Autosomal DNA Database Growth

New intel on database sizes has rolled in over the past 6 weeks, so it’s time to update the autosomal database growth graph!  Sources for the new data points are at the end of the post.


23andMe typically reports their database size once a year in the early spring; expect new numbers from them at RootsTech.  If they have continued to grow at their last-reported rate, their database should be around 13.6 million.  However, it’s likely they’ve seen a decline in sales much like AncestryDNA.

Had the databases continued to grow at the rates prior to April 2018, AncestryDNA would have about 26.7 million people, 23andMe 17.8 million, Family Tree DNA 2.3 million, and GEDmatch 2.1 million.  Only MyHeritage has outperformed expectations, with 3.6 million predicted, compared with their latest report of 3.77 million.



25 thoughts on “Autosomal DNA Database Growth”

  1. Well, 23andMe cuts me off at a certain level of matches. Ancestry DNA shows be thousands of matches that I can do almost nothing with for figuring out the connection.

    I like MyHeritage the best for trying to make sense of matches (where does that person live, where did the people on their tree live, what are their ROUGH ethnicity estimates, who do we share (hurray for including all those more distant folks) and is it on the same bit of DNA? Ancestry has more trees but in my case, they are mostly for descendants of siblings of my direct ancestors (100% born in Europe for the past 300 years plus). Many people cannot figure out how to go back to Europe with their trees… sometimes they will get the “country” in the records but it’s misleading (based on geopolitics of 19th or 18th century Europe) or wrong or much too general.

    I have a paid kit with all these companies, as well as with Family Tree. Hands down, I spend the most time looking at the MH database. (I also uploaded to GEDcom long ago. I feel uncomfortable about a private company taking over. It’s lost it’s special function, in my opinion.)

      1. I gave up on Myheritage and dropped out. Their constant nagware to pay them, plus obscure useless matches, was just too irritating. If they really provide all the information stated above, that is a breach of privacy I would say.

        And surely no-one really believes they can work out where their ancestors ‘came from’ with DNA?

        Give me a chromosome browser any day – for that reason I get anyone who is interested in our shared DNA to join FTDNA.

        Having said that, I do like the way you can colour in all your relatives having different strains of ancestors on Ancestry and put notes on them, very convenient.

        1. MyHeritage has a chromosome browser. It’s unfortunate that FTDNA misled their customers for so long about working with the FBI. I cannot in good conscience recommend a company that I don’t trust.

  2. It looks as though the slow down in the sale of kits is continuing to slow Is there a more detailed trend line showing growth since April 2018?

    1. I feel Ancestry gives me more bang for my buck because they have more people and the raw dna can be uploaded to the other sites … free! I have a paid account with My Heritage also because I’m able to gather all of the kits I manage in one place under my name.

  3. Leah, thanks for sharing.

    In the last few weeks, new matches at Ancestry has peaked up considerably after a slow period. Still, for me, very few trees compared to earlier time.

    Although I have tested at the top 4 companies, my time is spent at Ancestry, seldom ever accessing the other sites. So much genealogy, so little time, overwhelming.

  4. Clearly FTDNA has made major bets on pricing and advertising that have played to the company;s disadvantage. I’m sorry as they are a solid company even if they can’t restore my Family Tree to what it once was.

    1. Thanks for sharing this link. This sentence is notable, “The shift in the marketplace “surprised” CEO Anne Wojcicki, according to an interview she gave to CNBC.” If this were normal market saturation, it wouldn’t have taken Wojcicki by surprise.

  5. Do you know what percentage of GedMatch kits have opted in? The last numbers I saw were from 2019 and indicated their DB is now 1.3 million and 10% have opted in.

    I heard that Verogen which bought GedMatch is thinking of creating a sister database specifically to assist Law Enforcement.

    1. Last I heard it was about 200,000, so about 15%. That percentage will increase with new uploads because they have “opt in” as the default and are actively advocating for that without notifying users of the risks.

  6. I am fairly newe in genealogy research and have a brick wall with Hallie Toler DOB appx 1800 not sure if VA is the kistate of her birth. She was listed on her son James Harris 1924/25 death certificate. I cannot find anything on her.

    Secondly, I am going to venture onto DNA testing and want to know: what two DNA Test kits are the best. I am on a fixed income and with the Corona Viirus, I am not sure if I can afford them right this minute, but would like some help on the selection process.

    By the way, there is only one male sibling whom I plan on testing; I was informed allegedly females don’t provide good DNA results.

    Thank you.

    1. The idea that it’s better to test men than women is a misconception. There are three types of DNA tests—autosomal (atDNA), yDNA and mitochondrial (mtDNA)—and they’re used for different things. Autosomal is the workhorse of genetic genealogy; it tracks all branches of your tree and anyone can do it with equal success. The limitation is that it gets diluted each generation, so it’s easier to use for recent ancestors than distant ones. yDNA and mtDNA don’t get diluted, but they only track one branch of your tree: the direct paternal line for yDNA and the direct maternal line for mtDNA. Only men can do yDNA tests. Anyone can do mtDNA.

      All of that is background to answering your question. Since Hallie Toler was a woman, yDNA won’t help your brick wall at all. If she was a direct maternal ancestor of yours (that is, your mother’s mother’s mother’s … etc.), you might eventually want to consider a mtDNA test, but it’s not my first recommendation.

      The two best tests to do when getting started are AncestryDNA and 23andMe, in that order. Both should go on sale soon for DNA Day (April 25), and you can buy the cheapest version of each. I track prices here:

      If you can only afford one, do AncestryDNA.

      There’s a learning curve once you get your results, but it’s fun! In the meantime, find the social media pages for genealogy societies for the area and ask for help with the traditional part of the research. Good luck!

  7. Now that LivingDNA has expanded their Family Networks down to 9.5 cMs many people have seen their match totals increase and shared matches. I jumped from five to now 316. I hope they will have their chromosome browser and other features up and running soon. Perhaps now, more people will consider uploading their DNA (or buying their atDNA Ancestry kit) to their site to explore their matches there. Of course, it should be noted that if you upload onto their site, you will then have to Opt-In.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.