Notice! Not all African ancestry DNA kits give you the same results!
Some give you very little information, and others are an outright waste of money!
We dropped $1,000 on 4 of the most popular DNA kits to find out which one was the most detailed and accurate.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Why you should get a DNA test
- How DNA tests work
- Our reviews of Ancestry, MyHeritage, 23andme, and Africa Ancestory
- Our winner! ..It may surprise you.
We also inquired what else these companies do with our DNA, what rights do they have to it, and who they sell it to. Very important. With what we know about Henrietta Lacks and Medical Apartheid, we can’t afford to let our DNA fall into the wrong hands.
We reached out to all 4 of the companies that we reviewed to find out what they do with your DNA once your test is done.
We included their responses below, and we took their policies into consideration when we did our reviews.
Before you start reading, note that we are judging these tests by their ability to use DNA to trace “African” ancestry. When we use the term ‘African ancestry’, we are not just talking about the particular company of the same name.
Before we get into the ‘who’, let’s retouch on the ‘why’.
African ancestry DNA Tests Will Tell You The Truth About Who You Are
Many reach out to us just looking for the truth about who they are.
We can run down 300,000 years of Black history. We can help you overstand the elements of your life. We can help your mind connect spirit and science. But at the end of the day, we can’t decipher your bloodlines!
And with all the intermingling over time, rather through relationship or rape, technology is our best tool.
You may be surprised, It may help you find your spiritual divination. It can also clue you into your optimal climate, location, diet, and language for your body.
So it is up to you to take responsibility (and invest) in gaining the ultimate knowledge of who you are and how you came to be.
Once you have that information, you can zoom in on one part of Black history – the part that matters the most to your bloodlines.
How African Ancestry DNA Testing Works
Taking the test is pretty straightforward: You either spit in a tube or swab your cheeks. The good news is that there is no blood involved!
There are three kinds of DNA tests out there. They are:
- mtDNA Tests, and
- Autosomal DNA Tests
When you understand the difference between these three tests, you can make a better decision about which one is right for you.
A Y chromosome DNA test (Y-DNA test) is a genealogical DNA test which is used to explore a man’s patrilineal or direct father’s-line ancestry. The Y chromosome, like the patrilineal surname, passes down virtually unchanged from father to son. – International Society of Genetic Genealogy
Translation: When it comes to African ancestry DNA testing, Y-DNA tests only trace your father’s lineage. Furthermore, since this test uses the Y-chromosome, only males can reliably take the test.
That’s because women do not have Y-chromosomes. (Which means you need us, ladies.)
The point is, not only do Y-DNA tests give you only half the picture, they only work for half the population.
A mitochondrial DNA test (mtDNA test) traces a person’s matrilineal or mother-line ancestry using the DNA in his or her mitochondria. mtDNA is passed down by the mother unchanged, to all her children, both male and female. A mitochondrial DNA test, can therefore be taken by both men and women. – International Society of Genetic Genealogy
Translation: mtDNA Tests trace your lineage from your Mother’s side of the family.
mtDNA Tests were the standard for a long time, since they could be taken by both men and women. But you still end up with the same problem as Y-DNA tests – you only get half the picture (your Mother’s side).
Autosomal DNA Tests
Translation: Autosomal DNA Tests don’t look at just the X or Y chromosomes. They look at all of your genetic material to get a comprehensive picture of your genetic makeup.
Since these tests look at more of your genetic material, they are superior to other tests that only look at your Mother’s or Father’s lineage.
What To Look For In An African Ancestry DNA Kit
Now that you know why you get your test done, don’t just run out and grab the first box with the words African ancestry on the cover!
There are several factors that make some tests better than others.
Look, these tests are pretty expensive. You want to be sure you are getting your hard-earned dollars worth without spending all day doing research (that’s my job).
So here is what you are looking for:
1. You want kits that provide information on your autosomal DNA. These tests produce the most comprehensive snapshot of your ethnicity and all your living relatives.
These are the criteria that we used to find out which African ancestry DNA Kit was the best.
2. You want to use kits that give you information about both your racial makeup and the ethnic groups you likely come from.
It can be almost impossible for a DNA test to tell you your exact ethnicity, but it can offer clues. And in cases where the same ethnic group has been in the same region for an extended period of time (like the Igbo), it can be easier to get that information.
3. You might want to consider kits with a family tree option.
Some companies out there let members save their DNA profile and add it to a database of all the other users. That information can then be shared by you with everyone else in that database.
Why would they do that?
So that you can find relatives you might not know about!
African ancestry DNA kits that have a family tree feature will automatically fill in parts of your family tree with other users who share your DNA.
If you are concerned about privacy, most kits let you opt out of public data sharing.
Having a family tree option helps you stay organized as you put together your story, so it’s worth considering.
Here are the 4 companies that we reviewed, what they do with your data, and whether they are worth the cost.
1 – Ancestry DNA Kits
Cost: Around $99
Type of Analysis: Autosomal
Family Tree Option: Yes (with subscription)
Does Ancestry Sell Or Use Your DNA?
Oh, they do much more than that.
- Technically, Ancestry.com will own your DNA even after you’re dead.
- By submitting DNA to AncestryDNA, you agree to “grant AncestryDNA and the Ancestry Group Companies a perpetual (that means forever), royalty-free (that means you can’t get paid), world-wide, transferable license to use your DNA, and any DNA you submit for any person from whom you obtained legal authorization as described in this Agreement, and to use, host, sublicense and distribute the resulting analysis to the extent and in the form or context we deem appropriate on or through any media or medium and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed or discovered.”
- According to the Terms of Service, “it is possible that information about you or a genetic relative could be revealed, such as that you or a relative are carriers of a particular disease. That information could be used by insurers to deny you insurance coverage, by law enforcement agencies to identify you or your relatives, and in some places, the data could be used by employers to deny employment.”
Yo, read that last bullet point again.
You can spit in their tubes if you want to go out like Henrietta Lacks. We don’t suggest it.
If you want to use MyHeritage DNA Test Kit – Ancestry & Ethnicity Genetic Testing,
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