Ancestry states that it takes 6 to 8 weeks to process your DNA from when they receive your kit. Some customers in 2020 say their DNA results were ready within 3 weeks. So, how long does it really take in current times? I’ve scoured social media forums to find out.
Update June 2021: Many new Ancestry customers started reporting considerable delays in Feb/March 2021. These continue to be reported through May, although a few people reported a normal turn-around. Check out our comments section at the end of this article where customers are posting their latest reports.
How Long Does Ancestry Take To Process DNA Results In 2021?
Ancestry customers report that it’s taking 3 to 6 weeks for DNA results to process in 2020/2021. That does not include the postal transit time from when you mail your kit.
Three weeks is about the fastest time that you can expect to get your Ancestry DNA results. Although in previous years, I’ve seen customers report on social media that their turnaround was two weeks!
Eight weeks is an upper limit that Ancestry give themselves to allow for outliers. It’s rare to see people report that it took that long. Usually, it’s because there is a problem with the DNA kit.
Major holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving see a spike in Ancestry DNA kit orders. This can result in delays in the following months for a time.
If you’re unfortunate enough to experience a lengthy delay, check out our trouble-shooting section later in this article.
Customer Reports on Ancestry DNA Processing Time
One way to find out how long it takes to get Ancestry DNA results is to see what other people are saying. The question does get asked a lot in social media forums.
Below are some recent reports in 2020. Some people are including the postal time, and others record how long it takes from the point where Ancestry has received the kit.
When I average these reports, my summary is that it’s taking between three to six weeks.
- I mailed [my cousin] the kit on 2nd October and the results were ready on 23rd October. It took 21 days including postal time.
- I was told my test results would be ready on 21st September 2020 but I got them on 8th September.
- My sample was mailed in late July 2020 and results were received on 4th August.
- My timeline showed the kit was received on 26th June. The results were in on 13th August. (47 days)
- When I did mine in March, it was exactly 3 weeks from their acknowledgment of receipt until I got the results.
Is Ancestry Taking Longer To Process DNA Due To Covid?
Up to December 2020, the processing time had not appeared to increase due to the current Covid situation. Customers reported a similar turnaround through 2020 as I’ve seen through 2019.
One customer reported on social media that she asked Ancestry Support if there would be a delay to her DNA results due to lockdown or isolation periods. She posted this answer:
Ancestry’s independent laboratory partners protect their employees by following federal guidelines for handling biological samples. We are currently not experiencing delays with laboratory processing and will keep customers informed of any potential delays.
January/February 2021 Delays
However, the situation appears to have changed in early 2021. The extra sales volumes in the run-up to Christmas may have contributed to new delays. A reader sent me this screenshot of her Ancestry screen. You can see the new information messages in the upper half of the screen.
Why Does It Take So Long To Process Ancestry DNA?
Sending off a DNA kit can be a momentous decision. You may be hoping to break down brick walls with the results. So a few weeks can seem like an eternity. Particularly when all those CSI crime dramas have detectives getting DNA results the same day.
So why does Ancestry take so long? Well, your test kit goes through these stages:
- A laboratory receives your DNA kit
- Your DNA sample is slotted for processing
- DNA is extracted from the saliva sample that you provided
- Your DNA is analyzed and entered into Ancestry’s DNA database
- Ancestry displays your DNA results
You can track these stages through your Ancestry account. The display will look something like this (or it will be vertical on your cell phone).
It can take several weeks for the sample to move from “received” to “processing”. Your kit is in a queue, so my guess is that this is going to be longer after a big sale period.
How long does AncestryDNA take after extraction?
You can expect the progress to move fast from “processing” to “extracting”. That status can change within the same day.
Then you’re in for another wait when the status of your DNA is at extraction. It can take several weeks for DNA to move on from extraction to analysis.
Once progress hits “DNA Analyzed” status, it should move within days to “Results Ready”. Hurrah!
Does Ancestry Have a DNA Lab in Ireland?
When you track your DNA kit through the postal services, you may notice that it has gone to Dublin, Ireland. There is a misconception that Ancestry has a DNA lab in Ireland where some kits are processed. This isn’t true.
All the labs that Ancestry uses are in the United States. If your package is shipped to Ireland, it will be shipped onwards to the United States.
If you live in Canada, you may be wondering why on earth the package would be routed through Ireland instead of over the border? Ancestry’s European headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland, and a lot of administrative functions are handled there.
The DNA kit packages aren’t forwarded one by one to the United States. They are held for a short period in Dublin and then sent in larger batches to different labs in the U.S.
What To Do If Your Ancestry DNA Results Are Taking Too Long
Here are my trouble-shooting tips on what to do if the processing goes beyond eight weeks.
Check Your Spam Folder
Ancestry sends you emails at various stages of the process.
My first tip is to be sure to check your spam or promotions folder for emails from Ancestry. You may have missed an email advising that your DNA sample failed to process.
Make Sure You Activated Your Ancestry DNA Kit
If you haven’t received any emails within a few weeks of mailing your DNA kit then you may have missed a very important task. Don’t forget to activate your DNA kit!
Otherwise, the Ancestry lab will sit on a DNA package that it can’t connect to a customer account.
Mailed Your DNA Kit Ages Ago – And Ancestry Still Hasn’t Received It?
Your kit may have got lost in transit. It’s disappointing, but don’t worry about any financial loss. Ancestry will send you another kit without charge.
So, contact their customer support and tell them when you posted the sample.
How Long Do Other DNA Testing Companies Take?
I took a look at how long 23andMe take to process DNA results. Judging by comments of their customers, they are a little faster than Ancestry. However, it’s a matter of weeks instead of months.
Waiting On Ancestry DNA Results? Build A Family Tree
If you’re only interested in your ethnicity results, then you may not want a family tree.
But if you’re interested in family research, you’ll get the maximum benefit of Ancestry’s impressive software by building or importing a family tree into the Ancestry website.
Create A Free Account Or Use The Free Trial
Ancestry gives you the option of creating a free guest account or taking a free trial of their paid subscription services.
We’ve got a helpful guide to getting best use of a free Ancestry account. The features with this tier are very limited, but you don’t have to provide any payment details.
The free trial gives you full use of Ancestry’s subscription features. But you do have to enter credit card details to access the trial. Some people worry that they’ll end up being charged. This article gives you tips on canceling the Ancestry trial and avoiding unwanted charges.
Creating A Family Tree On Ancestry
This video will give you a quick start to creating a tree on Ancestry.
We have a free multi-part guide on our website on building your family tree on Ancestry. You can start with Part 1 (The Essential Tree), and move through the rest of the articles.
Alternatively, you can check out our value-packed e-book to building your Ancestry family tree. It’s available on Amazon at a budget price.
Importing An Existing Tree
If you have already created a family tree using software or another website, then you can import it into Ancestry.com. You will need your tree in the GEDCOM format – unless you’re using a software package that can sync with Ancestry.
This article has a step-by-step guide to importing a GEDCOM into Ancestry.
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