MyHeritage vs FamilyTreeDNA

DNA testing has gotten complex! However, the editors here at CompareDNAkits have stayed on top of the industry and try to simplify everything to help consumers pick the perfect DNA testing company for their needs! In this article, we put two of the major DNA testing companies head-to-head. We will be looking at MyHeritage and FamilyTreeDNA. Keep reading to find out about their company backgrounds, offerings, and reputation (similarly to what we did on MyHeritage vs Ancestry comparison and on Ancestry vs 23andme).

Comparison: MyHeritage and Family Tree DNA Side by Side

MyHeritage FamilyTreeDNA
Can be used for Personal Ancestry Personal Ancestry
Y-DNA and mtDNA Ancestry
DNA collection Cheek Swab Cheek Swab
Number of SNPs tested 702,442 711,424
DNA sample stored Indefinitely 25 Years
Availability Worldwide – excluding France, Israel, Alaska, Poland Worldwide – excluding Sudan and Iran
Price from $59 (pricing varies quite often)  – DNA Ancestry Kit

$199 – DNA Health

$59 – Family Ancestry

$119 – Paternal (Y-DNA) Ancestry

$159 – Maternal (mtDNA) Ancestry

Platform matching for family? Yes Yes
Geographical analysis of ancestry? Yes Yes
Special Features MyHeritage offers ancestry and health testing. With their health testing, the results are even reviewed by an actual physician before you get them. So, you can feel comfortable that your results are accurate! FTDNA is one of the only companies to offer stand-alone maternal and paternal ancestry testing. Plus, FTDNA is available in all countries except Sudan and Iran due to customs restrictions.
Number of DNA kit users >3 Million <2 Million
Ownership Gilad Japhet Gene by Gene, Ltd.
Address Or Yehuda, Isreal 1445 North Loop West, Suite 760

Houston, TX 77008

Website Address https://www.myheritage.com/ https://www.familytreedna.com/
Client Reviews Amazon – 4 of 5

Trustpilot – 3.5 of 5

Amazon – 3.4 of 5

Trustpilot – 2 of 5

Review My Heritage Review FamilyTreeDNA Review

TLDR CONCLUSION

 MyHeritage will provide most DNA test users exactly what they are looking for. They offer comprehensive tools for exploring your family history, as well as some of the most common health-related tests that look for diseases like Cystic Fibrosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Plus, if you are in the United States, MyHeritage works with a private network of physicians to determine if you would benefit from genetic counseling.

For those of you on a mission to expand a basic family tree into an entire genealogy, consider an mtDNA test or Y-DNA test from FamilyTreeDNA. These tests can trace your maternal and paternal lines, and the Y-DNA tests are some of the most comprehensive in the entire consumer DNA testing industry!

 

Company backgrounds for MyHeritage and FamilyTreeDNA

MyHeritage was founded by a software engineer named Gilad Japhet in 2003. Gilad was a professional programmer and an amateur genealogist and decided to help other genealogists with the software he created to track and record family histories. Since then, MyHeritage has expanded into a global family history enterprise.

Fast forward to the present, and MyHeritage has over 100 million users and counting. They have amassed an enormous historical records database to help users build their family trees, which is similar in size to Ancestry’s historical records database.  In 2016, MyHeritage expanded into DNA testing by offering their first ancestry DNA kit. Today, they also offer a DNA health kit and have sold over 3 million DNA kits. While the company is far behind 23andMe and Ancestry, they are the third-largest DNA testing company.

By comparison, FamilyTreeDNA got its start in the era of DNA testing. In early 2000, an entrepreneur and amateur genealogist named Bennet Greenspan saw several news stories about the power of Y-DNA testing to track ancestral connections. Soon after, FTDNA was founded and began offering both maternal and paternal ancestry analysis, making them one of the first companies to analyze mtDNA and Y-DNA. As they grew, they also joined the autosomal testing game with their Family Ancestry test. Fast-forward to today, and FTDNA is among the top providers of ancestry DNA tests in the US and various parts of Europe. 

Winner:  MyHeritage. With over 100 million paying customers and thriving business outside of DNA testing, MyHeritage can offer users nearly 2 decades of ancestry experience, plus reports on aspects of your DNA related to health. FTDNA does offer some unique ancestry tests, but they have far fewer users and are a slightly younger company. 

 

MyHeritage vs FamilyTreeDNA Offerings

MyHeritage

MyHeritage offers two basic DNA kits for purchase. You can choose the basic ancestry test, which has recently been dropped to a very low price of $59. With this ancestry test, your genes will be compared with 42 different ethnic reference populations that you can explore on their website. While these regions are a little less specific than some companies claim to be, they are detailed enough to really help you dig into your ancestry and build a family tree. You will also be able to find DNA matches with the thousands of other people who have had their DNA tested with MyHeritage.

The other DNA kit offered by MyHeritage combines these powerful ancestry features with a fairly comprehensive set of reports on health conditions related to genetic variants. Their health reports include 18 carrier status reports, which can tell you if you carry genes related to genetic diseases. Plus, you will get 18 genetic health risk reports, which can tell you about any genes you carry that have been associated with conditions like heart disease and cancer. This ancestry + health combo is priced with similar tests at $199. 

MyHeritage also offers a subscription package for users who want to explore historical records and really build out their family tree. In their massive database, you can find census records, military records, and many other government records in addition to archived newspapers and other resources. These packages run from $129 to $299 per year.

FamilyTreeDNA

FamilyTreeDNA has three DNA kits you can purchase. The first is a basic Family Ancestry test that essentially does the same things as the MyHeritage DNA test. It looks at your autosomal DNA to determine your recent ancestors and to match you with living relatives in the FTDNA database. With this test, you will see a breakdown of DNA into the various ethnic groups that have contributed to your genome. While the results should be similar to what you get from MyHeritage, FTDNA has far fewer users and reference populations. In fact, FTDNA only shows 24 different regions on their website.

But, FTDNA  offers two tests that you cannot get at MyHeritage – the Maternal Ancestry and Paternal Ancestry tests. The Maternal Ancestry tests analyze DNA found within the mitochondria in your cells, which can only be passed down from your mother’s egg cell. As such, this test can track your maternal ancestry all the way back to Africa. Similarly, the Paternal Ancestry test looks at your Y-DNA, which is only passed down from father to son, so only men can take this test. But, it is a powerful way to look into your paternal family history, specifically. 

FTDNA offers its Family Ancestry test for the new reduced price of $59. Its other tests, the Maternal and Paternal Ancestry tests, will cost $159 and $119, respectively. The company also offers more in-depth paternal ancestry testing than any other company on the market, though these expert-level tests can run up to $449!

Winner: MyHeritage, for most people. Most people who are new to DNA testing will find that they will get more value out of a basic ancestry test with MyHeritage. MyHeritage not only has a more specific ethnic breakdown, but it also gives you resources like a family tree builder, access to historical records (for an additional subscription), and more users to potentially match with. However, if you have already done basic ancestry tests and want more specific answers about your maternal or paternal lines, you should look into FTDNA’s more advanced tests. 

Compare MyHeritage and FTDNA Results 

As for the basic ancestry tests, the results are going to be very similar. MyHeritage offers almost twice as many ethnic regions compared to FTDNA. However, for basic research into your family history, access to historical records, and software to record your family tree, you have to go with MyHeritage. Although “family tree” is in the name, FTDNA does not actually offer any way to record your family tree digitally. With MyHeritage, you can add DNA matches to a family tree created and maintained on the MyHeritage website.

Plus, if you go for the ancestry + health package from MyHeritage, you can also know about a wide range of fairly common genetic disorders in 18 carrier status reports. While 23andMe offers 40+ carrier status reports, MyHeritage covers many of the most detectable and common genetic disorders. FTDNA does not currently offer any health-related tests. 

There is one group of customers who will truly appreciate FamilyTreeDNA’s results. Amateur genetic genealogists. If you have already spent a considerable amount of time researching genetic genealogy, you probably have already been exposed to mtDNA and Y-DNA tests. These maternal and paternal line tests can be very accurate and specific, and help you identify entire branches of your family tree. Plus, FTDNA has a large community of amateur genealogists that can be helpful in understanding your results. 

Winner:  MyHeritage. While the above outlines why FTDNA’s maternal and paternal ancestry tests are extremely powerful, most people will get more results from MyHeritage. 

 

Will your data be shared?

According to MyHeritage’s Privacy Policy, MyHeritage does not use or sell your DNA without your consent, and will only share your genetic information with law enforcement if officially subpoenaed. FamilyTreeDNA uses very similar wording in the FamilyTreeDNA’s Privacy Statement. So, there is really not much difference on the privacy front. Like most of the top DNA testing companies, FTDNA and MyHeritage have both drastically tightened how they use and control consumer DNA samples. 

Winner: Draw! There does not seem to be much of a difference between how these two companies handle your genetic data. Both will use it for internal research, but state that they will not sell it to third party companies.

Media coverage and user opinions

Both companies have received a fair amount of negative press coverage. MyHeritage, being a large data company, was hacked a couple of years ago, exposing large amounts of personal data. FamilyTreeDNA recently took a large hit in the press, when it was uncovered that the company was sharing genetic information with the F.B.I. However, privacy and subpoena issues are simply growing pains that all large companies seem to go through. 

When you look at customer reviews for the two companies, there is a pretty big difference. MyHeritage boasts nearly 10,000 reviews between Amazon and Trustpilot. On Amazon, it scores 4 of 5 stars, while users on Trustpilot peg it at 3.5 stars. Compared to FamilyTreeDNA, that is far more reviews and slightly better scores. 

FamilyTreeDNA has far fewer reviewers online. On Amazon, FTDNA only scores 3.4 stars and on Trustpilot, the company only scores 2 of 5 stars. While these seem like very low scores comparatively, keep in mind that FTDNA only has around 300 reviews total. Their scores may improve as they get more online reviews.

Winner: MyHeritage. FamilyTreeDNA has a lot of catching up to do before it gets the same amount of reviews as MyHeritage. When you consider that only a tiny fraction of users review products online, FTDNA needs millions of satisfied customers to catch up to MyHeritage.

 

Conclusion: Ancestry Vs FamilyTreeDNA

As was the running thread in most categories, it really depends on what you need to decide which company you should use.

MyHeritage will provide most DNA test users exactly what they are looking for. They offer comprehensive tools for exploring your family history, as well as some of the most common health-related tests that look for diseases like Cystic Fibrosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Plus, if you are in the United States, MyHeritage works with a private network of physicians to determine if you would benefit from genetic counseling.

For those of you on a mission to expand a basic family tree into an entire genealogy, consider an mtDNA test or Y-DNA test from FamilyTreeDNA. These tests can trace your maternal and paternal lines, and the Y-DNA tests are some of the most comprehensive in the entire DNA testing industry!

Winner: For most people, it’s gotta be MyHeritage. Though both companies offer basic ancestry tests for $59, MyHeritage has far more users and has been in business for nearly two decades. For those genealogy nerds out there, FamilyTreeDNA is one of the only companies to offer comprehensive maternal and paternal line tests. 

 

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