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Ancestry’s Database Grows to 18 Million DNA Samples

In this post, we’ll talk all about Ancestry’s database size. Plus, learn why a database this size can help you learn more about your ancestors, especially if you are thinking about doing a DNA test.

Ancestry has officially updated the size of their DNA database to over 18 million people.  You might agree that this is very impressive, but it’s even more than that for those of us who are really interested in genetic genealogy. 

ncestry's Database Grows to 18 Million DNA Samples

Ancestry DNA has the biggest database of all of the DNA testing companies, and the largest non-governmental database of DNA samples.  This is a goldmine for people who are searching for biological family or want to use DNA for genetic genealogy and family tree research.

Note:  If you haven’t yet tested your DNA, or you are just getting started with learning about your DNA results, make sure to check out my DNA Tools page for some really great resources to help you figure out what you should do next.

Click here to buy the Understand Your DNA Results Ebook

How fast has Ancestry’s DNA database grown over the years?

We know that the Ancestry DNA database reached 18 million towards the beginning of 2020, but how fast has the growth occurred?  This question interests me because I love getting new DNA matches. 

With each new match, I have the opportunity to learn something new about my family and potentially form a relationship with a new relative.  I also can’t help wondering how big a database like this can actually get.  

How many people will eventually do a DNA test?  When will the growth of DNA testing slow down?

Ancestry DNA offered its first autosomal DNA test in 2012, the number of people who have done DNA tests started out as only maybe a few thousand.  Since then, we’ve seen dramatic growth each year:

  • 2013:  between 120,000-200,000 (estimates vary)
  • 2014:  Between 500,000-600,000 users in the US alone
  • 2015:  1 million Ancestry DNA users around the world
  • 2016: 1.5 million Ancestry DNA users worldwide
  • 2017:  more than 5 Million people had tested with Ancestry DNA
  • 2018:  more than 10 million people have done an Ancestry DNA test in total
  • 2020: The Ancestry database has grown to more than 18 million

While it seems like 18 million people is a lot, there are still more people who have not done a DNA test than have already done one. 

Even if we include the estimated database sizes of other DNA testing companies, the total number of people who have tested with Ancestry DNA is still less than the 20 million or so people who live in the New York City metropolitan area.  If you imagine it like this, then you can easily understand how many people haven’t done a test.

There is still lots of room for growth – which is good for those of us who are interested in DNA testing for genealogy.  It means that we still haven’t learned all that we can learn from our DNA.

Size of Ancestry DNA database:  Bigger is always better!

Bigger is better when it comes to any of the autosomal DNA testing companies, including Ancestry DNA as well as competing companies like Family Tree DNA, My Heritage DNA, Living DNA, and 23 and Me.  There are two main reasons that a bigger DNA sample database helps us – even those of us who have already done a DNA test:

  • More DNA testers mean more potential DNA matches
  • More DNA testers allow DNA testing companies to provide more features, tools, and updated ethnicity estimates

How more DNA matches can help us find living family and ancestors, too

As the Ancestry DNA database grows, the most exciting aspect (to me!) is the prospect of new DNA matches.  I’m searching for the true identity of my mother’s great-grandmother, who was born in Poland. 

The more DNA matches that my mother gets, the higher the chance that someone who is descended from my mom’s great-grandmother’s parents or other ancestors.  Many DNA matches are interested in family tree research and post their family trees online.

A big database of DNA matches means that people looking for living biological family or trying to learn about recent and distant ancestors will have an easier time with their search.

18 million Ancestry DNA users and growing?  I know I’ll find out about my great-great grandmother soon!  I’ve already found several previously unknown close cousins, and have knocked down lots of brick walls in my family tree, so I feel confident 🙂

Have you done a DNA test yet?

If you haven’t already done a DNA test, I would encourage you to do one.  As you can tell from this post, it is becoming more popular and you can learn more from your test than ever before.

Click the following link to get your Ancestry DNA test (I’ll get a small commission at no cost to you, of course!): Discovery the story AncestryDNA® can tell


I hope that this post gave you an idea as to the size of Ancestry DNA’s database, and why this is amazing news for those of us interested in DNA and genealogy.  If you have any questions about something that you read here, I’d love to hear from you in the discussion below.

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