MyHeritage DNA Advanced Tools: Worth $29 Unlock Fee?

Diahan Southard

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Access to MyHeritage DNA advanced DNA tools requires a $29 unlock fee for those who transfer their DNA. What are those advanced DNA tools? Are they worth it? Do you have to pay the fee for each test you upload? We have answers.

Many of you have transferred your DNA from another testing company into MyHeritage DNA* because, well, it’s FREE! That free transfer gets you:

  • access to your DNA match list and the ability to contact them;
  • the ability to export your match list;
  • the ability to see your shared ancestral surnames with your matches, if they have posted any.

Arguably the most important aspect of any DNA test is the DNA match list. That’s where we find the cousins who can lead us to missing ancestors and relatives. So it’s good you get that for free! Especially as MyHeritage DNA is especially well known for finding DNA matches in Europe and many other parts of the world.

But the free MyHeritage transfer doesn’t give you access to key tools to organize and investigate these matches in ways that help you make DNA discoveries. To get those tools with your free transfer, you need to do one of two things: 1) pay a one-time, $29 (USD) unlock fee or 2) maintain a qualifying subscription to MyHeritage.

MyHeritage Advanced DNA Tools | The $29 Unlock Fee

So…what advanced DNA tools come with the $29 unlock fee? Do you actually need them to be successful in genetic genealogy?

When evaluating a tool for genetic genealogy, there are lots of factors to consider. We are going to focus on each tool’s ability to move your family history research forward and help you find an ancestor or identify your relationship to your DNA match. There are nine tools for your consideration (I’m lumping some of them together):

Shared DNA Matches

This is a fundamental tool for any genetic genealogist. You simply MUST have the ability to divide your match list into groups of related individuals. Without this ability, you will likely wander aimlessly through your DNA match list without making much progress. Combined with the free match labeling tool, shared matches can turn a seemingly random list of DNA cousins into organized groups with clear next steps.

This tool alone makes the $29 unlock fee worth it–even essential. But let’s cover the other tools you get, just for fun.

Transfer Your DNA to MyHeritage

Ethnicity Estimate and Genetic Groups

MyHeritage’s ethnicity estimate will give you another view of your DNA ethnicity results. They have their own reference populations, often not found at other companies, that may provide you with additional insight into your origins.

But it is really their Genetic Groups that carry the most weight in your genealogy research. These Groups help you focus your research on specific places, sometimes down to the level of a city or even a migratory path with multiple places.

The ethnicity estimate–and specifically the Genetic Groups–are one more thing making that $29 unlock fee a great deal.

Trees of DNA Matches and Theory of Family Relativity

Let’s face it, genetics is only half of the phrase “genetic GENEALOGY.” To make significant discoveries, you need to know who these matches are, or more specifically, who their ancestors were. With the free transfer, you can contact your matches to learn more about their family, but it is so much more convenient if you can just look at their posted family tree. Or even BETTER, use MyHeritage’s Theory of Family Relativity which allows you to quickly identify your Best Known Matches (matches who descend from the ancestor you want to research). Definitely more incentive to pay that $29 unlock fee!

Shared Ancestral Places and Shared Ethnicities

These two tools give you the ability to further refine what you know about a DNA match, especially if they do not have a tree posted. It helps you understand the places and ethnicities you both share. Understanding your shared ancestral origins (such as understanding if they too are 100% Jewish) can be extremely helpful when trying to place them at least loosely in your tree.

On their own, not worth the $29. But they do sweeten the deal.

Chromosome Browser and AutoClusters

These are two more advanced tools that honestly never need to be used by the majority of you. Are they fun? Sure. Are they pretty? Absolutely. But will they help you make significant progress in your family history research? Meh. Unless you have endogamy, when we do want to see that chromosome browser. In the end, I wouldn’t pay the fee just to access them, but they might be a nice bonus.

Yes, it’s totally worth it.

As you can see, I am in favor of paying the $29 unlock fee when you transfer to MyHeritage. It is still half the price of a DNA test, and it unlocks powerful tools that can help you make some progress in your research. Your other option for getting access to these tools is to maintain an ongoing Premium/Premium Plus/Complete subscription plan at MyHeritage. (You do lose access to the advanced DNA tools if your subscription lapses.)

Transfer Your DNA to MyHeritage

What about purchasing a MyHeritage DNA test instead? Definitely an option. But your results only give you access to the ethnicity estimate and chromosome browser. For the rest you need to maintain a qualifying subscription. You don’t have the option of the $29 fee to opt-in to those advanced DNA tools.

Purchase a MyHeritage DNA Test

Try a MyHeritage Subscription for Free

Whether you test or transfer, we also recommend you pick up a copy of our must-have MyHeritage DNA Quick Reference Guide! It will teach you how to USE all those valuable tools on MyHeritage to explore your DNA questions.

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<a href="https://www.yourdnaguide.com/author/guideyourdnaguide-com" target="_self">Diahan Southard</a>

Diahan Southard

As founder and CEO of Your DNA Guide, Diahan Southard has been teaching people how to find family history answers in their DNA for several years, and she's been in the genetic genealogy field since its infancy. Diahan teaches internationally, writes for popular magazines, consults with leading testing companies, is author of Your DNA Guide–The Book, and producer of Your DNA Guide–the Academy, an online learning experience.

21 Comments

  1. Joline Rooney Albaugh

    Can you take advantage of this offer if you already have a My Heritage account?

    Reply
    • Diahan Southard

      Yes, you can if you already have an account. But if you are referring to the current (March 1-March 8, 2022) special to upload for FREE, that only applies to new uploads. So if you have a new DNA test you can upload to your current account, then you can unlock the DNA features for free.

      Reply
  2. Robyn Aldridge

    This is timely. I have just followed your instructions and uploaded mine. I nearly stopped my subscription, due to a few issues regarding 3 missing DNA tests, so I’m glad I didn’t. Now I’m wondering how I can get the DNA results for 3 other family members on my tree. Originally, I sent them all off to Ancestry and used my email address for at least one of them, but I’ve yet to find out how I can download their results in the first instance.

    Reply
      • Robyn Aldridge

        Apparently my family had to create free accounts before they were able to send off their samples to Ancestry. I have now uploaded 2 of the 3 results. I’m just waiting for my daughter to do hers. This is a real boon for me after all the kerfuffle I’ve been having with My Heritage. I sent off 3 samples last May but they still haven’t arrived. However, my d-i-l’s was sent off the following week and she’s been getting heaps of matches. About the time the Ancestry DNA packs arrived the ‘missing’ 4 packs turned up. I’ve contacted My Heritage several times and I’ve been ignored. They’re not officially allocated to me and I can’t use them unless someone tells me what’s to happen money wise. As for sending them back, I’m in Australia and don’t want them to go missing like the others! Maybe they just might turn up in fifty years like some pen friend’s letter did recently! I’m looking forward to reading your book as soon as our weather settles down to some sort of normality.

        Reply
  3. Robert Diedrichs

    I manage 39 tests on FTDNA and another 8 on Ancestry. It sounds like I should upload any that I expect to work on in the future.
    My question is posed above but I don’t see the answer.

    Do you have to pay the unlock fee for each test you upload?

    I’d be reluctant to pay $29 each for over 40 tests.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Diahan Southard

      Yes, usually you would pay the $29 unlock fee. But if you can do all 40 before March 8, they are all FREE! So I guess I know what you are doing this weekend…

      Reply
  4. Teresa

    How do I download the “raw data” that I need to upload into MyHeritage? I manage 4 tests on Ancestry (my parents and in-laws). I also had my FIL take the YDNA and mtDNA on FTDNA. Should I upload that in addition to his autosomal test from Ancestry?

    Reply
  5. Shannon Cotham

    I have done my DNA with ancestry and with 23andme – is one version better than the other to upload to myheritage?

    Reply
  6. DRoseJura

    I just uploaded my kit yesterday, but didn’t do it through your link. Will the $29 fee still be waived?

    Reply
  7. BETTY MAURICE

    I transferred my DNA data for 2 people last year. Does this offer apply to me?

    Reply
    • Diahan Southard

      Unfortunately no. It is only good for new transfers.

      Reply
  8. Andrea Harrison

    I have tested at Ancestry and My Heritage and FamilyTree DNA. Does it do any good to upload a test from another company to My Heritage if you already have a test from My Heritage?

    Reply
  9. Jonathan Guyot Smith

    A few weeks ago, I uploaded my raw DNA autosomal results from FamilyTree DNA to both My Heritage and Geneanet (due to my French heritage) and have heard nothing from either. Some articles on-line indicate that only DNA tests conducted prior to 2018 may be processed by My Heritage. If this is so, it would explain the silence. Is this accurate? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Danielle Francis

      Hi Johnathan, usually MyHeritage ethnicity results are available to view within a few hours of uploading, and match results should be available within a few days. Since it’s been longer than that, I would recommend reaching out to MyHeritage directly and they’ll be able to help you understand what’s going on. You can contact them here: https://www.myheritage.com/contact-myheritage. I don’t know mych about Geneanet, so I would recommend reaching out to them directly as well.

      Reply
  10. Kathy

    I missed the March 8, 2022 free update dead line. So would I have to now pay an extra fee on top of the $29 unlock fee when I transfer my DNA to MyHeritage?

    Reply

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