It‘s fun and fulfilling to spend time searching for distant family members with services such as Ancestry. But eventually, your search will run its course and give you all the information you need.
When that happens, keeping an Ancestry account may no longer be necessary. If you think you’re done mapping out your family tree, here’s how you can delete your Ancestry account and any data you may not want to have publicly available.
Log Into Your Account
Use the email address associated with your Ancestry account to login here . Note that when you begin the account deletion process, you will lose everything, including subscriptions you may have as an All Access subscription member.
The first section you have to go through before deleting your account is the “Your Subscription” section. Check the box to confirm that you understand you will be losing your subscriptions associated with your Ancestry account. Then proceed to the “Your Trees” section.
After confirming that you want to continue, know that all the family tree data associated with your account will also be deleted.
This also means that shared trees will no longer be visible to the people you’ve shared them with.
The next section is the DNA test results section. You also have to confirm that you’re willing to have all the data deleted regarding any DNA results before you can delete your account. This includes saliva samples and physical DNA samples, and anything else.
Click on the “Next Step” button to proceed.
Continuing with the Account Deletion Process
After you’ve checked all the previously mentioned boxes, a new pop-up box will appear. It will ask confirmation that you still want to delete your account.
An email will be sent to your email address, the one used to register your Ancestry account. The verification code inside the email is only available for eight hours. But here’s something unusual you have to keep in mind.
You should open a new tab in your browser to open up your email account. You can’t close the Ancestry tab while you check your email. Doing so will reset the account deletion process and will render the verification code invalid.
Enter the verification code into the “Confirm Account Deletion” box. It should be the box on the last page of the deletion process.
After typing in or pasting the code, click “Delete Account.”
What Happens After the Process Is Complete
Once you’ve clicked “Delete Account,” several things will happen. First of all, you will be signed out of your account. Your username and password will be deleted. Then, you will also get a confirmation email on the email address associated with your now former Ancestry account.
The email will confirm that the deletion process has started. This should be the last message you will receive from Ancestry to that email address.
Your account and its data won’t disappear immediately. After the process is initiated, it can take up to 30 days for all the content and data to be wiped. However, you won’t get another confirmation once the data is all gone. That’s mainly because the email address is among the first things to get deleted once you confirm initiating the process.
Keep in mind that refunds are out of the question at this point. Once the deletion process is initiated, the payment method associated with your account and email address will also be removed from the database. If you want to request a refund, be sure to do so before deleting your Ancestry account.
No Take Backs
This is an irreversible process, so make sure that it’s something you want to do. Some people give up on trying to find their relatives, while others just want to perform these searches more privately. If you want to be more selective with your matches and with who can see information about you, there are ways to protect yourself without having to delete your Ancestry account.
But if you are sure that you no longer need the services of Ancestry, at least make sure to download the tree and DNA data before starting the deletion process. This data can be downloaded at any time in .txt file formats.
Another thing you should know is that some of your data may not be deleted if you’ve given your consent to participate in studies or scientific research. Any ongoing studies will still use the data provided at the time of your consent and up to the point of deleting your account. That data won’t be used in further studies, but it may become available for others to see in published results.
An Alternative If Your Mind’s Not Set
Here is one alternative to deleting your ancestry account.
Both family trees and DNA matches can be deleted at any time from your account. Furthermore, you can also choose to hide your information by choosing not to be listed as a DNA match. This means that you can still keep the DNA data but it will only be available to you and not to anyone else to see.
Of course, this will also mean that you won’t be able to see DNA matches, but that’s a small price to pay if you’re worried about privacy.
Over to You
Has Ancestry been useful in helping you reconnect with distant family members? Share your experiences in the comments below.