FTDNA Unlock Sale, Upload Fix & Triangulation

Three important pieces of information today:

  • The unlock at Family Tree DNA for transferred autosomal files from other vendors is only $10 for the duration of October, a savings of almost 50% with the coupon code.
  • After unlocking your results, you can triangulate your Ancestry, 23andMe or MyHeritage results with your Family Tree DNA matches using the new third party tool, The Triangulator.
  • For those who have been having problems transferring Ancestry results to Family Tree DNA, a fix.

Unlock Sale

You can always transfer your results from either 23andMe (V3 or V4), Ancestry (V1 or V2) or MyHeritage to Family Tree DNA for free and see your matches, but to unlock the chromosome browser, an extremely useful tool that shows you exactly where your DNA matches, your ethnicity estimates (myOrigins) or your ancientOrigins, you need to unlock the results which normally costs $19 – a lot less than a second DNA test.

For the rest of October, which is only 4 days, you can unlock your results for only $10 with the coupon code below.

Please keep in mind that the 23andMe V4 test, in production between November 2013 and August 2017, and the Ancestry V2 test, in production since May 2016, are not fully compatible with the Family Tree DNA test and transferring those results only provide you with your closest matches – normally about 20-25% of the total matches you would have if you took a Family Finder test. My Ancestry V2 transfer test provides me with 3rd-5th cousins and my smallest matching segment is 14cM. To obtain all of the matches you would have with a fully compatible DNA test, order a Family Finder test from Family Tree DNA for $69.

The Ancestry V1 test (used until May 2016), 23andMe V3 test (used until November 2013) and MyHeritage transfer files are fully compatible, so no need to order a Family Finder test if you can transfer one of those.


After you transfer and unlock, you’ll be able to use the new Triangulator tool on your Family Tree DNA matches. The Triangulator is easy and simple and no longer requires talking everyone into transferring their results to GedMatch to be able to triangulate.

You can read about the new Triangulator tool, here.

Transfer Troubles

Some people have been experiencing problems with transferring some Ancestry files to Family Tree DNA.

You can find Ancestry download instructions here.

There are three possible solutions for the problem. I suggest trying them in this order:

  • Delete the first download file (so you don’t get them confused) and download the Ancestry raw data file again. There have been instances of incomplete downloads. Do not open the file before uploading to Family Tree DNA.
  • Open the transfer file after downloading from Ancestry and search for the text “V1” or “V2” in the first few rows. If it says V1, change it to V2 and it if says V2, change it to V1. Save and close the file. Do not rezip the file. Just upload it to Family Tree DNA.
  • A solution for upload issues that do not resolve with one of the two steps above has been discussed on the Family Tree DNA forums. A third-party tool converts an Ancestry raw data file into a format accepted by Family Tree DNA using a blank template of a known V2 working file. You can find the tool and instructions here. There are no known issues with V1 files uploading.


With the unlock sale, the transfer fix and the new Triangulation tool, now is definitely the time to transfer those files so you can match and triangulate Ancestry, 23andMe and MyHeritage files with your matches at Family Tree DNA. You never know what you’ll find.

Click here to transfer or unlock files, or to order the Family Finder test. Remember, the code for the $10 unlock is ATUL1017.

Have fun and don’t stay up all night triangulating like I did!


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19 thoughts on “FTDNA Unlock Sale, Upload Fix & Triangulation

  1. Downloaded both Ancestry & 23 & Me files but cannot find where on my FTDNA page to download them. Am I suppose to download them to my existing FTDNA page?

    • You only need to upload one, either your Ancestry or 23andMe, but not both. You only need one autosomal test at FTDNA. If the 23andMe is V3, upload it, other wise upload the Ancestry file. On the FTDNA main page, before you sign in, click on the upper left hand corner where it says DNA tests. Autosomal transfer is one of the options. When it asks you if you have an account, enter your current account number so the transferred file is joined on your existing account.

      • Before your reply I called the FTDNA Help Desk and they told me that I can only have one autosomal file in my already existing account, which in this case is my already existing FTDNA autosomal file. That if I want to upload an autosomal file from Ancestry or 23&Me I would need to do that in separate accounts for each one. I’m still confused!

    • Duane, there is no need for you to upload a file from another company to FTDNA, since you already have done the Family Finder test (autosomal) there. These instructions are for people who have not taken the Family Finder test. You are already “good to go!”

  2. Thank you so much, Roberta! I had been trying unsuccessfully to transfer a cousin’s AncestryDNA data to ftDNA since she took the test this summer. Her data transferred to GEDmatch without a hitch, but never to ftDNA. Today’s article not only gave me a work-around (the upload/download to the working template), but also saved me half the price of the transfer! Brava! I have read you for some time and benefited often, but never quite so dramatically. Maybe I’ll see you at the conference in Houston in a couple weeks. Thank you, again.

  3. Roberta, I have already uploaded my Ancestry results a while ago. I would like to do this unlock thing but I can’t find anywhere to do that at. The link in your post takes me to a page where I could purchase the FamilyFinder Test or upload the Geographic whatever but nothing regarding unlock. Unfortunately it is now too late for me to call FTDNA. Any help would be lovely

  4. I took a test at FTDNA. I then took a test at Ancestry and uploaded it to FTDNA. Am I correct in assuming that there is no need to unlock my Ancestry test on the FTDNA site, since the FTDNA and Ancestry results are almost the same?

    • You can have only one autosomal test in your account at FTDNA. So, if you took the Family Finder test at FTDNA, you would not be able to upload your Ancestry results to that same account. So either you took a different test at FTDNA, or you uploaded your Ancestry file to a different account.

  5. Hi! I have two Vs in my AncestryDNA raw data: V2 and V1, in that order.

    I have changed to V1 and V2, and that didn’t work. I then changed both to V2, and that didn’t work. Finally, I changed both to V1, again without success. I also re-ordered the raw data to try again.

    Any suggestions on what I should do next? Thanks!

  6. This has to do with your trip. I was in Dublin, right before you were to lecture. I wanted to attend, but was just ending my 15 day trip around Ireland and was leaving October 18. I enjoyed your blog about your travels to Tara, New Grange, etc. I was staying right beside Trinity College, and could follow your every step. I can also, deeply understand your words about “spirits of yours (and mine) ancestors speaking across more than 5500 years, on an emerald green grassy plateau in Ireland, far distant from modern life, yet inextricably connected through the silvery spider web of time.” Thank you for your words and emotions, as it was nice to connect and express my inner soul as well.

  7. I see there have been some problems with transfers from Ancestry (as noted in your newsletter below). Have you also received comments from others regarding any problems transferring files from MyHeritage? I’ve tried to accomplish this with my files, but with no luck. Just wondering if anybody has contacted you with the same problem?

    I’d also like to take the opportunity to thank you for the great information you continue to share with all of us through your newsletter and your site! I find everything you write about to be extremely helpful…I just wish I understood more about the DNA process and the results. Try as I may, sometimes it’s just too difficult for me to comprehend. LOL!

    Thank you for any help you can offer regarding my problem with MyHeritage transfers to FamilyTreeDNA.

    Kristy Ostergard

    Rockford, IL


  8. I have been notified that the dnagen triangulation tool is no longer working because a few people complained of privacy issues. I’m really irked with people who are so afraid that someone might know who they are. Those are the people who put up just initials, or their kit number, even no identification at all. Really, if you don’t want anyone to know who you are why are even allowing your kit to be public. You want to see everyone else’s results, but no one to see yours. Roberta, please tell the folks at Family Tree DNA that this is a great tool and they must find a way to let it go forward. Everyone else who has tried this tool, please write to Family Tree DNA and tell them that you want it. Thanks.

  9. The Triangulator appears to have been shut down due to privacy concerns. I just unlocked my transfer results and hope to be able to use the triangulator soon. Hopefully there’s a quick fix.

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