March 23, 2019
Product Reviews

African Ancestry review | 5 things to know before buying

Curated information on African Ancestry by experts, including on reports covered, cost, and whether they accept DNA data upload/downloads.
Tomohiro Takano

The team here at Genomelink has gained knowledge and expertise on genetic testing through a long history of working in the industry. In this series of blog posts, we apply that experience and knowledge to provide concise and standardized reviews of various DNA testing products on the market. Here we are looking at African Ancestry.

1. About the Company

2. Test Results and Sample Reports

3. Reviews

4. Cost

5. Raw DNA Portability


1. About the Company

Quick facts:

Company Name: African Ancestry, Inc.
Foundation Year: 2003
Location: Washington, DC, United States
Number of Employees: Unknown/Not Reported
Monthly Visits: Unknown/Not Reported
Number of Databases: 30,000+

African Ancestry, Inc is a DNA testing company founded in 2003 by Dr. Gina Paige and Dr. Rick Kittles. They provide family history for people with African lineage that is specific not only to countries of origin but also ethnic groups of origin. Unlike other ancestry tests, African Ancestry aims to specifically help black communities around the world to connect with their roots by better understanding their African heritage. Since its founding, African Ancestry has helped over 500,000 people trace their maternal and paternal lineages to their African country of origin.

2. Test Results and Sample Reports

African Ancestry offers a DNA test kit that begins with the use of a cheek swab to collect a DNA sample. They do not use admixture analysis, a method of biogeographical analysis to determine ancestry, commonly used by other genetic testing companies. Admixture analysis is part of the analyses conducted on autosomal DNA, but African Ancestry does not evaluate autosomal DNA data. Instead, they rely on the slowly changing genetic segments found in mitochondria (mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA) and Y chromosomes. While mtDNA allows a person to track their maternal family members, DNA from a Y chromosome traces a person’s paternal family members. These gender-specific genetic codes remain the same generation after generation, making them great resources for learning about family history/migration paths from centuries ago, as opposed to recent family history!

After evaluating your DNA sample, African Ancestry geneticists will determine whether or not you have African DNA. If so, they will provide details on countries and tribes of origin. If your results are not African, they will determine whether your ancestry is European, Asian, Middle Eastern, or Native American.

Whether you purchase the maternal or paternal package (or both), here is what you can expect from your African Ancestry report:

  • Results letter revealing your ancestry along with a Certificate of Ancestry
  • Printout of your DNA sequence
  • Brochure including a map, scientific explanation, and a digital ancestry guide
  • Membership to their exclusive online community

African Ancestry does not provide a sample report on their website, but if you are interested in learning more, check out their frequently asked questions page here!

3. Reviews

Learn more of what people are saying about African Ancestry below!

  • See what people are saying on Reddit
  • See what people are saying on Twitter
  • Or read through the testimonials at

Though there are limited online reviews of African Ancestry, the thoughts and experiences customers have provided are overwhelmingly positive. People are impressed with the specific, country-level and tribe-level results they receive and feel as though their ancestry is accurate based on the histories recorded by their families. Several prominent African Americans have used African Ancestry, including Oprah Winfrey, Morgan Freeman, Spike Lee, Maya Angelou, and many others.

4. Cost

African Ancestry offers a few different options for finding your roots. The purchase of one kit, either the MatriClan (maternal) or PatriClan (paternal), costs $299. However, you can save $25 if you purchase both kits, with each costing $274. Their Family Celebration Package costs $718 and includes both the MatriClan and PatriClan kits, 6 additional certificates of ancestry, and 4 t-shirts to proudly display your country of origin. Every now and again, they offer promotional prices that provide additional savings.

5. Raw DNA Portability

If you have your raw DNA file from another testing company, you can upload this data for your African Ancestry test. Using your existing data costs only $210, offering some savings off the full test kit price. They do not specify which companies’ raw DNA data files they accept, but they do have specific requirements for the genetic data they will accept and evaluate. You can learn more about those requirements here.

As part of their package, you receive a physical printout of your DNA sequence (NOT a compatible file to upload to other sites). We’ve compiled some companies that accept raw data file uploads, where you can get an analysis of and learn more about your genetics. To find out more DNA upload sites, check out our article "The Best DNA Upload Sites"

Everything You Need to Know about African Ancestry Reviews 

Now you know that African Ancestry, Inc. is a DNA testing company founded in 2003 that specializes in helping people with African lineage connect with their roots, and provides customers with a unique way of tracing their ancestry. Founded in 2003 by Dr. Gina Paige and Dr. Rick Kittles, the company has helped over 500,000 people connect with their African heritage by determining their countries and ethnic groups of origin. This is in contrast to other DNA testing companies that use admixture analysis, which African Ancestry does not use. 

Instead, African Ancestry relies on the analysis of mitochondria (mtDNA) and Y chromosomes, which are slowly changing genetic segments that are passed down generation after generation. mtDNA allows customers to trace their maternal family members, while Y chromosome DNA traces their paternal family members. This makes the company an excellent resource for learning about centuries-old family history and migration paths.

African Ancestry provides country and tribe-level ancestry results for those who have African DNA and will determine if a person's ancestry is European, Asian, Middle Eastern, or Native American if African DNA is not present. 

To get started, customers purchase a DNA kit, and then return a cheek swab sample to be analyzed. Data is then analyzed against the world’s largest database of African DNA to determine ancestry. This process takes approximately 8-12 weeks. Customers who purchase the DNA test kit will receive a results letter detailing their ancestry, along with a certificate of ancestry, a printout of their DNA sequence, a brochure with a map and digital ancestry guide, and a membership to the company's online community. The cost of the kit varies depending on whether customers purchase the maternal or paternal package, or both.

African Ancestry Complaints

The overall customer reviews of African Ancestry are positive, with users saying they are impressed by the specific and accurate results they receive. African Ancestry has the most comprehensive resource of African lineages available. They have compiled this collection of data through collaborations with historians, archeologists, anthropologists and other geneticists. 

Some customers were concerned with the long turnaround time to receive their data. Another complaint is they would prefer to receive more information in the mail vs. using the online account. 

African Ancestry has a strict policy of not maintaining a database of customer information and does not sell or share customers' personal, genetic information, or financial information. All genetic material is destroyed at the lab. The company's strict privacy policy and commitment to preserving customer information makes it a trustworthy choice for those who want to learn about their ancestry.

Why is African Ancestry so expensive? African Ancestry provides a unique and detailed way of tracing one's ancestry, and its focus on African heritage sets it apart from other DNA testing companies. Currently they offer payment plans via PayPal and Affirm. Customers who have their raw DNA file from another testing company can also upload their data to African Ancestry for analysis, which offers a more cost-effective option compared to purchasing the full test kit. The bottom line: if exploring your known or possible African ancestry is something that is of interest to you, African Ancestry, Inc. is a good place to start.

Tomohiro Takano
Tomohiro Takano
Co-Founder and CEO