Is My Heritage DNA Accurate?

Are you checking out your My Heritage DNA results? How accurate is My Heritage DNA? In this post, I’ll discuss the My Heritage DNA ethnicity estimate and DNA matches in order to help you understand the accuracy of your results.

Many people have found that their My Heritage DNA ethnicity estimate appears to be quite different from the ethnicity estimate that they received from another testing company. This sometimes causes additional questions about whether DNA matches on the site should be viewed with skepticism.

Is My Heritage DNA Accurate_

I’ve been using My Heritage DNA for a few years now, and manage the results of several family members on the site. In addition, I have done, or have had family members do on my behalf, DNA tests on all of the major DNA testing sites.

In other words, I can speak to the differences seen between results of the same individuals, and the accuracy of said results.

Note: If you didn’t do a DNA test with My Heritage DNA, you can upload your DNA to the site for free and get DNA matches – so awesome!

Is the My Heritage DNA ethnicity estimate accurate?

This is the most common question that I get about My Heritage results. Perhaps the regions don’t seem to match what you know about your family history, what you saw in results from another company, or what you were expecting to see.

I have found from experience that My Heritage ethnicity results are generally accurate. I carefully use the term “generally” accurate because the technology of ethnicity estimates is evolving, and thus the science of estimating one’s ancestry is far from foolproof.

Take, for example, the following example from a family member’s My Heritage results. This person also took a DNA test with Family Tree DNA, and I included their FTDNA myOrigins estimate below for you to compare with the My Heritage estimate:

Example of my heritage dna ethnicity results

The family member to whom these results belong has lived in Southeast Europe his entire life, but has significant recent ancestry in Eastern Europe. As you can see, My Heritage has correctly identified the main source of his ancestry (in the large circle) as Eastern European.

In the image below, you can see the same person’s Family Tree DNA results. They have an almost identical percentage of Eastern European on both sites.

The primary difference is that Family Tree DNA assigned him 22% of West and Central Europe category.

comparison of ethnicity estimate from my heritage to family tree dna

Does this mean that My Heritage is wrong? Or does it mean that the Family Tree DNA results were wrong ? I would posit that neither results are “wrong”.

If we look carefully at the map, we can see that the West and Central Europe category on Family Tree DNA overlaps with the geographic region covered by the Eastern European category on My Heritage.

By examining the map and the regions covered by each ethnicity category, we can see that both companies are basically saying the same thing.

When you are looking at your own results, closely examine the areas on the map covered by regions that show up on your ethnicity estimate. You will probably find that your unexpected region is neighboring the geographic area that you expected to see

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Are My Heritage DNA matches accurate?

Your My Heritage DNA match list is just as accurate as a DNA match list from Ancestry DNA, Living DNA, 23andMe, and Family Tree DNA. People who are listed as being closely related to you are almost definitely closely related and likely fall within the estimated relationship range provided by My Heritage.

Both of my parents and my daughter have all taken DNA tests, and below you can see how they show up on my My Heritage DNA match list. They are very clearly estimated to be, in order, my mother, my father, and my daughter:

are my heritage dna matches accurate

My Heritage DNA matches tend to be just about identical to what I see on the other sites where I’ve tested my DNA. I notice a lot of the same people on all of my DNA match lists (no matter the company) and so I am able to make lots of comparisons across the sites.

In other words, My Heritage DNA matches fit right in with the rest of the crowd 🙂

Not only is your My Heritage DNA match list likely to be very accurate, but it’s actually going to be pretty helpful. My Heritage allows you to sort and filter your matches in all sorts of ways that you can’t do on most of the other sites, which I find to be lots of fun and very informative

If you still are left with any doubt (which you shouldn’t be), you can check out the chromosome browser (yay!!) on the My Heritage site which allows you to examine the exact DNA segments on the specific chromosome where you match your DNA matches.

You’ll be be able to sort out how you are related to your matches in no time at all.

Yes, My Heritage DNA results are overall very accurate

So, I am a fan of My Heritage DNA, as you might be able to tell. I have a lot of fun with my results, and I am sure that you will, too. Once you get started building your family tree using your DNA matches as a guide, I’m sure you will feel pretty satisfied with the accuracy of your My Heritage DNA results.

If you have any questions about a specific aspect of your My Heritage DNA results, or would like to ask about something you read in this post, join me in the discussion below.

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