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.
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.)
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.
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.