At Ancestry, your privacy is a top priority. Ancestry is committed to being a good steward of your Personal Information, handling it in a responsible manner, and securing it with administrative, technical, and physical safeguards.
We also believe in being honest, direct and transparent when it comes to your data. Ancestry follows three guiding principles when it comes to your privacy:
- Transparency. We work hard to be transparent about what Personal Information we collect and process.
- Simplicity. We try to use easy-to-understand language to describe our privacy practices to help you make informed choices.
- Control. We give you control over the Personal Information you provide to us, including your DNA Data, and how it is used, shared, and retained.
Other Important Things for You to Understand When You Use Our Services
You always maintain ownership of your DNA and DNA Data—you can manage and delete it as described in this Statement.
You may discover unexpected facts about yourself or your family when using our services. Once discoveries are made, we can’t undo them.
When you make new discoveries with us, you should feel confident and informed about how we use your Personal Information. Our full Privacy Statement is below and we encourage you to read it.
Effective Date: April 30, 2018
2. Account Creation and Your Engagement with Ancestry Services
The Personal Information required to create a basic Ancestry account is only your name, an email address, and a password. Access to Ancestry records to help you build a family tree, or to our DNA features (ethnicity estimate, etc.) requires additional personal information, including payment details, and, for the DNA test, the test code (when you activate your DNA test kit) and a saliva sample from which we can extract Genetic Information.
Account creation also requires you to agree to the Ancestry Terms and Conditions and this Privacy Statement by clicking “Continue” on the account creation page.
By clicking “Continue,” you are telling us that you consent to Ancestry collecting, processing, and sharing your Personal Information (including your Genetic Information if you have taken the AncestryDNA test) as described in this Privacy Statement and in any other documents referenced in this Privacy Statement.
At any time, you can request Ancestry delete information you have uploaded into your account, such as a family tree or your Genetic Information. Please see Section 10 for specific details about deleting your data.
If you no longer wish to have an Ancestry account, please go to your Account Settings and request that your account be deleted.
3. What Information Does Ancestry Collect From You?
The table below describes the information we collect from you to provide the Services. In this Privacy Statement, we refer to this as your “Personal Information.”
|Information category||Use Description|
|Credit Card/Payment Information||
|DNA Kit Activation Information||When you activate a DNA test kit, we collect
|User Provided Content||
|Social Media Information||If you use Facebook to log into Ancestry Services, we collect information from your Facebook profile that you choose to provide to us (for example your Facebook profile information).|
|Additional User Information||Information that you provide to us when you answer email surveys or online questionnaires offered through the Services.|
|Your Communications||Your 1:1 communications with other Ancestry users through our communications features, as well as information you provide in communications with Ancestry Member Services.|
|Contests and Promotions||Personal Information when you voluntarily participate in contests and special promotions we run through our Services.|
4. What Information Does Ancestry Collect Through Your Use of the Services?
|Information category||Use Description|
|Computer and Mobile Device Information||
Information about how you access our Services, including the website you visited before and after Ancestry’s site.
The Internet protocol (“IP”) address of your computer, mobile device, or the proxy server that you use to access the Internet, in addition to other technical information, such as:
|Information shared through social media features||
If you interact with social media through the Services, for example “Like,” “Tweet,” “Pin,” or “Follow Us” links to sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube, Ancestry will collect these interactions and whatever account information these services make available to us.
Your interactions with these features are governed by the privacy statement of the applicable third party company.
|Information from your use of the Services||Information about your use of the Services, such as when you search or access records or public family trees, which pages you view or links you click on, or when you add people to your tree, etc.|
5. Information We Collect From Other Sources
|Information category||Use Description|
|Information from Public and Historical Records||Ancestry collects records from various sources, usually from official record sources, including newspapers, as well as birth, death, and marriage records, which may contain Personal Information relating to you. These records are generally part of Ancestry’s subscription Services.|
|Information from Third Parties||
We may also receive information about you from third parties. For example, we may supplement the data we collect with demographic information licensed from third parties in order to personalize the Services and our offers to you.
If you purchase a gift subscription, we will collect Personal Information to complete the gift and notify the recipient.
6. How does Ancestry use your Personal Information?
|Information category||Use Description|
|Personal Information (generally)||We use your Personal Information to provide, personalize, improve, update and expand our Services. This includes:
|Communications||We use your Personal Information to communicate with you about the Services, such as when we:
|Market new products and offers from us or our business partners.||We use your Personal Information to market new products and offers from us or our business partners. This includes advertising personalized to you based on your interests.
|Genetic Information||Ancestry uses your Genetic Information for the following primary purposes:
We will seek additional consent from you before we collect and process additional sensitive Personal Information (for example, health history) as part of your interaction with the Services.
7. When Do We Share Your Information and Who are the Recipients?
Ancestry does not share your individual Personal Information (including your Genetic Information) with third-parties without your additional consent other than as described in this Privacy Statement. In particular, we will not share your Genetic Information with insurance companies, employers, or third-party marketers without your express consent. The circumstances described below explain when sharing might occur:
|People with whom your Information may be shared / Circumstances in which sharing might occur||Description|
|Other Ancestry Users or others you may choose to share with||
Any information you add to your Ancestry profile may be seen by other Ancestry users, as will public family tree details (we do not show living people in your tree to other users without your permission), and DNA matches (when you choose to see and be seen by your DNA matches).
If you share details of your family history or DNA experience outside the Services, you do so at your own risk.
We use other companies to help us provide the Services to you. As a result, these partner companies will have some of your information in their systems. Our partners are subject to contractual obligations governing data security and confidentiality consistent with this Privacy Statement and applicable laws.
These processing partners include our:
|Research Partners||We share your Genetic Information with research partners only when you provide us with your express consent to do so through our Informed Consent to Research.
Research partners may include commercial or non-profit organizations that conduct or support scientific research, the development of therapeutics, medical devices or related material to treat, diagnose or predict health conditions. In some circumstances, a research partner or Ancestry may have a financial interest in the research arrangement. A list of our research partners can be found here.
|Legal or Regulatory Process||We may share your Personal Information if we believe it is reasonably necessary to:
If we are compelled to disclose your Personal Information to law enforcement, we will do our best to provide you with advance notice, unless we are prohibited under the law from doing so. In the interest of transparency, Ancestry produces a Transparency Report where we list the number of valid law enforcement requests for user data across all our sites.
|If Ancestry is Acquired||If Ancestry or its businesses are acquired or transferred (including in connection with bankruptcy or similar proceedings), we will share your Personal Information with the acquiring or receiving entity. The promises in this Privacy Statement will continue to apply to your Personal Information that is transferred to the new entity.|
|A note about aggregated data||Ancestry may disclose user information in an aggregated form as part of the Services or our marketing, or in scientific publications published by us or our research partners. For example, we might note the percentage of immigrants in a State that are from a particular geographic region or country. Such disclosure will never include Personal Information.|
Subject to certain exceptions, you have a right to request access to your Personal Information and to be provided with a copy of certain information you provided in a portable form, as well as to seek to update, delete or correct this information by using the tools described below or by contacting Ancestry. Details and options for accessing this information are listed below.
|Ancestry||You can access and update the Personal Information (such as your email address, username, profile information, etc.) that you provide to Ancestry at any time in the following sections of the privacy settings: here.|
|Related Brands||Ancestry strives to make it simple for you to manage your privacy across the Services. You can manage your privacy settings for our related brands by clicking on the following links:|
|Mobile||You can also control your information using the settings available in Ancestry’s mobile applications, such as the Ancestry, AncestryDNA or “We’re Related” apps.|
|Family Tree Information Download||Ancestry allows you to download your family tree information in the standard GEDCOM family tree file format in your Family Tree Settings.|
|Genetic Information Download||Your DNA Data belongs to you. You always have the option of downloading a file with your DNA Data. Learn how here. For more information on what is included in your DNA Data download, go here.|
9. What are Ancestry’s retention practices?
Ancestry services are fundamentally premised on the notion that the personal voyage of self-discovery is not a one-time event and continues over lengthy periods of time—possibly lifetimes. Additionally, and with particular regard to our subscribers and DNA customers who pay fees or purchase subscriptions, the ongoing enhancement of Ancestry’s historical records and DNA features provide benefits and insights to our users over time. As a result, Ancestry’s retention practices reflect this ongoing value by retaining user accounts on our system until our users inform us of their desire to delete their data or close their accounts.
|Category of Information||Retention Period|
|Account||Ancestry will retain the Personal Information you provide while creating your account until such time as you ask us to close it.|
|Family Tree||Due to the multi-generational significance of family trees, Ancestry will retain your family tree data as needed to provide you with continuous access, updated features, and the ability to enhance your family tree.|
|DNA||Ancestry retains your DNA data as needed to provide you with the features and functionality you purchased (or were gifted), including continuously updated features such as DNA matches, increasingly granular ethnicity estimates and improved origins/migration details, as well as new other features based on your DNA data.|
|Related Brands||Ancestry’s related brands (Fold3, Newspapers.com,etc.) have their own account logins and will retain your account as needed to provide you with continuous and updated Services. You can delete these accounts at any time.|
|Usage Information||In some cases we choose to retain usage information (e.g., visits to sites) in a depersonalized or aggregated form. Once aggregated, this information ceases to be personal and will not be subject to Ancestry user deletion requests.|
You can delete your Personal Information from Ancestry in a number of ways.
|Information Category||How to delete|
You can delete your Personal Information from Ancestry by logging into your Account Settings.
To the extent you have shared information through the Services (for example, by making your family trees public, or by sharing your DNA Results directly with other users), Ancestry will not be able to remove any copies of information that other Ancestry members may have retained.
Please direct any request to remove information from linked archival records to the responsible archival entity.
We will consider requests for removal of Personal Information from the searchable indexes of the records we hold on a case-by-case basis in accordance with law.
If you have shared content with others either directly or by making your family tree details available to other Ancestry members, some of your Personal Information may have been copied to other Ancestry members’ family trees, which can only be removed by contacting the other Ancestry member and asking them to delete it.
|Genetic||Note: If you request that Ancestry delete your DNA Data, we will delete all Genetic Information, including any derivative Genetic Information (ethnicity estimates, genetic relative matches, etc.) from our production, development, analytics, and research systems within 30 days.
To request the destruction of your biological samples, you must contact Member Services. Please note that if you have agreed to our Informed Consent to Research, we will not be able to remove your Genetic Information from active or completed research projects, but we will not use it for any new research projects.
|General||Please note that there may be some latency in deleting your Personal Information from our backup systems after it has been deleted from our production, development, analytics, and research systems. Also, our laboratory partners may retain information they receive from us in order to comply with laws or regulations that may require them to do so, such as the Clinical Laboratory Improvements Amendments regulations administered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Ancestry may also retain certain information as reasonably necessary to comply with our legal obligations (including law enforcement requests), resolve disputes, maintain security, prevent fraud and abuse, as well as to comply with tax, payment industry, securities, and clinical regulatory compliance requirements.|
Ancestry maintains a comprehensive information security program designed to protect our customers’ Personal Information using administrative, physical, and technical safeguards.
The specific security measures used are based on the sensitivity of the Personal Information collected. We have measures in place to protect against inappropriate access, loss, misuse, or alteration of Personal Information (including Genetic Information) under our control.
Ancestry’s Security Team regularly reviews our security and privacy practices and enhances them as necessary to help ensure the integrity of our systems and your Personal Information.
We use secure server software to encrypt Personal Information (including Genetic Information), and we only partner with security companies that meet and commit to our security standards. While we cannot guarantee that loss, misuse or alteration of data will not occur, we use reasonable efforts to prevent this.
It is also important for you to guard against unauthorized access to your Personal Information by maintaining strong passwords and protecting against the unauthorized use of your own computer or device.
12. Data Transfer
Any transfer of your Personal and Genetic Information between Ancestry’s Ireland-based company and Ancestry’s U.S.-based company for processing in the United States is conducted pursuant to established transfer mechanisms such as Standard Contractual.
You can request a copy of any standard contractual clauses relating to your Personal Information that we may have executed by contacting us using the details below.
13. Changes to this Statement
We may modify this Privacy Statement at any time, but we will provide prominent advance notice of any material changes to this Statement, such as posting a notice through the Services, on our websites, or sending you an email, to provide you the opportunity to review the changes and choose whether to continue using the Services.
We will also notify you of non-material changes to this Statement as of their effective date by posting a notice through the Services, on our websites, or sending you an email. Your continued use of our Services after notice of non-material changes means that you consent to the updated Privacy Statement.
If you object to any changes, you may delete your account through your Account Settings.
14. California’s Shine the Light Law
California Civil Code Section 1798.83, known as the “Shine the Light” law, permits Users who are California residents to request and obtain from us a list of what Personal Information (if any) we disclosed to third parties for their direct marketing purposes in the preceding calendar year and the names and addresses of those third parties. Requests may be made only once a year and are free of charge. Under Section 1798.83, Ancestry currently does not share any Personal Information with third parties for their own direct marketing purposes.
15. Legal basis under EU General Data Protection Regulation for processing personal information of EU residents.
Where you have consented to data processing, your consent provides the legal basis to process your Personal Information. We rely on your explicit consent to process your Genetic Information. You have the right to withdraw consent at any time. Please note that your withdrawal of consent to collect and process your Personal Information will not affect the lawfulness of processing your Personal Information based on your consent before you withdrew your consent.
We may also process your Personal Information on the basis of contractual necessity to perform a contract we have with you. For example, we process your credit card details when you provide them in order to use our Services or purchase access to premium features such as our DNA testing services.
We may also process your Personal Information on the basis of our legitimate interests, including in providing and improving the Services. For example, Ancestry has a legitimate interest in understanding your login history so we can assess your interaction with our Services. We also have a legitimate interest in providing and developing interesting features to provide to our users. We use your Personal Information to keep our Services safe and secure and we do so as it necessary to pursue your and our legitimate interests in ensuring that our Services are secure, and to protect against fraud, spam and abuse.
Where we rely on legitimate interests to process your Personal Information, you have the right to object to such processing (meaning that you can ask us to stop). You can use your Privacy Settings to control certain ways in which we process your data. You can also contact us, using the details below, to object to other forms of processing.
16. Identity and Contact Details of the Data
If you reside in the United States, Ancestry.com Operations Inc. and Ancestry.com DNA, LLC are responsible for the use of your data and for responding to any requests related to your Personal Information.
If you reside outside the United States, Ancestry Ireland Unlimited Company is your data controller.
Contact information for these entities is listed at the bottom of this Statement.
Users outside of the United States may contact the Irish Data Protection Commission, or your local Data Protection Authority.
Contact Details of the
- Email: [email protected]
Official correspondence must be sent via postal mail to:
|For members located in the United States||For members located outside of the United States|
Ancestry.com Operations Inc.
Attn: Privacy Office
Ancestry Ireland Unlimited Company
Attn: Privacy Office