MyHeritageDNA Review

Our score:
9.8
User score:
9.8

Expert opinion:

MyHeritage is one of the main contenders in the DNA testing space, especially when it comes to genealogy. Its key advantage is that you can use its huge database to build an extensive family tree, but is that advantage enough to beat out other DNA kits? I decided to explore a bit further.
Written by Moss Stern
Last updated on March 30, 2020
PROS
  • Two million people in the MyHeritage DNA database
  • Connect with unknown living relatives
  • Discover your genetic disease risk and carrier status
  • Competitive pricing and subscription options
  • Upload raw DNA data from other testing providers
CONS
  • Paid subscription needed to access most genealogy features
  • Ancestry and health reports are less detailed than some competitors
  • Postage is not prepaid for submitting your DNA sample
  • Ancestry
  • Health & Wellness
  • Family Tree
Written by Moss Stern on March 30, 2020
  • Ancestry
  • Health & Wellness
  • Family Tree

2.5M Test Kit Customers Surely Can’t Be Wrong!

MyHeritage Review

Ever since DNA testing services first became available, I’d wondered what they could tell me about my family history and my genetic disease risk. So, I decided to jump in and tried out the DNA testing service offered by MyHeritage. Unsurprisingly, it’s called MyHeritage DNA.

Let’s start with a bit of background. MyHeritage launched its DNA testing service about a decade after being founded as a genealogy service. It has sold more than 2.5 million test kits to date.

You can now buy an Ancestry test or a combined Health + Ancestry package. In this review, I explore both the ancestry and the health aspects, so that you have a complete picture to decide if MyHeritage DNA is the right at-home DNA test for you.

Taking the MyHeritage DNA Tests

So that I can tell you exactly how it works and what to expect, I took the test myself. Specifically, I took the combined Health + Ancestry test that provides the two sets of results.

MyHeritage Review

What’s Inside the Box?

The DNA collection kit I received contained two cheek swabs, two vial (test tube) containers, a plastic envelope to package the containers for return, an unpaid return envelope, and a set of instructions:

MyHeritage Review

MyHeritage encourages you to register your kit as soon as you receive it. This involves creating an account and entering your test kit’s unique code. You’ll also be prompted to list everything you know about your parents and grandparents: their names, dates and places of birth, and dates of death (if relevant). This is so you can get a head start on building your family tree before your DNA results come through.

Collecting and Submitting Your Sample

Since detailed instructions are provided with the kit, I don’t need to put them down in detail here (and it’s probably not a good idea, in case they change).

In essence, the process is:

  • Don’t eat or drink for 30 minutes before collecting your DNA sample.
  • Rub each swab against the inside of one cheek for 30-60 seconds.
  • Put the swabs inside the vials (as per the instructions).
  • Put the vials inside the plastic envelope, and put this inside the return envelope.
  • Post it back, but be aware that you’ll have to pay the postage.

MyHeritage Review

Waiting for Your Results

While waiting for your results, you’ll receive lots of email updates, including subscription upsells and invitations to review MyHeritage’s “Smart Matches,” which are your potential relatives (based on its genealogy database, not your DNA):

MyHeritage Review

It took about two weeks for me to receive my results, which was much quicker than the three to four weeks advertised by MyHeritage. I could then view the reports on the MyHeritage website or via its mobile app.

You Get Quite a Bit, But You Get More if You Pay More

MyHeritage’s Ancestry report is the same regardless of whether you order it alone or as part of the combined Health + Ancestry package.

Standout Features

  • Take one of the most affordable ancestry tests
  • Get relatively quick results
  • Find out where your ancestors came from
  • Learn what ethnicities are reflected in your genetic makeup
  • Discover long-lost relatives that are “hiding” in the branches of your family tree
  • Search one of the world’s largest databases of users and historical records
  • Upload raw DNA data from another testing service for faster and cheaper results

Reading the Results

The ancestry report tells you what percentage of your ancestry comes from more than forty different ethnicities, populations, or regions of the world. You also get a long list of other people in the company’s DNA database that you appear to be related to. If you pair your DNA test with MyHeritage’s genealogy subscription service, you can add your DNA-matched relatives to your online family tree. Plus, you’ll have access to MyHeritage’s huge database of historical records.

Now let’s look at the report I received. Although it took only two weeks to receive my results, I found them to be a little bit superficial, as you’ll see. The Ethnicity Estimate showed me which regions my ancestors came from and what percentage of my DNA is associated with each:

MyHeritage Review - MyHeritageDNA Ancestry Test

Now, here’s the thing. My grandmother always told me that her great-great-grandfather, a Dutch naval officer, married an Indonesian woman while stationed in Java. This potential Southeast Asian heritage didn’t seem to be uncovered by the MyHeritage results, despite both 23andMe and AncestryDNA detecting my more extensive genetic roots. Next, the DNA Matches section showed me how many of my close family members, extended family members, and distant relatives are in MyHeritage’s database:

MyHeritage Review - MyHeritageDNA Ancestry Test

Digging deeper into these results, I could review the full list of 11,813 MyHeritage DNA customers who appeared to be genetically related to me:

MyHeritage Review - MyHeritageDNA Ancestry Test

That’s pretty much all you get with the MyHeritage DNA Ancestry report. You can get more with a paid subscription that lets you contact your DNA matches and merge your online family trees together. There is a free trial of the subscription service, but bear in mind that it will revert to a paid subscription at some point.

See MyHeritageDNA Ancestry Deals

Similar Tests to Consider

If you’ve already taken a DNA test with another vendor, you can upload your raw DNA data to MyHeritage for additional insights. How much value this will add, I don’t know, because I already told you that MyHeritage seemed to miss my Southeast Asian heritage (which 23andMe and AncestryDNA both indicated). So, if you want a really detailed report, you might want to consider one of these competitor companies:

  • 23andMe: Much more robust and detailed ancestry reports, including maternal and paternal lineages, Neanderthal heritage, but no genealogy capability.
  • Living DNA: Comparable to 23andMe in terms of content depth, but no Neanderthal heritage.
  • AncestryDNA: Similar ancestry reports to MyHeritage, including a genealogy capability. More accurate (in my opinion) but also more expensive.

Low Starting Price, Until You Add a Subscription

MyHeritage’s DNA tests are available worldwide, except for Israel, and you can pay for them in your local currency via PayPal, credit card, wire transfer, or check. The base price of the Ancestry test is well below the sticker price of most other ancestry tests. However, it ends up being more expensive than most when you add the cost of a genealogy subscription that allows you to build an extended family tree and populate it with matches from MyHeritage’s historical database.

The list price of the Health + Ancestry test is exactly the same as the similarly-named combo from 23andMe, but I feel that 23andMe’s reports are more accurate and comprehensive.



Ancestry
MyHeritageDNA
  • Find out the geographic regions and ethnic groups you come from
  • Locate long lost relatives ‘hiding’ in the branches of your family tree
  • Search one of the largest databases of users and historical records

All’s Well That Ends Well, but Not All Customers Would Agree

MyHeritageDNA review - MyHeritage Education

MyHeritage publishes a frequently asked questions page, which is pretty extensive. If you still can’t find your answer, you can call the support phone number. There is also an online form for email support, but it isn’t easy to find. I submitted a question to ask why the company charges to add matched relatives to a family tree, even though a 250-member family tree is included for free with a basic subscription.

I never received a reply. I asked the same question by telephone, but all the courteous support agent could tell me was that, “The company has to make money somehow”.

A second question was answered via the online form, with a very helpful reply pointing me to some useful educational resources:

“Dear Mr. Stern,

Thank you for contacting us. My name is Ramona and I am happy to assist you.

I understand you would like to know if there are any online videos about how to collect and submit the DNA sample, or information about the Health or Ancestry reports.

We have different platforms where this information is available, I’ll show you the most important ones:

This is a link to our Help Center with a video on how to use the DNA kit:

How should I use the DNA kit at home?

Furthermore, we recently launched an Education portal with more information and focus on what happens at the lab:

How DNA Testing Works. May I also recommend this blog post about how to navigate your MyHeritage DNA Health reports.

It contains a lot of useful and detailed information, I hope you’ll find it interesting!

I hope this helps, Mr. Stern, however of course if you have any further questions, please feel free to reply to this email and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Wishing you a lovely Sunday.”

Now, that’s what I call a nice response! Some other customers have complained that MyHeritage automatically charged them for a full year’s subscription (without their permission) when their one-month free trial ended.

Get Basic Results at Low Cost, or Build a Family Tree with a Subscription

MyHeritage is one of the main contenders in the DNA testing space, especially when it comes to genealogy. Its key advantage is that you can use its huge database to build an extensive family tree, but this requires you to sign up for a subscription. Aside from the family tree aspect, MyHeritage’s basic DNA testing service gives you (for a lower price) roughly the same information as AncestryDNA but a lot less than 23andMe.

The Health + Ancestry report also costs a lot less, but provides fewer details than the comparable report from 23andMe. If you’d like to build a family tree from relatives matched through DNA, then you should sign up for MyHeritage’s subscription today. Otherwise, you might consider the competitor companies.

See MyHeritageDNA Deals

FAQ

How accurate is MyHeritage?

In its ancestry report, MyHeritage compares your genetic sample to 42 different global populations in order to estimate your family’s ethnicities, and some populations may not be very well represented. By contrast, AncestryDNA and 23andMe both compare your sample to more than 1,000 distinct global populations, allowing them to estimate your ethnicities with more precision.

As for MyHeritage’s health report, the company looks for certain genetic markers known to be associated with an individual’s risk of having certain diseases or passing them on to their children. MyHeritage is able to analyze these markers with accuracy, but the fact that you have certain markers doesn’t mean you will get a particular disease, and the fact that you don’t have those markers doesn’t mean you won’t get it. Your doctor can help you understand how relevant these findings are to your health.

Can you upload MyHeritage raw data to other vendor sites?

How many generations

Once you’ve gotten your DNA results from MyHeritage, you can download your raw data. Many other DNA testing companies will allow you to upload these raw data, including LivingDNA, Family Tree DNA, Vitagene, DNA Fit, and GenoPalate. Once you’ve uploaded your raw data, these companies will give you their own DNA reports for little or no cost.

How many generations back does MyHeritage’s reporting go?

MyHeritage’s DNA reports trace your family’s ancestry back seven generations. With each generation you go back, you share less DNA with each of your ancestors. By the time you go back seven generations, you share only 1% of your DNA with each ancestor. Going back any farther, any conclusions that can be drawn about your ancestry would be so inaccurate as to be worthless

How much does MyHeritage’s services cost? (Any discounts?)

An ancestry test from MyHeritage DNA costs $79.00, among the least expensive tests of its type, and that price is often discounted. By way of comparison, ancestry tests from 23andMe and AncestryDNA cost $99.00.

The MyHeritage DNA’s ancestry + health test retails for $199.00 and is also often on sale. AncestryDNA and 23andMe’s ancestry + health tests cost $99.00 and $199.00, respectively.

Who should consider taking a MyHeritage test?

If you’re interested in getting your DNA tested for a highly affordable price, MyHeritage DNA is one of your best options – especially when its DNA test kits are on sale, which happens frequently. But MyHeritage DNA’s reports are less comprehensive than those of 23andMe, so think about what’s most important to you – lower cost or a larger amount of information.

MyHeritage is also one of the few major players in the industry to combine its DNA tests with a genealogy subscription service, making it a good choice if you want to build an extensive online family tree and watch it grow. These subscription costs are also more affordable than those of its chief rival in this area, AncestryDNA.

Is Upgrading to MyHeritage’s Health Report Worth It?

The Health + Ancestry package contains the ancestry report (read it via our Ancestry tab) plus the Health report. Although you can’t buy the health report on its own, you can upgrade a previous Ancestry purchase to include the Health information for a small additional fee, but you’ll have to submit another DNA sample.

Standout Features

  • See if your genes put you at increased risk of 13 different health disorders
  • Get polygenic risk reports that weigh multiple factors to determine your genetic predisposition
  • Discover what lifestyle factors can increase or decrease your risk
  • Learn if you could be a carrier for an inherited condition
  • Upload your raw DNA data from a previous test with a different provider
  • Connect with a genetic counselor for free (if recommended)
  • Receive an ancestry report as well

Reading the Results

The health report tells you if you are at risk of developing 13 different health conditions, including heart disease, various cancers, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. Having a genetic predisposition to a disease doesn’t mean you’ll definitely develop the disease, but you’ll want to pay more attention to potential symptoms.

You will also learn if you could be a carrier of 13 congenital conditions such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, or Tay-Sachs disease. Being a carrier could affect the next generation, even though you have no symptoms yourself, so you’ll receive recommendations for appropriate next steps. Now let’s look at the report I received in only two weeks, which includes two major sections: Genetic Risks and Carrier Status.

Genetic Risks

The Genetic Risks section explores whether you’re at increased, average, or decreased risk of developing 13 different health conditions. My results looked like this, but note that there were many more “average risks” than I’ve shown in this screenshot:

MyHeritage Review - MyHeritageDNA Health Test

MyHeritage doesn’t just look at a single genetic marker and call it a day. It analyzes a large number of variants across your entire genome, and it calculates what the combination of variants means for your overall genetic risk. It then compiles a polygenic risk score for additional conditions – such as heart disease and type-2 diabetes – which some other companies don’t report on.

My polygenic risk score suggests that I’m at higher-than-average risk for heart disease, which other diagnostic tests have confirmed, but don’t tell my insurance company! For each of the reported conditions, you can click to see more detail, which in my case was a bit more reassuring because I’m actually very close to the average range:

MyHeritage Review - MyHeritageDNA Health Test

The report goes on to tell you more generally how “people like you” (or me in this case) of the same ethnicity, gender, and age compare to the general population:

MyHeritage Review - MyHeritageDNA Health Test

If you find out that you have an increased risk of developing a health condition, you’ll want to know what to do about it. MyHeritage tells you how you can mitigate your risks by managing your lifestyle, learning to see the signs, and getting screened:

MyHeritage Review - MyHeritageDNA Health Test

In particular, my report told me that other risk factors for developing heart disease are obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and a family history of heart disease. So, it’s time for me to go to the gym, avoid sugary foods, and ask my family some awkward questions. Oh, and I also need to avoid cigarette smoke and alcohol.

Some of the information and advice was a bit simplistic, such as focusing exclusively on heart attacks without saying much (if anything) about other kinds of heart disease such as strokes, heart failure, rheumatic heart disease, cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias, valvular heart disease, carditis, aortic aneurysms, peripheral artery disease, and venous thrombosis (to name a few).

Finally – for this section – there is a detailed description of the methodology used to calculate your polygenic risk score, complete with caveats.

Carrier Status

The second part of MyHeritage’s health report tells you your carrier status for various genetic diseases that you could pass on to your children even though you don’t suffer from the disease yourself. This risk also depends on the carrier status of your partner, so it’s worth having both of you get tested and see a specialist (if necessary) before planning to start a family.

I got a clean bill of health – or rather my children did – because my report told me that I’m not a likely carrier for the 13 tested conditions:

MyHeritage Review - MyHeritageDNA Health Test

If I was at increased risk (and even though I’m not), I can click on any of the conditions to learn more about it, including the specific gene variants that were examined to determine my carrier status:

MyHeritage Review - MyHeritageDNA Health Test

While this information gives a good indication, it’s not infallible, so I’d always recommend taking a blood test and consulting a healthcare professional if you’re at all concerned about conditions that might be in your or your partner’s family history that may have “skipped” your generation.

See MyHeritageDNA Health Deals

Similar Tests to Consider

  • 23andMe: Addresses carrier risk for many more conditions than MyHeritage, and also explores how your genes may influence your body’s response to diet, exercise, and sleep.
  • Helix: Offers individual tests for specific disease risks, including prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s.
  • Futura Genetics: Focuses specifically on your risk of developing 28 different diseases.

Low Starting Price, Until You Add a Subscription

MyHeritage’s DNA tests are available worldwide, except for Israel, and you can pay for them in your local currency via PayPal, credit card, wire transfer, or check. The base price of the Ancestry test is well below the sticker price of most other ancestry tests. However, it ends up being more expensive than most when you add the cost of a genealogy subscription that allows you to build an extended family tree and populate it with matches from MyHeritage’s historical database.

The list price of the Health + Ancestry test is exactly the same as the similarly-named combo from 23andMe, but I feel that 23andMe’s reports are more accurate and comprehensive.



Health & Wellness
MyHeritage DNA Health+Ancestry kit
  • Discover your risk levels for 13 inherited diseases
  • Know if you’re a carrier for 13 conditions
  • Learn about each illness’s risk factors

All’s Well That Ends Well, but Not All Customers Would Agree

MyHeritageDNA review - MyHeritage Education

MyHeritage publishes a frequently asked questions page, which is pretty extensive. If you still can’t find your answer, you can call the support phone number. There is also an online form for email support, but it isn’t easy to find. I submitted a question to ask why the company charges to add matched relatives to a family tree, even though a 250-member family tree is included for free with a basic subscription. I never received a reply.

I asked the same question by telephone, but all the courteous support agent could tell me was that, “The company has to make money somehow”. A second question was answered via the online form, with a very helpful reply pointing me to some useful educational resources:

“Dear Mr. Stern,

Thank you for contacting us. My name is Ramona and I am happy to assist you.

I understand you would like to know if there are any online videos about how to collect and submit the DNA sample, or information about the Health or Ancestry reports.

We have different platforms where this information is available, I’ll show you the most important ones:

This is a link to our Help Center with a video on how to use the DNA kit:

How should I use the DNA kit at home?

Furthermore, we recently launched an Education portal with more information and focus on what happens at the lab: How DNA Testing Works.

May I also recommend this blog post about how to navigate your MyHeritage DNA Health reports.

It contains a lot of useful and detailed information, I hope you’ll find it interesting!

I hope this helps, Mr. Stern, however of course if you have any further questions, please feel free to reply to this email and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Wishing you a lovely Sunday.”

Now, that’s what I call a nice response! Some other customers have complained that MyHeritage automatically charged them for a full year’s subscription (without their permission) when their one-month free trial ended.

Get Basic Results at Low Cost, or Build a Family Tree with a Subscription

MyHeritage is one of the main contenders in the DNA testing space, especially when it comes to genealogy. Its key advantage is that you can use its huge database to build an extensive family tree, but this requires you to sign up for a subscription. Aside from the family tree aspect, MyHeritage’s basic DNA testing service gives you (for a lower price) roughly the same information as AncestryDNA but a lot less than 23andMe.

The Health + Ancestry report also costs a lot less, but provides fewer details than the comparable report from 23andMe. If you’d like to build a family tree from relatives matched through DNA, then you should sign up for MyHeritage’s subscription today. Otherwise, you might consider the competitor companies.

See MyHeritageDNA Deals

FAQ

How accurate is MyHeritage?

MyHeritage’s ethnicity estimates are not extremely accurate. The company compares your DNA sample to 42 different global populations, whereas other companies such as AncestryDNA and 23andMe divide the world’s populations into many more geographical regions, allowing them to pinpoint your ethnicities with greater accuracy.

Can you upload MyHeritage raw data to other vendor sites?

Once you’ve gotten your DNA results from MyHeritage, you can download your raw data. Many other DNA testing companies will allow you to upload those raw data and receive their DNA reports for free or at a very low cost.

How many generations back does MyHeritage’s reporting go?

MyHeritage’s DNA reports trace your family’s ancestry back seven generations. Any farther back than that, your results would be so inaccurate as to be fairly meaningless, the company says.

How much does MyHeritage’s services cost? (Any discounts?)

An ancestry test from MyHeritage DNA costs $79.00 US, among the least expensive tests of its type, and that price is often discounted. The company’s ancestry + health test retails for $99.00 US and is also often on sale. You can always find up-to-date coupon codes for MyHeritage’s test kits at DNAWeekly.com.

Who should consider taking a MyHeritage test?

MyHeritage’s tests are ideal for people who want to get their DNA tested inexpensively. It’s also one of the few major players in the industry to combine its DNA tests with a genealogy subscription service, making it a good choice if you want to build an extensive online family tree and watch it grow. These subscription costs are also more affordable than the alternatives.

Fantastic Features for Building a Family Tree

MyHeritage's Family Tree Builder Interface

In this review, I take the MyHeritage Family Tree Builder for a test drive. I can tell you upfront that this feature has a lot of plus points:

  • You can search through billions of genealogy records, create a visually attractive family tree, and colorize old photos in a matter of seconds.
  • It links up with the MyHeritage DNA database to add other users – whose DNA is similar to yours – into your family tree.
  • Even the most expensive plan offers great value.

I can also tell you upfront that it’s not all good news, because I had some issues searching through the massive online database. I also thought that the customer support could be improved.

I’m getting ahead of myself. For now, let’s take a step back and look at this feature more logically to see if it’s better than competitor offerings from companies like 23andMe and AncestryDNA?

Starting Your Tree Is as Easy as 1-2-3

Okay, so you won’t be able to build a complete family tree in just three steps, but you can get started easily by filling in the basic family details asked for by the three-step wizard:

Setting Up Your MyHeritage Family Tree Builder

You can also start your tree by importing a Genealogical Data Communication (GEDCOM) file that you might have exported from another genealogical system or software program.

Once you get through the wizard and begin building your family tree in earnest, you find that the Family Tree Builder is extremely easy to navigate. The web-based dashboard makes it easy to assemble genealogical data in a visually appealing way.

You don’t have to take a MyHeritage DNA test to build a family tree, but if you do, you’ll be able to add DNA-matched relatives from AncestryDNA’s customer database into your family tree.

Once you’ve created your family tree, or even while it’s still a work-in-progress, you can produce professional, attractive, and customized family tree reports.

See MyHeritage Family Tree Builder Deals

MyHeritage Family Tree Builder’s 5 Standout Features

1. SuperSearch Gives You Access to Billions of Documents

MyHeritage Family Tree Builder's SuperSearch Feature

MyHeritage gives access to almost 12 billion documents that include birth records, marriage reports, newspaper articles, immigration documents, and more. However, I found the search to be a bit clunky and awkward. While I found my father’s high school yearbook easily the first time, I was subsequently unable to locate it again using the exact same search terms.

2. Smart Matching Helps You Grow Your Family Tree

Smart Matching on MyHeritage's Family Tree Builder

MyHeritage’s Smart Match™ technology displays a green icon on the person card when a match is found. But what does this actually mean?

It means the smart matching algorithm has found potentially matching people that other MyHeritage members have added to their family trees. The matched person (or people) might – for example – have the same name and date of birth. The algorithm is good but not perfect, so you have to review the potential matches to see if you’re happy for their additional information to be pulled into your tree.

Such matching facilities are not unique to MyHeritage. Some competitor tree-building facilities also look for matching people in other users’ family trees so that they can be connected together. And some competitors will find “biological” matches based on other users who have similar DNA to yourself or your relatives.

3. Record Matching Flags Relevant Historical Information

Record Matching on MyHeritage's Family Tree Builder

Like the Smart Match™ technology that looks for the same people in other customers’ family trees, the Record Matching feature looks for potentially matching information in historical records, which could be added into your family tree. Translation technology means that this should even work if the examined records are in other languages.

Again, this facility is not unique to MyHeritage, but I like the intuitive way in which it works.

If you were comparing MyHeritage vs. AncestryDNA, for example, the competitor also lets you merge public entries into your family tree. Plus, AncestryDNA will notify you if it finds a public record about one of your relatives in its system.

4. MyHeritage In Color Brings Your Genealogy to Life

MyHeritage In Color Brings Family Photos to Life

The MyHeritage dashboard provides access to a facility that can beautifully colorize black-and-white photographs almost instantly. You don’t need to provide color suggestions, image notes, or anything else. Just upload the black and white picture, press the button, then see it almost instantly colorized and saved alongside the original photo in the “My Photos” section.

You can colorize up to ten photos per month if you are using a MyHeritage free trial or plan (but there will be a MyHeritage watermark). Paying users can colorize an unlimited number of photos with no watermark added.

5. The PedigreeMap Documents Important Family Events

MyHeritage Family Tree Builder's PedigreeMap

MyHeritage’s PedigreeMap feature lets you view family tree-based events on an interactive map of the world. Whenever you add a record to your tree – such as a birth or marriage – you can see the geographical location where it took place, and you can add extra information. You can also “find and replace” to make corrections across your family tree, for example, if you repeatedly misspelled the name of a city.

See MyHeritage Family Tree Builder Deals

The Smart Matching Algorithm Makes It Easy

You’ll receive an alert whenever MyHeritage’s Smart Matching algorithm finds potential matches for your family tree among the millions of other MyHeritage users’ family trees. The matching algorithm also searches billions of historical records in its database, so that you can add other relevant information.

When the system finds a potential Smart Match, you can pull the matching person’s details into your family tree with just a few clicks:

Using MyHeritage's Smart Matching System

MyHeritage is adding new historical documents all the time, and many of these documents – which result from decades of genealogical research – are unique to MyHeritage’s database.

See MyHeritage Family Tree Builder Deals

Plenty of Options from “Free” to Complete

The first big thing to point out is that MyHeritage’s Family Tree Builder is a separate purchase from its DNA test kits. To access the premium genealogy features, you’ll need to choose a subscription plan that is billed annually. However, the first year is typically cheaper than the cost of subsequent years. There are a few different options to choose from.

MyHeritage’s free plan lets you add up to 250 people to a family tree. While some nice features are present – such as the photo colorizer – the free plan only really hints at what is possible with a paid plan. You can also sign up for a MyHeritage free trial, which lasts for 14 days, after which you’ll need to cancel your MyHeritage subscription or you’ll be charged.

The Premium plan provides access to the Smart Matching system so that you can review potential matches and grow your tree to include up to 2,500 people. The PremiumPlus plan additionally lets you add multiple branches to your tree with one click, and it allows access to MyHeritage’s consistency checker to ensure your tree doesn’t have any errors. Oh, and you can have unlimited entries in your tree.

Separately, MyHeritage offers a Data plan that lets you search through and review the 11.9 billion records, although it limits your family tree size to 250 people. At the other end of the spectrum, the Complete package provides access to everything – the full database, all of MyHeritage’s matching algorithms, and customer support – and it lets you add an unlimited number of people to your tree.

For comparison, AncestryDNA also offers tiered packages. Its prices per year end up being higher; however, you have a bit more price flexibility as you can pay on a monthly or semi-annual basis.

A Good Knowledge Base but Slightly Frustrating Support

MyHeritage has a well-organized, extensive online help center with step-by-step walkthroughs for how to use each feature. The very detailed FAQ section should answer all your basic questions.

MyHeritage's Extensive Help Center

Although there is no publicly available email or live chat, worldwide 24/7 telephone support is available to paying customers. This means that you won’t be able to gain access to a customer support agent if you have a problem with your free account.

I had a few specific questions that weren’t answered by the self-support resources, so I called the USA phone number and was put on hold for 25 minutes. It was the same story that you get with many organizations these days due to data protection: I was asked lots of questions to prove that I am the account holder before I could be dealt with.

Luckily, my question about the platform (rather than the account) could be answered without me having to jump through any more administrative hoops, but it still took 40 minutes of holding before the answer was forthcoming.

I’d like to see a wider range of support options, but – on the plus side – the support agent gave me a support email address that I wouldn’t have known about by looking at the company’s website.

Family Tree Building for Professionals and Amateurs Alike

MyHeritage’s easy-to-use Family Tree Builder offers a lot of features for professional and amateur genealogists alike to build and share family trees. Many features are available for free, and the paid subscriptions are cheaper than comparable services from AncestryDNA. I would like to see some better customer support options, but I can’t complain about the online help section.

Whether you are interested in beginning to research your family history or further investigate, MyHeritage’s Family Tree Builder is certainly worth your consideration.

Pros:

  • A huge database of historical records
  • Easy integrations with MyHeritage DNA testing
  • Lower price than competitors
  • Smart Matching algorithm to help identify possible relatives
  • Photo colorizer that brings new life to old images

Cons:

  • Access to data records is not included in lower-tier plans
  • Smaller DNA database than some testing services
  • Customer support could be improved

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Moss Stern
Moss Stern
Writer
Moss Stern is a professional writer, amateur musician, voracious fiction reader, recreational bicyclist, cutthroat Scrabble player, and gleeful health and science nerd. He resides in the vicinity of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

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