September 20, 2021
Product Reviews

6 things you should know before buying MyHeritage

MyHeritage is a leader in DNA ancestry testing, but they are behind Ancestry in total users. Why are some people still choosing MyHeritage?
By
Tomohiro Takano

MyHeritage may be well behind 23andMe and Ancestry when it comes to total users, but that can change (and rather quickly, as we have learned). While the company has flip-flopped on offering health tests, they do offer a massive historical records database that is very concentrated with documents from the European Union countries (and that feature is not going away anytime soon). 


For some users, this is exactly what they are looking for in genetic DNA testing and they can begin their journey of ancestral discovery. Here at Genomelink, we think it is important to select the right DNA testing kit for your needs. Many consumer DNA kits have various options, prices, and features. So, you need to do your research to find the right one. 


The following MyHeritage review is in our standardized format, making it easy for you to compare and find the right DNA testing kit for your needs!

1. About the Company
2. Test Results and Sample Reports
3. Reviews
4. Cost
5. Best Alternatives to MyHeritage DNA Analysis
6. Upload Raw DNA Data from

1. About The Company

Quick Facts:

Company Name: MyHeritage

Foundation Year: 2003

Location: Or Yehuda, Israel

Monthly Visits: 45 Million+

Number of Databases: 74 Million users, 67 Million family trees, > 4.5 million DNA test kit sales

Website: www.myheritage.com


Though MyHeritage started in the ancestry-side of genetic DNA testing, the company quickly expanded to health testing and carrier status testing as well. As of this review, MyHeritage scrapped their health test offering. Apparently, they prefer to focus solely on their ancestry test and are leaving health DNA analysis to other companies.

But, don’t let that turn you off! With one of the largest genetic search engines in the business, MyHeritage’s DNA testing service will definitely help you uncover new relatives. You may also be able to find family photos and other instant discoveries with MyHeritage’s desktop software and historical documents access. MyHeritage also has great customer service, according to their very high MyHeritagesDNA review ratings.

MyHeritage.com has its roots well before the time of consumer DNA testing kits. The company was founded in 2003 by Gilad Japhet, a software engineer. Japhet saw the demand for family tree services and developed one of the first computer-based family tree applications and the algorithms to support it. 4 years before the first DNA sample would be collected with a consumer DNA testing kit, MyHeritage allowed customers to create intricate and well-documented family trees on the internet.  

MyHeritage is essentially the same as Ancestry.com, only its main user base started in Europe. Essentially, the company acts like Google for your family story, allowing you to search for death certificates, historical records, military records, and other documents electronically (for a premium price, of course). If you know that your ancestors emigrated from Europe and want to know more about them, it might be a great option to find in-depth records of them that you can correlate with your DNA sample and new relatives you find! MyHeritage has also partnered with FamilySearch to provide users access to over 2 billion North American historical records.

In 2016, the company joined the world of DNA testing with the MyHeritageDNA kit, now available worldwide to new users. The company also offers a mobile app on Android and iOS, allowing access to new features right from your smartphone! Today, the company not only offers a great DNA testing kit, but also has the largest European-specific historical records database in the world.


2. Reviews of MyHeritageDNA Test Results & Sample Reports

Below, you can see what to expect from your DNA results with MyHeritageDNA.


MyHeritageDNA Report Overview:

  • See a breakdown of your genetics using the Ethnicity Estimate tool
  • Detailed ancestry matching with over 42 ethnic groups, found worldwide
  • Includes common regions like Europe, Ireland, Africa, Scotland, New York, and others!
  • Find family members using the DNA Matches feature
  • More specific results and historical records from European Countries 


The results you will receive from MyHeritage can be seen in the image below. Your Ethnicity Estimate is a breakdown of where your genes came from, presented as both a percentage and as a map. These detailed views can help you elucidate where your family came from, and how they may have migrated. Further, you can click on the DNA Matches tab to find out if you have any existing relatives on the platform. According to MyHeritage, many families have been reunited using their DNA matching service.



My Heritage DNA Ethnicity Global Map
Photo is taken from MyHeritage's media kit


The page below contains more information about reports from MyHeritageDNA, and how to use them to discover your family history.

MyHeritage Sample Report

3. MyHeritage Reviews - Specific Products (Updated on Mar 2021)

If you are looking to discover your ethnic origins, MyHeritage is a great place to start. The company gives you smart matches from your autosomal DNA and a chromosome browser to view where your genes originated. But, MyHeritage has also expanded into genetic testing for DNA health traits - now offering 40+ specific reports!

This section summarizes user experiences with this genetic testing company, specific to each product!

  1. Reviews of MyHeritage DNA Test - Ancestry Kit

The MyHeritage DNA Ancestry kit is the cheaper of MyHeritage’s offerings, though it allows users to track their ethnicity globally: Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Spanish, South American, and even Indigenous American! A large majority of MyHeritage Ancestry Kit users (over 60%!) gave the product 5 stars on Amazon

Only 13% of users gave the product 1 star, the main reason being that features like the historical records database and connecting to family members are hidden behind a paywall. Be sure to understand what you are getting with a DNA test before you buy!

  1. Reviews of MyHeritage Subscription - For Genetic Genealogy

While no sites allow users to review MyHeritage’s subscription packages, you can find a number of impactful user reviews on the MyHeritage Blog. Many of the people in these stories used the paid subscription program to help them identify important connections through their family tree using both DNA and historical documents - the most powerful tools MyHeritage has to offer. MyHeritage offers Premium, PremiumPlus, Data, and Complete subscription packages that allow different levels of access to their historical documents treasure trove. You can check out all the differences between these packages and the pricing of each on the MyHeritage website.

  1. General MyHeritage DNA Reviews (Updated on Feb 2021)

Users on several prominent websites have reviews from MyHeritage users that are more general MyHeritage. Many of them mention the great customer support they received from MyHeritage. Check them out!


3.8 of 5 stars on Trustpilot, with over 10,000+ reviews

4.4 of 5 stars on Amazon, with over 4,200+ reviews

100% Positive on Google, with over 800+ reviews

“A+” Rating with the Better Business Bureau

See a discussion of MyHeritage vs. 23andMe at the following Reddit page.

4. MyHeritage Cost Reviews 

The MyHeritageDNA testing kit is $79, though the company regularly runs discounts. For instance, at the time of this writing, you can get the ancestry kit for only $39!


If genealogy is of interest to you, then you might also be interested in MyHeritage’s family tree service. Ranging on the service you select, a yearly subscription can run between $129 to $189. This service gives you access to a number of historical records. Further, MyHeritage boasts the largest record database in Europe, and it competes with Ancestry’s records database in the US. In this database, you are sure to find many record matches if you family is from Europe or has a European decent. 


The service also allows you to greatly expand your family tree within the family tree builder, even to an unlimited size with the most expensive package. Given that MyHeritage has created the world’s largest family tree of over 13 million people, this is a considerable resource for the price. MyHeritage takes all major credit cards.

5. Best Alternatives to MyHeritage (Compare to AncestryDNA and 23andMe!)

MyHeritage faces most of its competition from the two slightly larger DNA testing companies: Ancestry and 23andMe. LivingDNA is also a contender, though they have not maintained the growth and user ratings of other companies. While MyHeritage is a great choice for most users, these other companies do offer some advantages:

AncestryDNA

If you want to access the largest genetic genealogy user base, AncestryDNA is the one you want. Being part of the largest genetic database comes with some inherent advantages. First, you will have the potential to match with the highest number of other DNA users. This should allow you to find living relatives from all over the world! Second, ethnicity estimates become more refined with bigger reference populations. For that reason, Ancestry is able to offer ethnicity estimates with a very narrow focus.

Beyond these two inherent advantages, the only real differences between MyHeritage and Ancestry is the location of the two companies and the ability to get a Health kit. While MyHeritage recently discontinued their health reports, Ancestry is continuing to expand the number of health-related traits they can test for. As for location, this is a real difference between these companies. Ancestry operates the world’s largest repository for historical documents from the United States, while MyHeritage has a huge lead in historical documents from Europe. 

While Ancestry does not accept raw DNA data uploads from MyHeritage, MyHeritage does accept data from Ancestry. So, if you are thinking about trying them both you can save some money and avoid a second DNA test kit if you start with Ancestry. 

23andMe

If you want access to the most comprehensive health analysis, 23andMe has been focusing on more DNA health testing and can provide more reports. MyHeritage recently stopped offering any health related tests to focus more on their Ancestry division. So, if you want health traits it really comes down to a choice between 23andMe and Ancestry.

As for ancestry-related testing, 23andMe has a much larger database than MyHeritage. This gives them an inherent advantage when it comes to predicting ethnic groups and estimating your overall ethnicity. Further, 23andMe tests parts of your Y-DNA and your mtDNA, which can give you specific insights into your paternal and maternal haplogroups. 

However, 23andMe does not offer any sort of historical records database that you can search through, or a meaningful way to construct a family tree (though they will construct one for you based on your DNA). All things considered, if you are only mildly interested in ancestry and want super-specific results, 23andMe is the way to go. On the other hand, if you are interested in building out a family tree and finding actual written records from European countries to back it up, MyHeritage is probably better.

6. Upload Raw DNA Data From MyHeritageDNA

Although MyHeritageDNA does not test for health and lifestyle traits, it does let you download your raw DNA data file. This will allow you to upload your data to a number of other sites, many of which are free. The sites below can inform you on many other aspects of your DNA. One cheek swab can get you so much more!


1. Genomelink — FREE

2. Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) — FREE

3. GEDmatch — FREE


To find out more DNA upload sites, check out our article "The Best DNA Upload Sites"

How Soon Can You Get Your MyHeritage DNA Results?

Waiting is an integral part of the DNA testing procedure. So, after sending your sample to the lab, how soon can you get your MyHeritage DNA results?

While you should get the best DNA testing service, getting your test results without delay is equally crucial. Again, MyHeritage excels in this regard. So far, they are among the DNA testing providers with the shortest processing time. 

This part of the post will look into the processing time for getting your MyHeritage DNA results and the information your test results provide. Also, you will see how you can get more out of your DNA data. 

Processing Time with MyHeritage 

After your DNA sample arrives at the lab, you will receive your MyHeritage DNA results in about 3-4weeks. When your health reports are ready, you will receive an email notification. Afterward, you will gain access to them on their website.

Usually, the company dispatches your kit within a day after placing your order. Your geographic area and postal service determine your package delivery time. Standard domestic shipping takes 4-7 business days, and standard overseas shipping takes 8-12 business days. However, if you choose expedited shipping, delivery time reduces to 2-4 business days. 

Processing Time If You Uploaded A DNA File 

Let's assume you uploaded a DNA file from other providers like 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, or Ancestry DNA to MyHeritage. In that case, your results should be ready within a day or two. If matches were not found for your DNA, you might need to return to the DNA Matches page to check frequently. As more people submit their DNA data every day, MyHeritage DNA Matching will continue to improve, and more matches will be found.

You might be wondering why you should upload your raw DNA data to the MyHeritage site. Well, even if you've learned a lot from previous DNA databases, there is always something new to learn. Many adoptees looking for their biological families had tried other providers with little luck. When they uploaded their data to MyHeritage, they found they found some interesting information.

MyHeritage vs. Living DNA, Family Tree DNA, and AncestryDNA. 

If you are anxious to get your DNA result, 3-4 weeks might seem a long time. Nonetheless, when you compare it with the waiting period before other providers complete the process, you will realize that MyHeritage comes out on top in terms of speed

Ancestry DNA typically takes six to eight weeks to process DNA after the sample gets to the lab. Findings are generally ready in 2 to 8 weeks using Family Tree DNA. While the Living DNA process usually takes 6-8 weeks, it can take up to 12 weeks in some cases. However, it is noteworthy that, unlike other DNA testing companies, MyHeritage does not offer yDNA, mtDNA, or any health-related tests. 

What Does Your MyHeritage DNA Result Tell You? 

MyHeritage offers autosomal DNA testing. This test considers your parents and recent ancestors to link you with your relatives and discover your ethnic heritage. MyHeritage DNA result has no information about your genetic health, family health history, etc. Accordingly, your results uncover your unique heritage and origin. MyHeritage provides you with two types of findings when testing your DNA: an ethnicity estimate and DNA matches.

Ethnicity Estimate 

Ethnicity estimate is a detailed analysis of your unique DNA composition. MyHeritage digs deep into your ancestors' roots to produce a wide range of ethnic analyses. It shows the percentage of DNA you share with your matches. The analyses cover 42 ethnicities from around the world. Thus, it is ideal for connecting with distant relatives living outside the United States. You can see your ancestors' background on the ethnicity map and how much each ethnicity contributed to their origins. You can also see the significant life events of your direct ancestors. 

DNA Matches 

This method examines data from autosomal DNA test results and family trees to find matches between users who have genetic sequences in common, indicating a familial connection. When you test your DNA with MyHeritage, you can get DNA Matches with individuals on the MyHeritage database. In addition, users of other DNA testing companies can upload their findings to MyHeritage. Consequently, expanding your matching pool and allowing you to discover new ancestors.

You can also use the following DNA features for free:

• Exporting a list of your DNA Matches

• Contacting DNA Matches for collaboration 

• Shared ancestral surnames for every DNA match

• Chromosome Browser for visualizing the DNA segments shared by two sides of a DNA Match

Other paid features accessible after upgrading your account include:

• The family trees and pedigree maps of your DNA Matches

• List of the relatives that both sides of a DNA match have in common

• The areas where you and your DNA Match might share ancient ancestors

• The locations of ancestral events such as births and deaths that both sides of a DNA Match have in common

• Autoclusters: A visually appealing chart displaying DNA matches of likely descendants from shared ancestors

• Theory of Family Relativity: a function that helps you get the most out of your DNA Matches. It combines ancestral data from billions of historical records and family tree profiles to explain how you and your DNA Matches are related.

How To Get More Out of Your DNA Test

An excellent way of maximizing the benefits of your MyHeritage DNA test is to download your raw DNA data and upload it with other major testing companies. This way, you will expand your matching pool and be able to meet more new relatives you never knew existed.

Similarly, suppose you have raw results from other companies. In that case, MyHeritage allows you to upload them on their site and get access to some of their tools. But, again, this service is without charge. This is remarkable because not all testing companies do that. For instance, Ancestry DNA does not permit uploading your raw data from another website.

Furthermore, another way to get the best out of your test is to test other family members. After all, having more DNA data from close relatives offers you more material to work with.

Indeed, MyHeritage DNA testing is one of the most economical options available, and it is routinely discounted. In addition, your MyHeritage DNA results will allow you to fill in the gaps in your family tree so that you can identify and connect with your relatives. So, the wait is worth it. 



*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.


Tomohiro Takano
Tomohiro Takano
Co-Founder and CEO