In spite of petitions and letters and pleas, from their customers, from the genealogy community and from the leaders in genetic genealogy, Ancestry did exactly what they said they would do – they deleted the Y and mtDNA data bases and in effect, destroyed the contents – tens of thousands of irreplaceable records, gone, forever.
In other words, they burned the courthouse of the County DNA.
Worse yet, several years ago, in 2007, Ancestry had acquired the DNA results of the customers of Relative Genetics and incorporated them into their Y and mtDNA database. So the results of testing at two companies from the earliest days of genetic genealogy are gone – poof – up in smoke – not available for comparison or searching – the lynchpin of genetic genealogy.
It’s simply beyond me how a company that makes their living from rare historic records, like the census, for example, could be the one lighting the torch on something so valuable as a searchable database containing irreplaceable genetic data. Many of the early testers are deceased now but through their DNA tests that identified their lineage, their legacy could live on and benefit all genealogists. Some of those people were the end of their line.
I still can’t believe Ancestry did this. It’s unfathomable. Unthinkable. Unbelievable.
But they did.
I won’t even begin on the topics of responsibility, stewardship and ethics. It’s pointless.
Ancestry announced their intention to do so in early June, giving people in essence three months to retrieve their data or search the data base. A few days later, Ancestry suffered a denial of service attack which broke the search function of the data base. They never repaired that function, so, in essence, other than retrieving your own results, the data base had been non-functional since mid-June. They extended the deadline to the end of September, but that mattered little since the data base wasn’t operational.
Today, October 1, I checked to see if the data base was in fact, gone, and it is. We had held out hope to the very end that Ancestry could be persuaded to reconsider, or sell, or combine their results with the Sorenson data base they also maintain (as a function of their Sorenson purchase contract) – something – anything to salvage the resource – but no dice.
Ancestry did do one thing however. If you tested your Y or mtDNA or hand entered results previously, you can still download or print your own data. Any matching or other capabilities are gone and in their place, an ad, of course, for their autosomal DNA test….