The 23andMe Transition – First Step November 11th

If you tested through 23andMe, certainly by now you know they are undergoing a rather dramatic facelift and change of how their webpage, tools and matching works.

What’s Changing?

After November 11th, many changes will occur and many matches will no longer be available to you, especially if they are anonymous or use a nickname.  Here is a complete list of what will and will not be available.

The genetic genealogy community is struggling to understand exactly what this means to us, in terms of matches and functionality – both lost and gained.  Suffice it to say that a lot of confusion remains, so be on the safe side and download both your individual match list and your COA (Countries of Ancestry) matches if you utilize those.

Countries of Ancestry Matches

I recently discovered that many people don’t know about COA, so here is some brief information so you can utilize this information before it’s too late.

The Countries of Ancestry feature was meant to allow you to see where your matches’ ancestors are from if all 4 of their grandparents were born in the same place.  The idea being that if all 4 grandparents were born in the same place, then the family lines likely run deep there – and perhaps your ancestors were born there too.  For more information, sign on to your 23andMe account, go to Countries of Ancestry, and click on the “see how this works” link.

23andme change 1

To download your individual match ancestry and segment information, go to Ancestry Tools, Countries of Ancestry, and click on the blue button below your chromosome map.

To download the information for your matches, click on the down arrow in the box with your name, and you will see your matches information which is available for download.

23andme change1

The benefit of COA information was that Anonymous individuals’ information was available to you – and it is beneficial to know that you match someone on a particular chromosome whose 4 grandparents were all born in Ireland, for example.

23andme change 2

Additional Information

When I signed on recently, this message, below was waiting for me and provides additional information.  But remember, whatever you are going to do in preparation – do it now, before November 11th.  It’s somewhat uncertain exactly what will and will not be available after that date.  It’s also uncertain what “partially available” means.  Better safe than sorry – so download anything you want now.  You may not able to do so later.

As part of the updates and transition to the new 23andMe, many features will be undergoing significant changes. While we are working to transition customers to the new site, some changes will have an immediate impact on the customer experience in the current 23andMe site, including introductions in DNA Relatives.

To provide some context for the changes to DNA Relatives introductions, it may be helpful to review what purpose introductions served in the current DNA Relatives; namely, introductions brokered communication between anonymous participants and allowed participants to remain anonymous during communication.

In the new 23andMe, anonymous participation in DNA Relatives will no longer be an option. To support this change, several things will happen in the existing DNA Relatives starting November 11, 2015:

* Customers currently using nicknames in DNA Relatives will be converted to anonymous In order to access and participate in the new DNA Relatives, customers will select how to display their profile name or initials; “nicknames” will no longer be an option. If your current settings in DNA Relatives are “Show me as [ Nickname ]” instead of “Show me as [ Profile Name ]” on November 11 this setting will revert to “Keep me anonymous.”

Your profile name may still be an alias or a name of your choosing; for more information about when a legal name is required, see

* Anonymous participants can no longer send or receive introductions The introduction system is what allowed messages to be exchanged anonymously. Copying pending introductions as messages in the new DNA Relatives would expose the names of participants who had been anonymous.

* Pending introductions will be canceled Both incoming and outgoing introductions will be deleted from your inbox.

We realize that canceling pending introductions will have a significant impact for some customers. To date, a pending introduction would keep a match on your list indefinitely so pending introductions allowed members to view and maintain matches beyond the cap of 1 thousand. There are several additional DNA Relatives updates that should help mitigate the cancellation of introductions:

First, the cap on the number of matches that will be available in DNA Relatives is being raised. We expect to be able to provide each customer with their closest 2 thousand matches, which is double the current cap.

Second, we are introducing an Open Sharing option within DNA Relatives. If 2 customers both choose to participate in Open Sharing, they will be able to view one another’s ancestry and segment information without extending and accepting a sharing invitation.

Third, anonymous participation in DNA Relatives will no longer be an option. Currently anonymous customers who wish to continue participating in the feature will need to select new settings (although until they do they will remain as an anonymous match). Participation in DNA Relatives also includes messaging tools, and any participant can send a message to any other participant.

When customers transition to the new 23andMe, the following will apply:

* Any established sharing settings will be maintained.  This will not affect any sharing connections; if you are sharing genomes with another member, that will remain in place.

* Accepted introductions will be saved.  The content of messages for introductions that have been accepted will be copied over to the updated messaging system in the new DNA Relatives.

* Currently anonymous customers who wish to continue participating in the feature will need to select new settings. Until they do they will remain anonymous.



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10 thoughts on “The 23andMe Transition – First Step November 11th

  1. I just posted a message in the Gedmatch General Interest forum that anyone ho tested at 23andMe should read this blog post. Thanks for the heads-up, Roberta.

  2. Is 23andme broken? A few days ago I found a match on 23andme and clicked in order to display the family tree. A family tree appeared—but the tree was not associated with the person I had clicked on.
    The tree SHOULD appear in the My Heritage page, just as all the others do. But somewhere among the changes of 23andme and My Heritage, the connecting synapse has been misdirected to an unrelated individual. I have called this to the attention of 23andme AND My Heritage—-where is the system broken? Who can fix it?

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