In the new Concepts series titled Managing Autosomal DNA Matches, we’re going to be working with your DNA information from several sources. In order to create matching spreadsheets, you’ll need to download your autosomal information from Family Tree DNA.
Sign on to your account and click on “Matches” under the Family Finder section. You can reach this section by either clicking on the “myFTDNA” link in the upper left corner, or by clicking on the Matches option shown on your main page.
We’ll be downloading two files.
File 1 – Family Finder Matches
The first file is a list of your matches. That file download link is found at the bottom of your match page in the lower right hand corner.
Click on either orange button.
A file will download. I create a file folder by date and save by download date.
On a Windows PC, you’ll be given the option of downloading and saving to the location of your choice.
The file contains a list of your matches along with other relevant information.
You can click on the graphic above to enlarge. Match information includes name, e-mail, match date, relationship range, suggested relationship, total shared cM, longest block, haplogroups and ancestral surnames.
File 2 – Chromosome Browser Results
The second file you’re going to download is your file that contains the matching segments with all of your matches.
To find this link, you’ll need to select someone, anyone, to compare in the chromosome browser. We just need to get to that page, so who you select doesn’t matter.
This is my mother’s account, so I’m selecting me to compare.
On the dropdown box below the picture, select “compare in chromosome browser.”
Family Tree DNA will then add me to the list of people to compare. You could select 4 more, but in this case, we simply want to get to the results page, so click on the big blue compare button.
Hint: If you aren’t actually comparing people, you can take the shortcut to the Chromosome Browser by clicking the Chromosome Browser button beside the match button in the middle of your main page.
Regardless of which way you get to the top of the Chromosome Browser page, at the top of the chromosome browser page, you will see three options.
The first option, on the left will only download the matches currently showing in the chromosome browser. In this case, it would be only for me and mother.
The second option shows the same data in a table.
You’re not interested in either of those two options. You want to click on the third option, on the far right, “Download All Matches to Excel,” which will produce a file with the following information for all of your matches.
This file shows you the matching information on each chromosome location for every one of your matches. We’ll be using this information to group relevant matches in the next article.
When you’re ready to download the files from Family Tree DNA to your computer, do the download for all people involved on the same day, at the same time, so that their results will be in sync.
Preparing for the Managing Autosomal DNA Series
For the first part of the Managing Autosomal DNA Matches series, you’ll want to download your results and those of your parents or parent, as described above. If you don’t have living parents, you’ll want to download the files of your siblings. If you have one or both parents, you don’t need the files of your siblings.
By the way, if you’re lucky enough to have grandparents who have tested, by all means, we need their file too.
This series also presumes at least a rudimentary working knowledge of Excel. Specifically you’ll need to know how to sort correctly (meaning sort the entire spreadsheet, not just a specific column) and how to colorize cells.
You may want to refer to training videos for Excel including “Twenty with Tessa, Tips and Suggestions for Spreadsheets” which is focused on using spreadsheets with one name studies and genetic genealogy, but the principles are the same. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ll_cfhOZTl0&feature=youtu.be
I have not taken this class, but some have joined www.lynda.com and taken the basic Excel class which they found very useful.
Transferring Results from Ancestry and 23andMe
For the next step, you’ll need your results and those of both or either of your parents at Family Tree DNA.
If you have tested your parents or siblings at Ancestry (before the middle of May 2016) or at 23andMe on the v3 chip (before November 2013), you’ll want to transfer their files to Family Tree DNA, assuming they have not already tested at Family Tree DNA.
The transfer is free, but it costs $39 to unlock the file. That’s a lot less than retesting. It takes a few days to process, so do the transfer now so that you’ll have their results. To be clear, we need your results and those of either or both of your parents at Family Tree DNA for the first article. If you have both parents, that’s the ideal situation. If not, one parent will do. If you have grandparents, by all means, we need them too.
Having said that, in future articles, we will also be working with other known relatives, such as uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. If you have tested other known relatives elsewhere, now would be a good time to transfer their results as well, although we won’t utilize their information in the first article.