How to Give Ancestry DNA as a Gift

Marc McDermott
Last updated: December 4, 2023

Over the past twenty years, DNA testing has been changing the face of genealogy. Millions of people have discovered more about their family history, ethnicity, and origins with a simple DNA test. Many have also connected with distant cousins and long-lost relatives.

While many genealogists have rushed to get tested, their family members have not. There are a range of reasons, but probably the most common reason is they just haven’t thought of it. How can you fix that? Simple – give Ancestry DNA as a gift.

The perfect gift for them

It’s easier than ever to send an AncestryDNA kit as a gift. In fact, you can do it directly from the website for the same low price as ordering one for yourself.

Genealogical DNA testing comes in a few different forms, but the most common is autosomal testing. This type of test, used by AncestryDNA, examines the genes passed down to a child by both parents. That means it helps identify the ethnic and geographic origin of all of your ancestors, going back hundreds of years.

Giving a DNA test as a gift lets the receiver learn their family’s origins. It connects them to a larger community, and helps ground them in a world that is changing all too rapidly around us.

The perfect gift for you

Here’s the great part: if you give a DNA kit to your family members, not only do they benefit from it, but you do, too. Siblings share the same parents, but unless they are identical twins, they don’t share exactly the same DNA. That means their results and your results may look a bit different.

Different results help you pin down your ancestry and connect you with a broader range of living relatives. A distant cousin might not pop up based on your DNA test, but they could when your brother or sister gets tested. The same is true with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and everyone else in your extended family. By sharing matches with each other, you extend your genealogical reach even further than ever.

Naturally, you don’t get the same benefit from giving a DNA kit to one of your friends, but that’s okay. They’ll still be able to enjoy seeing their results, and it may spark an interest in genealogy in them, letting you share your passion.

One size fits (almost) all

We’d like to say that an AncestryDNA test kit is the perfect gift for everyone, but unfortunately that’s not always true. There are some reasons why it might not be a good gift:

  • Privacy: Some people are worried that their results could have privacy implications. Ancestry does a tremendous job of ensuring privacy, but this concern shouldn’t be ignored.
  • Unwelcome results: There’s no guarantee they’re going to like what they find.
  • Adoption: An adopted friend or family member my not want to know who they are related to, or risk their biological relatives finding them. In some cases, they may not even know they are adopted, and this isn’t the best way to find out.
  • Medical conditions: Certain medical procedures, such as receiving a bone marrow transplant or stem cell transplant, add a second set of DNA to someone’s body, which can make the results worthless.

How can you find out if your gift will be welcome? You could always just ask, but that spoils the surprise if you’re planning on presenting the kit as a birthday or holiday gift. A better way is to find an opportunity to discuss some interesting things you have found in your genealogical research. Then you can casually mention that you’ve had DNA testing done, and ask if they’ve ever thought about it themselves.

Giving the kit is easy

Once you’ve decided who is going to be getting the DNA kit, ordering it is easy. The Ancestry website store has simple to follow directions for ordering their DNA kits as gifts. In brief:

  1. Log into your Ancestry account
  2. Under the DNA tab, choose Buy Another Test
  3. Enter shipping info – you can have it sent directly to them, or to you so you can present it in person

Receiving the kit is easy, too

What do you do if you receive a DNA kit as a gift? It’s really quite simple.

  1. Receive the kit – Either in person from a friend, or mailed directly from AncestryDNA. The box is clearly marked, so there’s no question what it is or where it came from.
  2. Follow the step-by-step directions in the kit.
  3. Create an account if you don’t already have one and register your kit.
  4. Mail the kit to the testing lab in the pre-addressed, postage-paid box.
  5. Once your results come back, use the privacy controls in your Ancestry account to share them with any of your friends and family that you wish.

You don’t have to buy an Ancestry subscription to use the DNA test, see, or share your results. You can do all three with a free account.

What you’ll learn

The main result of an autosomal DNA test like the one from Ancestry is a profile of your ancestral ethnicities. For most of history, people lived in one place for a very long time, and they didn’t interact much with people from more than a few miles away. Because of that, the DNA in each region took on specific characteristics. By searching for those genetic markers, a DNA test can tell you where your ancestors lived.

Genealogical DNA testing is constantly improving, and Ancestry is no exception. They used to divide the world into fewer than a hundred regions. Now, there are more than a thousand. That means they can be even more accurate than ever before. For example, their old region for England, Wales, and Northwest Europe has been split into four regions, breaking Wales, Scotland, and Ireland into their own categories. In some cases, they can narrow the results down to a single city!

The results will also be compared against other AncestryDNA users – close to 20 million of them. This provides a great way to connect with living relatives with the same passion for genealogy. The more of your close family members who get tested, the more distant relatives you will discover.

Give the gift of family

No matter whether you want to learn more about your own family, or help someone else learn about theirs, a genealogical DNA test is a wonderful gift. Learning about our past provides solid roots for our future. It grounds us in a constantly changing world, and opens up new perspectives on history and heritage. Make a list today of the loved ones who would enjoy deepening their family connections.

While you’re at it, you might also want to consider a gift membership to at the same time. One of our greatest joys as genealogists is helping others discover and share our passion for our family and our history. So what are you waiting for? Give the gift of family with AncestryDNA.

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