AncestryDNA, where did I come from? Well kids, it's a lot more complicated than the stork, and it's a lot more complex than the birds and the bees. The AncestryDNA genetic testing kit helps curious boys and girls discover their heritage beyond Aunt Jan and Great Grandpa Stu and the 4th cousin you might have maybe kissed that one time at a family reunion.
AncestryDNA, like 23 and Me, is a home DNA test kit. Kits include a saliva collection tube with activation code, instructions for sample collections and submission, and a prepaid return mailer. In short, you send AncestryDNA some of your spit and they analyze it to determine your complete ethnic background and (optionally) link you up with new relatives determined from their DNA network of 6+ million people.
Once AncestryDNA receives your sample it typically takes 6 to 8 weeks for them to process and deliver your results. They'll send a link via email so you can view your complete workup online, via a password-protected Ancestry account. Results include the regions of the world where your DNA has roots and the option to attach a family tree to your test. AncestryDNA reports that a family tree "can open many paths of discovery and lead to new relatives you would never have known. After you link your results to your tree you may begin to find shared ancestor hints and DNA circles in your account.
In terms of privacy and who they're going to turn your genetic information over to, AncestryDNA makes some vague comments about "upholding our privacy principles," which are likely outlined in detail on your test activation form. They also say they will delete your test results or destroy your physical DNA sample upon your request.