Ancestry announced that in two days, July 18th, each new AncestryDNA kit (except for minors) will need to be activated in a unique Ancestry account. Ancestry wrote about it here: Enhancing Collaboration and Roles on DNA Results. This will make AncestryDNA a less desirable product as a result. The company is trying to advertise it as improving security. Instead, it is more likely they are trying to increase their advertising list size and subscriber base. The way they are presenting this change feels dishonest, and will likely make it more difficult to research, since new accounts will be less likely connected to trees or managed by genealogy enthusiasts.
When the change is made, there still will be ways to let another Ancestry account manage the data, as there is now. But not everyone will successfully add that account manager. Also, that initial step of having to register the kit in an account with no DNA test already, likely a new account, will be a major turn-off to a lot of people.
On Amazon Prime day I ordered an AncestryDNA kit for my grandmother who had already tested at FamilyTreeDNA, because they don’t have the database size of AncestryDNA. The kit arrived yesterday, and my mother gave me the information to register the kit in my account, thankfully before this deadline. My grandmother is 95 years old. She does not have an email address. She can read a screen when shown to her, but cannot navigate a computer or tablet. The steps needed for her to sign up for her own Ancestry account would be a giant hurdle. Yet the oldest generation is the most important one to test. (See DNA Testing, The Difference it Makes Testing One Generation Back: Case Study.)
In another case, I paid for a kit for a more distant relative. The person created an account and took the test. They have attempted, but still have not been able to successfully change the account settings to allow me to access the data. I later spoke with a researcher who helps connect adoptees to biological family. I mentioned this to her. She said that I had made a rookie mistake. She always activates the kits she sends out. It is the best practice in conducting successful research. This is not something that Ancestry should be prohibiting.
There are several comments to the Ancestry blog article with the annoucement, pretty universally negative. Feel free to add your comments as well. Again. the link is here.
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