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For those of us interested in our genealogy, sites like Ancestry.com are working wonders to make it easier than ever. Creating family trees no longer means a mountain of paperwork and sleepless nights - Ancestry.com have been providing DNA tests to the UK and USA for years, and if someone mentions the phrase to you, you're likely to immediately think of this brand. However, Ancestry.com is perhaps best known for the subscription that allows users to explore the history of their family using the records that the company have access to.
Information On The Site
Before ordering, finding out the right information about what this service can offer you doesn't appear to be very clear. From the offset, users are under the impression that they may find out their ethnic mix, find distant relatives and even find out things about their family history they might not otherwise have known. However, the truth of the matter is a little more complicated. There is talk of DNA matches being made and relatives being found, but users have often found that this is usually only done by subscribing to their records service too. Overall, however, the information on the site is fairly detailed. The information about the service is thorough in a sense, but confusions arise in different areas of the site, and a lack of information about what you'l miss out on if you don't subscribe could be improved, as the services offered by this site should not be missed out on.
Ordering
Ordering from Ancestry.com is fairly easy. Shipping costs aren't included in the initial pricing, and depending on where you live, this can be steep or fairly reasonable -the let down here is that you can't easily see the full cost without submitting your payment details first, which certainly needs some improvement. However, the return cost is included in the initial shipping payment, so users won't need to shell out for the extra cash to send their sample back to the company. A confirmation email will be sent when the samples are received, and results take between 6 and 8 weeks from there. This provides you with a quick and efficient DNA test results service, ultimately pushing Ancestry.com to the forefront of the market.
Online Registration
Online registration has to be completed before the sample is sent back to Ancestry.com, and includes your standard registration process. Agreeing to terms and conditions is, of course, a must, and includes a section that states that a customer's DNA belongs entirely to them. That is, however, unless Ancestry creates any commercial products developed that are related to the DNA. There have also been reports of an opportunity to participate in a research project, from which Ancestry will use the results to better understand ‘human evolution and migration, population genetics and population health issues'.
Results
The results have been known to come in earlier than 6 weeks, though this isn't widely advertised. When you log in to view your results, you are given a two minute video explaining genetic analysis and what was used to analyse the DNA. The results are then split into three sections including Genetic Ancestry, DNA Matches and DNA Circles. Genetic Ancestry gives users access to ethnicity estimates, and genetic communities. DNA Matches will give access to potential living relatives who have similar genetics that match to the user, and DNA Circles is a tool that can help identify living relatives according to ancestors that were shared - however, this isn't always available depending on how many of your potential relatives have completed such a service themselves.
Summary
All in all, Ancestry does what it says on the tin. You provide a sample for analysis, and they analyse it. While some details, such as the information they provide before you order your kit, and the range of results you can access, could be improved, it's understandable that these will likely get better as time goes on, and as more results are available to them. After all, the results are only as good as the database a company has access to. For those looking for potential relatives or an ethnicity estimate, this service really isn't one to turn your nose up at. Ancestry.com provide a good service at a reasonable price, so it's well worth trying if it's something that interests you.
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