At Ancestry, your privacy is a top priority. Ancestry is committed to always being a good steward of your Personal Information, handling it in a responsible manner, and securing it with industry standard administrative, technical, and physical safeguards. Ancestry follows three guiding principles when it comes to your privacy:
- Transparency. We work hard to be transparent about what Personal Information we collect and process.
- Simplicity. We strive to use easy-to-understand language to describe our privacy practices to help you make informed choices.
- Control. We give you control over the Personal Information you provide to us, including your DNA Data, and how it is used, shared, and retained.
Other Important Things for You to Understand When You Use Our Services
- You always maintain ownership of your DNA and DNA Data—you can manage and delete it as described in this Statement.
- You may discover unanticipated facts about yourself or your family when using our services. While we strive to give you control as you use the Services, once discoveries are made, we can’t undo it.
When you make new discoveries with us, you should feel confident and informed about how we use your Personal Information. Our full Privacy Statement is below and we encourage you to read it.
Effective as of December 14, 2017
Applicability and Ancestry Companies
This Privacy Statement describes the privacy practices of the Ancestry websites and mobile apps that link to this Statement, including Ancestry.com and Ancestry.com/dna.
If you reside in the United States, Ancestry.com Operations Inc. and Ancestry.com DNA, LLC are responsible for the use of your data and for responding to any requests related to your Personal Information.
If you reside outside the United States, Ancestry Ireland Unlimited Company (located in Ireland) is your data controller.
Contact information for these entities is listed at the bottom of this Statement.
To create an account to access our Services, you must agree to the Ancestry Terms and Conditions and this Privacy Statement by clicking “Continue” on the account creation page. By clicking “Continue,” you are telling us that you consent to Ancestry collecting, processing, and sharing your Personal Information (including your Genetic Information if you have taken the AncestryDNA test) as described in this Privacy Statement and in any other documents referenced in this Privacy Statement. At any time, you can delete information you have uploaded into your account, such as family tree information or your Genetic Information. If you no longer wish to have an Ancestry account, please contact us here and we will help you close your account and delete your Personal Information from your account, as described in Section 7 below.
Changes to this Statement
We may modify this Privacy Statement at any time, but we will provide prominent advance notice of any material changes to this Statement, such as posting a notice on our websites or sending you an email, to provide you the opportunity to review the changes and choose whether to continue using the Services.
We will also notify you of non-material changes to this Statement as of their effective date by posting a notice on our websites or sending you an email. Your continued use of our Services after notice of non-material changes means that you consent to the updated Privacy Statement.
If you object to any changes, you may delete your account by contacting us here.
2. Information We Collect From You
Account Information includes your name, email address, and a password that you provide us when you create an Ancestry account, and your phone number that we may collect to notify you of DNA test result status, or when you contact Ancestry Member Services by phone.
Credit Card/Payment Information: We collect payment information, such as your credit card number, and your billing and shipping address(es), when you purchase an Ancestry subscription or a DNA test kit.
DNA Kit Activation Information: When you activate a DNA test kit, we collect your DNA test kit code, your sex and year of birth.
Profile Information: We collect the information that you provide when you voluntarily create a user profile. This information may be seen by other users of the Services. If you do not enhance your Ancestry profile to include personal details (for example, a profile image, your name, age, location, etc.), only your username will be visible to other Ancestry members.
User Provided Content: We collect the information voluntarily provided by you when you populate your family tree, including stories, images, and any details about living individuals you list in your family tree. Information about deceased persons is not Personal Information under this Statement.
Genetic Information: We extract your DNA from your saliva at our partner laboratory when you submit it in the tube provided with your AncestryDNA test kit. We convert your DNA into machine-readable code (“DNA Data”), which is then used to provide you an ethnicity estimate as well as other information about you. For clarity, the Genetic Information we collect consists of:
- Your DNA Data;
- Information derived from your DNA Data. This includes your ethnicity estimate, your connection to genetic relatives in our database, and any genetic markers associated with physical traits, such as hair color or traits associated with your health and wellness. A ‘genetic marker’ is basically a DNA sequence or sequences that may identify a certain trait.
A note about your DNA and Saliva: Once our laboratory partner has produced your DNA Data, the DNA and saliva (also referred to as “biological samples”) are stored so that they can be available for future testing. Such future testing may be done under our Informed Consent to Research or otherwise if you consent. Section 7 below describes how you can control both your DNA Data and your biological samples.
Social Media Information: If you use Facebook to log into Ancestry services, we collect information from your Facebook profile that you consent to provide to us (for example your Facebook profile information).
Additional User Information: We collect information that you provide to us when you answer email surveys and online questionnaires offered through the Services.
Your Comments and Communications: We collect information in any comments you voluntarily post on our Services. We also collect information you provide when you participate in community discussions, chats, or when you communicate with other members using Ancestry’s messaging platform. Any information you provide in these areas can be read, collected, and used by other participants in these communications. We also collect information you provide in communications with Ancestry Member Services.
Contests and Promotions: We collect Personal Information when you voluntarily participate in contests and special promotions we run through our Services.
3. Information We Collect Through Use of the Services
Computer and Mobile Device Information: We collect information about how you access our Services, including the website you visited prior to landing on Ancestry’s site. We also automatically receive the Internet protocol (“IP”) address of your computer, mobile device, or the proxy server that you use to access the Internet, in addition to other technical information, such as:
- Your computer operating system,
- Your web browser,
- The web page you visit immediately prior to and upon leaving Ancestry websites,
- Your mobile device identifier provided by your mobile device operating system and your mobile operating system, and
- The name of your internet service provider or mobile carrier.
Information shared through social media features: If you interact with social media functionality available in the Services, for example “Like,” “Tweet,” “Pin,” or “Follow Us” links to sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube, Ancestry will collect these interactions and whatever account information these services make available to us. Your interactions with these features are governed by the privacy statement of the applicable social network company.
Information from your use of the Services:
We collect data about your use of the Services, such as when you search or access records or public family trees, which pages you view or links you click on, or when you add people to your tree, etc.
4. Information We Collect From Other Sources
Information from Public and Historical Records: Ancestry collects records from various sources, usually from official record sources, including newspapers, as well as birth, death, and marriage records, which may contain Personal Information relating to you. These records are generally part of Ancestry’s subscription Services.
Information from Third Parties: We may also receive information about you from third parties. For example, we may supplement the data we collect with demographic information licensed from third parties in order to personalize the Services and our offers to you. If you purchase a gift subscription, we will collect Personal Information to complete the gift and notify the recipient.
5. Uses of Your Personal Information
We use your Personal Information to provide, personalize, understand, improve, update and expand our Services. This includes using your information for:
- Authenticating your access to the Services and improving Ancestry information security;
- Processing your payments for subscriptions, AncestryDNA services and test kits, and other premium products and features;
- Building new and improving existing products and Services;
- Helping you create, and providing insights about, your family trees based on data in Ancestry’s databases;
- Issuing surveys and questionnaires to collect Additional User Information for use in the Services, as well as facilitating product development and research initiatives;
- Communicating with you about the Services, such as when we:
- Respond to your inquiries to Member Services;
- Alert you to potential relatives identified by DNA matching, or through our family history services (for example, “Hints” about potential ancestors in our database);
- Alert you to records pertaining to people in your family tree or to whom you may be related;
- Inform you of product changes or new products and services;
- Ask you to participate in Ancestry media productions or testimonials; and,
- Provide you information or request action in response to technical, security, and other operational issues;
- Marketing new products and offers from us or our business partners. This includes advertising personalized to your interests. You can control how we market to you by using the unsubscribe link in any email you receive, by changing your account preferences, or by following the instructions in any other marketing communications you may receive;
- Conducting scientific, statistical, and historical research; and
- Detecting and protecting against error, fraud, or other criminal or malicious activity and enforcing our Terms and Conditions.
Ancestry uses your Genetic Information for the following primary purposes:
- Delivering ethnicity results, DNA matches (e.g., close relatives or distant cousins) from our database, and other information to help you learn more about yourself, your relatives and genetic family groups;
- Connecting you with your relatives in our database through features such as DNA matching, or other product features;
- Providing you other insights into what your DNA reveals about traits, personal health and wellness; we may also invite you to participate in surveys and questionnaires (entirely optional) based on your DNA data.
- Providing relevant results to assist you in discovering common ancestors and other details about your family history, as well as helping you connect with friends and family;
- Studying aggregated Genetic Information to better understand population and ethnicity-related health, wellness, aging, or physical conditions;
- Conducting scientific, statistical, and historical research; and,
- Improving features and functionality in our existing DNA-related products, enhancing the customer experience across Ancestry products, improving the quality of our laboratory processes and technology, and building new products and services, including services related to personal health and wellness.
We will seek additional consent from you before we collect and process sensitive Personal Information (for example, health history) as part of your interaction with the Services.
6. When We Share Your Information
Ancestry does not share your individual Personal Information (including your Genetic Information) with third-parties without your additional consent other than as described in this Privacy Statement. In particular, we will not share your Genetic Information with insurance companies, employers, or third-party marketers without your express consent. The circumstances described below explain when sharing might occur:
- Other Ancestry Members: Any information you add to your Ancestry profile will be seen by other Ancestry members, as will public family tree details (we do not show living people in your tree to other users without your permission), and DNA matches (when you choose to see and be seen by your DNA matches).
- Service Providers: We use the services of other companies to help us provide the Services to you. As a result, these partner companies will have some of your information in their systems. Our partners act only at the direction of Ancestry, and are subject to contractual obligations governing data security and confidentiality consistent with this Privacy Statement and applicable laws. These partners include our laboratory partners, DNA test shipping providers, credit card processors, cloud services infrastructure providers, biological sample storage facilities, and vendors that assist us in marketing, analytics, fraud prevention, and Member Support.
- Research Partners: We share your Genetic Information with research partners only when you provide us with your express consent to do so through our Informed Consent to Research. By agreeing to the Informed Consent to Research you agree to the specified uses described in that document. Research partners may include commercial or non-profit organizations that conduct or support scientific research or conduct or support the development of therapeutics, medical devices or related material to treat, diagnose or predict health conditions. In some circumstances, a research partner or Ancestry may have a financial interest in the research arrangement. A list of our research partners can be found here.
- For Legal or Regulatory Process: We may share your Personal Information if we believe it is reasonably necessary to:
- Comply with valid legal process (e.g., subpoenas, warrants);
- Enforce or apply the Ancestry Terms and Conditions;
- Protect the security or integrity of the Services; or
- Protect the rights, property, or safety, of Ancestry, our employees or users.
If we are compelled to disclose your Personal Information to law enforcement, we will do our best to provide you with advance notice, unless we are prohibited under the law from doing so. In the interest of transparency, Ancestry produces a Transparency Report where we list the number of valid law enforcement requests for user data across all our sites.
- If Ancestry is Acquired: In the event that Ancestry or its businesses are acquired or transferred to another entity (in whole or part and including in connection with any bankruptcy or similar proceedings), we will share your Personal Information with that entity. The promises in this Privacy Statement will apply to your Personal Information as transferred to the new entity.
A note about aggregated data: Ancestry may disclose user information in an aggregated form as part of the Services or our marketing, or in scientific publications published by us or our research partners. For example, we might note the percentage of immigrants in a State that are from a particular geographic region or country. Such publications will never include Personal Information.
Privacy Settings: You can access and update the Personal Information you provide to Ancestry at any time, such as your email address, username, profile information, etc. in the Profile, Account Options, Site Preferences, Email Preferences, Test Settings, and My Alerts sections.
Also, to learn how to manage the privacy settings for any family trees you have created on Ancestry, please click here.
Ancestry strives to make it simple for you to manage your privacy within the context of the Services. You can manage your privacy settings for our related brands by clicking on the following links:
Access to the settings is also contained within Ancestry’s mobile applications, such as the Ancestry, AncestryDNA or “We’re Related” apps.
Family Tree Information Download: Ancestry allows you to download your family tree information in the standard GEDCOM family tree file format in your Family Tree Settings.
Genetic Information Download: Your DNA Data belongs to you. You always have the option of downloading a file with your DNA Data. Learn how here. For more information on what is included in your DNA Data download, go here.
Deletion: You can delete your Personal Information from Ancestry in a number of ways through the settings linked above. If you require assistance deleting Personal Information you provided as part of your profile or subscription or from our blog or community forum, please submit a detailed deletion request (including the exact wording of the information as it appears on the websites, and the URL where that information is found) to our Member Services team. Please note however, if you have shared information through the Services (for example, by making your family trees public, or by sharing your DNA Results directly with other users), Ancestry will not be able to remove any copies of information that other Ancestry members may have retained.
Additionally, Ancestry may hold records that contain your Personal Information that we are obligated to maintain as archives. Please direct any request to remove information from linked archival records to the responsible archival entity. We will consider requests for removal of Personal Information from the searchable indexes of the records we hold on a case-by-case basis and will endeavor to fully respect your requests to remove Personal Information. Additionally, some of your Personal Information may be included in other Ancestry members’ family trees, which will only be removed if the other Ancestry member deletes it.
Deletion of Genetic Information: If you request that Ancestry delete your DNA Data, we will delete all Genetic Information, including any derivative Genetic Information (ethnicity estimates, genetic relative matches, etc.) from our production, development, analytics, and research systems within 30 days. To request the destruction of your biological samples, you must contact Member Services. Please note that if you have agreed to our Informed Consent to Research, we will not be able to remove your Genetic Information from active or completed research projects, but we will not use it for any new research projects.
Generally: All Ancestry data, including Personal Information, will persist in our backup systems after it has been deleted from our production, development, analytics, and research systems for up to 6 months before it is overwritten. Also, our laboratory partners may retain information they receive from us in order to comply with laws or regulations that may require them to do so, such as the Clinical Laboratory Improvements Amendments regulations administered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Ancestry may also retain certain information for tax and payment industry regulatory compliance purposes.
Ancestry maintains a comprehensive information security program designed to protect our customers’ Personal Information using administrative, physical, and technical safeguards based on the sensitivity of the Personal Information collected. We have measures in place to protect against inappropriate access, loss, misuse, or alteration of Personal Information (including Genetic Information) under our control. Ancestry’s Security Team regularly reviews our security and privacy practices and enhances them as necessary to help ensure the integrity of our systems and your Personal Information. We use secure server software to encrypt Personal Information (including Genetic Information), and we only partner with security companies that meet and commit to our security standards. While we cannot guarantee that loss, misuse or alteration of data will not occur, we use reasonable efforts to prevent this. It is also important for you to guard against unauthorized access to your Personal Information by maintaining strong passwords and protecting against the unauthorized use of your own computer or device.
9. Data Transfer
Any transfer of your Personal and Genetic Information, between Ancestry’s U.S.-based company for processing in Ireland or Ancestry’s Ireland-based company for processing in the United States, is conducted pursuant to established transfer mechanisms such as Standard Contractual Clauses.
10. Regulatory Compliance and Dispute Resolution
We seek to resolve all privacy matters reported to us. However, if you have an unresolved privacy or data use concern that we have not addressed satisfactorily, you can also contact our U.S.-based third-party dispute resolution provider (free of charge) here.
Users outside of the United States may contact the Irish Data Protection Commission, or your local Data Protection Authority.
California’s Shine the Light Law
California Civil Code Section 1798.83, known as the “Shine the Light” law, permits Users who are California residents to request and obtain from us a list of what Personal Information (if any) we disclosed to third parties for their direct marketing purposes in the preceding calendar year and the names and addresses of those third parties. Requests may be made only once a year and are free of charge. Under Section 1798.83, Ancestry currently does not share any Personal Information with third parties for their own direct marketing purposes.
If you have any questions or concerns about this Privacy Statement, our privacy practices, or wish to update, access or receive information about the Personal Information we maintain about you, you can contact us as follows:
Official correspondence must be sent via postal mail to:
For members located in the United States:
Ancestry.com Operations Inc.
Attn: Privacy Office
153 Townsend Street, Suite 800
San Francisco, CA 94107
For members located outside of the United States:
Ancestry Ireland Unlimited Company
Attn: Privacy Office
52-55 Sir John Rogerson Quay