Is it possible to get an ethnicity estimate for free? In this post, learn a few ways to find out your ethnicity for free – with and without using DNA.
With the growing popularity of DNA testing, it is no surprise that some people are wondering if it is possible to get an ethnicity estimate for free. Others still have already done their DNA test, and would like a free alternative to the ethnicity estimate provided by their testing company.
In this post, I’ll tell you whether you can get a free ethnicity DNA test and if you already have had your DNA tested, how to get a free alternative ethnicity estimate.
Can you get a DNA ethnicity estimate for free?
If you have not already done a DNA test, then you cannot find out your DNA ethnicity for free. You’ll have to begin the process of finding out your family’s true ancestral origins by doing a basic genealogical DNA test.
The following companies offer reputable DNA testing for less than $100, and you will usually get your results in 4-8 weeks:
- Ancestry DNA
- 23 and Me
- Family Tree DNA
- My Heritage DNA
I know that spending between $59-$99 might seem like a lot of money for some people, especially if you think about it as something frivolous or unnecessary. While testing your DNA isn’t absolutely necessary to live a fulfilling life, I would encourage you to think about it if it is something you’ve been interested in doing.
A DNA kit costs less than some people’s monthly cable subscription, a week of lunches out, a decent dinner out with your significant other, or a monthly cellphone bill.
Apart from getting a fairly accurate ethnicity estimate, which can give you a good idea about your family’s ethnic heritage, you can also get access to hundreds to thousands of DNA relatives that match your DNA. From close relatives to distant cousins, you never know who you will find and what you will learn about your family.
To recap, testing your DNA will allow you to:
- View your ethnicity estimate and share it with family and friends
- Access a list of DNA matches, and contact them if you would like to
- Learn about your family history, and build a family tree, if you are interested
I’m a huge fan of DNA testing. There is so much that you can learn from the experience – and it goes way beyond what we can accomplish with traditional family tree research.
Learn more about what you can accomplish with DNA testing:
- Best DNA test for ethnicity
- Why I did a DNA test for ethnicity?
- 10 things I learned after checking my DNA matches for a year
- Using your DNA matches for genealogy
How to estimate ethnicity without a DNA test
If you can’t take a DNA test right now, or would prefer not to, you can get an idea about what your results might show by doing a bit of family tree research. Most people can build their family tree back as far as great-great grandparents.
We all have 16 great-great grandparents. If you examine each of these ancestors and them the ethnicity you believe matches best, you can do your own “ethnicity estimate”.
Each great-great grandparent contributes about 6.25% of your DNA. If you assign 6.25% of a region for each great-great grandparent, you should be able to come up with your own estimate similar to an ethnicity estimate.
If I have already tested my DNA, can I get another ethnicity estimate for free?
If you have already done a DNA test and are looking for an alternative ethnicity estimate other than the one provided by your DNA testing company – great!
Most DNA testing companies allow you to download your raw DNA data into a file for storing on your computer. You can also upload this file to other websites that can provide you with additional DNA matches and an ethnicity estimate.
Some people are interested in alternative ethnicity estimates because they feel like something should have “shown up” on their testing company’s estimate, but it didn’t, or they wonder how accurate their estimate is and they want a second opinion.
I have three excellent suggestions for getting a free ethnicity estimate.
Download your raw DNA data and upload to Gedmatch
Upload your DNA to Gedmatch, a primarily free site, and use the “Admixture Calculators” available there. These are calculators designed by independent researchers, and most of them are specifically geared towards people with specific ethnicity regions. Try out several different calculators to see what you learn.
Upload your raw DNA data file to My Heritage DNA
Upload your DNA to MyHeritage DNA, which currently allows free uploads from the “Big 3” testing companies and lets you access free ethnicity results. I also enjoy MyHeritage DNA match list and have discovered a significant number of close and distant relatives on the site.
Upload your raw DNA data file to Family Tree DNA
If you don’t mind spending $19, there is one more option for an affordable ethnicity estimate. Family Tree DNA accepts uploads from the most popular testing companies, and provides a list of DNA matches for free.
If you would like to see their estimate of your ethnicity (called the myOrigins estimate), you will have to pay a $19 upgrade fee. Along with an ethnicity estimate, you also receive access to a chromosome browser to compare your DNA with your DNA matches, which is a great tool to have access to.
I hope that this article has helped you understand how to get an ethnicity estimate for free if you have already done a DNA test. If you haven’t done a test yet, maybe you learned a little bit about the benefits of testing – and how to estimate your ethnicity without DNA.
If you have any questions or comments about anything that you read here, I would love to hear from you in the comment section.
Thanks for stopping by!