Family Tree DNA 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
  • Other mainstream vendors where you can upload this vendor’s files

You can both upload autosomal data files from another vendor to FamilyTreeDNA, and download from FamilyTreeDNA. Please note that downloading a copy of your raw data file from any vendor does not interfere with your matches at that vendor.

Uploading DNA Files TO Family Tree DNA

Please note that the name of FamilyTreeDNA‘s autosomal test is the Family Finder test. FamilyTreeDNA also offers Y DNA (male paternal line only) and mitochondrial DNA (matrilineal line only for both sexes) tests, so the Family Finder name differentiates the autosomal test from those other types of genealogical tests.

If you have already taken the Family Finder test at FamilyTreeDNA‘or already uploaded an autosomal DNA file from another vendor, there’s no need to upload a second file.

However, if you haven’t yet uploaded an autosomal file, now’s the time!

Upload Step 1

On the main Family Tree DNA page, click on “Upload DNA Data,” at the top.

Upload Step 2

Click on  “Autosomal DNA.”

Upload Step 3

Complete the form.

If you already have tested Y or mitochondrial DNA at Family Tree DNA, click on “Already have a Family Tree DNA account,” beneath the grey bar so that your uploaded test can be integrated with your existing account which will allow you to use the advanced matching tools.

Sign on to your account, then in the upper right-hand corner of your page, click on “Add Ons and Upgrades” and select DNA Transfer Options.

Then click “Transfer Now.”

If you have already taken the Family Finder test at FamilyTreeDNA, there’s no need to upload your autosomal DNA from any other vendor, so you’re all set.

To continue the upload process, you’ll need to tell FamilyTreeDNA which vendor’s file you’re uploading.

Upload Step 4

Select the vendor test that you are going to upload. Uploads accepted include:

  • 23andMe V3, V4 and V5  – tests taken after December 2010
  • Ancestry V1 and V2 – V2 is the current test as of August 2021
  • MyHeritage – must have tested after May 7, 2019. Family Tree DNA is the lab that does MyHeritage testing so their transfer/upload process is a little different.

If you select “MyHeritage,” you will be redirected to MyHeritage to log in and select your kit for transfer/upload.

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, including a video, for accessing your raw data files from those vendors by clicking here.

You will be assigned a Family Tree DNA kit number. After your results are processed, you can sign in to see your matches.

Upload Step 5

The upload 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 the regular price of $79.

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 Your DNA File FROM Family Tree DNA

Download – Step 1

To download your raw autosomal DNA file from Family Tree DNA, click on the “See More” link in the Family Finder section on your dashboard. Then, click on “Data Download.”

Alternatively, you can select the “Download Raw Data” option at the top of the page under Results and Tools, then Autosomal DNA.

Download Step 2

You will be given the option of downloading different versions of your raw data file.

Different vendors request different types of files, but most specify the Build 37 concatenated file which includes all 22 chromosomes plus the X chromosome.

Click the arrow beside the version you need.

Download Step 3

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.

FamilyTreeDNA File Uploads 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.

FamilyTreeDNA Uploads 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, V5 No

*To upload MyHeritage files to Family Tree DNA, you must have tested at MyHeritage after May 7, 2019.

Testing and Upload Strategy

Uploading to Family Tree DNA is always free, and you can view:

  • Your matches
  • People you match in-common-with your matches
  • Maternally or paternally assigned (bucketed) matches based on known, tree-linked relatives

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 advanced 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/upload recommendations are as follows relative to Family Tree DNA:

I wrote a step-by-step guide about how to download from Ancestry here.

    • If you test at MyHeritage, upload your DNA file to Family Tree DNA for free. You need to have tested at MyHeritage after May 7, 2019.

I wrote a step-by-step guide about how to download your DNA file from and to MyHeritage, here.

I wrote a step-by-step guide about how to download your DNA raw DNA file from 23andMe, here.

Have fun!

Please note that this article was updated in August 2021.



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29 thoughts on “Family Tree DNA Step by Step Guide: How to Upload-Download DNA Files

  1. Thanks for this article and the future similar articles. It will help many folks.

    Will you eventually also have a guide for uploading to LivingDNA? I notice that they have choices for after you’ve registered, and then start the upload process. See
    That “Uploading Data” page shows choices for whether you are uploading for yourself or someone else, including a deceased person. I’m considering whether I should upload my late father’s file (a 23andMe v. 3 file, which was transferred to FTDNA and GEDmatch), since he had paternal Irish ancestry, and LivingDNA seems to have more finely tuned results for Ireland and British Isles. Even if they don’t, at least there may be more Irish people who have tested with them (correct me if I’m wrong in that assumption).

    Of course, I just noticed this note on the upload page:
    “Please note that uploading your autosomal raw data to the One Family project does not provide genetic ancestry breakdown or mtDNA/yDNA results, therefore it is not a substitute for a Living DNA test.”
    I understand about the “mtDNA/yDNA” results, but wonder why they wouldn’t provide a “genetic ancestry breakdown,” which I assume is similar to the other companies’ biogeographical/ethnicity breakdowns.

    • They have just started this and it’s extremely confusing, to say the least. I won’t be writing about it until after what they are doing is clear and after I’ve done the major companies.

  2. I was under the impression that a 23andme V4 test suffered from roughly the same level of FTDNA incompatibility as the Ancestry V2 test, unlike what you state in this article.

  3. In case this helps anyone, I have recently uploaded my FTDNA raw data to LivingDNA in the hope of getting more UK matches & “fishing in another pond”.

    LivingDNA are teaming up with (a major genealogy website in the UK) – see this discussion thread for more info:

    LivingDNA say they accept raw data from 23&me, MyHeritage & FTDNA.
    I had to use an unzipping program to send the raw data file across but it
    was straightforward after that.

    I’m guessing they are offering free entry into their matching portal as they need to build up their database. It looks like any add-ons e.g. ethnicity will be charged for.

    Here’s the message I got once I’d uploaded my data:

    “By uploading your DNA file to Living DNA, you will have the option to participate in our One Family, One World project, as well as Family Networks and your unique ethnicity results. To say thank you for your support, each uploader from now until October 31st, 2018 will soon be able to choose to see how they match and connect to other Living DNA participants. This feature is rolling out to small groups of users at a time, starting August 8th, 2018”.

  4. Now that MyHeritage can transfer raw DNA data from the V5 chip that 23 and Me uses, and that MyHeritage and FTDNA are partners, one would assume that at some point FTDNA would also be able to accept raw DNA data from 23 and Me V5 chip? Are you aware of any such information?

    Thank you

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  6. I have tested with FTDNA. When uploading my DNA data to MyHeritage several months ago, I used the “Build 37 Autosomal Raw Data” file, NOT the concatenated one as you suggest here. Do you know whether this will result in significant distortions or omissions in my match results?

    When I contacted MyHeritage with this question a while ago, their response was only that their matching program seemed to be working satisfactorily with the data that I had uploaded. However the person responding did not seem to be particularily familiar with this issue.


    • Do you have any X chromosome matches? That’s the difference. You can easily upload a new file and delete the old one.

  7. Was told today by a fellow genealogist that she uploaded her brother’s Y-DNA test to MyHeritage. You can’t autosomal raw data from Y-DNA, can you? My brother’s Ancestry Y-DNA testing was transferred to ftDNA several years ago. My brother passed away in 2010. I’d love to get his autosomal DNA but find it very doubtful that you can extract it from a Y-DNA test…/

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  15. If this was asked, answered and/or addressed somewhere above, I missed it. I tested with FTDNA, and have an account with tree. Can I upload my brother’s ANCESTRY test to my account, or do I need to set up an account separately for his upload?

  16. Thanks for these simple instructions. I didn’t even know I could transfer from my heritage to Family Tree DNA! Easy!

  17. In the Family Tree DNA Step by Step Guide, in the download section it shows that there is a Build 37 Raw Data Concatenated file to download and that there is a Build 36 Raw Data Concatenated file to download and that for GedMatch you need the Build 36 Raw Data Concatenated file. However when you go to download there is no option to download any build 36 options. As such does GedMatch now accept the build 37 Raw Data Concatenated file as an upload file?

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