As most people know by now, Ancestry doesn’t accept DNA file transfers from other vendors, so many people recommend testing first at Ancestry and then transferring to Family Tree DNA.
Actually, that’s not always the best choice.
- There is nothing inherently WRONG with that strategy, but it may not be right for you either. Transferring to Family Tree DNA from Ancestry certainly won’t hurt anything, but a transfer will only provide 20-25% of your matches if you tested at Ancestry after May of 2016 because the DNA chips used for processing are different at the two vendors.
- If you tested at Ancestry before May of 2016, the Ancestry kit and the Family Tree DNA kits are identical, so transferring will give you the same matches at Family Tree DNA as if you had tested there. You are on the Ancestry V1 kit, so just transfer. There is no need for a V1 kit to retest at Family Tree DNA. The transfer itself is free, as are your matches, but to unlock all features and tools costs $19. A bargain.
- If you tested at Ancestry after May of 2016, you tested on the V2 kit. Ancestry changed the markers tested and now the Ancestry kit is only partially compatible with Family Tree DNA. As an Ancestry V2 transfer kit, you will only receive about 20-25% of the matches you would receive if you tested at Family Tree DNA. The matches you receive will be your closest matches, but is that enough?
For some people, especially adoptees, your closest matches may be all that you are interested in. If so, you’re golden with any Ancestry transfer.
For genealogists, you’re missing 75-80% of your matches, and your brick-wall breaker may well be in that group. Not good at all!
As you can see, my Family Finder kit received 3115 matches. My Ancestry V2 transfer kit only received 26.65% of those matches.
Plus, if you attach the DNA of known family members to your tree, Family Tree DNA provides phased matching, which tells you which side of your tree a match connects to. In the example above, that means that I know immediately which side 1236 of my matches connect to. That’s a whopping 40% and that’s before I even look at their trees or common surnames! This is an incredible tool.
People who recommend that you test at Ancestry, today, and transfer to Family Tree DNA may not understand the unintended consequences, or they may be people who work primarily with adoptees. They may also not understand the value of phased matches for genealogists.
To Order or Transfer
To transfer to Family Tree DNA for free from any company, click here and then in the upper left hand corner of the screen, click Autosomal Transfer, last option under the dropdown under the blue DNA Tests to get started.
- Autosomal DNA Transfers – Which Companies Accept Which Tests?
- Downloading Ancestry’s Autosomal DNA Raw Data File
- Which DNA Test is Best?
- Which Ethnicity Test is Best?
- Family Tree DNA Introduces Phased Family Finder Matches
- Having trouble with your transfer file, check the “Upload Fix” portion of this article.
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