DNA-4-Ancestry Test Comparison. Reviewing the DNA Companies. Updated to 2024

Comparing results from actual recorded ancestry, to that predicted by Ancestry.com, 23andme, My Heritage, Living DNA, FT-DNA and more.

Recorded Ancestry

I have researched my genealogy for circa forty years on and off. Since back in the day of interviews, visits to church yards, county archives, and London based archives. Before any internet genealogy, never mind genetic genealogy. Is it perfect? Of course not. I have a family tree of 6,000 family members. I've forgotten how many direct ancestors but certainly well over 300. Stretching back to the 16th century (1500s) in a number of places. The majority (thankfully) is very local to myself. Ancestry reports that I have based it on 19,600 records. I have certainly referenced my resources, and do not restrict them to the Internet. I still sometimes visit archives, etc.

Genetic Genealogy by DNA matches at Ancestry.co.uk, 23andme, Living DNA, FT-DNA and MyHeritage support the recorded tree very well over the past several generations on all sides. Plenty of support from centimorgans of shared DNA with other testers.

I base my Recorded Ancestry percentages on Generation 6. That is my great great great grandparents.

97% were English
Most East Anglian Norfolk, with some East Midlands and the Oxfordshire area.
3% Swiss.

No others. No Irish, Scottish, Scandinavians, Italians, Greeks, French, Turkmen, Balochi, etc.

So what did the DNA companies tell me?


Ancestry.com/co.uk did very well only if you take the England & NW Europe category to be 'English'. They've been quite thoughtful in generating this category. Because the problem with the SE English is that we are too close to Dutch, Norman, and Danish to tell apart. This is because we have long, deep roots in those regions. The sub regions of their genetic communities is very good. But the community of E India might be down to having a tested family member with paternal roots in Sri Lanka? Maybe not.

My Heritage does very well. Although they have little bias towards Ashkenazi and SW Asia that just shows up. Still, not bad, they have improved.

Living DNA, an English business. Dear oh dear, what goes on there? They have even assigned my yDNA to the entirely wrong haplogroup!

FT-DNA, no better. Despite being the premier business for testing haplogroups, their autosomal test lets them down

23andme? Wtf. I know their problem. I'm convinced that their 'British & Irish' dataset is full of Irish or Irish American? It does not understand SE English DNA, and splits us with Continental datasets. As for their sub regions, I suspect based on dodgy DNA from health companies, collected from modern postcodes. That would explain that it shows where East Anglian ancestry has moved to over the past few centuries, not where it came from.

WeGene is convinced that I am French. Non.

They are all to various extents confused by medieval migration. Because with so much East Anglian ancestry, I have links across the North West European Continent from the earlier medieval. The East Anglians are probably very like Frisians etc. Our DNA is all so similar that these tests cannot tell us apart.

Well the tests were ALL very good for assigning my ancestry as a European. And pretty good at seeing it as primarily NW European. That's good. BUT, below that level, none of these tests could be described as accurate.

Fanboys of these tests beware.

The above is a fan chart of my direct ancestry, that I made in 2018. The coloured areas are supported by DNA matching (genetic genealogy) although I have had volumes of additional matches since then.