My Heritage review – Genealogy records meet DNA testing

Rating based in our My Heritage review

7 Facts from our My Heritage Review

  1. My Heritage location: 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 (free DNA data uploadwhole genome sequencing for $299), 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

Introduction

Gilad Japhet, a software engineer, founded My Heritage (MyHeritage) in 2003. Previously, he developed one of the first family tree builder computer applications to help people trace their family history. The location of the company is in Or Yehuda, Israel, but its main user base is in Europe.  My Heritage is recommended for those who have European ancestry since it has more detailed records for Europeans. In 2016, it also started offering DNA testing to match users with their relatives based on genetics. My Heritage reporting 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 Whole Genome Sequencing for just $299! Unlike MyHeritage’s DNA test, we fully sequence mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosomal DNA. Mothers pass their mitochondria to their children, which enables us to trace maternal lineage. Fathers pass their Y chromosome on to their sons, enabling us to trace paternal lineages. Click here to learn more!

Taking the My Heritage test

The My Heritage DNA tests can be ordered online and activated once the package arrives. The DNA testing kit contains a simple cheek swab, which only takes 2 minutes to use. Next, the users mail their samples to the lab for analysis by expert technicians. After 3-4 weeks, results can be viewed online.

Review of My Heritage reporting

Review of My Heritage Ancestry testing

This is the main part of our My Heritage review where we examine its ancestry reporting. The MyHeritage DNA test provides ethnicity estimates and DNA smart matches. The 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.
My Heritage ethnicity percentage estimates on a map. 

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

Here is a My Heritage 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 a family tree.

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

Review of My Heritage 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 documents are searchable through the My Heritage database and can be automatically matched to your family tree. 

Review of My Heritage DNA Health Kit

Users can also purchase the My Heritage DNA Health Kit, which must be approved by a physician. In addition to all ancestry features, the service offers 36 personalized health reports. These include 18 reports on the risk 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.

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.
My Heritage supports the download of raw DNA data.

Review of My Heritage Cost

Now, let’s review My Heritage cost. You can upload your DNA data to My Heritage 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 during sales the cost has been as low as $39, lower than many other services. 

A subscription to access all of My Heritage’s services cost $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 My Heritage 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 My Heritage data privacy

Let’s review My Heritage privacy. Personal information is collected by My Heritage 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. My Heritage 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 results.

My Heritage 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 data breach. After the incident, My Heritage began using two-factor authentication.

My Heritage in the news

My Heritage 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 spring of 2020, My Heritage 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.

My Heritage Reviews

My Heritage users have reviewed their services on a number of reputable websites.

  • 3.7 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot with over 7000 My Heritage reviews.
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars on Amazon with 1464 My Heritage reviews shared.
  • See a discussion of My Heritage vs 23andme at this Reddit page.

Pros/Cons

Pros of using My Heritage

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

Cons of using My Heritage

  • 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.

My Heritage review FAQ

What is My Heritage?

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

Is My Heritage free?

My Heritage offers free raw DNA data uploads. However, the My Heritage DNA test is not free.

How do I cancel My Heritage membership?

On the My heritage 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 is My Heritage DNA?

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

How much does it cost to subscribe to My Heritage?

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

Nebula Genomics

Nebula Expand

In this final section of our My Heritage review, we compare My Heritage with Nebula Genomics and other DNA testing companies. Do you have DNA results from other testing sites like 23andMe or AncestryDNA? You can upload your test results to Nebula and learn more about your genome with the free Nebula Genomics expanded report. Compared to My Heritage, we focus on various traits rather than ancestry. 

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. 

With our 30x Whole-Genome Sequencing service, we analyze nearly 100% of your genome and hand the results directly to you. You get 10,000 times more data than with the average DNA test, which only reads 0.1% of your genome!  

DNA sitesMy HeritageNebula Genomics23andMe
DNA AncestryUses autosomal DNA for 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 ($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.

My Heritage Vs. Nebula Genomics vs. 23andMe

Summary

My Heritage is one of the leading DNA testing and family heritage sites on the market. They have an extensive database of European individuals. Consider using their genealogy services if you believe that you may have European ancestry. You can also upload DNA to find DNA matches if you have done testing through another site. 

My Heritage 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’ emails. Overall, users have been satisfied with My Heritage services, especially the extensive family tree features and historical database searches. As alternatives to My Heritage, you can also consider 23andMe and AncestryDNA.

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

Share this post
Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on print
Share on email