MyHeritage has generated a solid reputation in the Ancestry Discovery industry, boasting one of the largest databases of family-tree related documents in the world.Although they only started offering DNA testing in 2016, their tests are one of the most comprehensive for ancestry and genealogy information.
Competing with the likes of Ancestry.com or 23andMe and other giants, the company serves customers worldwide, and has over 100 million users of its family tree service. Read our comprehensive review of MyHeritage to learn what the company has to offer, and get our editorial opinion on the company.
MyHeritage overview and basic data
|Can be used for||Personal Ancestry|
|DNA collection||Swab for Cheek Cells|
|Number of SNPs tested||702,442.00|
|DNA sample stored||Sample Stored Indefinitely|
|Availability||Worldwide, minus France, Israel, Alaska, and Poland|
|Platform matching for family||Yes|
|Geographical analysis of ancestry||Yes|
|Special Features||As an exclusive ancestry and family tree platform, automatically identifies your known relatives, and plots relevant events on an ethnicity map.|
|Number of users||1,750,000|
|Ownership||Privately owned by Gilad Japhet|
|Address||Or Yehuda, Israel|
|Client Reviews||800+ Amazon Reviews – 3.6/5 stars|
Company background for MyHeritage
MyHeritage was founded in 2003 by Gilad Japhet, an Israeli entrepreneur. Japhet first created the software necessary for building family trees, which was the basis for MyHeritage. The company offers many tools for discovering your family history. Starting as desktop software that could upload results to a static website, the platform has evolved considerable. Now the platform exists entirely online. Their database now includes over 9 billion records, and offers free tools for creating family trees.
In 2016, the company offered its first direct-to-consumer DNA testing service. The results from DNA tests can be tied into your family tree on their platform. This allows users to find surnames related to their family history, find and contact genetic matches, and build a family tree based on more than just genetic information. The DNA service is now available in over 17 languages, almost worldwide. In 2018, the company had enough data to build a family tree of 13 million people. The company owns the genealogy storage site Geni.com, and currently has around 100 million users of their family tree software.
MyHeritage’s Offerings Review
MyHeritage offers two basic services on their platform. The first is access to a free software, which allows you to build your family tree. The other is a DNA testing kit, which compares your DNA to other users and can give you access to genealogical information. The details of each service are given below.
MyHeritage DNA kit
This DNA testing kit tests a large portion of your autosomal DNA for matches to other sequences in their database. The company, like other large DNA testing companies, uses chip-based SNP analysis of your DNA. After getting your DNA tested, the company provides a report about your ancestral history.
This package is usually $79, but is currently selling for only $59 on the company’s website. For this price, you get a basic family tree account, an ethnicity estimate, notifications of DNA matches, and the ability to view your genes in their Chromosome Browser. This one time purchase will give you access to their basic family tree services, but their advanced features are found in their subscription packages.
Family Tree Subscription Plans
MyHeritage offers four different subscription plans, each with a different set of features. The basic plan is free, and offers support for a family tree of up to 250 people. If you have paid for a DNA test, you can also access these results through the platform without a subscription. However, with their wealth of family tree data and hundred million users, you may find that you want access to this extra data.
The first subscription plan, the Premium Plan, offers advanced DNA features, Smart Matches, and an expanded family tree. This plan is $129 per year, but expands your family tree to 2,500 people. The Premium Plus package is a slight upgrade to this, and allows you access to Instant Discoveries (which can find and add entire branches to your tree) and Tree Consistency Checker (which will look for errors in your family tree. It also allows an unlimited family size.
The Data package doesn’t allow the use of the Premium features, but does give you access to the company’s 9 billion historical records. This package leaves your family tree at 250 people, but allows you to attach historical records to the tree. This package is $189 per year. Their final package, the Complete package, covers all of the above, allows you unlimited members in your tree, and costs $299 per year.
What separates MyHeritage from other companies in that regard?
MyHeritage offers cheaper DNA analysis services, compared to most DNA testing companies. They do not offer any health or gene analysis features, and their results are limited to ancestry testing. However, with their large database and huge amount of users, they likely have one of the most accurate and complete ancestry testing services available. But, you will have to pay a hefty price to access this wealth of information and genealogy tools. The basic DNA test will give you only a taste of what the company has to offer, and is priced accordingly.
How it works, what will your kit include?
Your kit will include a cheek swabbing kit, slightly different from companies which have you spit into a vial. Simply wipe the swab across the inside of your cheek. You need only press lightly, as plenty of cells will attach to the swab. Place the swab in the container, and mail the package back to the company. In only 3-4 weeks, you’ll have your results. They will be available on your free account, accessed through the company’s website.
Understanding the results
Your results will be available under the “DNA” tab, once you log into your MyHeritage account. There will be an Overview, which summarizes the results. Two other tabs, the Ethnicity Estimate and DNA Matches provide information about who you share genes with. The Ethnicity Estimate provides information on which groups you are related to, while the DNA Matches page finds other users you are actually related to.
The Ethnicity Estimate page will have information on the ethnicities your DNA most closely identifies with. The page will have a map showing the geographic region these ethnicities come from. There will also be a chart, describing each ethnicity and what percentage of your genetics are a match. The website will also provide a short video, detailing these results in an animated format. DNA matches can be contacted and added to your family tree.
Will your data be shared?
Media coverage and user opinions
MyHeritage has a number of reviews from large media companies. It boasts fairly high reviews and generally gets good coverage. A major exception to this was the recent data hack the company suffered, as reported by MarketWatch. This hack affected nearly all 100 million of their customers, though there is little evidence that any sensitive data was lost. Below are other prominent stories that cover MyHeritage, from mainstream media outlets:
- USA Today – DNA tests used to reunite migrant families spark worries they’ll be used for much more
- BusinessWire – MyHeritage Offers Free DNA Tests to Help Reunite Separated Migrant Children with their Parents
- ScienceNews – What I actually learned about my family after trying 5 DNA ancestry tests
- Fox Business – A list of the biggest data leaks
- San Francisco Chronicle – Effort to use DNA tests to reunite migrant families is paused
- USA Today – These are the top companies offering genealogical DNA testing to learn about your family
The company provides a number of stories with happy endings on their website. These stories focus on families that have been reunited using the family tree software, as well as the DNA testing kits. The site lists a number of stories from around the globe.
Over 800 reviews on Amazon rate their DNA kit at 3.6 of 5 stars, as of December 11, 2018. 53% of users rate the service at 5 stars, while only 13% rate the service at 4 stars. A large 19% rate the service at only 1 star.
Users who are happy with MyHeritage mentioned the following points:
- MyHeritage has a huge database of users and family tree data.
- This company is one of the cheapest DNA testing companies, now on sale for $59.
- It is also one of the fastest companies, with some users getting results in just over 2 weeks.
- Several users have claimed their DNA results are more accurate than other companies.
- Offers the ability to find new relatives with DNA Matches.
- The platform breaks down the individual ethnicities your DNA relates to.
Users giving MyHeritage a 1-star review mentioned the following worthy points:
- Although the test is cheap, it gives you very few results compared to some companies.
- Many users complain about the subscription plans, and how the DNA test encourages you to buy it.
- Without an expensive subscription package, many of the platform’s features cannot be accessed.
- Some users found that after purchasing the kit, they couldn’t access their results.
- A few complaints mention that to access customer service, you have to be subscribed to a premium plan.
Trustpilot.com rated MyHeritage at 4 of 5 stars, with over 2,500 reviews. Over 60% of the reviews were of the highest rating, and 16% give it 4 stars. Only 15% of users found it to be Bad, at 1 star. Many of the criticisms and praises here were the same as on Amazon.
Bottom line conclusions for this MyHeritage review
If you are trying to build a family tree and understand your family history, MyHeritage is a great choice. Not only are their DNA results some of the most rigorous in the industry, but their business was built on building family tree information. They have the largest databases of non-DNA family tree information, and over 100 million users. However, this advanced information is only available for a rather steep price. This company does not offer health-related genetics testing, but is an industry leader in ancestry testing, competing mainly with Ancestry.com.