Ancestry’s DNA Survey

I received an e-mail asking me to take a survery for about my experience with their autosomal AncestryDNA product.  Glory be – did they realize what they were asking???

Always anxious to improve our experience, and somewhat curious, I took the survey.  Most of the questions had “buttons” ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree.  Many questions were very general in nature and asked if you had discovered something new about yourself or your family, if you had made a connection with someone new, etc.  I can just see the resulting marketing now: “More than 90% of our customers found a new relative as a result of DNA testing.  You can too!”

In one case, I indicated that I “strongly disagreed” and the next question was a text box and a question about why I disagreed, but not all “strongly disagree” answers produced text boxes.  I took that opportunity to say that I was unhappy about not having chromosome mapping or raw data to download.  As the questions continued, it became clear why these tools are not a priority to Ancestry.

The clincher, and the real driving factor behind these tests was revealed with this question:  “How likely are you to continue subscribing to as a result of your AncestryDNA experience?”  Of course, they didn’t preface the question by telling people that if they don’t continue subscribing, they won’t have access to their matches.  And at Ancestry, the are no “results” as we think if them at other companies – so your matches ARE your result, aside from percentages of ethnicity.

The phrasing of the questions and the focus was clearly on the “social” aspect of connecting with people.  The Ancestry experience is not about science, and those of us who want to use it as such are simply frustrated and unhappy, and unfortunately, probably in the minority.

However, the Ancestry interface is easy to use, cleanly written and for those whom the science frustrates and who don’t understand how to use chromosome mapping tools, or why one would want to, the Ancestry experience is “easier” and “more fulfilling” to quote someone from a list earlier in the week.

I am hopeful that as Ancestry matures this product, they will also provide the value and tools for their more scientifically inclined customers.  This is not new technology and these tools are clearly available, because Family Tree DNA and 23andMe provide them, but Ancestry does not.

If Ancestry did that, well, then I MIGHT be inclined to remain subscribed BECAUSE of my AncestryDNA results.  And I might be inclined to REFER people, especially adoptees who need to fish in every pool available.  Did you hear that Ancestry?

Today, all those match results do is to frustrate me because I so desperately need the chromosome data that Ancestry holds hostage.

We may be a minority, but we must continue to be a vocal minority, that squeeky wheel.  If you have the opportunity to take this survey, please use the opportunity to ask for the features and functions we so badly need.  Speak to them in terms they understand – subscriptions.



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16 thoughts on “Ancestry’s DNA Survey

  1. Roberta, I was wondering if any of your archival posts provide advice specifically for adoptees “who need to fish in every pool available”. Thank you for any info you may have…or your readers might have.

  2. Roberta – thanks again for taking the lead and putting these issues into perspective. Unfortunately I suspect that there will be a number of casual users who will think the Ancestry methodologies are the same with all of the DNA Test providers and look no further.

    We have to keep up the pressure to make any headway against the marketing group. I find the Ancestry resources very helpful, just like I do the Find A Grave resources and FTDNA resources. They each have their place, their good points and bad points. The easier it is to integrate the three resources the better off we all are.

    Keep up the great work here. I recommend your blogs to all of my FTDNA Project friends.

    Tom McKee

  3. I totally agree with you on your assessment of AncestryDNA. I, too, completed the recent survey and told them I needed the “raw” data too. In fact, I found it interesting that AncestryDNA allows you to add “raw data” from other DNA tests, but they wouldn’t (as of today) provide this information to you from their test. While completing the survey, I had a difficult time answering their questions since I had only received my test results a couple of days before receiving the survey request. I told them that it was too early to answer these questions for them since I really hadn’t had a chance to really use and/or look at the results. I was fascinated by the “social” aspects of the information they provided considering I’ve been using for years and have made numerous family connections just through my geneaology.

    At this point, I’ll only recommend AncestryDNA to people who aren’t looking for details about their ethnic heritage and only want to connect to people through their DNA.

  4. I answered “strongly disagree” on most of the questions. I told them why I would not recommend anyone going with Ancestry DNA. I was glad at this chance to give them my opinion, which is very negative, of their DNA program.

  5. I am concerned that the folks I contact through my Ancestry connections in order to recruit for DNA testing will think I mean to use the Ancestry testing when it is my intent to steer them toward one of the FTDNA projects. Any hints on how best to approach this situation?

  6. If someone test’s with Ancestry can it be transferred to FTDNA?

    If so is that one way to get to the test data that Ancestry won’t release?

    Interesting concept !!!

    • No, they don’t currently release the test data and I didn’t find anything in their website indicating you had that option. Even though they allow you to manually enter test data from other DNA groups.

    • Autosomal test results can’t be transferred from Ancestry to anyplace, which is one of the biggest problems. They won’t give us our data, but you have to grant permission for them to sell it in order to test. I know that Y results can be transferred to Family Tree DNA, for a fee, but less than retesting. I’m not sure about mitochondrial.

  7. I can download my tree by GEDcom anytime I choose. I have saved census records and other records to files in my computer. I can remove my tree anytime I choose. I probably will not be able to see my DNA matches, but I am saving the ones that give me common ancestors to my computer with emails provided by my matches so I can communicate anytime I choose. I can keep my Family Tree Maker program current with the link that allows additions or corrections to my tree so if I am working offline then when I go online the information is updated. If I am working online when I open my tree offline the information will be there through the link. These are some features I enjoy.

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