Genealogy Sites - Living DNA

Living DNA logo


Living DNA was co-founded by the husband-and-wife team of David Nicholson and Hannah Morden-Nicholson in Frome, Somerset in 2016. The company remains based there and is privately owned.

Part of DNA Worldwide, British-based Living DNA competes with the likes of Ancestry DNA and MyHeritage DNA there.  Its DNA testing is outsourced to a lab in Denmark.

DNA Testing

Living DNA

The company provides a detailed breakdown of your ancestry across 80 regions worldwide, including 21 sub-regional breakdowns for the British Isles.  While the DNA test results provide information about the origins of a person, genealogy – i.e. finding relatives in historic time – is not yet really a part of the company’s portfolio.  And its database is small (around 300,000) compared to competitors like Ancestry DNA.

You can also take a wellbeing test that gives you personalized recommendations for your diet and lifestyle based on your genetics.

Living DNA is one of the few companies to make a commitment to keep your results private. While they do use your data to do research, they do not aggregate and sell your DNA data like some other companies.

Still, there have been some DNA privacy concerns.  Published research has found that hackers using creative means could more easily exploit the DNA files held online by smaller companies such as Living DNA with less defenses.

The DNA testing fee starts at £79 and costs  £179 with the wellbeing test. From 2018 the service has been partnered with Findmypast to offer a combined service that includes both a DNA test and access to Findmypast’s historical records.

Living DNA is seen as a good budget-friendly option for users who want basic ancestry information and health reports. It does include matrilineal and patrilineal testing.  But customers looking for a higher-quality or an in-depth version of an ancestry or wellness report may be disappointed.

How Does Living DNA Compare?  

If your ancestry is in Britain alone, Living DNA can be a reasonable choice.  They can break your ancestor origin down almost to the county level.  For those that want it, matrilineal and patrilineal DNA-testing can also be done.

However, bigger sites – in particular Ancestry DNA – can be very competitive here.  And Living DNA’s weakness is that their small DNA user base means that potential matches will be few.

If your ancestry is outside the UK, Living DNA is a less reasonable choice.

Alternative Views  

Some alternative views of Living DNA by Family History Fanatics can be seen in this video.

These are some customer views:

“Really nice team at Living DNA. I have had a few things I needed help with and they responded to my requests amazingly quickly and gave me the help I needed. Very approachable and responsive and well informed.”

“Ancestry results are basic. I paid for the upgrade and didn’t get much more information. I’ve uploaded my DNA to about five other sites that returned very similar results except this site. I regret paying for an upgrade.”

“I think the results are inaccurate. I have about a quarter Danish DNA on my paternal side which other sites accurately picked up on.  Also this is verified through genealogy and surnames within my family and testing of other family members  But this company said all of my DNA is from the British Isles.  But then it said that I am 90% related to Norwegian Vikings.  So the results don’t make sense.  Plus the site is not user-friendly.”

Customer Rating: 42% (average of Trustpilot and Amazon ratings).  Living DNA ranks 6th of the 6 DNA-testing sites reviewed here.



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Written by Colin Shelley

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