Privacy for Your AncestryDNA Test

Similar to Ancestry, the AncestryDNA mission is to help everyone discover, preserve, and share their family history through the use of genetic testing and analysis. Using your DNA to discover new information about your family history is a great way to get started with your search or take it to another level. We recognise that your DNA is very personal and so protecting your privacy is at the core of what we do.

We also encourage you to read our comprehensive AncestryDNA Privacy Statement, which explains in more detail how we collect and process your personal data.

  • You trust us with your DNA so we, in turn, employ a number of measures to protect it; here are some of the things that we do:

    1. The results of your DNA test are stored in a secured database — your AncestryDNA results are stored in a secured database, which employs a number of security measures. As well as protecting the information from unauthorised access from those outside of AncestryDNA, we strictly limit access to this database from within the company as well.
    2. The lab processing your DNA doesn't have access to your name, address and other contact information — DNA samples are tested in a secure third-party testing lab in the United States. We separate your name from your DNA sample throughout the testing process. Instead, we use a unique Activation Code provided in your kit to track your DNA through the testing process and in storage.
    3. Your DNA sample is securely stored — After testing is complete, any remaining DNA from your test is archived and stored in a temperature-controlled, secure facility with 24-hour monitoring and limited access.
    4. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) — United States law (the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act or “GINA”) generally makes it illegal for health insurance companies, group health plans, and most employers to discriminate against you based on your genetic information. Learn more about GINA here.
    5. You have the choice to delete your DNA test results — Once a DNA test result is deleted, that choice is permanent. You will no longer see the results in your account. Also, your DNA matches will no longer see your username among their list of matches. So be sure you want to delete a DNA test result before you do it, as there is no way to recover the data after it’s deleted.

      If you have given your consent to participate in ongoing research efforts and you delete your DNA results, your consent will be withdrawn and your information will not be used in future research.  Please note, however, that information cannot be withdrawn from studies in progress, completed studies, or published results.

  • Throughout your AncestryDNA experience, we want to ensure that you understand your privacy settings and how much content you are making public. Below are some ways that you can control the privacy settings of your AncestryDNA account and DNA results pages.

    1. Username: You can choose how your name appears to your DNA matches. Here are your options:
      • You may use your Ancestry username or your real name. Your real name is selected automatically when you create your Ancestry account. You can update your setting from your Member Profile.
      • You can edit your Ancestry username anytime from Your Account (but remember this change will be reflected throughout the Ancestry website, so editing this will also affect how you log in).
      • For more information go to "How are living people protected by AncestryDNA?" (below).
    2. Ethnicity profile: You have two choices for how much of your genetic ethnicity profile you want to make viewable to your DNA matches. Your DNA matches can either see:
      • All the ethnicity regions reported in your DNA test; or
      • Only the ethnicity regions that they have in common with you
    3. Family tree: You can choose whether or not to link your DNA test to an Ancestry family tree.
      • Learn more about linking your DNA results with your family tree on the AncestryDNA FAQ page and about privacy for your Ancestry family tree here.
    4. Deleting your test results: If you desire, you can choose to delete your DNA test results.
      • Your DNA results will be removed from Ancestry
      • Your DNA matches will no longer see you in their DNA member match list
      • Deleting a test is permanent and cannot be undone
      Note: If you have given your consent to participate in ongoing research efforts and you delete your results, we will stop using information about you in any future research. However, information cannot be withdrawn from studies in progress, completed studies, or published results.
    5. Access to test results: If you are the person who activates a test for yourself on our website, then you will be the Owner of that test, and you will have control over who has access to the DNA results of that test. As the Owner of a DNA test, you can share your ethnicity results with other users. In addition, as the Owner of a test, you can also invite other users to access your DNA results, which will give those users permission to see your DNA results and, in certain cases, edit some of your information. For more information on how to give other users access to your DNA results, please click here.

      The following chart outlines the permissions for each account role:

      This table describes the authorized tasks associated with the roles Manager, Collaborator, and Viewer.
      Task Viewer Collaborator Manager
      View DNA matches
      View Ethnicity Estimate
      View Genetic Communities
      View notes about a DNA Match
      View DNA Circles
      View removed DNA matches
      Link test results to Family Trees
      Edit DNA Matches
      Add and edit DNA Match notes
      Edit test participant details
      Change ethnicity display preferences
      Invite others to access results
      Assign and change account roles
      Permanently delete DNA test results
      Download raw DNA data
      Send and respond to messages from the test owner's account
      The owner has all of the above permissions, and may add or remove a manager at any time.
    6. For more information on your Ancestry profile and personal information go here.
  • Protecting the privacy of our customers is very important to us. Since DNA test results typically belong to living people, here are some specific ways we protect living people:

    1. There is no “search” for people with DNA test results — You can only see if another person has taken the AncestryDNA test if we determine you are a potential match or otherwise related, or if someone has invited you to access their DNA test results. In addition, if you invite another user to access your DNA test results, they will also see information about your potential DNA matches.
    2. You are identified by your display name — To configure how you are identified to matches, click on "Settings" on the DNA status page and adjust your display name. Tests managed by the parent or legal guardian of a minor child will show the parent or legal guardian as the “Manager” of the test. Only the child’s initials will be viewable by DNA matches along with the parent’s display name. The minor will become the “Owner” upon reaching the age of majority and at that time, as Owner, can choose their own display name.

      Example of how a username can be anonymous. Notice the name of the AncestryDNA user is shown only by their username, “Myfamilyhistory32”.

      Example of how a DNA match will appear if they do not have an Ancestry account. Notice the name of the AncestryDNA user is shown only by their initials, “M.J.”.

    3. You can see how your matches see you — To clearly communicate how your DNA matches see your test information, on your DNA account page, you can see how your test is shown to others. Example: