Grandparent Inheritance Chart by Legacy Tree Genealogists

Today, Legacy Tree Genealogists is introducing a very cool new tool – the Grandparent Inheritance chart – and it’s free!

Anyone with at least one grandparent who has DNA tested from both sides can participate, meaning a total of 2 grandparents, but not through the same parent.

The resulting chart shows you at a glance the DNA that you (or the child) inherited from each of the 4 grandparents. Meet Natalie. On the chart below, you can see how Natalie’s grandparents’ DNA maps across her chromosomes.



Is this cool or what???

This is a wonderful science and inheritance teaching tool for grandchildren, if you’re on the grandparent end of the age spectrum – and a super gift – meaning the DNA testing and the chart, together!

In addition to the Grandparent Inheritance Chart, Legacy Tree is providing a free infographic as well, their DNA and Relationship Quick Reference Chart, showing the various the amounts of DNA you share with relatives, down to 4th cousins three times removed (4C3R).


I like the color coded leaves showing direct ancestors, ancestors’ siblings and descendants.

Thank you, Legacy Tree!

Who Can Use the GrandParent Inheritance Chart?

In order to be able to accurately plot your DNA from each of four grandparents, one grandparent from each grandparent couple must be available to or already have tested, as shown in the chart below.


The child can be either a male or female child.  Neither parent’s DNA is needed for the Grandparent Inheritance Chart.

How Does This Work?

Legacy Tree provides instructions for preparing and uploading your results for all 3 individuals.

Because you tell Legacy Tree the identity of the two people that tested, and which side of your tree they are from, Legacy Tree knows to display the matches from that grandparent on the mother’s side for example, and the balance of the maternal side must come from the other maternal grandparent if they are not available to DNA test.

You can use 2, 3 or 4 grandparents, if you have their DNA tests available.


Let’s Get Started

To get started, go to – but please finish reading this article before you actually do anything.

You will find the input form as well as detailed instructions for preparing your file.

The file you need to upload to Legacy Tree is not a raw autosomal data file like when you download your file to upload to GedMatch.

The contents of the file you need for Legacy Tree for the Grandparent Inheritance Chart are only the matching segments between the child and the grandparents, so a small subset of your chromosome browser matches downloaded in CSV format. If you’re saying to yourself, “But Ancestry doesn’t have a chromosome browser,” you’re right, but there are a couple of ways around that.


The vendor recommended by Legacy Tree is Family Tree DNA, and with very good reason.  When preparing this article, I worked through the various different vendor file preparation instructions, and Family Tree DNA is BY FAR the easiest.

You can utilize files from different vendors, so long as those vendors are Family Tree DNA, 23andMe or Ancestry. MyHeritage is on the drawing board.  If the Ancestry files are Version 1, for tests run before mid May, 2016, I would strongly suggest that you upload your results to Family Tree DNA, which will give you access to the Family Tree DNA chromosome browser to download your results in the format needed.

If you tested on 23andMe V3, between December 2010 when V3 was introduced, and November 2013 when V4 was introduced, you can upload your 23andMe file to Family Tree DNA too.

These transfers cost $39 each and give you the added benefit of fishing in multiple ponds.

If you have tested at multiple vendors, utilize your Family Tree DNA file.

If you have tested on the 23andMe V4 file or the Ancestry V2 file, you can either wait a bit for Family Tree DNA to finish their development which will allow them to accept and process these files which are a different format than the test chip Family Tree DNA utilizes, and was formerly utilized by both Ancestry and 23andMe before they developed custom chips.  You can also utilize GedMatch to “equalize” and process the Ancestry and 23andMe files so that the output is compatible with the Family Tree DNA files.

Vendor File Version Options

DNA Test Vendor and Version Option 1 Option 2 Recommendation
Family Tree DNA > > Just follow the Legacy Tree Instructions – You’re good to go
Ancestry V1 (before mid-May 2016) Upload to Family Tree DNA and activate test for $39 Upload to Gedmatch and process utilizing Legacy Tree instructions Upload to Family Tree DNA which also gives you the benefit of matching in their data base and utilizing their tools
Ancestry V2 (after mid-May 2016) Wait for Family Tree DNA to finish development of import compatibility which should be released shortly Upload to Gedmatch and process utilizing Legacy Tree instructions Upload to GedMatch if you are comfortable with Excel and the instructions, otherwise wait for Family Tree DNA.
23andMe V2 (before December 2010) > Upload to Gedmatch and process utilizing Legacy Tree instructions Upload to GedMatch
23andMe V3 (December 2010 through November 2013) Upload to Family Tree DNA and activate test for $39 Upload to Gedmatch and process utilizing Legacy Tree instructions Upload to Family Tree DNA which also gives you the benefit of matching in their data base and utilizing their tools
23andMe V4 (after November 2013) Wait for Family Tree DNA to finish development of import compatibility which should be released shortly Upload to Gedmatch and process utilizing Legacy Tree instructions Upload to GedMatch if you are comfortable with Excel and the instructions, otherwise wait for Family Tree DNA
Need to test child or grandparent > > Test at Family Tree DNA

Preparing the Files

Legacy Tree provides detailed instructions for working with all of the vendor files, and I strongly encourage you to pay close attention to and follow those instructions exactly.


Here’s an example of the instructions for utilizing files from multiple vendors after the files are downloaded.

The instructions for each vendor include instructions for how to download your raw data file from either Ancestry or 23andMe.  You don’t need to do that if you tested at Family Tree DNA.


If you look at the difference in the instructions for Family Tree DNA files and the processing steps required for the other vendors, you’ll see immediately why both Legacy Tree and I both recommend that you use Family Tree DNA.

Additional Product

While the Grandparent Inheritance Chart is free, Legacy Tree does have an additional product they’d like for you to consider.

The Full Grandparent Inheritance Report can be viewed here and is a 30 page report that includes various traits that the child inherited from various grandparents.

As an example, I’ve included eye color, below.


This report builds on the information from the Grandparent Inheritance Chart and costs $100.

What If I Don’t Have the Right People – Can I Still Play?

I know a lot of people are going to be disappointed because they don’t have the right mix of grandparents, or enough grandparents to test.  However, you may still have an option.

The Grandparent Inheritance Chart is a version of what is called Visual Phasing.  This can be done, to some extent, manually, with siblings and cousins.  There is no automation, but Blaine Bettinger has written a series of articles detailing and illustrating the methodology.  Even if you’re going to utilize the free Grandparent Inheritance Chart, reading Blaine’s articles to gain an understanding of the underlying technology and concepts behind Visual Phasing is a great idea.

Blaine’s Visual Phasing Articles



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12 thoughts on “Grandparent Inheritance Chart by Legacy Tree Genealogists

  1. Thanks for the heads up, Roberta. We have samples in at FTDNA for two of our granddaughters and our “co-grandparents” so we will have all four grandparents. I’m planning to make books for them. My project just got a lot easier. Can’t wait for the results!

  2. The explosion of new tools and information in the genetic genealogy arena is powerful and OVERWHELMING. But, so many layers, and just not enough time to delve into everything that is available while at the same time trying to build a tree with documentation. My head spins……

    Thank you for keeping us updated.

  3. Is it possible to create a family tree on the family tree dna even if you haven’t done any type of dna tests what so ever and how much does it cost to be on that site

    • The tree building is free for those who have tested, as are the tools, but you must have taken a test to obtain a personal page that functions are your “hub.” The Family Finder test is $79 and that will get you cousin matching, ethnicity estimates and all of the tools including tree building.

  4. I just checked my son’s DNA with FTDNA – Robert Smith 481447. His YDNA comes up but not the Family Treemaker. It was up last week and I need it. Could you check this.?

  5. Hi,
    Okay, I ran this individually with two grandchildren: one male and one female; and one Maternal and one Paternal grandmother. All tested with FT-DNA. The FT-DNA results were very easy and the charts generated quickly. An oddity came up in both charts. For each grandchild, 0 % was found for the Maternal grandmother for both grandchild’s inheritance. Yes, I understand this is possible. However, when I looked at assigned Grandparent on the Legacy chart something wasn’t right. With the great X inheritance patterns we can do a quick crosscheck. The female grandchild’s X showed the possible inheritance from both the paternal and maternal side.meaning (maternal GF). but no maternal GM segment. All of the X was attributed to the maternal GRANDFATHER. Okay. Possible. The male grandchild’s X was attributed to his Maternal GF..and none to his maternal GM…

    I rechecked the X on FT-DNA vs. Legacy and do see long blocks of X cm’s attributed to the Maternal GM for both grand kids. Am I not understanding this? Shouldn’t those segments then show up on Legacy’s chart?

    So before I plunked down $100 for the report, I wanted to see the chart and understand what I did wrong.

    I contacted Legacy… They were very nice and promptly replied. They explained they cannot provide individual support for a free tool. This is perfectly understandable. They provided 3 options: 1) I generate the chart using the free tool (okay did that, but I think something’s not right) 2) they generate the chart for $100 and 3) they generate the chart as part of the report for $100..

    Any idea what I did wrong? Am I not thinking correctly? You can tell me. It won’t hurt my feelings.

  6. A follow up- This morning, I was pleasantly surprised by an email from Amber, Marketing Manager at Legacy. Amber made a suggestion regarding how FT-DNA takes in the names. They will be updating the FT-DNA instructions. The charts generated correctly. So a BIG THANK YOU to Legacy’s efforts and taking the Beta version feedback seriously. KAM

  7. Two bad both my maternal grand parents are long gone.

    Although this sound promising. I hope FTDNA will do something similar at some point.

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