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MyHeritage is a great DNA kit if you’re looking for international relatives. As the number one DNA testing service in Europe, it’s especially useful if you happen to be investigating your family history across the continent.
While it’s database isn’t anywhere near the size of AncestryDNA, it’s still rather impressive. And with a large number of customers located in countries other than the USA, the DNA testing company has more global data than some of its competitors.
In our MyHeritage DNA review, we’ll take a look at the company’s DNA testing process. Furthermore, we’ll run through the pros and cons of using this DNA testing service.
- One of the most popular DNA testing companies for ancestry tests
- Has 9 billion historical records
- Has over 35 million family trees
- Supports 42 languages and has around 92 million users worldwide
- Assists with further genealogical research if wanted
- Reliable lab with consistently accurate results
|DNA Testing Type||Autosomal|
|Speed||3-4 weeks (mine took 27 days)|
How much does a MyHeritage kit cost?
MyHeritage has several pricing options:
- $56 - Ancestry & Ethnicity Genetic Testing:
- Percentage breakdown of your ethnicity from 42 regions
- Migration paths your ancestors may have traveled
- Relative finder through DNA matching
- Seamlessly integrated with your online family tree when combined with a subscription
- $99 - DNA Health Kit:
- In-depth test results covering 36 different conditions
- Carrier status report that lets you know if you’re a carrier for certain genetic conditions that may be passed on to a child
- Includes more polygenic risk reports than any other DNA test kit
- Genetic counseling and physician oversight
- $89-$129/year - Premium Subscription:
- As many as 2,500 people in your family tree
- Customer support available by phone 24/7
- Quicker replies from customer support
- Family Tree Builder Premium, including smart match merge, interactive maps, and all-in-one charts
- Enhanced Smart Matching, allowing you to confirm or reject matches, merge automatically, and contact the site manager
- Enhanced researching with access to two of MyHeritage collections
- Access all advanced MyHeritage DNA features, including shared DNA matches, pedigree charts, and shared ethnicities
What is in the box?
- 2 cheek swabs
- Vials to place cheek swabs in
- Plastic bag to send in results
- Return Envelope
One thing that is surprisingly missing is return shipping. MyHeritage is the only service I’ve found that makes you pay for return shipping.
Send in steps
- Log in to myheritage.com to activate your MyHeritage DNA test kit online.
- Open Test kit and lay out unopened swabs.
- Remove one cheek swab and swab inside of your cheek for 30-60 seconds.
- Remove the vial and insert the cotton swab into the vial that came with your DNA testing kit.
- Close the vial.
- Swab your other cheek in order to take an additional DNA sample and insert it into the second vial.
- Place both of the DNA collection vials onto the cotton pad that's in the plastic bag and close it.
- Put the plastic bag into the envelope that was included with your DNA testing kit.
- Mail the envelope to the DNA lab. (you have to pay for this yourself!?) Wait up to 3 to 4 weeks to receive your DNA results, accessible from the MyHeritage site or mobile app.
How does MyHeritage protect my privacy?
- Allows you to control whether or not your smart matches can find you and what personal information they are given access to (private and secure)
- Never sells your DNA samples, test results, reports, family history, or any other information
- Allows you to opt-out of any research programs
- Requires a court order to hand your MyHeritage DNA results over to law enforcement.
- MyHeritage DNA pledges to never share your DNA analysis data with insurance companies
MyHeritage did get hacked recently, but the hackers didn’t get away with much. Thanks to the MyHeritage team’s privacy protection policy, they were only able to steal usernames and passwords. No raw DNA data or historical records were taken.
What makes MyHeritage Different
Compared to other DNA testing kits like 23andMe and Ancestry, MyHeritage comes with some unique features. For example, MyHeritage has an exotic way of revealing your ancestry. When your test results arrive in your notification box, you get to see a rotating globe playing some foreign, regional music.
Suddenly, this globe stops rotating and reveals a map that shows your main ethnicity; and other minor ethnicities you might be linked to in percentages. This feature may look dramatic, but it's one way MyHeritage makes its results fun and entertaining to its customers.
For example, a user with an Eastern European ancestry will hear a touch of Baltic sound while they show you the results. That's not all. The user can even zoom in on the map of Eastern Europe, if they want to learn additional information about the geographic regions common to their ancestry.
However, that's not the only thing that makes MyHeritage different. MyHeritage offers you a chance to create and research your family tree. A feature called Smart Matching and Family Tree Builder allows you to connect with people and potential relatives in your family tree. The Family Tree Builder allows you to connect with other people online who share the same ancestral similarities with you. You might not see these people in your family photos, but you can easily bond with them.
MyHeritage makes this possible by accessing billions of data from its DNA database. Compared to 23andMe that just gives you an estimate of your ethnicity and genealogy, MyHeritage takes it further by actually connecting people through smart matching and the family tree builder feature.
Also, MyHeritage differs in the way they collect samples. Other DNA companies like 23andMe give an option of spitting in a tube that comes with your DNA kit. MyHeritage, however, made things easier by offering a simple cheek swab method whereby you just need to swab the inside of your cheek with a cotton swab and send it as your sample.
Is this company legit?
Yes. MyHeritage is legit. They offer one of the most reliable DNA testing services. MyHeritage is fairly new in the DNA testing stage, but the features they offer are remarkable. They still have a relatively small but growing database. However, they are a reliable DNA company when it comes to revealing your ancestry.
MyHeritage tests are processed in a CLIA-certified lab, and they take your data and privacy very seriously. They never sell your data to insurance companies. In addition, they also pledged to never give your data to any law enforcement agency.
If in any situation, they are compelled to release a user's data, MyHeritage would always seek the consent and approval of the user. If you have privacy concerns, you can check out their updated privacy protection policy.
The DNA results
MyHeritage plays a video that will break down your family history and ethnicity for you. This will show you the geographic location that most of your autosomal DNA originates from, as well as the places where you have the least DNA connections to.
From here, MyHeritage.com breaks down your genetic testing results into 4 different categories — Ethnicity Estimate, DNA Matches, Tools, and Health (only available with certain kits). These categories, found on the MyHeritage site and mobile app, are placed under 4 separate easy to access tabs.
Your ethnicity estimate includes a complete breakdown of your DNA analysis. They trace your family tree back through the generations in order to offer you a percentage based breakdown of your ethnicity. The accurate results include 42 different ethnicities from across the globe, allowing you a deeper look into your family history and ethnic origins.
With MyHeritage.com’s smart matches, the DNA testing company compares your test results with others in their database, their online family trees, and other services (AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA, 23andMe, etc). By doing this, the MyHeritage team is able to find new relatives or other individuals with whom you share important autosomal DNA.
You can look at other family members that are on the MyHeritage site as well. I didn’t have any close family matches (though I did on 23andMe and AncestryDNA), and I had a few extended matches (so far removed it wasn’t that interesting). This should give you an idea of the database size for MyHeritage.
The DNA results will find family members as far removed as your fifth cousin - which is six generations back. Due to this, you may end up with quite a few matches (hundreds and sometimes even thousands).
Do not get overly excited, as a large number of your new relatives may be pretty distant on your family tree. Some could even be false positives. In other words, concentrate on DNA matches that are close relatives up until your 4th cousins. Beyond this, use paper paths and genealogical documents to confirm relatedness.
The last tab, Tools, gives you 3 options:
- Chromosome Browser - Allows you to add your DNA matches and look at your shared DNA segments. For the extremely advanced DNA tester, this is interesting. For most people however, this isn’t all that informative.
- AutoClusters - Groups your DNA matches together so you can determine any likely common ancestors you may descend from. This is all laid out in a fun to read visual chart. This is a great tool for gaining new insights when building your family tree.
- Ethnicities map - A visual tool you can use to help you discover the most common ethnicities in each country.
MyHeritage has recently added a health section. You can purchase the DNA Health Kit for $99. It differs from other DNA tests in that they give you an oversight physician to determine if the test is right for you.
You can also use MyHeritage testing kit to determine your potential health risks.
MyHeritage.com uses genetic testing to check for 36 different conditions. This DNA test kit checks for things like Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, and Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, the test results will let you know about your carrier status, and whether or not you’re likely to pass something like Tay-Sachs or cystic fibrosis onto your children
The steps to taking the health test are essentially the same as those for taking the ancestry test. After submitting your DNA sample, the test results should arrive in 3 to 4 weeks.
Similar to Ancestry.com, you can search public records to find your family members’ history. This is hidden behind a paywall, so if you want to be able to search public records, you will need to subscribe to the MyHeritage Data Plan.
Other family members DNA - The MyHeritage team lets you upload your family members' raw DNA data from sites like AncestryDNA, 23andMe, and Family Tree DNA. As a result, if you have a family member who has taken a 23andMe or AncestryDNA (or other company) DNA test, you can upload their raw DNA data to MyHeritage and look at commonalities.
Professional genealogy service - MyHeritage has partnered with LegacyTree, allowing you to hire a professional researcher to help you build your family tree.
How accurate are these tests?
Most DNA ancestry tests are accurate. Sometimes the results from different companies are not the same due to human error. But, generally, you're likely to have an accurate depiction of your ancestry and common ancestors.
For MyHeritage, most results are obtained from less than 0.1-0.2% of the user's genome. This means that they don't need to explore your entire genome to get results. The results obtained are also 98% accurate, with the remaining 0.2% attributed to human error. The additional features they offer can help you know more about yourself and the people that share the same ancestral origins with you.
MyHeritage test results can trace your blood relationship down to your fifth cousins. After this range, the genome availability becomes very low and untraceable. It is difficult to find two people sharing the same ancestral characteristics that are not related.
So are DNA tests accurate? Yes, they are accurate and reliable if you want to know the origin of your direct ancestors, and other details surrounding your ancestry.
We took every DNA test so you don't have to. Read our 2021 review of the best DNA tests.
In conclusion, the MyHeritage DNA Kit is easily on par with 23andMe and AncestryDNA. The DNA testing kit is well designed and easy to use. The MyHeritage site clearly lays out all of the information that you would be looking for.
If you want to save a little money and don’t mind the smaller database and paying for shipping, this test may be a good fit. While DNA testing companies like Ancestry.com and 23andMe may have more data and a better presentation, you still get quite a bit with MyHeritage DNA’s lower price tag.
Extras like uploading your DNA raw data make the site attractive. But things like paying for your own shipping make me hesitant to give a perfect MyHeritage review.
Cheap DNA Kits (all under $60). Read our 2021 Guide.