Updated on
June 18, 2024 by Elly Hancock

7 Best DNA Tests for African Ancestry (2024)

7 Best DNA Tests for African Ancestry (2024)

Tracing your African ancestry can be a fascinating journey. Yet, finding the right DNA test kit for this task may pose a challenge. Concerns over the speed, accuracy, and depth of Black heritage tracing might make you feel unsure.

Having tested numerous DNA kits, I focused on their efficiency, precision, privacy measures, user community size, and particularly their ability to delve into African ancestry. From this comprehensive analysis, I’ve highlighted the superior DNA kits for investigating Black roots.

Among the contenders, AncestryDNA stands as the top choice. It’s swift and precise, but what makes it remarkable is its deep exploration into African ancestry. It boasts a wide coverage of African ethnic groups and regions, providing a detailed picture of your lineage. 

Trace Your African Roots

Short on time? Here are the best DNA tests for African ancestry

  1. AncestryDNA – Best DNA kit for African ancestry overall; 15 distinct African regions and 400+ African American and Afro-Caribbean communities; price starts at $99.
  2. 23andMe – Best for tracing ancient African ancestry across different regions. 
  3. Living DNA – Best for health insights along with African ancestry examination; prices start at $99.
  4. MyHeritage – Best affordable African and Black ancestry DNA kit; prices start at $89 (but frequent discounts). 
  5. Nebula Genomics – Best for whole genome sequencing and specialized insight into African ancestry; prices start at $249. 
  6. Family Tree DNA – Best for tracing your paternal and maternal lines separately; prices start at $79. 
  7. SelfDecode – Best for uploading raw DNA data to get 350+ reports on health and ancestryl; prices start at $99.

See how each test compares

Our Best DNA Tests for African Ancestry Reviewed

1. AncestryDNA – Best for African American Ancestry

  • Covers 15 African regions and over 400 African American and Afro-Caribbean communities
  • Shows you which African communities your DNA comes from
  • DNA matching finds relatives and common ancestors
  • Results in 6-8 weeks

Price from$99.00
Our score9.9
Ancestry Deal 2024: In a limited-time deal, you can save 50% on Ancestry DNA + Family Tree Bundle. That means you can get a DNA test and build your family tree at half the regular price. Get this deal before it expires!

AncestryDNA is recognized for its unparalleled DNA database size among testing options, examining over 700,000 genetic markers to accurately determine your ancestry. Spanning over 2300 regions, including 12 distinct African areas, its extensive analysis offers an in-depth look at your heritage.

This vast DNA collection is essential as AncestryDNA matches your profile against its database to identify genetic similarities. It shows the percentage of DNA you share with matches, identifies common ancestors, and allows you to communicate with your matches. For those aiming to connect with both distant and immediate relatives, AncestryDNA provides an optimal platform.

AncestryDNA is particularly valuable if you have African American ethnicity in your background. Covering 20 unique African American locales, such as Afro-Jamaicans and early North Carolina African Americans, it provides a nuanced view of your ancestry. The report shows all regions in your DNA via a map and breaks down Genetic Communities, enabling you to see from which African area your DNA likely originated. The Communities map layout is well-designed, color-coded, and offers insights into historical migration patterns.

AncestryDNA includes a family tree builder that integrates DNA matches from its database into your tree. This feature, though highly useful, is not part of the standard test cost and requires additional payment. The report production takes 6-8 weeks, slightly longer than most competitors. However, the depth and richness of information contained in the report make it a test worth the wait.

Discover Your African Heritage with AncestryDNA!

2. 23andMe — Best for Discovering Your Ancient Ancestry

  • Compares your DNA against 45 known populations
  • Traces your DNA across 2750+ regions
  • Includes traits report with its basic screening
  • See if you have Neanderthal ancestry
  • Results in 3 to 4 weeks

Price from$229.00
Our score9.6

23andMe offers a comprehensive ancestry breakdown, allowing you to trace your lineage back to various African regions. By analyzing your DNA, it identifies the percentage of your ancestry from different African countries, providing insights into where your ancestors may have lived. This feature helps you connect with your African roots by pinpointing specific areas of the continent from which your ancestors originated.

It also includes a feature for tracing haplogroups, which are genetic populations that share a common ancestor. For African ancestry, this can reveal migration patterns and historical changes in population genetics. By understanding your maternal and paternal haplogroups, you gain insight into the deep ancestral origins and migration routes of your forebears, offering a glimpse into the ancient journeys that shaped your genetic makeup.

23andMe’s relative finder tool connects you with potential relatives based on shared DNA. This feature is particularly valuable for individuals of African descent, as it can help rebuild familial connections that were lost due to the diaspora. It allows you to find and connect with distant relatives, offering a unique opportunity to expand your understanding of your family’s history and how it fits into the broader context of African heritage.

Lastly, it provides access to genetic health risks and traits that are prevalent in individuals of African descent. While not exclusive to ancestry, this information can be particularly relevant for understanding how certain genetic predispositions might affect you. It integrates health and heritage in a way that empowers you to take control of both your genetic legacy and your health future, making it a comprehensive tool for exploring African ancestry and Black heritage.

Get Started With 23andMe

3. Living DNA – Best for Specialist African Ancestry

  • Covers 72 African sub-regions and 150 global regions
  • mtDNA and Y-DNA haplogroup mapping
  • DNA relative finder feature
  • Results in 6-8 weeks

Price from$90.00
Our score9.4

Living DNA is a great choice for specialist African ancestry because it offers five times more detail in its African reports than any other test.

While it only covers 150 regions, it dives into these regions in much more detail, so you get even more insight from your report.

It includes 72 African sub-region estimates such as Somali, Tunisia, and Southwestern Bantu. Sub-regional mapping means Living DNA can pinpoint where in each area of Africa you come from, helping you to get an accurate match.

With Living DNA, you can learn about your mtDNA and Y-DNA lines, tracing your ancestor’s steps as they moved from Africa to places around the globe — on both sides of your family.

I really liked the maps and info that come with these results — they’re easy to understand and really help paint a clearer picture of how your past influences your present. Just click on any region on your map to learn about it in more detail. Each comes with interesting facts, geographical history, and migration patterns, allowing you to better understand the timeline of your heritage.

As with some of my other top choices, Living DNA has a matching feature for tracking down your relatives. Make sure you opt in to Family Networks to access this service and see how much DNA you share with other Living DNA users.

Living DNA is one of the best DNA tests for African ancestry, but there’s one big reason why it’s not higher on our list: the potential speed of its results. While it promises most reports in 6-8 weeks (in line with most companies), it does warn that it can sometimes take up to 12 weeks.

Get Specialist African Ancestry Insights with Living DNA!

4. MyHeritage – Best for Building a Family Tree and Connecting With Relatives

  • Database of over 6.5 million DNA samples makes it easy to find family members
  • Explore 19.4 billion historical records and bring your family tree to life
  • Simple saliva swab and user-friendly reports
  • Results within 4 weeks

Price from$89.00
Our score9.7
MyHeritage 2024 Deal: MyHeritage often has deals that bring its generally low prices even lower. Right now, you can save up and get a full DNA kit for only $39, which is by far the cheapest DNA test on the market. Make sure to check back often as this deal appears every few months.

If you’re curious about uncovering your African heritage, MyHeritage is an excellent platform that can provide you with fascinating insights. With its extensive database and advanced DNA testing capabilities, MyHeritage allows you to explore your family tree and discover your African roots in a simple and user-friendly way. 

One of the standout features of MyHeritage is its vast collection of historical records and documents. This means that as you delve into your African ancestry, you can access an extensive range of records, such as birth certificates, census data, and immigration records, that may offer valuable clues to your family’s past. This wealth of information helps you connect the dots and gain a deeper understanding of your African heritage.

Another impressive aspect of MyHeritage is its DNA testing service, which can shed light on your genetic origins. By submitting a simple saliva sample, you can uncover your ancestral composition and even receive a breakdown of your African ethnicities. MyHeritage’s African DNA database is continuously growing, allowing for more accurate and precise results as the platform expands its African genetic reference panels.

Beyond the DNA testing and historical records, MyHeritage also offers a vibrant and engaged community. You can connect with other users who share similar African ancestry or have experience researching their African roots. This community aspect adds a personal touch to the journey, as you can exchange stories, and tips, and even collaborate on shared family research projects. 

Get Started With MyHeritage

5. Nebula Genomics – Best For Detailed African Ancestry Reports

  • Ethnicity estimates to 8 African locations
  • Deep ancestry insights with DNA matches to ancient European groups
  • Trace ancestors’ migration paths
  • Results in 2-4 weeks

Price from$249.00
Our score9.2

Nebula Genomics offers comprehensive sequencing and analysis of African ancestry data, which gives you a deeper understanding of your genetic heritage. By leveraging a large database of African genetic data, you can receive accurate and detailed insights into your family history, cultural background, and migration patterns. Using this data helped me connect with my African heritage in a way I never thought possible.

Additionally, Nebula Genomics offers personalized genetic counseling services to help you understand the implications of your DNA test results for your health. Since people with African ancestry can have unique genetic variations and disease risks, getting specialized guidance is often highly useful. The counseling helped me better understand my DNA test results and gave me guidance to make informed decisions about my health.

With Nebula Genomics’ strict privacy and consent policies, you can trust that your genetic data is safe and secure. This is especially relevant if you have African ancestry, as there are concerns about the use of genetic data for discriminatory purposes. You have complete control over your data, including the ability to delete it at any time, ensuring that your genetic information is only used in ways that you are comfortable with.

While Nebula Genomics requires a mandatory subscription to the Nebula Explore plan to access your personalized reports, the level of detail you get justifies the subscription cost. Its reports are informative, easy to understand, and regularly updated, so you can always have the latest information about your African ancestry at your fingertips.

Discover Ancient African Origins with Nebula Genomics!

6. FamilyTreeDNA – Best For Ancient African Ancestry

  • Ethnicity estimates to 8 African locations
  • Deep ancestry insights with DNA matches to ancient European groups
  • Trace ancestors’ migration paths
  • Results in 2-4 weeks

Price from$79.00
Our score8.5

FamilyTreeDNA matches your ancestry to 90+ worldwide populations. It covers 8 African locations and 17 African population groups. I don’t like that this isn’t as many as others on this list, but it will still provide you with accurate ethnicity estimates.

With FamilyTreeDNA, you can learn about your deepest African origins because it shows you how much DNA you share with ancient European groups. You can see how your ancestors lived and how they migrated around the globe.

The heat map highlights where your African ancestors come from and all the geographical regions in your DNA. Each comes with loads of historical and anthropological information about your black ancestors.

I like that you have the option of tracing your paternal and maternal haplogroups — but take note: These are separate DNA tests, which means you’ll need to pay more. However, the standard test comes with DNA matching, so you can sort found relatives into mtDNA and Y-DNA groups.

How fast you receive your results will depend on the test you order. The Family Finder test is pretty quick, taking only 2-4 weeks. The other two tests may take to 3-6 weeks.

Discover Ancient African Origins with FamilyTreeDNA!

7. SelfDecode – Best for Ancestry and Health Insights

  • Get ancestry and health reports
  • Advanced DNA analysis
  • Simple saliva swab you can take at home
  • Results in 4-6 weeks

Price from$99.00
Our score9

The SelfDecode DNA Kit + Health & Ancestry Insights test is an exciting way to learn more about your DNA and how it impacts your health and ancestry. With this test, you’ll receive a comprehensive report that includes insights into your genetic risk for certain health conditions, as well as information about your ancestry and genetic makeup.

One of the unique features of the SelfDecode DNA Kit is its ability to trace African ancestry. SelfDecode uses advanced DNA analysis techniques to identify specific genetic markers that are associated with African ancestry, allowing you to uncover your roots and connect with your heritage.

In addition to ancestry insights, the SelfDecode DNA Kit also provides detailed information about your health risks. You’ll receive personalized recommendations based on your DNA results, including information about which foods and supplements may be beneficial for you based on your genetic profile.

Once the lab receives your sample, they’ll analyze your DNA using advanced sequencing technology to provide you with detailed insights into your genetic makeup. The whole process typically takes between 4-6 weeks from the time the lab receives your sample.

Get Started With SelfDecode

What We Look for in the Best DNA Tests for African Ancestry

To round up the best DNA tests for African ancestry, we made sure each kit met certain criteria. Here’s what we looked for:

  • African relevance: It’s important that your test has good coverage in various African regions and can accurately identify your African ethnicity
  • DNA matching tools: We found tests that help you connect with your African ancestors by finding people who share your DNA.
  • Migration mapping: These tools let you track your ancestors around the globe and see where they moved to.
  • Quick results: You shouldn’t have to wait forever for your ancestry report, so we picked tests with quick results times.
  • Affordability: We only picked tests that offer good value for your money, with results that you want.

What’s in the Fine Print?

The tests discussed here exclude any severe conditions in their terms of service, but there are some fees to be aware of.

Among the mentioned tests, only AncestryDNA covers the cost of shipping. For the others, you’ll need to budget for shipping expenses, which usually don’t exceed $10. This is an important factor to consider in your purchasing decision.

For quicker results, you might opt for express shipping. For example, Living DNA can charge up to $39.95 for this expedited service.

While AncestryDNA offers family tree building tools, these come at an additional cost. Using these features requires a subscription, which can be as high as $49.99 per month.

Additionally, FamilyTreeDNA provides three distinct test types. If you’re interested in Y-DNA and mtDNA tests, remember that these are sold separately and tend to be pricier.

How Accurate Are DNA Tests for African Ancestry?

No DNA test is 100% accurate, so regardless of the test you choose, there will always be a small margin of error. With leading testing companies, however, you can usually expect 97% or more accuracy.

Your test’s accuracy is also influenced by the size of the company’s database and its geographical coverage. A larger database provides more samples for comparison, enhancing the precision of your ethnicity identification.

For example, tests with extensive coverage of African regions, like Ancestry, are more likely to provide detailed and reliable results by more accurately identifying the origins of your DNA.

What Will the Results From an African Ancestry DNA Test Tell Me?

You’d expect an African ancestry DNA test to be able to accurately identify your ethnicity and show you all the African regions in your DNA. But they can also tell you so much more, including:

  • Where your ancestors lived, with geographical and historical insights
  • Your ancestors’ migration maps from both paternal lines
  • Possible relatives and long-lost ancestors using DNA matching
  • A family tree and access to genealogical records to help you track down ancestors

African Ancestry DNA Test Kits Comparison Table

  African regions covered Relative Finder mtDNA & Y-DNA Mapping Time to Results Starting Price
AncestryDNA 32 6-8 weeks $99.00
23andme 47 3-4 weeks $99.00
Living DNA 72 6-8 weeks $90.00
MyHeritage 51 4 weeks $89.00
Nebula Genomics 72 12-14 weeks $249.00
FamilyTreeDNA 17

(separate tests)

2-4weeks $79.00
SelfDecode 17 4-6 weeks $99.00

Discover Your African Heritage

An at-home DNA test can reveal more about your African heritage than you might think.

As well as identifying your ethnicity percentages and decoding from which African populations you hail, many tests can help you track down your ancestors and learn about your heritage. And we’ve handpicked the best African ancestry DNA tests for you.

Ancestry is my #1 choice for accurate African ethnicity percentages and its relative finder for locating your African ancestors.

Want to build your African family tree? Check out our recommendations for the best family tree builders.

FAQs

Why should I take an African ancestry DNA test?

If you know you have African heritage or are curious to learn all about the ethnicities in your genes, a DNA test can help you find answers. A DNA test can tell you from which African regions your DNA originates, show you how your ancestors moved around the globe, and even put you in contact with long-lost relatives.

We researched and tested lots of kits, and we found Ancestry has the best DNA test for African ancestry. It covers dozens of African regions and offers incredible detail.

How do I trace my African ancestry?

Your DNA test shows you all the African regions in your DNA, and most also track your mtDNA and Y-DNA lines so you can see where your ancestors came from and how they moved around the globe. This is usually displayed on an interactive map that can explain how your ancestors lived, where, and for how long.

Tests like AncestryDNA use DNA relative finders to see if it can find you any matches. You can see the percentage of DNA you share and even reach out to start a conversation. Using this information, you can then start to build your own family tree, undertake genealogical research, and trace your African ancestry.

How do I find out what African tribe I’m from?

This depends on which DNA test you choose. Many tests can’t really tell you the exact tribe to which your ancestors belonged because African genetics is still (comparatively) under-researched.

But tests like Ancestry can trace populations, so they can tell you from which African populations your ancestors came. This includes many African tribes.

How do I find my African ancestors?

If you choose a test with a DNA relative finder, the testing company scans its database when analyzing your DNA to see if you share your DNA with anyone else. AncestryDNA has the largest DNA database, so it’s one of the best for finding your African ancestors.

Your report usually shows you how much DNA you share, how you’re related, and where they come from. Most of the time, you can also connect with your ancestors and reach out to them, which can help you track down more of your relatives.

You can also use genealogical databases to search through records, find your African ancestors, and build your family tree. Most companies charge a monthly subscription for these services.

Can DNA tests provide information about specific African ethnic groups or regions?

Yes, DNA tests can provide information about specific African ethnic groups or regions. Many DNA testing companies have reference databases that include samples from users with known African ancestry from various regions. By comparing an individual’s DNA to these reference populations, it is possible to identify similarities and make inferences about specific ethnic groups or regions.

Can DNA tests help in identifying connections to famous or historical African figures?

DNA tests can provide information about shared ancestry and potential connections to famous or historical African figures. However, it is important to note that such connections are based on probability and may not always be definitive. DNA tests can reveal common genetic markers or haplogroups, which can suggest shared ancestry with people of historical significance.

Do DNA testing companies share or sell customer data to third parties?

The policies regarding the sharing or selling of customer data vary among different DNA testing companies. It is essential to carefully review the privacy policy of the company you choose before providing your DNA sample. Some companies may ask for consent to share anonymized data for research purposes, while others may have more stringent privacy practices that prioritize customer data protection. Always ensure that you understand and agree to the privacy terms before proceeding with a DNA test.

Can DNA tests provide health-related information related to African ancestry?

Yes, DNA tests can provide health-related information related to African ancestry. Some DNA testing companies offer additional services that provide insights into genetic health risks, carrier status for certain conditions, or traits associated with African ancestry. However, it’s important to note that these health-related reports should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, and you should consult with healthcare professionals for any concerns or questions about your health.

Can DNA tests for African ancestry be used to connect with living relatives?

Yes, DNA tests for African ancestry can be used to connect with living relatives. DNA testing companies often have databases that allow individuals to opt-in and connect with other users who share significant portions of their DNA. These connections can help uncover previously unknown relatives and build family connections. However, the extent of these connections depends on the number of people who have also taken DNA tests and opted into these databases.

Best DNA Tests for African Ancestry in 2023

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About Author
Elly Hancock
Elly Hancock

Elly Hancock is a professional writer based in the UK with experience of creating engaging web copy for a variety of industries, from internet technology and science, to food and nutrition. Her love for content writing stems from an ability to connect with readers, understand their needs, and provide solutions in an honest and easy-to-read manner. In her spare time, you can find Elly on long dog walks, cooking a new recipe, or in the gym.

Elly Hancock is a professional writer based in the UK with experience of creating engaging web copy for a variety of industries, from internet technology and science, to food and nutrition. Her love for content writing stems from an ability to connect with readers, understand their needs, and provide solutions in an honest and easy-to-read manner. In her spare time, you can find Elly on long dog walks, cooking a new recipe, or in the gym.