DNA Genealogy Testing: Discovering your Roots

Genetic testing serves many purposes. Some people use it for medical considerations, as some tests can reveal predispositions for certain conditions. Other folks have a lot of interest in their family history and want to know more about where they really came from. DNA testing for genealogy purposes can help people build or add to their family tree.

How Does the Average Genealogy DNA Test Work?

Popular services (for genealogy purposes) requires interested individuals to send off a DNA sample to their service provider. Once samples are sent, they are processed and uploaded into a database; this database contains genetic data from other individuals. Cross-comparison of this data might indicate where people’s ancestors likely came from geographically or show that some people are likely to be related.

What Can this Type of Test Reveal?

These tests may answer adoptees’ questions about their ancestry. Occasionally, this leads to finding a birth parent if both parties upload their information into a central database. Both the adoptee and the birth parent must make their information available for others to find in order for this to happen, however.

Many families use genetic genealogy tests to find out they have many relatives they never knew about. Family reunions expand, and members find new friends. Support systems build and bonds form. A family tree that once was a scattered set of saplings, unites to become a forest.

If family members have an interest in finding more members, they can make their information available to others in their DNA-testing provider’s central database. A subscription service to DNA genealogy testing sites allows members to continue monitoring their information for updates to the service and notifications from potential new family members. That way the family may continue finding members they lost touch with or even never knew about.

Popular Genealogy DNA Testing Providers

Several companies provide DNA genealogy testing and other ongoing services, including Ancestry.com, 23andMe, and MyHeritage. With so many popular services available, it can be difficult choosing just one.

Average Costs

Ancestry.com’s prices to order a DNA test for yourself is $99. The cost to access family-related records on their site depends on the services you want:

  • If you limit your search to American roots, a six-month subscription is $99.
  • A 12-month subscription is $189.
  • Searching both American and world roots costs $149 for six months.
  • 12 months of access is $298.

23andMe charges $99 for ancestry-only results. For ancestry and health information, the cost is $199.

MyHeritage charges $79 for a DNA test. Their subscription packages are as follows:

  • Premium – family tree size up to 2500 people. Priority customer services, Smart Matches, advanced DNA features. Cost is $110 per year.
  • Premium Plus – All of the above features plus instant discoveries and tree consistency checker. Cost is $175.12 a year.
  • Data – Family tree size of 250 people, priority customer service, 9.3 billion historical records, record matches, save records to your tree. Cost is $159.20 per year.
  • Complete – includes all of the services included in the Premium, Premium Plus and Data packages. Cost is $250.74 a year.

This service offers substantial discounts on the first year’s subscription rates, making the Premium version $82.50, Premium Plus version $131.34, Data version $119.40 and Complete version $175.77 for the first year of their subscription service.

Information Provided by Each Service

Ancestry.com sorts people into groupings by percentages out of 350 regions. The company provides no medical-related DNA information.

23andMe’s test provides a percentage based on 42 regions; it further classifies people into a subtype down to one percent. It also provides health-related information that is divided into two portions:

  • Potential genetic risk for developing certain diseases, tolerance for things like caffeine, traits like dimples, bald spots, freckles, and similar items.
  • Potential carrier status or risk of passing on certain genetic-related diseases like cystic fibrosis.

MyHeritage provides heritage information based on grouping types and subtypes.


Learning more about your ancestry can be exciting. It can bring families closer together, help people find new relatives, or even discover previously unknown family lineages. It has the power to open minds and hearts by helping each person celebrate the diversity in their family.

Passing this information on to your children (if you have them) can help them learn about their heritage and honor their ancestors. Explain the process to them so they grow up knowing how to celebrate and respect not just their own, but all backgrounds.


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