Closing Up Shop at 23andMe and the Trap

How could a DNA testing company be more unfriendly towards genealogists? I don’t know, but if you can think of something, I’m sure 23andMe will implement it.

23andMe has always been the “difficult” company to deal with, adding layers upon confusing layers of authorizations and requests to communicate and share DNA matching results, but the last few months, as far as I’m concerned have put lots of nails in their coffin.

Recently, the final nail went in.

The “upgrade,” and I use that term very loosely, began months ago at 23andMe amid something akin to a meltdown.  Four months later, nothing has improved.  None of the accounts that I manage have been transferred to the new format, communications have been nil and needless to say, any genealogical work has died on the vine for lack of water.

The transition that was supposed to be done by year end isn’t, and no word from 23andMe.

I’ve decided that with the other two testing companies, meaning Family Tree DNA and Ancestry, combined with GedMatch, that I really don’t need the hassles and frustrations inherent in 23andMe anymore.  This is, after all, supposed to be fun.

I signed on at 23andMe to clean up one of my accounts in preparation for deleting it.  The reason I was going to delete my kit is because you cannot opt out of their research entirely, and I didn’t want to simply abandon the kit at 23andMe, allowing their continued use but giving up on my end due to their decisions and business practices relative to genetic genealogy.

So, I signed in like normal, using the e-mail account that I used for this kit as my user ID and then my password.

23andme signin

Little did I know the trap 23andMe has set, but I soon found out.

I decided to check matches one last time and download the V2 data file.  I don’t ever expect to need this data, but just in case.  So I started by downloading the raw data.

In order to download a raw data file, first you have to find the option, hidden under the the drop downs, under your name, under “browse raw data.”

23andMe browse raw data

When you click on the download option, you then have to re-enter your password (hint, you could not be at this screen had you not already entered your password correctly) and then you also have to answer a secret question.

23andMe secret question

Apparently you need to be “extra protected” against yourself and downloading your own raw data.

But next comes the trap.

The Trap

Apparently 23andMe has implemented some sort of “internal timer” and if you haven’t signed in for awhile, they refuse to allow you access to your data, even AFTER you have signed in with the correct e-mail and password, then entered your password again, then entered your secret answer correctly. That’s 4 times you’ve authenticated that you are you – but that is apparently not good enough.

They insisted on sending an e-mail to my e-mail account to verify access. Well, I hate to tell you, but I abandoned that e-mail account long ago.  But there was no reason to change the login at 23andMe to something different because the person who initially took this test is no longer interested in the results and hasn’t been in quite some time.

23andMe confirm e-mail

So I clicked on “send the verification” because I had no choice, hoping that perhaps I could then go and recover the password for that old e-mail account and sign in to that old account just long enough to verify the password. No such luck.

23andme not receiving e-mail

So, the next day, I decided to sign in to 23andMe again to see if I could somehow figure out how to change the e-mail to my current e-mail, but now I’m effectively locked out of my own account until the verification comes back…which of course it never will because it was sent to the old e-mail address that I couldn’t recover.

I clicked on the option for “not receiving the confirmation e-mails.”

23andme reset e-mail

Great – it gave me the option of resetting the e-mail. I entered my current e-mail, which is the same e-mail for the rest of the accounts I manage and received this lovely error message.

23andMe e-mail in use

I can’t use my current e-mail because it’s already in use. It’s already in use because I manage other kits at 23andMe.  And around and around we go.

In order to overcome this obstacle 23andMe has put in the road, I would have to go to a service where I don’t have an e-mail account and create one just to let 23andMe send me a confirmation e-mail so that I can access my account. Really?

So, let me get this right. 23andMe still has the DNA, is still selling and using the DNA with impunity and will forever unless I delete this kit, but I can’t have account access after entering 4 different security challenges correctly plus a new valid e-mail account?  Seriously?  And they somehow think this is acceptable?

Well, all I can say is that it’s a good thing I was already closing up shop at 23andMe, because this is the very last nail in that coffin. They couldn’t make this experience more difficult or painful if they tried.

I absolutely refuse to let them win.  They are not going to gain unfettered permanent access to this DNA because they’ve made it too difficult for me to access.  This overly aggressive “security” is nothing more than a way to exclude legitimate access and retain what they really wanted in the first place, your DNA to utilize and sell.  If you can’t gain access, you can’t opt out of research, as much as one can opt out at 23andMe, and you can’t delete your kit.  This is somehow poetic injustice at its worst.  In other words, yes, it’s a very effective exclusionary trap.

So, I did in fact set up a new e-mail account, and I did confirm the e-mail address, and now I’ll set about deleting the account.  We’ll see how that goes.

Goodbye 23andMe, forever. My only regret is that I waited so long to leave – kind of like a bad marriage.



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101 thoughts on “Closing Up Shop at 23andMe and the Trap

  1. Hi Roberta, what makes you think that they will allow you to truly delete your kit? In other words, is that the only copy / will they continue to use the data?

      • Hi Roberta,
        I am considering deleting my 23andme account for all of the reasons other people have already listed and I wondered what happens to my information. When I asked 23andme this was the response:

        Hello Rebecca,
        Thank you for contacting the 23andMe Team. Under the terms of our Privacy Statement, when an account is closed, we remove all Genetic Information within your account (or profile) within thirty (30) days of our receipt of your request.
        After your account is closed, we retain some de-identified, encrypted information within our backup servers for administrative purposes and to comply with quality assurance regulatory requirements. Similarly, our contracted genotyping laboratory may also retain a portion of your de-identified sample as required by laboratory regulations.
        We are unable to provide a timeline as to how long the data is retained for administrative and compliance purposes, but it is not indefinite. We do not certify destruction, though we do send a notification email once the 23andMe account is closed and genetic data is removed.
        Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

        Does this mean that they remove my profile from the website but keep my DNA on file for their ‘administration’ and genotyping permanently or that at some point in the unknown future it would be deleted? I am sorry if this seems obvious but to me it is confusing.
        Thanks, Rebecca

        • First, let me say that I don’t know. However, from what they said, “this is not indefinite,” it looks like at some point that their backup routines and such will have run through enough cycles that your information would naturally “rotate out.” I would suggest that you ask them the exact same question you just asked here and please post the response as well.

        • I would also be curious as to whether they will continue to use or sell your DNA while it is in the limbo period after you request its deletion and before it is entirely gone. And the last question is whether it is ever “entirely gone?”

      • I asked 23andme:
        Does this mean that you remove my profile from the website only but keep my DNA on file for ‘administration’ and genotyping permanently or that at some point in the unspecified future it would be deleted? I am sorry if this seems obvious but to me it is confusing. Thanks, Rebecca

        The reply:
        Hello Rebecca,
        Thank you for your follow up; we are happy to clarify. We remove your Genetic Information within your account within thirty (30) days of our receipt of your account deletion request. In the future your de-identified, encrypted information within our backup servers will be deleted. We temporarily retain this information for administrative purposes and to comply with quality assurance regulatory requirements. We do not have a timeline for the deletion of this information, but it will be deleted at an unspecified time in the future.
        Similarly, our laboratory will retain your genetic information on their secure servers for a limited period of time pursuant to CLIA regulations. For more information about CLIA, please click on the following link:
        Please note that your data at the lab is only identifiable by the unique barcode that was used to register your tube. Our laboratory does not keep record of your 23andMe account or order information.
        We hope you found this information helpful. Please let us know if you have any additional questions.
        Best Regards,

        If I understand this completely, my 23andme account would be deleted from the website within 30 days. Then at some time in the future my information would be removed from the 23andme administration. Separately, the lab would still have my DNA information and at some point it would also be removed or drop off from there. There is no way to know when or if any of this happens. If the lab keeps my DNA information by the bar code wouldn’t they be able to pull all of my identifiers? After all that bar code is how 23andme knew it was my sample in the first place.

  2. I stopped paying attention to the existence of 23andMe a long time ago. I am interested in genetic genealogy and not all the diseases I don’t have. As it is, I have about forty UN/PW combinations to keep track of and the latest version of Windows that is impossible to use. I only live on the 2nd floor so jumping isn’t a useful option. 🙁

    John R

    Sent from my iPad


  3. That’s really bad how awful . I’m pleased I have read this as I was going to use 23and me I won’t bother and will continue into ancestry and gedmatch 🙂 thank you 👍

  4. As my husband just said “Roberta sounds just a little upset.” He is great at understatement. I am certainly glad I didn’t use their ‘service’ and it will serve them right if all the other members of 23andMe take the opportunity to do the same as you, download their raw data and then delete their accounts. They deserve to go under..

  5. Roberta…..i agree with you re this issue… kind of falls into my general attitude of “Question Authority”or even those who feel they should have complete authority, as in this case. But not to get too specific, where were you going to upload your data to? Ive tested at 23 and Ftdna … Cant afford or would choose ancestryDNA and ive uploaded test results to GEDMATCH. Is there something else i could do with my 23 results AND matches to preserve them?

      • This sounds naive or whatever but to upload to Ftdna do i start at the 23andme site which i just looked at and it says ‘download’ but to wordpad? Or go to Ftdna first? Can i upload directly from one site to the other?

        • You just download your raw data file but don’t open it. It’s a zip file. Then you go to Family Tree DNA and purchase the upgrade, then upload your file. The instructions for how to sign in at 23andMe and the screens you’ll see to download are there. If you have problems, I’m sure if you call Family Tree DNA they will help step you through things as much as possible.

  6. Well, that certainly is an eye-opener. Thank you for exposing that. The company seems to be completely ignoring us, its customers, over the past year … and with no reasonable explanations. When I saw your heading, at first I thought it had actually closed up shop. Which, under the circumstances, would not have surprised me. Very disappointing.

  7. It’s really sad that Roberta, a very prominent member of the genetic genealogy community, got this frustrated with 23andme to the point of deleting an account and sample. Maybe Roberta will reconsider this when or if 23andme ever does stop being as bad as they’ve been.

    But I can definitely see why many folks have had it with 23andme. Not only all the abuse they’ve put their current customers through, but even new customers from my understanding as many people on their forum and other places online have reported that they’ve been processing new tests *EXTREMELY SLOWLY* with many people waiting *AT LEAST 9 WEEKS* and still no results or word from 23andme other than canned responses about a problem in the lab but nothing about what it is exactly or how much longer it’s supposed to last.
    Extra frustrating because these new customers have had to pay that extra hundred dollar price raise that 23andme unexpectedly did back in October.

    Wish that Anne Wojcicki or someone from 23andme could just talk to their customers about why they’ve been handling things so badly instead of just giving canned responses or ignoring the customers altogether.

  8. You almost sound like you were dealing with a no good fraking stinking communication company which starts with a letter very near the end of the alphabet and ends in erzion. The very least they could do is give you one phone # where you could leave a message wtih a short synoposis because all issuses aren’t on a press # men and have a human repond instead of a computer.{ A good 18 hours of my life overthe period of 3 days including trying via their store (their Human rep at the store got so ticked that he actually laid down the phone, excused himself, went into their “back” room SCREAMED “AGGGGGGGGGH THEY”RE IDIOTS !—IDIOTS! ” then bless his heart came back out with a calm face and continued the quest.), Also failed going thru their Facebook page and the same inane computer dance you just described.}

    I wrote a really truely actual letter to the customer service dept and though I am not genectically from a “curseIng” culture or am I? Did the irish lay down curses on enemy? I did wish the same exact sort of custumer service I’ve received from them on them thru the rest of their days. I guess we all should all practice deep breathing and give a highly dramtic spit as in “HA! I SPIT ON YOUR NAME” like Sophia on Golden Girls. UP WITH PEOPLE DOWN WITH COMPUTERS (unless they are nice)

    I know we are always suppose to looking for the bright spot in any troubles. So my bright spot is that I didn’t go through 23 and me though I was going to use 23 and me for the “comparsion” tool.
    My other bright spot is that I didnt’ get arrested because I didn’t throw my rather costly smartphone ( which is now service-less) thru the picture window at the Bad word store mainly because my arm hurt and I didn’ t want to hit the other custumors and my aim isn’t very good.

    Happy St Patricks Day tomorrow!

  9. i had just received two kits from 23 and me a few years ago when the FDA ordered them to cease and desist doing business. Couldn’t get a response from the company, finally called Discover card and had the charges cancelled, and of course never used the kits. Probably one of my better choices!

  10. That’s too bad. I’m going to hang there and hope that the situation improves at 23andMe, even if it takes awhile. I’m still stuck in the “old” experience.

    I’ve been really lucky and have had a few good matches at 23andMe recently.

    In the meantime I am focusing on my FTDNA, AncestryDNA, and GEDMatch data.

  11. One of my accounts did convert last month. I’ve been sitting patiently and using the time as a break from most of my genetic genealogy to focus on my wikitree work. But as an IT person myself, I agree it’s ridiculous the way they have not posted an announcement to anyone letting us know what the delay is and any sort of a timeframe for completion. TIME FOR A STATUS UPDATE FOLKS!! It’s not great customer service and people just want COMMUNICATION AND THE TRUTH! In the meantime, I disagree about the customer response as I have messaged them several times since the conversion started via their facebook page and have always gotten a reply within a day or two. However, that is no excuse for not posting upgrade status information out there as until the upgrade is complete everyone, new customers and old are left in the lurch and not seeing the full potential of the matching on the site. 🙁 I hope your article will open some eyes cuz and someone will act appropriately and responsibly and let customers know what is going on. 🙂

  12. As a 79 year old adoptee looking for 60 years for birth ancestors i hate the thought of losing all my matches although at 23 i only have 63 2-4th cousins in 3 years; many who have not replied and others who refuse to share….but as i was going to say, who gets transferred if i upload to ftdna?

    • If you transfer your raw data results to Family Tree DNA, you will get to see which matches you have in their system too. It’s well worth your $39 to fish in different pools

      • I have already tested at FTDNA; HOW do I get my data from 23andme to FTDNA? where do I start? at which testing site?

        • If you have taken the Family Finder test at Family Tree DNA, you don’t need to transfer your file from 23andMe. If you have not taken the family finder test, you just upload the raw data files from 23andMe to Family Tree DNA and pay the $39 to unlock your results. The instructions for downloading your file from 23andMe are in the first three or 4 screen shots in this article.

  13. Unfortunately there will always be people and companies around who do this sort of thing, they think that they are smart one jump ahead of you we think they are dishonest, however the set of values that they work from is different to ours. The really important thing about it all is to let others know what is going on so they can take assertive action and not fall into the same trap.
    To read and do is to understand.

  14. I share your frustrations, Roberta. 23andMe had been a wonderful source for matches, and now the site is nearly useless. It’s small consolation that the people who can access the New Experience aren’t happy with it.

    I asked 23andMe customer service and they said “You will be automatically transitioned to the new site experience without any additional fees. However, we are still determining which reports customers genotyped on your platform will be eligible to receive at no additional cost, and whether an upgrade to a new platform will be required.”

    Clear as mud…

  15. My account WAS transitioned with the new upgrade several months back, but as far as I can see, a previously second rate program has now been rendered totally useless one. For starters, while you can see what looks like a chromosome browser result for your “agreeing” matches, I can see no way to measure the start or end locations or sizes of segments. At the beginning I was able to ask a question of customer support, although the answers were pretty hopeless (I.e there is no way to do that at this time), but soon there were no answers coming from customer support at all.

    If you haven’t done so already, and if it is still possible to do so, please rush to transfer your data to FTDNA for $39 and also register yourself at

    Can it really be that 23andme is still selling test kits to unsuspecting new customers at double the old price (and twice the cost of other companies), taking twice the time to process and providing what to its customers?

    Roberta, we appreciate your heads up, but since your kits were never upgraded, is there anyone else out there who did have their accounts upgraded, who could tell me any way to actually make use of the “improved” system?
    I sure can’t figure out how it’s supposed to be better, or for that matter even usable at all.

    • In the “improved” version, the start/end/size info is available by clicking the tiny blue “download aggregate data” link at the bottom of the match page…the resulting .csv file can be sorted/searched offline. Not great, but something.

  16. Why? Anyone who has sent you a sharing invite will now never be told to transfer to GedMatch, and may now never find out how they connect with a great mind.
    I just hope the kit you are deleting is not my closest match – an unknown 2nd cousin that may hold the key to a mystery. How many other mysteries will you put another brick in the wall of instead of helping to break it down?
    Your decision, your choice, but please, just think of those who don’t have the choice and need the help that your kit may be able to provide.

    • I’m with Kathy. I also wonder if you (and others) who are managing multiple accounts, are the reason we can’t get any responses from our matches in a more timely fashion——or at all, because someone loses interest……..I submitted my Dad’s sample to 23&me before the FDA shutdown not only to try to find his Biological parents BUT more importantly to have a record of his “medical history” since all of his background is unknown leaving my family with no Medical Baseline to refer back to. Because he was already 96 yrs old at the time (and has since passed away) I felt I would have a good idea of whether the results they provided were accurate or not (no I didn’t fill out the health survey before receiving the results) they were right on target. At the same time I also submitted my Dad’s sample to FTDNA as a testing backup and have been happy with their results as well. I have gotten two significant hits — one from each company and am working in unison, learning to use the tools provided by each of them to further my search. Sorry, but I really don’t care whether my Dad’s info is used for scientific testing — if it can help provide answers to medical challenges and benefit others I’m all for it.

      • I agree…. I’m sticking with my results on 23andMe. It won’t help anyone if I remove mine…I’m about giving too, not just getting.

  17. James Wilbur Landes via Byerly via Miller back to Johannes Michael Mueller her surviving son. on said:

    Sorry for your distress. But, it reinforces (for those of us who have had the same or similar problem with other subscription services) that we are not alone and not paranoid. Considering our ancestors, we are fortune enough to live in a world with amazing technology. But some of it is flawed. Hope you have a nicer day tomorrow. Your Miller Mueller cousin.

  18. It is a sad day that the communications as gotten this bad. I use FTdna and 23 and Me. I wouldn’t touch Ancestry DNA after all they had DNA from people and said we are dumping them if we do not hear from you. Our President tried for 4 weeks and mutli phone calls to resolve and say she wanted her’s kept. ALAS they deleted them, then turned around a few weeks later and asked her to retake the tests and pay all over again. I witnessed her attempt to reach Ancestry. Was massively disapointed, because it seems they all have stumbling blocs put at our feet.
    Many people also had no access to some of the DNA that was dumped never to have access again, death does that. I have been very pleased with FTdna for many years.

  19. Thanks Roberta for such an honest and detailed assessment of this MESS called 23andMe.
    I lost 50% of my confidence in any of the directors and managers of this company and it’s mission when they overstepped the bounds with the FDA.
    Like someone flying through a stop sign in a Ferrari ’cause they see no cop around, and figure they could just get away with a warning even if they were caught.
    Since that moment all I’ve seen glaring back from 23andMe from that moment is ATTITUDE.
    Their response and communication to their customers was pitiful and it spoke volumes that they did not have any grip on the value of customer appreciation. NONE.
    That to me was the 1st nail in the coffin.
    I threw up a little in my mouth when they touted how much of a “Genealogy” focus they would have after the FDA freeze, and then they roll out absolutely nothing to improve their genealogy tools. What??
    Sure – I have no doubt they’re amazing people in the corporate world and they all live in mansions in Silicon Valley no doubt, and sure they can find themselves on the cover of Time magazine without much effort but this rollout of a new version the web site has only been waving in my face like one big GIANT FAIL!!!! -while I STILL wait for it.
    I stopped buying their BS stories 3 years ago, and I’m glad I have not moved to buy any more kits from them in these many months.
    Never expected this when I bought the product 3 years ago.
    Glad I’ve tested 20+ of my family members at FTDNA!!!! To me they will always be #1, and always have been.

  20. What a nightmare.

    I’m wondering if you have come across someone names Razhib Khan? He’s a geneticist at UC Davis. Regards,

    Melissa Jordan

  21. I’d I have tested with ftdna autosomal is there any point uploading my 23 data to either ftdna or GEDMATCH

  22. Glad I didn’t test at 23andme. It seemed like for awhile Ancestry was going the same way as well, but at least Ancestry is listening to it’s customers and has been changing those business practices somewhat. I’ve also had no issues with FTDNA. Also I would recommend uploading your results to DNA.Land as well, it is a free service.

  23. Roberta,
    Perhaps the following ATT website on email aliases contains a solution to your problem of needing an additional email address to reconnect with that 23andMe account–!/email-support/KM1010444.

    I’m pleasantly surprised by the steps 23andMe went through to protect the information in that account by requiring multiple steps to access it. The good news is that they are providing the means by which to change from the obsolete email address.
    Best regards,

  24. Some of the newer kits that I administer have been converted. When I go on them there are still all the ANONYMOUS matches. The only difference is that there is no longer the opportunity to write a clever and engaging letter to entice them to respond. At least I’ve got everybody’s raw dna kits downloaded and uploaded to gedmatch. If you haven;t done that yet you are missing out

  25. On the positive side, although my kit has not been transitioned yet to the new experience, I discovered a few weeks ago that I was able to send invitations to hundreds of my matches that I could not invite before. The response rate has been very good this time around, far better that before. As I am English I have not been able to establish who the common ancestor was with any of these new correspondents. I am dismayed at how little family research most of those Americans have done and are willing to do in the future. Why did they take the 23andMe Ancestry test if they are really not at all interested.

  26. Well said Roberta!
    Two of the things about 23andMe I find upsetting is the growth factor demonstrated in Leah, LaPerle larkins’ post. Why are they growing so fast for such garbage? I have two kits with them but never recommend any one use them now.

    AND the way they use peoples names for advertisement. Every so often I receive a post that my son likes 23andMe, with his name across the top. I would never support 23andMe this way and he hasn’t even test DNA

  27. I didn’t know that 23andMe had made any changes, however doubling their cost should have been a clue. I was desperate to get a paternal male Halogroup. I found a cousin that was only related to my paternal line – others had a mixed between maternal and paternal. Once the kit was sent in I was told that it wasn’t compatible with the other tests on my profile (I have paid for 15 different test). I am so upset over this, that I can’t see straight. Gail Dunagan Morrison

  28. This info needs to be shared to a couple of the major DNA facebook groups, I think. But I do not want to just do that. I appreciate all your work and help too much to step on even the edge of your small toe….

  29. For those of you who only have a kit at FTDNA, this might be a source of concern. I went to GEDMatch and saw this message:

    “NOTICE: We are no longer accepting FTDNA DNA kit uploads. We have been asked not to say why. Please Contact FTDNA if you have any questions.”

    Fishing in multiple ponds is a must in genetic genealogy.

  30. Roberta: I just logged into and saw a note that said they were no longer accepting uploads of FTDNA kits and they (Gedmatch) had been requested to not say why. Do you know what is going on? Gedmatch is a terrific site for comparing DNA from various companies and it offers a variety of tools. Any ideas?

  31. I’m unclear why you wanted to delete your kit although I realize you must have copied it elsewhere. Why is it important to delete it?
    My two children are adopted from Korea and they did DNA tests at 23andme because they wanted the medical part (one made it in time; the other did not). If they wanted to get tests done elsewhere, where would you recommend, considering that they are looking for Asian matches?

  32. Bad news from the home page at GEDMatch:
    “NOTICE: We are no longer accepting FTDNA DNA kit uploads. We have been asked not to say why. Please Contact FTDNA if you have any questions.”

    Good grief!!

  33. I’m with Kathy:
    “How many other mysteries will you put another brick in the wall of instead of helping to break it down?
    Your decision, your choice, but please, just think of those who don’t have the choice and need the help that your kit may be able to provide.”

  34. I am in total shock about the GEDMATCH announcement. As we speak, at this very minute i am waiting for a phone call from my 2nd strongest cousin match in 3 years. As i am an adoptee with very few clues as to birth family and ancestors i look for all the help i can get. She has only tested at ftdna and i was about to ask her to upload her data to GEDMATCH for more possible matches…..and this request was due to be made in 10 minutes……

  35. Today the Austin American-Statesman had an article about a new startup company in Austin named Embark that is going to be testing DNA for dogs. They will offer ancestry analysis, among other things.  One co-founder is Spencer Wells, the chief product officer, who directed the Genographic Project at the National Geographyic Society, which collected and analyzed DNA samples from people all over the world in order to determine how humans first populated the planet.  Embark hopes to become the 23andMe of the dog world.  They have a human interest in studying dog DNA, because dogs are “more genetically similar to humans than mice, and we share many of the same genes.”  It appears they are going to use dogs’ DNA to compare with human DNA for disease, etc. It sounds to me there is a possibility of a link between Embark and 23andMe.  (Strictly my own private opinion.) I did not test for 23andMe, and it now sounds like it’s a good thing I didn’t. Frances Barkley Willess

  36. On gmail you can have “several mailaddresses in one.” Suppose your original email is, then you actually have a number of other email addresses as well:

    Periods don’t matter. The meaning is, any mail sent to one of those well end up in the same mailbox. You can use one address to log in on gmail, and another on 23andme, a third and fourth for other accounts on 23andme.
    Note: I never had any use for this feature myself, haven’t tried it, I just picked it up along time ago. Details may vary, and you will need to experiment.

  37. NICE!!!
    CeCe kicked me out of FB group, DNA Detectives, last week because I was telling people that 23andMe SUX!!!

    Good Job, Cece!!! STOP telling people to test at 23andMe. It is bad advice to get them to test there.

  38. I just received this message from 23andMe: “45 new relatives have joined 23andMe in the last 146 days!” Wow, I guess they don’t know I’m leaving them. I really haven’t had great luck with 23andMe but I also could not upload the tests to FTDNA – they could only take V3 and ours were a later version. However, I could upload my managed tests to Gedmatch and had some good luck finding some matches. I had two older Ancestry Y-DNA tests from two male relatives that Ancestry no longer supports. I’ve tried uploading the tests elsewhere with no luck. Gedmatch can’t upload Y-DNA tests and I can’t seem to find a way to upload those tests to FTDNA. Has anyone any suggestions?

  39. Anne W needs to step down and they need to install an actual tech savvy CEO. I realize the direct to consumer DNA health product was her idea but her myopic focus on health results and her inability to plan tech changes are the final nail. I suspect someone high in the company has half a dozen skeletons in their closet and therefore they are against breaking down genealogy brick walls. Anyway… it was clear to me that this ‘conversion’ was very rushed. They should have had the ‘new’ experience in place, had a decision on what to do about V3 folks, before they ever started making changes. They have promised to pay for retesting of their V3 customers if required but I don’t believe it. They will back out on that promise at the last minute just as they did their promise to open up show close relatives. Once a snake always a snake…

  40. Roberta,
    I just received this email from our favorite genealogy company:

    You can now log into your 23andMe account using the email address associated with it rather than the login name. This should make it easier for you to remember your login information, but the change does require a little housekeeping.

    You have 1 accounts associated with this email address. The login names for these accounts are:


    If you would like to keep all of these accounts, log into each account individually and give it a unique email address.
    To log into each account and change its email address, click here:
    Once all of your accounts have unique email addresses, you’ll be able to use those addresses to log in.

    In the meantime, you can also continue to log in using your old login names.

    If you require further assistance, please visit our Customer Care site at”

    So not only have they created a new nightmare platform now to make it easier in genetic genealogists apwe need a separate email for each account I manage? And best yet I couldn’t even log on with my email on a new device. I guess they really don’t want us genetic genealogists taking up their bandwith.
    Kelly Wheaton

  41. I haven’t read all the comments, but I, too, experienced being shut out of accounts that hadn’t been accessed in a long time. Maybe someone already mentioned this, but before you “delete” the account — which may or may not actually be deleted — it would be more impactful to change your consent preferences to “DO NOT CONSENT”, for the use of your DNA results in medical interesting databases/projects. If they violate your wishes on this, the FDA will be all over the company, or at least that’s how the FDA used to operate…they required informed “consent”.

  42. Roberta, I know this isn’t the correct place for this but couldn’t figure out how to contact you. Plus, I figure if anyone knows about this you probably would. What is going on with Family Tree not allowing kits to be uploaded to Gedmatch any longer?

      • Since the home page now states that:

        …The technical obstacles to satisfying FTDNA current demands are significant. It appears that our only alternative may be to remove all FTDNA DNA match results from GEDmatch. The issues raised by FTDNA do not apply to kits from other testing companies….

        ..folks who have only ftdna kits may want to run off their one-to-one matches (etc) REALLY SOON and save the resulting page as .html files(s) for later offline viewing. Even those of us with kits from elsewhere may lose our ftdna matches and should save them ASAP. I just did.

        • I started doing just that earlier today and it’s taking forever. I have many kits from ftdna on Gedmatch. At least I also have my own Ancestry and 23&Me kits on there too but all my other relatives’ kits are from ftdna ( I might add I’ve paid thousands of dollars for autosomal and many Y kits (some the Y111) for many relatives. They have given me permission to handle these. This is so annoying and disappointing. I think this is a wonderful opportunity for Ancestry to pick the slack and also develop some more tools. Everytime I have an interesting match on Ancestry I ask them to upload to Gedmatch but most of them won’t, partly because they are technically challenged, and partly because they are paranoid. I have walked many matches through the process step by step how to download and then upload.

      • Is anyone else being shut out of GEDMATCH results? I just was able to access my one-to-many atdna matches, copied and pasted them into a word doc but now that i have gone back to access my one to many ‘x’ matches i cant get them…..and to a female adoptee those results are like nuggets of gold. HAS GEDMATCH SHUT DOWN?

  43. Roberta
    I now give lectures on DNA testing for genealogy and my opening statement is:
    “DNA testing is done by FOR PROFIT organizations and while many of you think you are the customer, in most cases you are not, you are A SUPPLIER. If you were to pay for the full cost of testing and reporting, it would be a lot more expensive. The real customers are the companies – mostly pharmaceutical – who purchase the aggregated data. If you choose to participate be aware that it is the case.”

    I think the current behaviour of 23andMe towards their suppliers of DNA samples and data (through surveys) shows that it is really the case. Once they have your data, usually within a few months of testing, you are no longer of – financial – interest to them. I have found their general communications appalling, but if I ask a specific question, I usually get a very rapid answer – not always what I want to hear, but an answer. Unlike one of the writers above, the number of new genocousins (or DNA matches if you prefer) has dwindled dramatically in the last six months.

    FamilyTree DNA has a different business model. They sell you the basic results and then give you the rest, bit by bit as “upgrades”. They told me that it was “not possible” to link my son’s account (family finder test) to my own mtDNA. It would be possible technically – databases can always be linked – but is it because they hope to sell another test? They probably do to unsuspecting customer. I don’t know what is behind dropping GEDmatch, but I am sure there are likely legal/financial issues behind it.

    GEDmatch is free and open source – cannot really be good for business. However, with all their faults, Ancestry seems to be winning the financial battle and they are on GEDmatch.

    The industry is young – this is the first shakedown. Take a deep breath, save all your data to your own computers and remember as in any war, there will be casualties. It is always better not to have all your eggs in one basket.

    PS – Roberta – this post allowed a lot of people to vent their frustrations – hope all these writers commiserating made you feel better.

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