Salvaging Every Scrap of DNA Info from Ancestry

OK, it’s a given, like it or not – is discontinuing their Y and mtDNA data bases on September 5th, 2014.  Let’s take every opportunity between now and then to scrape every scrap of information off of that plate before it’s so unceremoniously tossed away like so much trash.

I would suggest that you take every single family surname and enter it as a query at Ancestry.  If you already have known surname matches, then you should easily be able to eliminate those matches, by haplogroup, who assuredly aren’t yours.  For example, if there were 4 Estes males listed at Ancestry, 2 of which match my Estes line haplogroup, and 2 that do not, then the 2 that don’t I can disregard.

So let’s look at some examples.

In this demonstration case, there are no individuals who have tested by this surname at either Family Tree DNA or Sorenson, at, so I’m flying blind, hoping to find anyone by that surname who has tested.

The surname is Bonnevie, an Acadian ancestor.

If you’re a registered Ancestry member, go to your DNA page and select Y.  If you’re not an Ancestry member, click on this link and it should take you there.

At the top of the page, under Ancestry logo on the right, click on Groups.  You’ll see two choices – Search for Groups – which is not what you want to do since groups are no longer functional.  Enter the surname into the “Search for Individual” field.

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In this case, Bonnevie returned no results.  Be sure to try variants.

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I’m going on to my next surname, Vannoy.

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Vannoy in fact returned one result.  In this case, this individual entered their results manually from another lab, which is likely, but not necessarily, Family Tree DNA.  You can tell by the “*” beside the “64 markers” under the Test category.  Because they did not test at Ancestry, there is no need to send them a message asking them if they would be interested in transferring their DNA.  If you aren’t familiar with this person through other testing or research, you might well want to contact them.  To initiate contact, click on the envelop on the far left hand side of the entry.

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Complete this form and keep your fingers crossed.  I haven’t had a lot of luck with replies from people at Ancestry who have DNA tested, but you should at least try. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Crumley is another one of my surnames. In this entry, I can tell, based on the haplogroup, that they are probably a member of my Crumley line.  They tested at Ancestry (no “*”).  I can click on “View profile” to see if they have appended a tree.  They have not, so I can’t see their Crumley ancestors.

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I can, however, contact them and see if they will enter a discussion about genealogy, if they will transfer their results to Family Tree DNA, or retest, or minimally, if they will enter their results in YSearch.  Here’s the verbiage I’ve been sending.

Hi Val,

Ancestry is planning to discontinue the Y DNA data base on September 5th.  We have a Crumley surname project at Family Tree DNA with several members.  We’d love to invite you to join us.  You can transfer your DNA results or retest.  Please contact me and I’ll be glad to explain your options.  From your haplogroup, it looks like you descend from the James Crumley/Catherine Gilkey line out of England and Virginia.  I’d love to exchange genealogy info with you as well.  Please e-mail me at

Roberta Estes

Another approach I can take IF I have the DNA markers of the surname line is to go in and modify my own results, if they were manually entered, to reflect that surname profile.  To do this, go to your DNA page and the click on “View Results” for the Paternal lineage.

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You will then see this page which will allow you to edit your results.  Enter the results for the lineage you are seeking.  When finished, click on “See Matches.”

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It sometimes takes from a few minutes to a few hours to update the data base and receive matches.  If you still don’t have matches in a day, 24 hours, then you actually don’t have any matches – but do give it 24 hours.

Then, on to your next surname.

It’s sad that Ancestry’s Y and mtDNA data base resources are being discontinued, but I hope that you’ll take the time to scavenge every scrap, while you still can.  If this is the only place where that person or family ever tested, you’ll never have another opportunity.  It will be gone, forever.



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10 thoughts on “Salvaging Every Scrap of DNA Info from Ancestry

  1. Hi Roberta, I can’t find the Y on my DNA home page. Is this a different test or am I missing something on the page? Thanks so  much for all the information you post, it is very helpful!  Sincerely, Laura Lewis

  2. Roberta

    Our Couch Family guru received a notice that Ancestry has extended their destruction date to Sept 30.

    • I knew that they said as a result of the denial of service attack that they were going to extend the dates of the services they were discontinuing, but I have not received that message and I have DNA there. Thanks for passing this on.


  3. I have DNA there also both manually entered yDNA and also autosomal as a customer and have not received a notice of any kind.


  4. Been trying to access the page for two days now and I keep getting, “ DNA is temporarily unavailable for system maintenance.” As a long time customer, it’s annoying that they’ve failed to support the database at this critical time. will show me my yDNA matches. When I click on them I get the same error as above (DNA temporarily down).

    I tested with SMGF in 2001. It took 6 years before I discovered my results at Genetree. I purchsed my yDNA and mtDNA from them. When they went belly up I considered DNA testing with I’m glad you and others persuaded me to go with FTDNA instead. I manually entered my results at I thought I had plenty of time to contact my matches there. Guess I was wrong.

  5. I also get that is it down for system maintenance. I need it, I’m addicted but it is sure frustrating the amount of time it is down or just doesn’t work for whatever reason. Mary

  6. I can’t get it to open.. I have tried to open it without luck.. It has downloaded on my computers notepad, but that doesn’t help me search names. Any suggestions?

  7. Pingback: DNAeXplain Archives – Historical or Obsolete Articles | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

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