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.

MyHeritage:

  • 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

Quick facts:


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

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

How to Send in MyHeritage DNA Kit

  1. Activate Kit online

    Log in to myheritage.com to activate your MyHeritage DNA test 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

    Put cheek swabs into the vial that came with your DNA testing kit and close the vial

  5. Swab other cheek and insert into the second vial

    Swab your other cheek in order to take an additional DNA sample and insert it into the second vial

  6. Place both of the DNA collection vials onto the cotton pad that’s in the plastic bag and close it

  7. Put the plastic bag into the envelope that was included with your DNA testing kit

  8. Mail the envelope to the DNA lab. (you have to pay for this yourself!?)

  9. 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?

MyHeritage:

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.

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.

Screenshot of ethnicity breakdown for MyHeritage DNA.

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.

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

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.

DNA Matches

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.

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 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.

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 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. 

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.

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

Research

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

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.

Extras

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

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.

MyHeritage partner for digging into family history.

Professional genealogy service - MyHeritage has partnered with LegacyTree, allowing you to hire a professional researcher to help you build your family tree.

Section that allows one to export DNA data.

Export DNA - MyHeritage shines with regard 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
  • Accurate results from a CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited lab
  • Great customer support
  • DNA matching for locating new relatives
  • Free family tree builder tool
  • Chromosome browser tool

CONS

  • Have to pay for return shipping
  • For the price, it doesn’t feel like you’re getting as much as companies like AncestryDNA and 23andMe offer
  • Database of only 2 million people (AncestryDNA has more than 10 million) 
  • Some items are hidden behind a paywall
  • No mtDNA or Y-DNA tests (only autosomal DNA)

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. 

MyHeritage DNA Kit Review

Joel

MyHeritage DNA kit review – is it the best? 6
Ease of Use
Ancestry Information
Speed of Updates
Speed of Results

Summary

Possible buy, though 23andMe and Ancestry is probably worth the extra money.

3.4
Joel is a writer with a passion for the science of DNA and the power of its manipulation.

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