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
- Other mainstream vendors where you can upload this vendor’s files
Uploading TO Family Tree DNA
On the main Family Tree DNA page, click on “Upload DNA Data,” at the top.
Select either “Autosomal DNA” or Nat Geo’s Geno 2.0 data. Hint, the current version of Genographic data won’t work. The current version is processed on the Helix chip as of November 2016.
If you are not transferring from Nat Geo, go to Step 4.
If you are transferring a Nat Geo 2.0 kit, proceed to enter your National Geographic Kit Number. If you don’t know your kit number, click on “Where do I find my Geno ID Code.”
These instructions in Step 4 focus on uploading your autosomal DNA file from other vendors, not Genographic 2.0.
Complete the form. If you already have tested Y or mitochondrial DNA at Family Tree DNA, select “Already have a Family Tree DNA account,” so that your uploaded test can be integrated with your existing account. If you have already taken the Family Finder test at Family Tree DNA, there’s no need to upload your autosomal DNA from any other vendor.
Next, select the vendor test that you are going to upload. Uploads accepted include:
- 23andMe V3 and V4 – tests taken after December 2010 and before August 2017. The V5 chip, in use at 23andMe since August 2017 is not compatible.
- Ancestry V1 – tests taken until May 2016.
- Ancestry V2 – tests taken since May 2016
- MyHeritage – fully compatible, Family Tree DNA is the lab that does their testing
If you select “MyHeritage,” you will be redirected to MyHeritage to log in and select your kit for transfer.
If you select either 23andMe or Ancestry DNA, you will be directed to either drag and drop your data file from that vendor or browse to upload.
Family Tree DNA provides a step by step guide for accessing your raw data files from those vendors by clicking on “How to I access my raw data files?,” above the grey transfer box.
You will be assigned a Family Tree DNA kit number. After your results are processed, you can sign in to see your matches.
The 23andMe V3, V4 and the Ancestry V1 kits are fully compatible, meaning that you will get the same matches at Family Tree DNA using those transfer kits as you would if you tested at Family Tree DNA. However, the Ancestry V2 kit is only partially compatible, meaning that you will only receive 20-25% of the matches by transferring a V2 test that you would receive if you tested at Family Tree DNA. Ancestry changed their chip in May of 2016.
If you want all of your possible matches, and who doesn’t, you should test at Family Tree DNA instead of uploading a V2 Ancestry test.
The transfer to Family Tree DNA is free and so is viewing your matches along with basic tools. However, for additional tools, such as ethnicity and the chromosome browser, you’ll need to purchase the $19 unlock. This is a great value, as compared to retesting at $79, or sometimes less when on sale.
You will be prompted for the “Unlock” purchase if you click on either the Chromosome Browser button, the Ethnicity button or other advanced tools on your dashboard after your results are finished.
Downloading FROM Family Tree DNA
To download your raw autosomal DNA file from Family Tree DNA, click on the orange “Download Raw Data” link at the bottom of your Family Finder section on your dashboard.
Alternatively, you can select the “Download Raw Data” option at the top of the page under myDNA, “Family Finder.”
You will be given the option of downloading your Build 36 and Build 37 raw data files.
Different vendors request different types of files.
- GedMatch – Build 36 Raw Data Concatenated
- MyHeritage – Build 37 Raw Data Concatenated
Other vendors may request different file formats, and the above vendors may change over time.
Click the arrow beside the version you need.
Save the file in a manner that you’ll recognize. The file name will be something like “37_R_Estes_Chrom_Autoso_20180818.gz”. I append the word FTDNA in front of the 37 so there is no question which vendor’s file this is. The last several digits are the date.
Family Tree DNA File Transfers TO Other Vendors
You can upload Family Tree DNA results to other vendors, as follows:
|From below to >>>>>>>>>>>||Ancestry Accepts||MyHeritage Accepts||23andMe Accepts||GedMatch Accepts|
|Family Tree DNA||No||Yes||No||Yes|
Neither Ancestry nor 23andMe accept uploads from any vendor.
Family Tree DNA Transfers FROM Other Vendors
You can upload files from other vendors to Family Tree DNA, as follows:
|From Ancestry||From MyHeritage||From 23andMe||From Living DNA|
|Family Tree DNA Accepts||Yes||Yes||V3, V4||No|
Testing and Transfer Strategy
Transferring to Family Tree DNA is always free, and you can see your matches. In order to view your ethnicity and use advanced tools like the chromosome browser, you’ll need to purchase the $19 unlock.
Remember that while Ancestry and MyHeritage both have records subscriptions to sell you, Family Tree DNA doesn’t. For Tier 1 tools, GedMatch requires a subscription. At Family Tree DNA, you pay a one time fee to unlock all of their tools. Every company needs to be profitable to stay in business and develop new tools, and each company has a different product pricing model.
My testing/transfer recommendations are as follows relative to Family Tree DNA:
An Ancestry V1 test is entirely compatible at Family Tree DNA, but with a V2 test, because the testing platform that Ancestry uses is only about 20-25% compatible with the Family Tree DNA test, you’ll only receive your closest 20-25% matches. Family Tree DNA can’t match on those smaller segments if you don’t test on a compatible platform, so please do. I wrote a step-by-step guide about how to download from Ancestry here, including how to tell if you have a V1 or V2 format test.
- If you have Ancestry V2 results, you can transfer to MyHeritage and GedMatch but I recommend retesting at Family Tree DNA. The cost difference at Family Tree DNA between the $19 unlock and a new Family Finder test is $60, for a total of $79 when the tests aren’t on sale. When they are on sale, it’s less. You never know which match is going to break down that brick wall, and it would be a shame to miss it because you transferred rather than retested.
- If you test at Family Tree DNA, transfer your results to MyHeritage for free. Matching and ethnicity is free with a transfer to MyHeritage, but you won’t receive the full potential benefit of tree matching with other testers without a subscription.
- If you test at MyHeritage, transfer your results to Family Tree DNA for free.
- If you test at 23andMe and have the V3 or V4 test, transfer to both Family Tree DNA and MyHeritage. If you have the 23andMe V5 test, retest at Family Tree DNA and transfer those results to MyHeritage and GedMatch.
I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.
Thank you so much.
DNA Purchases and Free Transfers
- Family Tree DNA
- MyHeritage DNA only
- MyHeritage DNA plus Health
- MyHeritage FREE DNA file upload
- 23andMe Ancestry
- 23andMe Ancestry Plus Health
- Legacy Tree Genealogists for genealogy research