Family Tree DNA’s PUBLIC Y DNA Haplotree

It’s well known that as a result of Big Y testing that Family Tree DNA has amassed a huge library of Y DNA full sequence results that have revealed new SNPs, meaning new haplotree branches, for testers. That’s how the Y haplotree is built. I wrote about this in the article, Family Tree DNA Names 100,000 New Y DNA SNPs.

Up until now, the tree was only available on each tester’s personal pages, but that’s not the case anymore.

Share the Wealth

Today, Family Tree DNA has made the tree public. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU Family Tree DNA.

To access the tree, click here, but DON’T sign in. Scroll to the bottom of the page. Keep scrolling, and scrolling…until you see the link under Community that says “Y-DNA Haplotree.” Click there.

The New Public Haplotree

The new public haplotree is amazing.

This tree isn’t just for people who took the Big Y test, but includes anyone who has a haplogroup confirming SNP OR took the Big Y test. Predicted haplogroups, of course, aren’t included.

Each branch includes the location of the most recent known ancestor of individuals who carry that terminal SNP, shown with a flag.

The branches are color coded by the following:

  • Light blue = haplogroup root branches
  • Teal or blue/green = branches with no descendants
  • Dark blue = branches that aren’t roots and that do have at least one descendant branch

The flag location is determined by the most distant known ancestor, so if you don’t have a “Most Distant Known Ancestor” completed, with a location, please, please, complete that field by clicking on “Manage Personal Information” beneath your profile picture on your personal page, then on Genealogy, shown below. Be sure to click on Save when you’re finished!

View Haplotree By

Viewing the haplotree is not the same as searching. “View by” is how the tree is displayed.

Click on the “View By” link to display the options: country, surnames or variant.

You can view by the country (flags), which is the default, the surname or the variants.

Country view, with the flags, is the default. Surname view is shown below.

The third view is variant view. By the way, a variant is another word for SNP. For haplogroup R-M207, there are 8,202 variants, meaning SNPs occurring beneath, or branches.


On any of the branch links, you’ll see three dots at the far right.

To view reports by country or surname, click on the dots to view the menu, then click on the option you desire.

Country statistics above, surname below. How cool is this!


The search function is dependent on the view currently selected. If you are in the surname view, then the search function says “Search by Surname” which allows you to enter a surname. I entered Estes.

If I’m not currently on the haplogroup R link, the system tells me that there are 2 Estes results on R. If I’m on the R link, the system just tells me how many results it found for that surname on this branch and if there are others on other branches.

The tree then displays the direct path between R-M207 (haplogroup R root) and the Estes branch.

…lots of branches in-between…

The great thing about this is that I can now see the surnames directly above my ancestral surname, if they meet the criteria to be displayed.

Display criteria is that two people match on the same branch AND that they both have selected public sharing. Requiring two surnames per branch confirms that result.

If you want to look at a specific variant, you can enter that variant name (BY490) in the search box and see the surnames associated with the variant. The click on “View by” to change the view from country (maps) to surnames to variants.

Change from country to surname.

And from surname to variants.

What geeky fun!!!

Go to Branch Name

If you want to research a specific branch, you can go there directly by utilizing the “Go to Branch Name” function, but you must enter the haplogroup in front of the branch name. R-BY490 for example.

When you’re finished with this search, REMOVE THE BRANCH NAME from the search box, if you’re going to do any other searches, or the system thinks you’re searching within that branch name.

My Result Isn’t Showing

In order for your results to be included on the tree, you must have fulfilled all 3 of these criteria:

  • Taken either a SNP or Big Y test
  • Opted in for public sharing
  • More than one result for that branch with the same exact surname

If you think your results should be showing and they aren’t, check your privacy settings by clicking the orange “Manage Personal Information” under your profile picture on your main page, then on the Privacy and Sharing tab.

Still not showing? See if you match another male of the same surname on the Big Y or SNP test at the same level.

If your surname isn’t included, you can recruit testers from that branch of your family.

How Can I Use This?

I’m like a kid with a new toy.

If any of your family surnames are rather unique, search to see if they are on the tree.

Hey look, my Vannoy line is on haplogroup I! Hmmm, clear the schedule, I’m going to be busy all day!

Every haplogroup has a story – and that story belongs to the men, and their families, who carry that haplogroup! I gather the haplogroups for each of my family surnames and this public tree just made this task much, MUCH easier.

Discovering More

If the testers have joined the appropriate surname project, you may also be able to find them in that project to see if they descend from a common line with you. To check and see, click here and then scroll down to the “Search Surname” section of the main Family Tree DNA webpage and enter the surname.

You can see if there is a project for your surname, and if not, your surname may be included in other projects.

Click on any of those links to view the project or contact the (volunteer) project administrators.

Want to search for another surname, the project search box is shown at the right in this view.

What gems can you find?

Want to Test?

If you are a male and you want to take the Big Y test or order a haplogroup confirming SNP, or you are a female who would like to sponsor a test for a male with a surname you’re interested in, you can purchase the Big Y test, here. As a bonus, you will also receive all of the STR markers for genealogical comparison as well.

Wonder what you can learn? You will be searching for matches to other males with the same surname. You can learn about your history. Confirm your ancestral line. Learn where they came from. You can help the scientific effort and contribute to the tree. For more information, read the article, Working with Y DNA – Your Dad’s Story.

Have fun!!!



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15 thoughts on “Family Tree DNA’s PUBLIC Y DNA Haplotree

  1. Enjoyed working through this article, Roberta! What fun to try this out with my husband’s Big Y test! I have not yet found his surname, however, even though I know there are at least a couple close matches. I think there’s only another person or two, with his terminal SNP, and perhaps they’re not sharing. Or maybe I’m not doing it quite right. I checked all three ways. And thank you for reminding us to make sure we have the oldest known paternal line (and maternal line) ancestor’s location in the system: my husband’s in England: the FTDNA utility told me it was U.K., though…. And there’s the latitude and longitude, as well: I hope that has not made it where the geographic thing doesn’t work. I did it right to the very parish, Croxton, in North Lincolnshire, Lincolnshire, England. Wikipedia said in the 2001 census, there were 36 people living there!

  2. Well i am confused. Below is my bigy Matching results.
    E-M44 (equiv P147) 7 men match
    Z17467 7
    Z31503 7
    Below is the Public ftdna tree. These men opted in for sharing.
    E-M96 1.044
    + E-P147 1029
    + E-M75
    1 . So it seems the public tree is totally behind the known results at ftdna
    2. what is the purpose of the plus sign to the left – clickitng it does nothing

    • They have to have their security settings set correctly, and the rules are that two men of the same surname on the same branch must match for the match to be shown. The plus does expand the branches. Switch browsers, but I think that bug has already been fixed.

      • Clicking the plus sign with firefox 62.0.2 or explorer 11.0.9600.19100 does nothing.

        Six of the seven at Z31503 have the same surname . I am the surname project admin for them and can see their settings.,They have the same security settings of “public share DNA Results” = yes They either did a big y test or tested positive for that snp.

          • Finally the pluses started working, and i now see the expansions below that. One has to continue expanding the subtree with the pluses. Makes sense now.

  3. Thanks for giving me a saturday morning shock. I have not done Y-DNA testing, I only have 23andMe’s designation of what my paternal Y-DNA is. So I went to 23andMe to find the info and was shocked to see that they now have a picture of Pharoah Ramses III and say that we have the same paternal line and that we share an ancient ancestor. So I guess that makes him an extremely distant cousin. It does say one of his sons (who was also a Pharoah) was tested as well and it confirms a paternal relationship and the same Y-DNA. Mind you, this testing is being done on ancient mummies. If I thought making connections a couple a centuries ago was difficult, this is near impossible. But it does provide a geographical location as to where at least some of my relatives were in a certain time period. I did not try to find them on the tree.

  4. Hi Roberta,
    Just got around to looking at their tree. The numbers don’t seem to make sense.
    According to my Big-Y match page, there are (including me):
    R-Y22891 – 3 people
    R-BY15276 – 3 people
    R-BY14120 – 3 people
    R-BY36399 – 2 people

    The Tree has in the country reports:
    R-Y22891 – 28 people (1 at this level, 22 at sublevels other than BY15276)
    R-BY15276 – 5 people (1 at this level)
    R-BY14120 – 4 people (2 at this level – Ireland)
    R-BY36399 – 2 people (England – both “Clark”)

    There are no surnames for the 2 in Ireland, but relatives of my Clark ancestors in Yorkshire moved to Ireland.

    In addition, the numbers next to the SNP in the tree don’t seem to match anything:
    R-Y22891 – 15
    R-BY15276 – 2
    R-BY14120 – 1
    R-BY36399 – (none)

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