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What Can I See on Ancestry DNA Without a Subscription?

Are you wondering what you can see on Ancestry DNA without paying a monthly subscription? Maybe you are curious about what happens after you do your DNA test if you don’t pay a monthly subscription fee?

Perhaps you have a subscription, and you are thinking about cancelling it for a while? Maybe you just don’t have the time to spend on your DNA results right now.

No matter your reasons for wondering, in this post, I will show you exactly what someone without a subscription will be able to see on Ancestry DNA, which features you still have access to, and whether or not your results will still be updated even if you don’t have a subscription.

Bonus: At the end of this article, I’ll tell you what you won’t be able to see, and give you a link for a two-week free trial, just in case you are interested in trying out a subscription.

What you have access to without an Ancestry DNA subscription

If you did a DNA test with Ancestry, but you don’t currently have an subscription, or are wondering if you need one, I will show you here exactly what you will be able to see when you log into your account.

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You will have access to your main dashboard without a subscription

When you log into Ancestry DNA, you will still see your main dashboard, just like you would with a subscription. From this dashboard, you will be able to see an overview of your ethnicity estimate, an overview of the number of DNA matches that you have, and whether or not you are a member of any DNA Circles.

The image below is from my daughter’s DNA test. She was 17 years old when she did her test, and she decided that she wanted to do it under her own account since she was close to turning 18.

I agreed with her, since I felt like she was old enough to manage her own DNA account. She doesn’t have a subscription, however, so when she logs in to her DNA account, this is what she sees:

What you can see on Ancestry DNA without a subscription

Without an Ancestry DNA subscription, you can still access your Ethnicity Estimate

If you click on “Discover Your DNA Story”, everything is pretty similar to what you see when you do have a subscription. You’ll still be able to see your entire ethnicity estimate, along with the maps, descriptions, and migration routes of your ancestors.

In the image below, you can see that my daughter is able to explore all of the map regions. If she were to click on a particular ethnicity region, she could read the descriptions of the history of the area, and even read about the genetic diversity of people currently living in those areas.

Does you ethnicity result look different without a subscription

You can still access your DNA match list without a subscription

If you don’t have an Ancestry subscription, you will still be able to access your DNA match list. You will be able to see all of the categories of DNA matches, from immediate family to distant cousins.

can you still see your dna match list without an ancestry subscription

If you click on any particular DNA match, you will be able to see their ethnicity regions, how much DNA you share, as well as their estimated relationship to you.

The image below is of my daughter’s DNA match with a great-uncle. As you can see, she is able to see either their name or initials, the name of the person who manages the test results, their ethnicity regions, their DNA Circle connection, their predicted relationship, as well as a few other details. She is even able to view how many centimorgans they share in common.

what information can you see about your dna match without a subscription

You can still see which DNA Circles you belong to without a subscription

If you are interested in seeing whether you belong to any DNA Circles, you can still have access to this information. My daughter is in 16 DNA Circles, and when she clicks on her DNA Circle tab, this is what she is able to view:

Can you still see DNA circles without a subscription?

What does an Ancestry subscription allow you to view in your DNA results?

By this point, you have realized that there is a lot of information that you can gather from your DNA results even if you don’t have a subscription. This could lead someone to wonder if a subscription is even necessary to get the most from an Ancestry DNA test.

While it is true that you can do a great amount of research without a subscription, in order to really get the most from your results, a subscription – even for a short period of time – will serve you well.

Note: The information in your ethnicity results will be basically the same whether you have a subscription or not. The main benefit in having a subscription is related to your DNA matches and your DNA Circles – and it’s a huge benefit.

With a subscription, you can easily figure out how you are related to your DNA matches

If you don’t have a subscription, you won’t be able to view any information about your match’s family tree, or the family trees of shared matches. Viewing the family tree of your DNA matches is the best and easiest way to figure out how you might be related, and to learn more about your own family tree.

If my daughter clicks on her match (she doesn’t have a subscription, remember), she will only be able to see the basics about her match, as I described above. If she scrolls down to view the tree, there will be nothing there except for a message about subscribing.

Since I do have a subscription, I can see more information about my DNA match’s family tree. The image below shows what I see when my mom (who also has a subscription) sees when she clicks on me as a DNA match.

I have “marked-up” the image in order to show a few extra things that you can easily do to learn more about your DNA match. My marks and comments are in red.

Example of Ancestry DNA match profile

With my subscription, I am able to view the details of my Shared Ancestor Hints

Shared Ancestor Hints appear on your dashboard, right when you log in to your DNA results.  In order to get Shared Ancestor Hints, you need to have a public family tree that goes back at leads a couple of generations. 

A Shared Ancestor Hint means that that Ancestry’s software system has analyzed your family tree, and the family tree of your DNA match, and has found a common ancestor.

Shared Ancestor Hints give me an exact breakdown of how I am related to my match, and gives me our exact relationship, and saves me all of the guess work and calculations:

what does it look like when you have a shared ancestor hint with someone

Ancestry DNA Circles can only be explored with a subscription

Ancestry DNA Circles are a very cool feature of testing your DNA with that company.  It is essentially “proof”, even more substantial than a Shared Ancestor Hint, that you actually do descend from a particular individual. 

A DNA Circle is made up of “family groups” of individuals who are members of a family unit descended from a specific ancestor.  When there are a few family groups with the same common ancestor, is created. 

Not everyone in the DNA Circle shares DNA, since we don’t share DNA with all of our relatives.  This is a great way to find relatives that might have very useful information about your family tree, but who are not on your DNA match list.

How cool is that?

So when I want to check on a specific DNA Circle, below is what I see (I did grey out names for privacy, however).  I can click on names to learn more, or even get in touch with new relatives I didn’t know about:

DNA Circle Example

An Ancestry subscription makes building a family tree quick and easy!

Even though this is not directly related to your DNA results, being able to quickly build your family tree back a few more generations is a great way to get the most from your DNA results.  With a family tree, you can quickly see how you are related to many of your DNA matches, get Shared Ancestor Hints, and get placed into DNA Circles with your DNA matches. 

An Ancestry subscription makes looking for documents and records very easy, and you can add people to your tree with just a few clicks.

So while I understand that not everyone can have a subscription all the time, it’s very useful to have a subscription while you are first exploring your results and definitely while you are building your family tree.

How to get a free trial for an Ancestry subscription

If you think that you would like to try out a subscription on Ancestry to see if it is right for you, you can use the following link to get a two-week free trial.  If you decide to subscribe once the free trial is over, I will receive a very small commission at no extra cost to you – thank you for your support!


I hope that this explanation about what you can and cannot do with your DNA results without a subscription was helpful.  If you have any questions about something that you read, or if I left something out, I would encourage you to leave a comment below. 

I look forward to hearing from you!

Thanks for stopping by today.

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Wednesday 9th of December 2020

Hi ☺️

If you obtain your dna test without a subscription and then upgrade later- will you you benefit from all the perks of a subscription as though you had one all along?

Many thanks


Wednesday 9th of December 2020

Hi Emily, That's a great question! Yes, you can upgrade your account at any time and be able to get all of the benefits of having one - you won't miss out on anything in particular by waiting. Have a great day, Mercedes

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