The best DNA tests for ancestry in 2023 include both ethnicity results AND DNA matches. Here are the top DNA test kit options for exploring family history.
Taking a DNA test can help you discover more about your heritage and connect with biological relatives. An autosomal DNA test is the most common test to take. This genealogical DNA test sheds light on your genetic family history on both sides of your family for the past 4-6 generations.
These leading DNA tests give you ancestral ethnicity results AND a list of your genetic relatives (DNA matches) who have tested there. These sites have tools to help you connect with your genetic relatives and figure out how you’re related. Below is a helpful comparison table showing the top features of each test.
Just remember—the best DNA test kit for YOU depends on what you want to know. Below the comparison table, you’ll find more detailed tips on topics like the best DNA test for different kinds of origins, or finding birth relatives, etc.
Best DNA Tests for Family History
Family Tree DNA
(Consider where you live AND where your DNA relatives may live)
US, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Ireland, Sweden and more
US, UK, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, South Korea and more
GLOBALLY (anywhere U.S. Postal Service delivers); does not ship to Sudan or Iran
GLOBALLY; no exceptions listed
GLOBALLY except Israel, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, North Korea, Lebanon, Russia, and Syria
Swab or spit?
How many testers?
(More testers = more potential DNA relatives)
est. 2 million
45 regions, 150 Recent Ancestor Locations and high-level haplogroup info
84 global regions and 1700+ Genetic Communities (specific locales and migration groups)
150 global regions, including 21 regions in Great Britain and Ireland
Over 2000 global regions and Genetic Groups (specific locales and migration groups)
Family tree tools
Automated genetic family tree (doesn't use actual family tree data)
Robust tools include ThruLines (reconstructs trees for matches with common ancestors)
Robust tools including Theory of Family Relativity (constructs possible tree relationships, with qualifying purchase)
Can you transfer your DNA here?
(Strategy: test with one company, then transfer to others)
Health reports also available
Build your family tree for free, but genealogy research requires subscription
Traits report also available
Join projects to explore connections to surnames, ethnicities and places
Well-being reports also available
Build your family tree for free, but genealogy research requires subscription
More DNA tools available when you transfer and pay $29 upload fee
Does not include health add-ons or shipping
Your purchase using our affiliate links costs you nothing extra but we get a little commission. Thank you!
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The Best Genealogical DNA Test Kit for YOU
The best DNA test that YOU can take will be one that will help answer your questions.
- Do you want to learn more about your ethnicity? Test with a company that offers the most detailed look at your expected ethnic regions. Take a look at our best DNA test options for African, Asian, Scottish, Irish or Portuguese ancestry.
- Do you want to find birth relatives? Test at the company where your biological relatives are more likely to have tested. In the U.S., AncestryDNA and 23andMe are the most popular. In the British Isles, AncestryDNA and 23andMe and Living DNA are all popular. In the rest of Europe, look to MyHeritage. In other areas globally, it could be MyHeritage, AncestryDNA (which recently expanded the list of countries where tests are sold) or 23andMe. Consider both which company is selling tests in that part of the world and how many people total have tested.
- Do you want to build your family tree by networking with others with common ancestry? Choose a testing company with strong tools for tree-building and exploring your matches (that’s AncestryDNA or MyHeritage).
- If, like us, you want DNA results from more than one company, you should know that you can transfer your results to MyHeritage, Living DNA, or Family Tree DNA if you test with any of the other companies.
As you can see, there’s not one-answer-best-fits-everyone for DNA testing! If you’re not sure, see our full reviews of each testing company. When you buy a test, thank you for using our affiliate links above. Your purchase helps support this website at no additional cost to you.
Go back up to the table to choose my DNA test
I’ll Guide You Through This
We can help you decide where to test based on what you want to know. Then we can help you decipher your test results once you get them. We are Your DNA Guide! There’s a lot to figure out, and we’re here with you every step of the way. Not sure where to start? Check out our free guide, “4 Next Steps for Your DNA”.
I have taken 4 DNA Tests but do not know how to use them
23 and Me
Well, Kay! That’s what we are all about! We have lots of resources here at Your DNA Guide, but you may want to start with our free download: https://www.yourdnaguide.com/next-steps. That will give you a few things to start with.
Since this is all relatively new, how does a DNA test attach us to anyone who hasnt taken a test? Im 67. have been dead for many years. They were born well over a hundred years ago and noone had dna tests. How can DNA testing find ANYONE but those who have taken tests?
It really has to do with the fact that all of us are walking, living, breathing records of our ancestors. So when you and I match on a DNA test, it tells us something about the relationships of our ancestors, even though our ancestors have never tested. I hope that helps.
My maternal Canadian Irish great-grandmother had a very common name, Mary O’Neil, and was born in “English Canada” in 1838, according to her. She came to the United States “sometime” before border crossings were being recorded, and married my great-grandfather in DeKalb, IL, in 1861. I have several documents, photos, and personal stories about her after her marriage and the birth of her six living children. I know nothing about where she was born in Canada, who her parents or siblings were, or how her parents came to live in Canada. I did a DNA test on Ancestry, and also had my mother tested before she died. My brother, nephew, and daughter have also had an Ancestry DNA test done. Do you have any advice for me on trying to discover more about this elusive great-grandmother? I also have an extensive public family tree on Ancestry.
Gail, it sounds like you have all the right pieces, you just need a step-by-step process. Always work with your mother’s DNA, that’s the first thing. Then you need to group your matches to find the ones that relate to Mary. Take a look at this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRrEEDziYAs. You would also find my book helpful: https://www.yourdnaguide.com/your-dna-guide-the-book.
Every branch of my family’s initial ancestors came to America from Eng, Scot and Wales from 1670 thru 1700. All into Virginia, some stayed there, most moving into SC, some stayed in NC or moved into GA except for a few who came straight to SC. So-I have taken an Ancestry test, so has my sister, one (female) maternal & male paternal 1st cousin. My sister and I are the ones working, me mostly of late. We have got our ancestors sorted out through 3rd -4th ancestors, and some further back. However, lots of endogamy in the colonial era.
1. We would really like to “jump the pond” to get our ancestors located in Europe.
2. Would YDNA help us?
3. Is there another testing service that would assist us? Would you recommend that?
4. My paternal and maternal 1st cousin has Huguenots in their line, would that explain the odd %2 Basque ethnicity
PS. I am signed up for the endogamy course with y’all
Elizabeth, yes, I think YDNA can always be helpful. Remember you can use it to investigate any male on your family tree, you just need to find the right person to be tested.
To tackle endogamy, it is helpful to have lots of people tested. It sounds like you are well on your way to that, so just keep going. The more known cousins you have tested, the easier it is to sort out endogamy. And it sounds like you have already taken the best next step! You are enrolled in my course!
As for the Huguenots, that is an interesting theory. I am actually not sure how they are showing up for others in their ethnicity.
Loving the information on this site, you have done great job on the content.
Thanks for the very informative article, do you happen to know if there are any companies that provide home ancient DNA tests?
I took the Bronze Age DNA test (GenePlaza), which was a lot of fun, but I want to learn more.
Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) does dabble a bit in that ancient DNA stuff. Have you tried YDNA or mtDNA testing at FTDNA? That can delve into the ancient as well as the modern.
I am currently 16 years old and was born in Morocco by an unknown father, my mother doesn’t remember anything about him, although it was a one-night stand, she said that his name was Abdekrim, but he may have lied about it. I really want to find him just to stop all the popping questions in my head, I know nothing about him, but I hope there’s a way I can find out who he is. Furthermore, I don’t know if your DNA service works in Morocco too, and I really hope it does. And if there is any other way it could be really helpful.
Hi! Thanks for your comment. You can check the table above to see which DNA tests are offered in Morocco, we don’t provide any of the DNA tests ourselves, but we do offer education and consultation on how to understand your DNA results after taking a DNA test. I would recommend checking out this article: https://www.yourdnaguide.com/ydgblog/how-to-find-birth-father-without-his-name
I did my test with crigenetics but it only tells me ancestry way back . I’m looking for my father. My mother is deceased. I really need help
We recommend testing with one of the 5 major testing companies becuase they have large databases and the genetic genealogy features to help you find family members. We usually suggest Ancestry because they have the largest testing pool (https://www.yourdnaguide.com/ancestrydna). I would also recommend checking out this article: https://www.yourdnaguide.com/ydgblog/dna-testing-to-identify-a-birth-father-or-birth-mother
Are there any companies that do blood spot testing? My son has passed away but I have blood spot cards available.
There aren’t many companies that offer services like this, and those that do are pretty pricey. AND many of the major testing companies won’t let you upload these types of DNA results into their database. If you are really interested you can check out To the Letter DNA (https://www.totheletterdna.com/). Usually what we recommend is to test another relative if they’re available.
Hi there! I enjoyed your presentation at the RootsTech Virtual conference. I have connected with a few savvy cousins. They have been very helpful to me. Two of my siblings have taken the 23 & Me test. I have chosen to take the Ancestry test.
I am looking forward to you DNA seminar
Debbi Morgan Northrop
So glad you could join us at RootsTech this year, wasn’t it such a great event?! We can’t wait for you to join us in the webinar 🙂
I think my 3x great grand parents were brother and sister, can this be determined from my DNA results?
If you have enough descendants of those specific 3x great grandparents, then it is likely that you will be able to confirm that they were brother and sister. What you’ll be looking for is a higher amount than normal of shared cM between their descendants due to the multiple relationship/ pedigree collapse situation. For a more detailed walk-through of what to do, I would recommend our Endogamy Course (which also addresses pedigree collapse) or a Coaching session.