time icon 7 min read update icon Sept. 20, 2019
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With 6 million users, the combination of family trees and genetic matching used by AncestryDNA make this website a powerful analytical tool for family tree research.

AncestryDNA provides basic autosomal DNA genetic testing for individuals seeking to learn more about their family tree and ancestral origins. AncestryDNA’s test kits provide everything that is needed to collect a saliva sample, including all materials and complete instructions. The senior collects a small amount of saliva in the provided container, seals the container, and drops it in a postage-paid mailer which is then sent to the AncestryDNA laboratories. The test takes approximately six weeks to process once it has been accepted by the lab. 

For web-savvy seniors who are interested in learning more about the geographic locations of their ancestors, as well as discovering distant relatives, AncestryDNA is the best choice.

Grandfolk Scoring
Cost 7/10
Cancellation 7/10
Customer support 9/10
Sample collection 10/10
Chip used 10/10
Ancestral makeup 10/10
Size of database 9/10
Average time to results 7/10
Raw DNA download 10/10
Cousin matching 10/10
Ease 8/10
Warranty 7/10
Upfront and monthly costs
One-time genetic test fee of $99; full access to matches for $49/month
Can I cancel the service?
Test kits that have not been processed can be cancelled within 30 days
Customer support
Is customer service available to help?
Call 9 AM-11 PM EST Mon-Sun
Sample collection
What type of DNA sample collection is used?
Chip used
Which DNA sequencing chip is used?
Customized Illumina chip
Ancestral makeup
Are ancestral makeup reports provided?
Size of database
How large is the database?
About six million people
Average time to results
How long does it take to get results?
Approximately six weeks
Raw DNA download
Can a user obtain their raw DNA file?
Cousin matching
Are users who share DNA matched?
Is the service easy to use?
Easy saliva sample procedure; instructions are included with test kit
How easy to return/replace?
Unused test kits returned within 30 days will receive a full refund
Age Score:
50-64 Years
65-74 Years
75-84 Years

As an entirely web-based service, AncestryDNA is not particularly a senior-friendly service. The genetic test kit is ordered online, the results are viewed online, and the analytical tools are web-based; therefore, seniors who are not computer-savvy or have age-related visual or cognitive decline may have trouble navigating the site. 

The saliva collection step to send genetic material to the lab for testing is described in straightforward terms in the instruction manual, but seniors with vision or cognitive problems may require help with this step, as well. AncestryDNA is best for healthy seniors of any age who would like to learn more about their origins and relatives, and who can navigate the web with ease.

Health Score:
Great Health
Good Health
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As a genealogical tool, AncestryDNA does not confer much health-related value, and instead is oriented toward helping a senior learn more about their ancestral heritage and identify distant family members. Seniors with health issues that prevent them from using a computer or the internet may not be able to take advantage of the services provided by AncestryDNA. Health issues such as vision or cognitive problems can make signing up for and checking on this entirely web-based service very difficult.

In addition, while the saliva sample arrives in the test kit with complete instructions, the saliva collection process can be difficult for a senior that has motor deficits due to a stroke, cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s disease, or another disorder that impairs physical or mental function.


  • AncestryDNA offers a ‘Buy 3, Get 1 Free’ promotion for its genetic test kits, which is a good deal for seniors seeking genetic tests for their entire family. 
  • AncestryDNA has over six million users in its database, making it the largest family tree database for people in the United States.
  • AncestryDNA enables users to link their DNA results to a family tree and have their computer automatically search for commonalities between their family tree and those of their DNA matches; however, viewing others’ family trees is a feature that can only be obtained with a monthly subscription to the Ancestry website.
  • AncestryDNA’s shipping fee of $29 includes return shipping, so users can simply drop the sealed saliva sample in the postage-paid envelope in any USPS mailbox.
  • AncestryDNA users have stated that the processing time for the genetic test can be as quick as four weeks.


  • While AncestryDNA boasts about its diverse ethnic regions on its website, its international reach is not particularly strong. However, it is improving, with Ancestry launching in 29 more countries in 2016. In its current state, AncestryDNA may not be the best option for seniors seeking to learn about their relatives abroad.
  • AncestryDNA requires a membership to the site to unlock all of the features to view DNA matches, including access to the family trees of matches. This can be expensive for seniors.
  • AncestryDNA’s genetic test does not provide any information about health-related genes and exists primarily for genealogical purposes.
  • There may be some inaccuracies in AncestryDNA’s family tree, as many users do not have family trees, and the relationship estimator may approximate genetic relationships as being more distant than they really are.
  • AncestryDNA has been plagued with privacy concerns regarding how individuals’ data is used and sold.

Bottom Line:

AncestryDNA combines the rich genealogical resources of Ancestry and the analytical power that genetic testing provides. The saliva DNA sample method arrives in a test kit with all the materials needed, as well as complete instructions. The sample is collected, sealed, placed in the mailer, and dropped in the mail. AncestryDNA was the 2013 winner of the Utah Innovation Awards in the Consumer Software and Web Services category. 

With over six million users, AncestryDNA has the largest family tree database for people in the United States, making this company an excellent choice for seniors seeking to trace their family tree and connect with distant relatives.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I take the DNA test?

The AncestryDNA test kit arrives with all of the required equipment and complete instructions to take the test. The individual collects a saliva sample, seals the sample so that it can be mailed safely, and returns the sample to AncestryDNA for processing using a postage-paid return mailer.

How long will it take to get my results? 

Please allow six to eight weeks for AncestryDNA to process your sample after it arrives at the lab. During times when there is high demand, the process can take longer than eight weeks. The DNA kit must be activated online before processing can begin, so failing to activate the DNA kit will lead to delays.  

How can I see my results?

Once the DNA test results are ready, AncestryDNA will send the customer a notification email indicating that their results are online. Results are not publicly available, so users must log in to their AncestryDNA account to view them.

More Information:

Product Details

Overview: AncestryDNA offers one standard DNA testing package. The test provides ethnicity estimates and cousin matching to locate relatives and identify one’s geographical ancestral origins. Individuals can obtain more analysis and matching features by paying for a subscription to the Ancestry website.

Package Details:For a one-time $99 fee, AncestryDNA offers DNA testing to help users identify their ethnic heritage and locate family connections.This test looks for characteristics present in autosomal DNA, which means that it relies on information gleaned from the 22 autosomal chromsomes, and does not analyze any traits found on sex-linked chromosomes. 

The genetic test can help an individual learn about their family’s past, their cultural roots, and information contained in their family tree.Using the DNA test in conjunction with a subscription to the Ancestry website can help locate new relatives.

Optional Accessories or Add-on Services: Users can subscribe to the Ancestry website to unlock more features to view their genetic data. A U.S. Discovery membership enables a user to access all U.S. records on Ancestry, and is $19.99/month or $99/year. The World Explorer membership grants access to all U.S. and international records on the website, and costs $34.99/month or $149/year. The All Access membership grants full access to Ancestry, as well as some partner sites, for $44.99/month or $199/year.

Additional Company Details

Contract Details: 

Shipping costs an additional $29 for the first kit, and $10 for each additional kit; this includes return shipping costs.

To cancel your AncestryDNA account, you can call the company and speak with a representative. To receive a refund for a canceled AncestryDNA test, you must retain the activation code included with your AncestryDNA test and give the customer service representative the activation code. Canceling an order within 30 days will enable the customer to receive a full refund; cancellations after 30 days will result in a refund equal to the price paid minus $25. 

Once a customer has viewed their AncestryDNA test results, they can no longer obtain a refund. AncestryDNA does not refund charges for shipping and processing fees, and does not refund taxes on non-refundable portions of the service.

Warranty: AncestryDNA will cancel tests within 30 days, provided that a user can supply the activation code and the results have not been viewed; AncestryDNA tests results which have been viewed are not refundable.

Accreditations: AncestryDNA won the Utah Innovation Awards under the Consumer Software and Web Services categories in 2013.Ancestry DNA’s parent company, Ancestry, is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has earned an A+ rating with the organization.

Company Details: Ancestry, the parent company of Ancestry DNA, was founded in 1983 by Paul B. Allen and Dan Taggart, two graduates of Brigham Young University.Ancestry started out as a publishing company, but in 1996, it launched as a website: Today, Ancestry has 1,600 employees internationally, and operates seven offices worldwide.Ancestry is the largest for-profit genealogy and historical record company in the world. The goal of Ancestry is to “help everyone, everywhere discover the story of what led to them.”  


Ancestry Corporate Headquarters 
1300 West Traverse Parkway
Lehi, UT 84043
Tel: 800-262-3787

Sheeva Azma - Senior Advisor

Sheeva is senior researcher with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.