MyHeritage review – Genealogy records meet DNA testing

MyHeritage Review Summary

MyHeritage DNA combines its family history records with genetic testing to construct family trees. Read more in our MyHeritage review!

Nebula Genomics

Results
Price
Interface

Summary

MyHeritage is a genetic testing company that focuses on family history and relative matching. Its base price is competitive but some of it’s major features require a yearly subscription.

4.3

August 9, 2021

Edited by Christina Swords, Ph.D.

7 Facts from our MyHeritage Review

  1. Headquarters location: Or Yehuda, Israel
  2. Products: DNA testing and collection of family records
  3. Reports: ancestry, connecting with relatives, building family tree profiles
  4. Data access: available
  5. Privacy: had a data breach in the past
  6. Cost: free data upload; $79 for ancestry test. Enhanced family tree subscription with two tiers: Premium at $79/year and PremiumPlus at $129/year. Data plan for $129/year and Complete plan for $189/year.
  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

MyHeritage 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 in 2003. Previously, he developed one of the first computer software to help people trace their family history.

The company is located 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 The service is recommended for those with European ancestry since it has more detailed (over 12 billion) historical documents for Europeans, such as historical newspapers, family photos, and death certificates.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, MyHeritage launched DNA testing to match users with their relatives based on genetics. The reports can be accessed online or through a mobile app. The 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 setup to activate test kits on the website once the package arrives. The DNA testing kit contains an easy-to-use cheek swab. For best test results, customers should not eat, drink, chew gum, or smoke for 30 minutes before collecting the sample. Next, MyHeritage users mail their samples to the lab for analysis by expert technicians. After 3-4 weeks, DNA results can be viewed online using their MyHeritage login.

Once customers receive their results, they can download raw data and use it with other analysis sites and marketplaces such as GenePlaza and sequencing.com.

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 smart matches. The ethnicity estimate breaks down ancestral roots and cross-checks your ancestral origins with 42 ethnic regions (i.e., Ashkenazi Jew).

You can view a sample report on the MyHeritage website. The sample report suggests the user has an extensive European heritage, with some Central American ancestry as well.

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 Family Tree Builder. To date, 81 million family trees have been built.

The report also indicates any DNA matches and includes the family tree.

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

In addition to ancestry, MyHeritage 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 access to a list of common ancestral surnames to track last name origins.

You can contact your matches and gain access to a chromosome browser tool. With this tool, you can 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 to help you connect a record to the right place in your family tree. Another functionality is Instant Discovery, a technology that automatically applies family history to a tree in just one click.

Review of MyHeritage subscription options

With a subscription, you can view an expanded tree of your DNA matches and explore them in more detail. Subscriptions give you access to 13 billion historical records. It contains extensive genealogical records, including census, death and birth, marriage, and immigration records. Collections include things like newspapers and yearbooks. Over 11 billion historical records are searchable through the MyHeritage 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.

DNA health kit

As of this writing, the company no longer offers a DNA health test. They have appeared to have scrapped this test in order to focus on their ancestry offerings.

Deep Nostalgia TM (New in 2021)

This new photo feature allows you to animate the photo features of your ancestors in still photos. Licensed by D-ID, a company specializing in video reenactment using deep learning, faces are enhanced and users can experience the movement and smiles of their relatives before video.

Download Genetic Data

To download your raw data, go to the DNA tab and click ‘Manage DNA kits.’ Next, click on the kebab menu on the right, and choose ‘download.’ Follow the instructions to download the 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 typical cost of the DNA testing option is $79, although with MyHeritage discount codes and during sales, the price 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. For example, access to searchable historical records costs $189/year and an expanded family tree subscription is $129/year. 

Review of MyHeritage Data Privacy

Let’s review MyHeritage privacy. This privacy policy was updated July 6, 2021. 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 communication 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. Additionally, customer support is offered through their country-specific customer service number located on the website.

MyHeritage had a security breach in 2018 where hackers stole 92 million email logins and passwords from users. Personal data, such as DNA and users’ family trees, was not compromised in the 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 MyHeritage, Dr. Phil got tested to learn more about his and his wife’s ancestry. They positively rated the product, especially after discovering previously unknown historical 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 and protect Israeli genetic information. In 2021, the company expanded by paying $37 million to acquire its competitor company, Filae.

Interested in COVID-19 travel tests? Kurix Health and Project Screen offer special testing meeting requirements for departing and arriving in the UK.

MyHeritage Reviews

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

3.9 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot with over 15,000 MyHeritage reviews.

4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon with over 4000 MyHeritage reviews shared.

Find more DNA reviews on:

Pros and Cons of MyHeritage

ProsCons
Many samples from Ashkenazi Jewish populationsMany significant features of family lineage searches require a subscription
One of the largest databases of European populations. So if you know you have ancestors from Europe, this company may help you find many matchesAccess to historical records requires a yearly subscription
Offers free MyHeritage DNA upload to find matchesEthnicity matches reported being inconsistent compared to other services
Extensive historical records database to find family members
Users can easily construct family trees. The company created the single largest family tree with over 13 million people

MyHeritage Review FAQ

What is MyHeritage?

MyHeritage DNA is a genealogy research 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 website, click on your name in 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. Next, click on ‘View details’ and then click on ‘Stop annual renewal.’ 

How much does MyHeritage cost?

The DNA ancestry test costs $79. Subscriptions are available for an additional annual cost.

How much does it cost to subscribe to MyHeritage?

Depending on the plan, the subscription cost is between $129/year and $299/year.

Nebula Genomics

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

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!  

23andMeMyHeritageNebula Genomics
DNA AncestryVery accurate ancestry based on autosomal DNA testingUses autosomal DNA for record matching based on haplogroupsUses Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA in addition to autosomal DNA
DNA Kit Cost$99 ($199 for additional health screening)$79 for ancestry kit$0, $99, $299 
Genealogy Tools CostNone$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
Data ExplorationHas tools for exploring DNA sequencesHas tools for viewing shared chromosomal DNAExtensive data exploration tools, including weekly updated research library
UploadYou can not upload DNA data from other sitesFree data uploadFree data upload
PrivacyFocus on privacy protectionHistory of a data breachFocus on privacy protection (learn more)
Family Tree ServicesProvides DNA matches and automatically generates a family treeExtensive genealogy featuresAccess to the world’s largest Y-DNA and mtDNA databases
MyHeritage vs. Nebula Genomics vs. 23andMe

Summary

MyHeritage is a popular DNA testing and family story discovery service. 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 data to MyHeritage to find DNA matches if you have done testing through another site. 

MyHeritage DNA testing is one of the most 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. But, overall, users have been satisfied with the company’s services, especially the extensive family tree features and historical database searches.

Interested in ancestry or genetic genealogy? You should look at these other reviews:

If you want to focus on your maternal and/or paternal lineages, you can look at YFull ($25 – $49 for Y-DNA and mtDNA) or YSeq, services which analyze mtDNA or the Y chromosome to determine specific lineage haplotypes. Full Genomes also offers Y chromosome sequencing and analysis. Read about them all on our blog!

If you want more information about DNA upload sites, you might be interested in these other articles available on the blog:

  • DNA Land (free DNA upload for trait and ancestry analysis)
  • DNA Painter (for genealogy – the first one is free and subscriptions are available for others)
  • GedMatch Genesis (free DNA upload and paid advanced options)
  • Genetic Genie (free for health reporting)
  • LifeDNA ($99 for upload and health reports, DNA kit and updates available at an additional cost)
  • MyTrueAncestry (learn your connection to ancient populations – free upload – $397)
  • WeGene (a focus on Asian populations, cost of reports)

Did you like our MyHeritage review? You can read more reviews on our blog and check out our complete guide to the best DNA test kit and other home tests.

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