From the makers of a reputable DNA testing company They use the latest in genomic science It'll help your kids make healthier choices based on family history Might be too involved for younger kids
7. Silverberry Genomix
This kit is just as much help as it is detailed regarding family history. Kids will have a chance to learn about themselves on a biological level based on what genes they’ve received from their ancestors.
What We Like About It
The amount of detail that goes into the results is stunning, especially when you consider how many things you’re learning with one sample of saliva. Kids will be just as impressed with their results and might learn a little something new in the process.
The test is widely comprehensive
Includes completely personalized results
From the makers of a reputable DNA testing company
They use the latest in genomic science
It'll help your kids make healthier choices based on family history
Might be too involved for younger kids
Genetic markers test for historical significance Comprehensive DNA results It's fun for kids of all ages You'll receive historical information with your results DNA is cross-referenced with 26 rare genes It's not as all-encompassing as other tests
8. Rare Genes
This is just like any other DNA test with the addition of specific genetic markers that will run your DNA with others from various time periods. This can make for some interesting results and definitely some surprises.
What We Like About It
We love that there’s an added level of excitement when it comes to this test. When you have the chance to be related to King Tut or Queen Elizabeth, the sky's the limit as far as your DNA goes!
Genetic markers test for historical significance
Comprehensive DNA results
It's fun for kids of all ages
You'll receive historical information with your results
DNA is cross-referenced with 26 rare genes
It's not as all-encompassing as other tests
Kit is easy to use Company will keep you informed FDA approved Includes several highly detailed reports Some reviewers feel the kit is too expensive
The kit is easy to use and includes step by step instructions that will walk you through spitting in the provided tube. The kit has been FDA approved and includes everything you need. After you send your DNA sample in, you will receive your reports in six to eight weeks. You will receive an email with the company receives your sample as well as when your results are ready. You won’t have to feel like you’re out of the loop while you wait, because the company also provides step by step progress reports on the whole process.
What We Like About It
While some reviewers feel this kit is too expensive, we feel it is worth every penny. Not only will you receive a detailed ancestry report but you will also receive a report on genetic health risks, carrier status, traits, and wellness. It is extremely easy to use and the company will keep you informed through the entire process.
Kit is easy to use
Company will keep you informed
Includes several highly detailed reports
Some reviewers feel the kit is too expensive
It can be added to Designed to hold both family history and current events Beautiful book design It has specific places for recording your family tree Serves as a great family project It doesn't hold a ton of information and is better for small families
10. Our Family Tree
There are many great aspects of having a family tree book but the biggest one is probably how much history will be recorded in it. It’ll encourage your kids to research to the best of their ability and actually learn about the history their ancestors might have been part of so that they can write it down and hold onto it forever.
What We Like About It
We love that this is so heavily family-oriented. A book like this is something that many families with they had and it’s something that can continually be added to with each generation as the years go on.
It can be added to
Designed to hold both family history and current events
Beautiful book design
It has specific places for recording your family tree
Serves as a great family project
It doesn't hold a ton of information and is better for small families
Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Ancestry DNA Tests
There’s a lot of anticipation when submitting your DNA sample to an ancestry company, mainly because you have an idea of what will come back but you never really know for sure. These tests can find results full generations back which can be a really exciting surprise when you finally get your results back. It’s so much fun to learn about who your family was and it’s reassuring to be able to put the puzzle pieces together and really learn about where you come from. With today’s technology, these kits are not only super affordable, but they’re very accurate as well. Many of them even come with step-by-step pamphlets detailing how it’s done and what the process is like to put your mind at ease. They don’t take very long and before you know it, you could be learning a new country’s national anthem or trying food from halfway across the world that seems oddly comforting. You never know, and that’s the best part!
Additional Factors to Consider
Anything involving history is obviously highly educational, but when it comes to your family history, you might not fully see the value in learning about it. On the contrary, your family history is an excellent way to ignite a passion for history in your child. Everything seems somewhat boring until you have a personal connection to it (which is why math is often so tedious until you learn to balance a checkbook), and it’s truly a wonderful way to expose them to certain historical time periods that their family may have been part of. Everyone’s family came from somewhere and the look on their face when it lights up and they realize they have a heavily Irish heritage, or Spanish roots, or were originally native to South Africa — It’s truly priceless. Something like this is the equivalent of opening a door and saying, “go ahead, explore the world a little bit!” And it’s something that will stay with them for a long time because that history is something that they belong to as well.
It’s A Great Bonding Experience
Along with feeling like they belong to a little piece of history, ancestry kits are fun to do as a whole family. Since your child has DNA from both parents, their results will include heritage from many different places which will make for a fun bonding experience between all of you. You know all of those stories you’ve heard that have been passed down through generations about your great uncle Henry? Now imagine how great it would be to actually see where they took place and how he lived his life! It’s a learning experience as well as an emotionally positive one and your child can learn a lot from their DNA. Who knows, maybe someday it will inspire your child to visit the places he or she is from as well… A little wanderlust never hurt anyone!
Those Results Are Forever
We probably all remember a time when we have to do a project on our family tree for school. Between rooting through pictures of people you probably didn’t know and having a spotty memory of where, exactly, your family came from, it probably wasn’t the greatest experience. Not too many people invest the time into researching their family on sites like Ancestry or Geneology, which is why DNA kits have practically taken the world by storm in the way of learning where you came from. You’ll have direct results delivered right to your front door, and you’ll have them forever. It’s something you’ll be able to pass down to your child and, eventually, they can pass down to theirs as well. Since your family tree won’t change either will your roots, and it’s a great experience that can gift you with some great knowledge. One of the additional items we’ve added to this list is a family history recording book. If you’re looking for a project to really engage your kids and teach them about where they came from, this is perfect to go along with a DNA testing kit as they write down each piece of information they learn. It’ll help to bring your family together and tie in a little history at the same time, which is really a priceless experience.
The Advantage of Ancestry Books
You might still be a bit confused by our addition of two ancestry books on this list, and we can answer that simply. Before submitting DNA and getting your ancestry results back, you must first understand the process and how genealogy works. While it’s a fun thing to do and might reference plenty of history that your child can learn from, learning about the process prior to committing to it will help them to have a full appreciation for what you’re doing and what it can mean to you as a family. These books are helpful both in reference as well as in information pertaining to your family history and can actually help you trace it back with the help of DNA testing. They serve as a great basis for understanding how to trace back your heritage while providing pertinent information that can help your kids to understand the process a bit better as well. The book we’ve included on this list is easy to understand and will detail current and modern genetic testing in a way that will help them to know exactly what these kits are used for. Something like this can be extremely helpful for younger children who might want to learn about their history but don’t necessarily understand the process for doing so.
Exploring Other Cultures
You never know what to expect when you send your DNA sample off to be tested. While many people have some knowledge of their heritage and backgrounds, there are still mysteries that only DNA can solve. When you get your results back, keep an open mind while reading them and teach that to your children as well. You could learn that what you’ve known all along has been confirmed or you could end up with a surprise that makes you dig even deeper into your family history. Either way, it’s a great opportunity for you to present your child with a challenge: Encourage them to research this new heritage. Help them learn about the culture their family is from and if it’s new to you as well, research it with them! Teaching kids to be open and accepting of all cultures is truly a gift, especially when you find out that you share a connection to a specific country. DNA testing is an exciting new era of family history and should be treated as such; with an open mind and an open heart, you just might realize your family is bigger than you ever knew.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is this appropriate for kids of any age?
A: As long as your kids understand the idea of family history, it’s appropriate! Even if they don’t yet understand, it’s a great way to provide them with future knowledge.
Q: What if I get unexpected results in our DNA test?
A: The more you know, the better. Use this as a way to encourage positive exploration with your child and show them that they come from several different places, all rich in culture and history. This is a learning experience and one that can absolutely help to expand their horizons.
Q: How accurate are they?
A: These tests, simply put, are as accurate as they can be with the type of DNA that’s supplied. All of these companies use the newest and most updated technology to trace back your roots as precisely as they can with little room for error.
Q: How far will they be traced back?
A: Your DNA test works simply by evaluating each trait that shows up and which country it likely hails from. This means that it can go back for generations based on what your DNA shows — There’s really no exact year or time frame.
Q: How long will it take to get my results back?
A: Several weeks at most. It’s not an overnight process, but it’s definitely worth it.
Q: Is this accurate enough to be used for school projects and things like that?
A: Absolutely! DNA is one of the only sure things in this world and you can rest assured that those results are as accurate as possible. This would be a great way for kids to learn through their school projects, and it’s a great way to make it personal as well.