MyHeritage review – Genealogy records meet DNA testing

Rating based in our MyHeritage review

7 Facts from our MyHeritage Review

  1. MyHeritage location: Or Yehuda, Israel
  2. Products: DNA testing and collection of family records
  3. Reports: ancestry, connecting with relatives, building family trees
  4. DNA data access: available
  5. Privacy: had a data breach in the past
  6. Cost: free data upload; $79 for ancestry test; $199 for ancestry + health test
  7. Alternatives: Nebula Genomics offers the most affordable Whole Genome Sequencing with advanced ancestry analysis enabled by full sequencing of mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosomes

Introduction

This is a review of MyHeritage DNA, a popular consumer DNA testing service focused on family history. Gilad Japhet, a software engineer, founded MyHeritage (My Heritage) in 2003. Previously, he developed one of the first family tree builder computer desktop software to help people trace their family history.

The location of the company is in Or Yehuda, Israel. Its main user base is in Europe, but it also offers services to users in the United States. The service is recommended for those who have European ancestry since it has more detailed (over 12 billion) historical documents for Europeans such as historical newspapers, family photos, and death certificates. In 2016, it also started offering DNA testing to match users with their relatives based on genetics. The reports can be accessed online or through a mobile app. The MyHeritage.com website gets over 15 million monthly visits, making it one of the most popular ancestry and DNA testing services. Read more in our MyHeritage review!

Want a more comprehensive ancestry test? Nebula Genomics offers the most affordable Whole Genome Sequencing! Unlike the MyHeritage’s DNA test, we fully sequence mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosomal DNA which enables detailed tracing of paternal and maternal ancestry. Click here to learn more!

Taking a Test from MyHeritage

The MyHeritage DNA tests can be ordered online. Customers use the MyHeritage DNA setup to activate test kits on MyHeritage.com once the package arrives. The My Heritage DNA testing kit contains a simple cheek swab, which only takes 2 minutes to use. For best results, customers should not eat, drink, chew gum, or smoke for 30 minutes before collecting the DNA sample. Next, the users mail their samples to the lab for analysis by expert technicians. After 3-4 weeks, DNA results can be viewed online using their My Heritage login.

Review of MyHeritage reporting

Review of MyHeritage Ancestry testing

This is the main part of our MyHeritage review where we examine its ancestry reporting. The DNA test provides ethnicity estimates and DNA smart matches. The MyHeritage DNA ethnicity estimate breaks down ancestral roots. It determines how much each of 42 ethnic regions (i.e. Ashkenazi Jew) from around the world contributes to your ancestral origins. 

Screenshot of MyHeritage ethnicity estimate. From My Heritage review.
MyHeritage ethnicity percentage estimates on a map in a web browser. The ancestry breakdown is not always granular. For example, Irish and Scottish ancestries are not distinguished.

You can view each of the ethnicity percentage estimates and explore your ethnic origins on a map. The tool also shows shared ethnicities and shared ancestral places, where events such as births and deaths took place. This matching technology can be used to build a family tree. Customers can download the MyHeritage family tree builder.

Here is a MyHeritage sample report. The sample report suggests the user has an extensive European heritage, with some Central American ancestry as well. It also indicates DNA matches and includes the family tree.

 MyHeritage DNA matches. From My Heritage review.
MyHeritage DNA matches.

In addition to your DNA ancestry, the My Heritage matches users that share genetic sequences. Users can also upload raw DNA data from other DNA testing companies to match with relatives. This will also give you access to a list of common ancestral surnames to track your last name origins.

You can contact your DNA matches and gain access to a chromosome browser tool. You can use this tool to graphically map your chromosomes and view shared DNA segments between matches. 

MyHeritage chromosome browser to view DNA segments shared with matches. From My Heritage review.
MyHeritage chromosome browser to view DNA segments shared with matches. 

MyHeritage offers the Record Detective tools which can help you connect a record to the right place in your family tree. Another functionality is Instant Discovery which is a technology that automatically applies family history to a family tree in just one click. Recently MyHeritage has introduced

Review of MyHeritage Subscription Options

With a subscription, you can view an expanded family tree of your DNA matches and explore them in more detail. It gives you access to extensive genealogical records, including census records, death and birth records, marriage records, and immigration records. Over 11 billion historical records are searchable through the My Heritage database and search engine and can be automatically matched to your family tree. Customers can pay for a subscription with a credit card, PayPal, bank transfer, electronic check, or wire transfer.

Review of MyHeritage DNA Health Kit

Users can also purchase the MyHeritage DNA Health Kit, which must be approved by a physician. In addition to all ancestry features, the service offers 36 personalized MyHeritage health reports. These test results include 18 reports on the genetic risks of developing certain genetic conditions like heart disease and breast cancer. 

The health test also gives access to 18 carrier status reports. They assess your potential to pass on genetic conditions to your children. These include Tay-Sachs, cystic fibrosis, and 16 other diseases.

This option provides a great choice for customers who are interested in both their European ancestry and genetic health risks.

Download Genetic Data

To download your raw DNA data, go to the DNA tab and click ‘Manage DNA kits.’ On the right side, there will be three dots. Click and choose ‘download’. Follow the instructions to download a raw DNA file. 

MyHeritage supports download of raw DNA data. From My Heritage review.
MyHeritage supports the download of raw DNA data.

Review of MyHeritage Cost

You can upload DNA for free. This will enable you to match with your relatives. Additional features including the chromosome browser and ethnicity estimate are available for an extra fee.

The usual cost of the DNA testing option is $79, although with MyHeritage discount codes and during sales the cost has been as low as $39, lower than many other services. 

A subscription to access all services costs $299/year, although some features can be purchased separately. Access to searchable historical records costs $189/year. An expanded family tree subscription costs $129/year. 

The MyHeritage DNA Health kit can be purchased for $199, but is also often. In addition to health, the kit includes all of the ancestry reporting.

Review of MyHeritage data privacy

Let’s review My Heritage privacy. Personal information is collected to provide their services. It is used to calculate relationships between relatives, process payments, test DNA samples, analyze raw DNA, and provide DNA reports. Information is used for internal business purposes. You can also consent to your data to be used for research to make scientific discoveries.

Personal information is never sold, licensed, or otherwise shared with third parties, except for limited circumstances. If enabled, this includes sharing with DNA matches. MyHeritage will share DNA data when legally required, or in the event of an acquisition.

Information is secure and security is reviewed frequently for enhancements. Only authorized personnel have access to personal information, and all information is encrypted on a secure server.

At any time, you can choose to disable information sharing by disabling DNA matches and opting out of viewing MyHeritage results. Customer support is offered through their country-specific customer service number located on the website.

MyHeritage had a security breach in 2018 where 92 million users had their email logins and passwords stolen. Personal data, such as DNA and users’ family trees, was not compromised in the MyHeritage data breach. After the incident, the company began using two-factor authentication.

MyHeritage in the news

MyHeritage has been featured in the Boston Herald and the New York Post after reuniting families using its DNA test. Overall, the press coverage is generally positive. The company has been regarded as one of the best DNA testing and family lineage sites on the market.

In 2019, to promote My Heritage, Dr. Phil used the product to learn more about his and his wife’s ancestry. They positively promoted the product, especially after discovering previously unknown historic roots.

In the spring of 2020, MyHeritage partnered with the Chinese company BGI Genomics to test Israelis for COVID-19. However, the deal was not straightforward. The Israeli government required additional oversight to keep protect Israeli’s genetic information.

MyHeritage Reviews

My Heritage reviews and MyHeritage DNA test reviews are available on on a number of reputable websites.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Many samples from Ashkenazi Jewish populations
  • One of the largest databases of European populations. If you know you have European ancestors, MyHeritage may help you find many matches.
  • Offers free MyHeritage DNA upload to find DNA matches.
  • Extensive historical records database to find family members.
  • Family trees can be easily constructed. MyHeritage created the single largest family tree with over 13 million people.

Cons

  • Many major features of family lineage searches require subscription and are not provided for free.
  • Access to historical records requires a yearly subscription.
  • Ethnicity matches reported being inconsistent compared to other services.

MyHeritage review FAQ

What is MyHeritage?

MyHeritage DNA is a genealogy company. It focuses on combining genetics with family records to help people connect.

Is MyHeritage free?

The company offers free raw DNA data uploads. However, the DNA test is not free.

How do I cancel MyHeritage membership?

On the MyHeritage website, click on your name on the upper right corner and go to ‘My purchases’. Then, on the left, select ‘Site subscriptions’.On the right, you will see the status of the subscription. Click on ‘View details’ and then click on ‘Stop annual renewal’. 

How much does MyHeritage cost?

The DNA ancestry test costs $79. The DNA ancestry + health test costs $199.

How much does it cost to subscribe to MyHeritage?

The cost of the subscription is between $129/year and $299/year depending on the plan.

Nebula Genomics

Nebula Expand

In this final section of our MyHeritage review, we compare it with Nebula Genomics and other DNA testing companies.

Whole-Genome Sequencing

Our mission is to empower customers to learn more about their genetics. We go beyond standard genetic testing found on sites like MyHeritage.com and offer full DNA sequencing with detailed reports. This enables you to learn more about your ancestry than with any other DNA test. In particular, we fully decode mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosomes to enable you to trace your roots many generations into the past.

This is possible because with our 30x Whole-Genome Sequencing service, we analyze nearly 100% of your genome. You get 10,000 times more data than with the average DNA test, which only reads 0.1% of your genome!  

DNA sitesMyHeritageNebula Genomics23andMe
DNA AncestryUses autosomal DNA for record matching based on haplogroups.Uses Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA in addition to autosomal DNA.Very accurate ancestry based on autosomal DNA testing.
DNA Kit Cost$79 for ancestry kit ($199 for health kit)$0 – $299 $99 ($199 for additional health screening)
Genealogy Tools Cost$299/year subscription; $189/year for access to historic records, $129/year for an expanded family tree. $99/year for weekly updates based on the latest research and access to data discovery tools. None
Data ExplorationHas tools for viewing shared chromosomal DNA.Extensive data exploration tools, including weekly updated research library.Has tools for exploring DNA sequences.
UploadFree data upload. Free data upload. You can not upload DNA data from other sites.
PrivacyHistory of a data breach.Focus on privacy protection.Focus on privacy protection
Family Tree ServicesExtensive genealogy features.Access to the world’s largest Y-DNA and mtDNA databases.Provides DNA matches and automatically generates a family tree.

MyHeritage Vs. Nebula Genomics vs. 23andMe

Summary

MyHeritage is a popular DNA testing and family story discovery service. They have an extensive MyHeritage database of European individuals. Consider using their genealogy services if you believe that you may have European ancestry. You can also upload DNA data to MyHeritage to find DNA matches if you have done testing through another site. 

MyHeritage DNA testing is one of the more affordable options. But testing is not as extensive as with companies that do whole-genome sequencing like Nebula Genomics. There may also be privacy concerns, as there has been a hacking incident involving users’ email addresses. Overall, users have been satisfied with the company’s services, especially the extensive family tree features and historical database searches. As alternatives, you can also consider 23andMe and AncestryDNA.

Did you like our MyHeritage review? For more reviews of genetic testing services and DNA data upload sites click here. Or check out our guide to DNA upload sites!

In particular, check out AncestryDNA ($99 for ancestry test, $149 for ancestry + health test), 23andMe ($99 for ancestry test, $199 for ancestry + health test), DNA Land (free DNA data upload), Living DNA (starting at $49), DNA Land (free) and DNA Painter.

Interested in learning about your pet’s ancestry? Take a look at our Basepaws review!

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