I have been recommending AncestryDNA here on this site for the past several months now because I’ll be the first to admit it’s much easier to use than FamilyTreeDNA in terms of seeing possible shared ancestor hints and locations of the ancestors of your matches.
That said, because of the terrible technical issues that Ancestry has been having lately I have cancelled my subscription and I do not plan to renew until they’ve gotten their act together. In other words, if I can’t search certain the matches on certain DNA kits for surnames, then why would I pay for a service that is failing to live up to its price tag?
One thing I was not aware of when I cancelled my subscription is that without a paid Ancestry membership, you cannot view your matches surnames or your shared ancestor hints. That doesn’t make me wish I hadn’t cancelled my membership. Instead, it kind of makes me wish I never had any tests done with AncestryDNA to start with, as I feel like yet again, they’re holding information that they don’t own hostage.
That’s hugely disappointing since this is one area in which FamilyTreeDNA beats them hands-down. While FTDNA only gives you results to the 5th cousin level, and their family trees are cumbersome to navigate, at least they don’t pretend like they own that data.
Ancestry, on the other hand, does pretend they own the data. A shared ancestor hint is NOT like a hint for data in their subscription-only collections. They are essentially telling you that a genetic cousin and you likely share a certain ancestor, but they won’t tell you who it is — even though you ALREADY PAID FOR the DNA kit — unless you buy a monthly subscription.
Do they really think that their best, most loyal customer base is buying a DNA kit for that lame, constantly changing ethnicity report? Of course not! So if someone like myself, who pretty much is a year-round Ancestry subscriber with only very occasional, short periods in which I’m not paying for a membership, takes a break from a regular genealogy research subscription for a month or two (while they’re trying to fix all of their massive, system-wide technical issues), I shouldn’t be also locked out of any usefulness in our family’s AncestryDNA results. I bought the kits. Does that entitle me to nothing useful on the AncestryDNA site?
It just goes to show there are no perfect genealogical DNA companies. If GEDmatch could allow easier surname searching for your matches DNA kits, it would be near perfect and I’d gladly pay a monthly subscription for that! This is where free markets work… ultimately, customer demands will create newer and better products and services and I look forward to seeing that as it unfolds.
Ancestry may or may not get me back as a customer after this. I’m thinking they probably will at some point because surely they’ll have to fix their flaky issues eventually, but only the good Lord knows how long that will take.
That’s all for now! Happy researching!