Why do you believe DNA testing with myHeritage is a better choice than testing with Family Tree DNA?

+9 votes
asked in The Tree House by Peter Roberts G2G6 Pilot (452k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
I have only used Family Tree for DNA testing some years ago. My wife is having it done there now.
I transferred my FTDNA results to MyHeritage for free last summer. Very odd matches but did snag a couple close cousins that did not test anywhere else.

The only remarkable thing I found on MyHeritage were the family trees of my relatives with pictures and documents they uploaded in Poland and Slovakia. After communicating with them, we all could not afford it anymore so I move the family information to WikiTree for them. I reduced my tree to only 250 people which is free but because I did not re-subscribe, MyHeritage locked me access from even editing my own tree )-: Not even Ancestry does that if you can not pay !
I don't see any reason for me to test with them, but Maggie's comment about her relatives in Poland and Slovakia highlights one advantage that MyHeritage might have for some people: MyHeritage (which is based on Israel) has a more cosmopolitan customer base than the other companies.
I have researched genealogical DNA testing on independent sites. They seems to agree on a basic idea that there is no set rules on how they are to test to keep the results similar. Most popular Testing sites do not test the same way and the results may be a little different. So preference depends on liking or disliking a certain site or liking or believing in(as the one independent site said) the test itself. Since most of us do not know as much as we would like to when we get the test, then usually what people would like would depend on what site they like or dislike.
As I understand it, My Heritage uses FTDNA for testing.

IMO, My Heritage is unreliable. It is a relatively new site. It started out a few years ago as simply a place to build a family tree on line, competing with ancestry.com and then started to gobble up other companies, like Geni.

It doesn't have the experience or expertise IMO.

IMO it is a waste of time, although they do offer a free GEDCOM program, but it keeps trying to connect to the My Heritage site and wants you to create an online tree.

I get emails about matches all of the time, but have zero confidence in online trees either Ancestry or My Heritage
I was tested for free at MyHeritage as part of the founder population - so far I have received very few matches. At this point I still cannot check ethnicity through them (although they have been promising this for months). It may be that being based in the UK and being able to trace my ancestry locally for several hundred years there may not have been too many matching people that have taken the test.

I have also uploaded to gedmatch but although there are many matches most are low cm's . So far I have not been able able to find any of the common ancestors ( Well not mine, although I have managed to find some of the links between other people on my 1 to 1 matches.

Will keep working on it though.
I used tp like Family Search a lot. But wjhen I saw that they said that information to my 6xGG was someone else, I questionmed them. Basically within the several emails back and forth, they said they were not going to change the information that they have as wrong, to the wrong family because it costs money and if they change it now then everyone who linked to it will have wrong information.  (????????) Go figure that one out. I guess we are stuck between a rock and a hard place with these sites.
Jerry: The question was about MyHertiage, your answer was Family Search. Did you mistype?
I just uploaded my Ancestry results to myheritage since it is free to do so. Their ethnicity algorithm says I am 0% - yes, zero percent! - English. Since I actually have about 25% British Isles, with Ancestry, FTDNA, and GEDmatch Eurogenes 13 in agreement, I am stunned to giggles. I can only imagine what DNA newbies must think with similar reports.
Don't really trust the ethnicity results much - Mine makes me 99.2% English and 0.8% South American (I had my test free as part of the founder population and had one of my ancestors listed as south american by mistake and wonder if this could of affected their data base in some way).


According to my tree yes I can see where it is possible that I am 100% English for the last 300 years but surely with such a diverse population base as the British Isle the should be something else showing in there.

My Gedmatch result is completely different.
What I hate is that I have matches I can't contact because I'm not subscribed to MH. I can purchase their test, view my results, view my matches, but unless I subscribe for a year, I can't do a thing about it.

This is crap! So if I upload my DNA, I can contact people for free. But if I take THEIR test, I can't. 



Q. DNA Matches are free, but what about contacting those matches?

A. For users who upload their DNA data to MyHeritage, contacting matches is free. Uploading DNA data may not remain free forever, but for the users who upload now, matches will remain free permanently, and contacting matches will also remain free permanently. The contact needs to be initiated from the Contact buttons in the list of matches, because contacting other users in other contexts (e.g. non-DNA context, such as Smart Matches) may require a subscription. For users who purchase the MyHeritage DNA kit, DNA Matches will be computed and listed for free, but contacting a match will likely require a MyHeritage subscription.
If you are initially contacted by a DNA Match, you can communicate with him/her for free.

Yup. So test somewhere else and upload to MyHeritage for free. No need to use their paid services that I can see. Or their DNA algorithm.

12 Answers

+30 votes
Best answer
I don´t. I would not recommend choosing MyHeritage over FTDNA. I have used the transfer mechanism to participate at MyHeritage where I get about 50 matches. At FTDNA I have about 2000. I have 900 at 23andme. AncestryDNA is the clear winner with over 11000.
answered by Lynda Crackett G2G6 Pilot (620k points)
selected by Jerry Dolman
Lynda that is a very good answer, Not only did you tell your preferences but you also gave results of testing. People should however keep in mind that some of the matches are false matches. No test is perfect but thanks for the accurate stats.

Thanks Jerry. I agree that some matches may be Identical By Chance. If anyone is interested in the growth of autosomal testing there are some interesting estimates published by Leah Laperle Larkin in her blog The DNA Geek, but she has not included MyHeritage in the graph yet.

I completely agree, especially for yDNA. FTDNA has superior yDNA options over most, if not all, DNA testing companies.

To be fair, the number of matches from each company is directly proportional to the number of those who test at each company.

Once MyHeritage's numbers increase, there's no reason that they couldn't be on par with or even better than FamilyTreeDNA or any other company.

Each company will offer different tests and services. And they'll use different algorithms for determining their results. It'll be difficult at best to determine which set of algorithms are better from each company.

+17 votes
I don't.  I'm afraid I am not a fan of myHeritage.
answered by Ros Haywood G2G6 Pilot (549k points)
+17 votes
I would take FamilyTreeDNA any day over MyHeritage. Granted, I had bought a sub for MyHeritage for a year and I'm now going to be cancelling it, so I might be a bit biased here.

Honestly, FamilyTreeDNA, 23andMe, and Ancestry are all far superior options for only a slightly increased cost. Save your money for an extra month or two and get a DNA test with a better company than MyHeritage.
answered by G. Borrero G2G6 Mach 8 (84.6k points)
+16 votes
Overall, I am not a fan of MyHeritage either.
answered by Maggie N. G2G6 Pilot (582k points)
+10 votes
answered by David Douglass G2G6 Mach 7 (76.5k points)
+8 votes
I have been decidedly disappointed with My Heritage.  Their website is not user friendly and their family trees are difficult to navigate.  

I uploaded my dna for free.  First I received a long list of matches, but after conversing with a few, My Heritage took the matches away as not correct.  One person was an adoptee so this was a cruel trick.  

Now, I only have about 5 matches!  Compared to hundreds at FTDNA!  I would have beeen very upset if I paid to test at My Heritage and only received 5 matches in the bargain!
answered by Emma MacBeath G2G6 Pilot (530k points)
I gather that the initial problems with a lot of false matches have been resolved, but it will still take time for them to build a substantial database. However, there are posts coming through on some facebook groups of puzzles being solved by matches on MyHeritage that have not tested elsewhere, so I would recommend an upload to anyone needing more ponds to fish in.
I believe they launched their DNA program way too soon--before it was ready. I still don't recommend My Heritage until they have a longer proven track record and their information can be fully trusted--especially since there is cost involved.

 I'm glad some others have had some success with them, but I'm not ready to add them to my recommendation list.  They also do not have the nice bells and whistles you get with FTDNA or 23andMe for the same price--or even Ancestry (ability to attach to the tree).
There is no cost involved if you just upload data from one of the other testing companies.
I mean for those buying the test.  I uploaded for Free from Ancestry
I agree with the majority here. I tested with 23andMe, which at that time was running a deal to connect the DNA with a 6 month free subscription to MH. So I started my tree and started getting matches, which after the 6 months expired I couldn't access any way. By that time I had canceled my Ancestry subscription, because it felt like it wasn't going anywhere, so I subscribed to MH. It can be a really good source, and I've made some progress. But I really don't like the cumbersome editing/changes. And most of my DNA matches are people.who manage a 'tree' of 10 or less people! Or the fact that they list my hints by VALUE, which I have no idea what that means because the hints are for my great aunt's husband's brother in law's father. But for some reason, won't give me any hint on that same great aunt!!! And most of the Family Search info is incorrect anyway. Sorry, don't let me get started on Family Search *headache starting just thinking about it*
And when you change the information on Family Search based on primary sources, someone comes along and changes it back!  I have stopped adding and changing on FS.  Too frustrating!
+9 votes
I also don't recommend MyHeritage over FTDNA, or over Ancestry for that matter.

Way too early in their development.

Matches, particularly for /with those kits that have uploaded from elsewhere are still showing "surprises" that GEDmatch doesn't necessarily bear out - although WAY better than the initial beta that should never have been released.

NO chromosome browser - although their talk at RootsTech promised both a chromosome browser and a more easily viewable pedigree view tree.

NO way to filter results by most recent results.

NO way to download a list of your matches (that I've found anyway)

The above being my main gripes.

BUT that said, I am finding that some of my matches from the other companies, where they don't have trees, DO have trees on MyHeritage, however painful they are to navigate.

I see someone has already posted a link to  DNA-eXplained's blogpost, which is well worth reading, including all the comments (as is also her post on ethnicity results from MyHeritage, which do seem to be available for those who tested there, but not for the initial uploads as promised - not my highest priority from any company but a promise is a promise)

May 2017 update: Ethnicity results are now available for my FTDNA kit transferred to MyHeritage

A couple of my blogposts may also be of interest - http://dnasurnames.blogspot.co.nz/search/label/MyHeritage
answered by Lorna Henderson G2G6 Mach 1 (17k points)
edited by Lorna Henderson
Very nice update, Lorna!  I think your updated comments really need even greater exposure here.
+6 votes

While it sometimes seems so, DNA testing labs don't spring up overnight. There's a massive upfront investment in infrastructure, facilities, testing equipment, and IT resources. To my knowledge, myHeritage does none of their own DNA testing.

From an FTDNA FAQ page

"As part of affiliate agreements, myHeritage and The Genealogist sell Family Tree DNA tests through their respective websites. These kits have standard Family Tree DNA kit numbers. All testing and results are the same as those for other Family Tree DNA customers."

I can't comment on the rest of myHeritage's operations or customer service, but I would ask myself about any benefit in testing with an affiliate rather than with the company whose labs are actually providing the test.

answered by Edison Williams G2G6 Pilot (178k points)
edited by Edison Williams
Without finding the chapter and verse for proof, I think you'll find that information has been superseded.

MyHeritage now only sells their own tests rather than FTDNA's but does use the FTDNA labs.

Thanks, Lorna. MyHeritage first announced they were offering DNA testing on 9 November 2016, so they must have very quickly changed their relationship with FTDNA.

I do, though, get a kick out of myHeritage's FAQ page:

"From the moment DNA samples have been received at our CLIA-certified laboratory in the USA, the first thing we do is verify that they are readable and that all necessary components are in place."

They certainly do nothing to dissuade the impression that they own the CLIA-certified lab and that their employees are the ones hands-on with the actual testing.

+8 votes
I joined the free side of My Heritage.  I had a already had my DNA tested through FTDNA.  What I find is a get a lot of emails about matches but most of the time if I want to access the data it comes with a block saying I need to subscribe.   NOOOO, most of those people are also either in FTDNA or in GedMatch which I can access for free.   They just sent out a notice basically cutting their cost in half but I also see no reason to join even at half the price.
answered by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (492k points)
+10 votes
I had an interesting experience with My Heritage recently.  I'd received the weekly email from WT and it mentioned that My Heritage  was doing DNA tests for $69, as I'd just paid $79 for mtDNA and autosomal tests with 23andme I clicked the link to see if My Heritage had a better deal.  I read all over their pages but nowhere did it state what kind of test they were offering.  Less than 5 minutes after I'd closed their page my phone rang.  My Heritage had tracked my usage of their site (as I was logged in at the time) and called me to ask why I wasn't interested in the offer!  I explained that the website didn't state the kind of DNA test it was and they said it was autosomal only.  So I said that I'd just done a test with another company and received  mtdna and autosomal for just $10 more. There was a pause, then the My Heritage chap said "What's mtDNA?"....... I just put the phone down.
answered by Brenda Butler G2G6 Mach 4 (40.5k points)
LOL, Brenda!  This is too good a story!  I think it speaks for itself and adds  to why I have no confidence in My Heritage!
+7 votes
I do NOT believe that testing with MyHeritage is better than testing at Family Tree DNA (FTDNA).  Before testing anywhere closely read the agreements you must accept and consider privacy issues.  Be aware of the pitfalls of DNA testing at any company, i.e. finding unknown siblings, different parents, etc. you were not aware of.  Also before testing with any company, you need to decide what you want to learn, whether you want to test for father's, father's, father., etc (Y-DNA - FTDNA is the only company that does this test); or mother's, mother's, mother, etc. (mitochondrial  -mtDNA - FTDNA is the only company that does this test too); or autosomal DNA (the test done by all the main testing companies - autosomal includes SOME of your ancestors on MANY of your lines).  Personally I used AncestryDNA ($99 at the time) to test my autosomal DNA.  I transferred the AncestryDNA raw autosomal results to FTDNA which has a nice chromosome browser (after transfer payment - $39 when I did it- now $19 I believe) unlike AncestryDNA which has no chromosome browser.  You can supposedly get the first twenty matches free at FTDNA.  But until I paid the transfer fee I could not access the chromosome browser or full information on my twenty matches.  Next I transferred the AncestryDNA  raw autosomal results to GEDmatch.com (FREE and has a chromosome browser).  GEDmatch accepts autosomal transfers from most DNA companies.  I also transferred the raw autosomal results to MyHeritage (free but few usable matches for me there) and to DNA.LAND (also free).  At this point I was interested in health results but decided not to test at 23andMe.  I have heard that many people who test at 23andMe do not post family trees or respond to contact emails.  Instead of 23andMe, I uploaded the AncestryDNA raw autosomal results to Promethease.com ($5), a lot less expensive than $199 that 23and Me charges for matches and health results.  Be aware that most of the DNA testing companies have sales during the year, usually around Mother's Day, Father's Day and other holidays.  Also you might find coupon codes online for free shipping.  I have tested my full sequence mtDNA and my husband's 111 marker Y-DNA at FTDNA. But in my opinion you will definitely get the most bang for your buck testing your autosomal DNA.  Research before you decide.
answered by Beverly Cato G2G Crew (410 points)
+7 votes
I get match notifications all the time from MyHeritiage but often I can't really see them since I do not pay for the subscription side.   One thing I have noticed is that they are often matching me to trees that someone copied from my own tree because everything including my notes are there...  very weird...
answered by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (492k points)

One thing I have noticed is that they are often matching me to trees that someone copied from my own tree because everything including my notes are there...

Priceless.  :-)

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