Family Tree DNA Announces *Free Autosomal Transfer from 23andMe and Ancestry

dna ballOne of the major announcements this past week at the Family Tree DNA administrator’s conference was that Family Tree DNA will now be accepting, and encouraging, free data transfers from both 23andMe (V3 chip only) and

*For free, you will be able to see your top 20 matches, but if you want to contact those matches or unlock the rest of the Family Finder functionality and tools at Family Tree DNA, you’ll need to pay $39 or recruit 4 additional people to upload their files, whether they pay to join or not.  Compared to retesting at $99 or the previous transfer price of $69, this is a great value.

Yesterday, I received this notification from Family Tree DNA that was sent to all project administrators.

As Senior Director of Product Michael Gugel shared at the recent conference, for the first time ever, people that have taken an AncestryDNA™ or 23andMe© (V3) test can transfer into the FTDNA databases for free by visiting and following the instructions to upload their raw data file.

Within an hour or two, we provide a preview of what’s waiting if they transfer by showing the top 20 matches along with an estimate of the total number of matches in the FTDNA database.

Full functionality can be unlocked by either paying $39 or recruiting four other people to upload, thus unlocking the rest of the matches.

Here are some important points to know:

  • We only accept the 23andMe V3 chip that was used on tests sold between November 2010 and approximately November 2013. There are a couple of ways to find out what chip was used for your test other than simply the timeframe. One is size; v3 chip files are about 7.83 MB where V2 and V4 chips are smaller. If you’re tech savvy, you can unzip the file and check chromosomes: Chromosome 1 for v3 starts at 82154 (rs4477212) where v4 starts at 734462 (rs12564807)and v2 starts with position 742429 (rs3094315).
  • We do not have any plans to accept V2 or V4 chips. if you try to upload the wrong chip version, the system will tell you that the file doesn’t have sufficient data. Since neither chip contains enough of the SNPs included in Family Finder, we would have to impute too much data. Basically we’d have to make assumptions about the missing SNPs that we’re just not willing to make at this point.

Blaine Bettinger at The Genetic Genealogist wrote detailed instructions about how to do the transfer and what to expect, so take a look.

At the $39 price, or recruit 4 and it’s entirely free, this transfer becomes the best autosomal vendor value available today. I know that people are already taking advantage of this offer, because I’m seeing new people join my projects and their item purchased indicates “free transfer.”

Spending the $39 (or recruiting 4 additional participants) allows you to unlock and access the following Family Finder features:

  • Full data base matching
  • Ability to contact matches directly via e-mail
  • Ability to join projects that accept autosomal participants
  • Ability to see matches by and within projects
  • Searching for matches by surname
  • Searching for matches by ancestral surname
  • Ability to view your matches family trees
  • Ability to upload your GEDCOM file or create your family tree to facilitate surname matching
  • Utilizing the “In Common With” tool to see who you and your matches both match
  • Utilizing the Matrix to see if your matches also match each other, suggesting a common ancestor
  • Seeing results on the Chromosome browser
  • myOrigins ethnicity information

The more kits in the data base, the more matches, so don’t wait.  You can’t lose by doing the free transfer and seeing what matches might be waiting for you.

82 thoughts on “Family Tree DNA Announces *Free Autosomal Transfer from 23andMe and Ancestry

  1. Doin’ the Genealogy Happy Dance! I am sending a message about this offer to my top Ancestry “matches” as we speak. Yeah FTDNA!! THANK YOU

  2. I jumped on this the first day! I had five kits at AncestryDNA… So one of my uploads was unlocked and I paid for two to be unlocked. I’m guessing they don’t work on weekends because the three I unlocked on Friday still are being processed. I see new matches and am very excited and glad they did this!

    • I believe I was told that after unlocking, it might take a couple days for all of the matches to appear. And no, they don’t work on weekends unless the system is down or something like that.

  3. I hope this leads to an influx of AncestryDNA customers.

    This plus the new tools at GEDmatch has given me a lot to do this weekend.

  4. I transferred the DNA of my husband, my daughter and half sibling on Friday. They show a match with me and another brother. However, they do not show matches with each other and my brother and I cannot see our matches with my daughter. Unless the 48 hours is too early to see all the matches, it may be that others already at FTDNA may not have the benefit of seeing the matches with new ones transferring DNA on these free offers ????

      • It’s Wednesday. I transferred several in on Friday. None of them can see each other. Plus, my brother and I have had an account with FTDNA and can’t see close relatives I uploaded on Friday either. I’m beginning to wonder a little about the free offering they are making. The matches aren’t materializing.

        • If its the free transfers they can’t see each other I uploaded mine my grandmother and daughters all at the same time and I couldn’t see any of us until after I unlocked one and paid for two then I see each of us under each of our kits.

  5. I have been tested on both Family Tree (autosomal and mtDNA Full Sequence) as well as on Ancestry. NOT everyone who has tested on Ancestry also has tested on Family Tree. Anyway, I tried to transfer my Ancestry autosomal to Family Tree. Its NOT allowed. Oh well……Just thought it would be good to have all the tests in one spot.

    • If you’re already tested at Family Tree, there is no point in transferring your Ancestry autosomal test to FTDNA. It would be duplicative. It’s only for people who haven’t tested at FTDNA.

  6. I have same problem; however, there are some on Ancestry who are not on FTDNA so would be nice to have all in one place. I will call FTDNA tomorrow to see how that works. Thanks.

  7. Roberta, although my 23andMe tests were purchased before November 2013, Because I am an inveterate procrastinator, my husband and I didn’t get around to “spitting” into the test tube until late December or early January. When we received our results, we also got health reports so I just assumed they were V3. However when I downloaded and then uploaded them to gedmatch (I also have an Ancestry DNA test too) I noticed if I sign in with the Ancestry number, of course my first match is me. My 23andMe shows as a V4. I believe that the difference in V3 and V4 is just a processing shortcut where fewer SNP’s are used—maybe a less expensive process than they used before–even possibly less accurate or with more assumptions? Anyway, I guess it is my fault for procrastinating but my husband is the one who is paying the price. I think I am going to love FTDNA because of all the features and I guess I will need to either watch for an Ancestry sale or one at FTDNA to get my husband’s data on there. Do you think there is a chance that the folks at FTDNA will eventually accept V4?

    Thanks in advance for all your help!

    • V4 has about 200,000 less SNPs than the V3 version. I would just go ahead and test either at Ancestry and transfer your results to Family Tree DNA or test at Family Tree DNA.

  8. Hi

    What letter or number will indicate these transferred people , ie to seperate the ftdna from the other testers.


  9. Roberta, can you clarify something for me about the autosomal tests at Ancestry ? I was under the impression that their testing was not as accurate, or solid, as FTDNA’s testing. I don’t know where (or when) I got that impression, but it has me wondering because a person who should match with me transferred their data from Ancestry 4 days ago and we don’t match at all. She doesn’t even have matches with the surname we share, and it’s a very common surname. She does recognize some of her other matches however.

  10. I uploaded today and paid the $39 fee to unlock everything. 12 hours later, every time I try to see a match’s tree, it asks me to pay to unlock . . . which I already did. I’m hoping once they process all matches that this fixes the problem. If not, they can refund my $$.

  11. Great information! If someone use the free option at FamilyTree DNA and view the top 20 matches, will the matches be able to also see this match?

    • NO! Paying customers will NOT be able to see the “free transfer” matches unless the free transfer person pays, or recruits 4 other transfers. I am a paying customer at FTDNA (and have spent close to $1,000 over the years with all the different tests) and cannot see my dad, who has done the free transfer. (I guess I will pay for him as a b-day gift. LOL.)

  12. I’m having some issues with this… I’m not sure we got our test back from 23andme right in the time frame of the V3 chip but the .TXT file of our results (not zipped) is 15.8MB. I keep getting an error message for the upload, but now when I go on Family Tree it says that my order and results are pending. A bit confusing. Anyone else having this problem?

    • I say “we” meaning that I am uploading my mother’s results from 23andme to FamilyTreeDNA. Sorry if that is unclear.

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  14. I did this this week and it is wonderful! It takes a full 48 hours after you pay the $39 for you to be able to access everything. I have a lot of discrepancies between my ethnicity at and what FTDNA discovered. At Ancestry I have 57% Western European, no Italian/Greek, less than 1% Scandinavian, 2% European Jewish, 1% Native American, 6% Irish, 28% British Isles. I have run my DNA through Gedmatch, as well as the DNA of two maternal aunts, a maternal great aunt, and my paternal grandmother. I have considerable known Irish and Scottish descent and a small amount of Native American. All of the Gedmatch calculators show my Native American at 2-3%, about 20% Irish, 25% Scottish, 5% Ashkenazi Jew (as well as Jewish from multiple countries in and near the Middle East picking up in the Oracles), 12% Northern Italian, 10-12% West Asian (depending on the Calculator), etc. Also, has a different way of mapping than FTDNA, so my Italian that I see on Gedmatch actually shows up as Western European on Ancestry, and I also believe my Irish and Scottish (Celtic) are showing up as Western European for the most part at Ancestry because the Celts rose up in Europe then migrated. FTDNA shows my “British Isles” at 54%, Italian/Greek/Spanish at 23%, Central Asian at 2%, and, oddly, my Scandinavian at 19%. The Scandinavian at 19% is the only thing that puzzles me because I showed less than 1% at Ancestry, and very little on the Gedmatch calculators. I think some of it must just depend on how far back they look at the DNA. So interesting, and I am very happy to be able to do the transfer to Family Tree! Thank you!!

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  18. Roberta, I can’t re-subscribe to your blog. I’ve tried entering my email and re-subscribing, but for some reasons it doesn’t work. Help! Thanks.

    • The blog software is beyond the control of the bloggers, so I don’t know. Do you have a different e-mail to try? Have you tried unsubscribing and then resubscribing later>

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  30. Roberta, the option to recruit 4 others is open to abuse. They are using other peoples publicly available data to fool Family Tree like this –

    Who knows how many times it has been done? It is a problem for obvious reasons.

    Family Tree should have expected it and I fear it is too late now for the company to do anything about it.

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  37. Hello … last year at the AAC conference I purchased and submitted my sample to the gentleman who was at the conference. I never got results or any other communication.
    Could someone please contact me about this so we can resolve the issue. Thank you …

    • Well, first, what and where is the AAC conference. Second, what company did you submit your sample to? Third, you might call them on the phone and ask about your test results. If your e-mail was recorded incorrectly, you wouldn’t be receiving e-mails that tell you when your testing is complete.

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  42. The site is coming upon errors everytime i upload either the zipped file or the unzipped file. Is this just a temporary bug?

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