Ancestry Step by Step Guide: How to Upload-Download DNA Files

In this Upload-Download Series, we’ll cover each major vendor:

  • How to download raw data files from the vendor
  • How to upload raw data files to the vendor, if possible
  • Other mainstream vendors where you can upload this vendor’s files

Uploading TO Ancestry

This part is easy with Ancestry because Ancestry doesn’t accept any other vendor’s files. There is no ability to upload TO Ancestry. You have to test with Ancestry if you want DNA results from Ancestry.

Downloading FROM Ancestry

In order to upload your Ancestry autosomal DNA file to another testing vendor, or GedMatch, for either matching or ethnicity, you’ll need to first download the file from Ancestry. This doesn’t in any way affect your DNA matches at Ancestry. You’re only downloading a copy of the raw data file.

Step 1

Sign in to your account at Ancestry and click on the DNA Results Summary link.

Step 2

Click on the Settings gear, at the far upper right-hand corner of the summary page, just beneath your Ancestry user ID.

Step 3

Scroll way to the bottom and click on the link for “Download Raw DNA Data.”

Step 4

Enter your password and click on “I Understand,” after reading of course.

Then click “Confirm.”

Step 5

Ancestry will send an e-mail to the e-mail address where you are registered with Ancestry. Check your inbox for that e-mail.


Still waiting…

If the e-mail doesn’t arrive shortly, check your spam folder. If you’ve changed e-mail addresses, check to be sure your new one is registered with Ancestry. That’s on the same Settings page. If all else fails, request the e-mail again.

Step 6

Ahhh, it’s finally here.

Click on the green “Confirm Data Download” and do not close the window.

Step 7

Next, click on the green “Download DNA Data.”

You’ll see the following confirmation screen along with the downloaded file at the bottom.

Step 8

At the bottom of the page, above, if you’re on a PC, you’ll see the name of the zipped file.

The file name will be “dna-data-2021-07-31” where the date is the date you downloaded the file. I would suggest adding the word Ancestry to the front when you save the file on your system.

Most vendors want an unopened zip file, so if you want to open your file, first copy it to another name. Otherwise, you’ll have to download again.

That’s it, you’re done!

Ancestry DNA File Uploads to Other Vendors

Ancestry testing falls into two different categories. V1 tests taken before May of 2016 and V2, the current version as of August 2021 which includes tests taken after May 2016. Tests processed during May 2016 could be either version. However, the major vendors accept both files, so the version no longer matters.

The difference between V1 and V2 files is that Ancestry changed the chips they use to test and different DNA positions are tested, resulting in a file of a different format.

Not all vendors accept uploads, but you can upload your Ancestry DNA file, as follows:

From below to >>>>>>>>>>> Family Tree DNA Accepts ** MyHeritage Accepts*** 23andMe Accepts* GedMatch Accepts
Ancestry V1 and V2 Yes Yes No Yes

*Note that 23andMe in 2018 allowed a one-time upload from Ancestry, but people who uploaded results did not receive matches from 23andMe. You need to test at 23andMe.

**Note that the upload to Family Tree DNA and matching is free, but advanced tools including the chromosome browser and ethnicity require a $19 unlock fee. That fee is less expensive than retesting.

***MyHeritage provides free matching and basic tools. You’ll need either a $29 unlock or a full subscription to utilize all of the MyHeritage advanced DNA and genealogy tools. You can upload your DNA file here, and try the subscription for free, here.

Testing and Upload Strategy

My recommendation, if you test at Ancestry, is to upload your DNA file to MyHeritage, Family Tree DNA, and GedMatch.

I wrote step-by-step upload instructions for:

Have fun!

Please note that this article was updated in August 2021.



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48 thoughts on “Ancestry Step by Step Guide: How to Upload-Download DNA Files

  1. The Ancestry download instructions are great. Can you provide similar instructions for the rest of the downloads and uploads? I would really like to see the instructions for upload to GEDmatch. Enjoy your blog posts Roberta. Thanks!

    • Yes, this is useful, together with upload instructions for GEDmatch, it would make a great Word file to be able to email to a match who you’re trying to trianagulate with. Anything that keeps people from Googling GEDmatch is helpful, being able to have everything simple on one resource would be a strong encouragement to Ancestry matches who seem to be less than computer savvy, in my experience.

  2. I understand this process and I am am member of FTDNA. For me I found my Parental side of my family through There seems to be a problem with the DNA process algorithm’s. Since there are more and more families with different parent couples. The problem is now our cousins are now counted as half siblings and half cousins. I tried to use FTDNA but it just didn’t work for me. I found more family members through But again, They don’t take into consideration of half relatives. So I had to resort to using the shared cM project chart, by Blaine T. Bettinger.

    • Almost no companies list half-relationships. They list what seems to be the best fit for the right side of the shared-cM project chart. There are multiple relationships that are possible. It was either 23andMe or MyHeritage that has the option of updating the estimated relationship they give and putting in yours. FamilyTreeDNA will insert the relationship if you link it in your tree.

      • I understand your comment but here is the problem for your company. If I continued to use FTDNA, I would not have found my Paternal or Maternal side of the family. They all used Ancestry. I went from 3 close Maternal to 200 distant, which the shared DNA would be impossible to match. To over 400 relatives from 3700cM to 42 cM.

        • To be clear, it’s not my company. I’m not an employee either. My point is simply that serious genealogists need to be in the databases of the major testing companies because you never know who tested where. This article was focused towards people who tested at Ancestry and how to transfer elsewhere. I’ve found important matches in all of the databases, with perhaps the exception of 23andMe.

  3. The transfer update at FTDNA is $19, not $39. From the FTDNA website: “After transferring, you can unlock all Family Finder features, which include the Chromosome Browser, myOrigins, and ancientOrigins for only $19.” Easy mistake to make since it was $39 for so long. Bill

  4. Thanks so much for coming out with this series of articles! They’ll be a great resource for people who’d like to upload, but aren’t sure how to go about it. Now if only they’d use the same name/username on all sites, and connect their DNA data to a tree,..

  5. My sister took the My Heritage test, but it is so unreadable. No-one understands how to read it. She then called My Heritage to see if they could explain or shed some light on understanding it all. However, because they could not help my sister with understanding the results, they gave my sister her money back. Do you know of a more simpler way to read those results??

    • What didn’t she understand? There are two parts. Ethnicity is straightforward. Matching means you match someone and the “game” is to figure out your common ancestor.

  6. My cousin tested at Ancestry in June of this year, as I recall. He tried last week to upload his results to ftdna, but was unable to do so. A message from them tells him they are working on a compatibility problem, no time frame for fix.

  7. Step 1. Click on DNA – check. See the dropdown menu. What????
    I have never seen this. Nor has anyone I know who has tested in the past couple of years.
    We have to go via “Settings”.
    I think that you as a pioneer might have something different from the rest of us.
    Some other notably experienced bloggers have similar advice, but they apparently see what I see and also have to go via “Settings”.
    Otherwise, great article.

  8. At “Rootstech” in 2018 you were wearing a T-shirt that read “WHAT’S YOUR HAPLOGROUP” in sequins – I wrote & you sent me vendor’s info. I bought it & now others want one? Please send the info again??? I follow your blog faithfully & have tested mt/DNA at Family Tree DNA…

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  12. I’m very new to this and found this blog to be informative and non-biased….much appreciated…my problem is four sons and a wife and ‘no one’ used the same company so I’m trying to get everything organized at one site …I don’t know if its possible. My test are at Heritage…..Thanks for the blog I will be reading often

    • You can transfer everyone to MyHeritage, Family Tree DNA and GedMatch and they will have different matches in each place.

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  18. My sister tested with and I tested with 23 and me. I would like to compare results but am a bit confused, so could you give me a little advice ? Would it be easier fir one of us to retest? Thanks, DG

    • If you want to compare at one of those sites, yes. But you could both transfer to Family Tree DNA, MyHeritage or GedMatch for free. Of course there are people in each data base that aren’t in the others.

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  21. The format of the Ancestry raw DNA data does not look compatible with simple data analysis tools such as spreadsheets or a database. Are there ways of downloading just the matches, for instance, or for processing the Raw data into a suitable format for importing to other applications rather than putting it into another genealogy product?

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  23. I have the V2 version of the Ancestry autosomal test. I have an old Family Finder test at FTDNA. I tried to order a retest of the Family Finder, but was advised “it is not allowed.” Do I have to create a new account at FTDNA to do this?

    • You don’t need to retest. But to answer your question, yes, to have two Family Finder tests would necessitate a second kit be ordered which means a second account.

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  25. My Husband passed away a year and a half ago and we both took the Ancestry DNA Test. I am really illiterate about how to transfer those results to another site. Is it legal for me to transfer my husband’s results since he is dead? I can access his results as they are available through my Ancestry account.

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