MyHeritage DNA kit review – is it the best?

MyHeritage DNA is a great DNA kit for users looking for international relatives.

While it’s database isn’t anywhere near the size of Ancestry, MyHeritage has lots of customers outside of the USA. This MyHeritage DNA Kit review is going to look at the features of the DNA test and run through the pros and cons of this service.

MyHeritage:

  • One of the most popular testing company 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

Quick facts:

Sample Collection:Swab
DNA testing type:Autosomal
Speed: 3-4 weeks (mine took 27 days)
Privacy Protection:Strong 

How much does a MyHeritage kit cost?

$ 59 Ancestry Kit
  • Ethnic Group Testing
  • Geographic Regions
  • Relative Finder
$ 120 Health Upgrade
  • 27 health reports
  • Physician Oversight
  • 4-6 week turn around
$ 8-17 /month for Premium
  • Up to 2500 people in the family tree
  • 24/7 phone support
  • Family Tree Builder Premium

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

  1. Activate Kit online
  2. Open Test kit and lay out unopened swabs
  3. Remove one cheek swab and swab inside of your cheek for 30-60 seconds
  4. Put the vial and insert the swab
  5. Close vial
  6. Swab other cheek and insert into the second vial
  7. Put the vials on the cotton pad in the plastic bag and close it. Put it in the included envelope.
  8. Mail the envelope to the DNA lab. (you have to pay for this yourself!?)

How does MyHeritage protect my privacy?

MyHeritage:

MyHeritage did recently get hacked, but the hackers were only able to steal usernames and passwords, no DNA data.

The results

MyHeritage plays a video that shows your heritage, from where most of your DNA is from to least.

Screenshot of ethnicity breakdown for MyHeritage DNA.

From here, you can look at the 4 tabs that MyHeritage provides:

Navigation Menu for Myheritage, showing Overview | Ethnicity Estimate | DNA Matches | Tools

Ethnicity Estimate

MyHeritage gives you the DNA estimate that was shown in the video when you first got your results.

DNA Matches

By comparing your DNA into the DNA from their database, MyHeritage matches you to individuals with whom you share important DNA. You can look at your family members that are on MyHeritage. I had no close family matches (though I did on 23andMe and Ancestry), and some extended matches (so far removed it wasn’t that interesting). This should give you an idea of the database size for MyHeritage.

The report lists matches until the fifth cousin – that is six generations back. This results in many matches – hundreds and sometimes thousands. Do not get overly excited as a large number of them might not mean much. They could very well be false positives. In other words, concentrate on matches until your 4th cousins. Beyond this, use paper paths and genealogical documents to confirm relatedness.

Tools

The last tab, Tools, gives you 3 options:

Screenshot of 3 tools MyHeritage gives for exploring DNA. Chromosome Browser | AutoClusters | Ethnicities Map.

  • Chromosome Browser allows you to add your DNA matches to look at shared DNA segments. For the extremely advanced DNA tester, this is interesting. For all else, this is gibberish.
  • AutoClusters – hidden behind a paywall
  • Ethnicities map – Allows you to discover the most common ethnicities in each country.

Health (new)

Screenshot of health section for MyHeritage DNA. This section allows you to explore your health attributes of your DNA.

MyHeritage has recently added a health section. You can purchase the add on for $120. It differs from other DNA testers in that they give you a physician for oversight to determine if the test is right for you. If you’ve already bought the ancestry kit, the steps to add this are:

the send in steps for myHeritage's health section of their DNA test kit.

It takes an estimated 4-6 weeks for your results.

Research

The research section of MyHeritage DNA allows you to dig further into public records to see your relatives.

Similar to Ancestry, you can search public records to find family member records. This is hidden behind a paywall, so if you want to be able to search public records, you will need to subscribe to MyHeritage Data plan.

Extras

The screen of website section where you can upload your family members DNA.

Other family members DNA – MyHeritage lets you upload family members’ raw DNA data from another site. As a result, if you have a family member who has taken a 23andMe or Ancestry (or other company) DNA kit, you can upload the DNA to MyHeritage and look at commonalities.

MyHeritage partner for digging into family history.

Professional Genealogy service – MyHeritage partnered with LegacyTree, so you can hire a professional researcher to help you build out your family tree if wanted.

Section that allows one to export DNA data.

Export DNAMyHeritage shines with regards to data exportability. It permits you to download your raw DNA data easily.

Overall

PROS

  • Well designed site
  • Slightly cheaper than the competition
  • Ability to upload relative’s DNA for no cost
  • Fastest and cheapest test

CONS

  • Have to pay for return shipping
  • Doesn’t feel like you’re getting as much for the price
  • Database of only 2 million people (Ancestry is more than 10 million.
  • Some items are hidden behind a paywall
  • No mtDNA or Y-DNA tests (only autosomal)

In conclusion, MyHeritage DNA Kit is on par with 23andMe and Ancestry. It is a well designed, easy to use site which shows you the information you came looking for. You can save a little money vs. 23andMe if you’d like, but the amount you save vs. how interesting and well presented the results are in other services doesn’t seem worth it.

Extras like uploading your DNA make the site attractive. Not paying for return shipping can’t be worth how much MyHeritage is saving.

Sources