Genographic Project Prepares to Shut Down Consumer Data Base

Today, on the National Geographic Society’s Genographic Project page, we find this announcement:

Genographic end

This is a sad day indeed.

  • Effective May 31, 2019, you can no longer purchase Genographic kits.
  • If you currently have an unsubmitted kit, you may still be able to submit it for processing. See this link for more information about your specific kit.
  • The Genographic website will be taken down December. 31, 2020. Your results will be available for viewing until then, but not after that date.
  • Data will be maintained internally by the Genographic project for scientific analysis, but will not be otherwise available to consumers. Miguel Vilar with the Genographic Project assures me that the underlying scientific research will continue.

Please Transfer Your DNA Results

The original Genographic project had two primary goals. The first being to obtain your own results, and the second being to participate in research.

If you are one of the 997,222 people in 140 countries around the world who tested, you may be able to transfer your results.

Depending on which version of the Genographic test you’ve taken, you can still preserve at least some of the benefit, for yourself and to scientific research.

Family Tree DNA Genographic transfer

Note that only Y and mitochondrial DNA results can be transferred, because that’s all that was tested. How much information can be transferred is a function of which level test you initially took, meaning the version 1 or version 2 test.

According to the Family Tree DNA Learning Center, people who transfer their results also qualify for a $39 Family Finder kit, which is the lowest price I’ve ever seen anyplace for an autosomal DNA test.

  • If you tested within the US in November 2016 or after, you tested on the Helix platform and your results cannot be transferred to Family Tree DNA.

If you have already tested your Y (males only) and mitochondrial DNA at Family Tree DNA, there is no need to transfer Genographic data. Family Tree DNA information will be more complete.

Salvage as Much as Possible

As a National Geographic Society Genographic Project Affiliate Researcher and long-time supporter, I’m utterly heartsick to see this day.

Please transfer what you can to salvage as much as possible. We already lost the Sorenson data base, Ancestry’s Y and mitochondrial DNA data base along with YSearch and MitoSearch. How much Y and mitochondrial DNA information, critical to genealogists and the history of humanity, has been lost forever?

Let’s not lose the Genographic Project information too. Please salvage as much as possible by transferring – and spread the word.

Please feel free to repost or preprint this article.



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31 thoughts on “Genographic Project Prepares to Shut Down Consumer Data Base

  1. How sad. I did not test there but hate to see yet another major loss to genetic genealogy.

    • They are fine. I would still download your records and DNA from Genographic to your own computer so you can have it for future reference.

  2. Note that I’ve discovered that people who transfer their Genographic information to Family Tree DNA are also eligible to receive a Family Finder test for $39!

  3. One option for archiving your Geno is to Print the report to a PDF. My report was 28 pages.

    Some graphics did not print well. By checking an option on my Printer menu, Background Graphics, most of the graphics printed out. Still missing a few

    • You can do a partial or full screen capture for the graphics if they won’t download with a right click. These will be higher quality than a PDF image so that you can enlarge them and still read them. Sometimes the printout is so bad I just do the cut-and-paste thing into a MSWord or .txt file- time consuming but may be invaluable. I download all genealogy and DNA info as PDFs/MSWord or .txt files and screen captures periodically as a backup- you never know when things will be changed or worse, gone. I create a folder entitled “YYYY_MM_DD_title_website” and put the documents and screen shots in there. This folder name will structure automagically into chronological order. It will get picked up for your backups and of course, keeping an off-site version is always important.

  4. This is confusing, I tested with Helix, so apparently this doesn’t apply to me. They have never provided genealogically meaningful results, so no loss there. There ethnicity, and haplogroup results do’nt seem to be useful compared to other companies results. In my case my YDNA haplogroup was out of date by about 4 years according to updates on ISOGG.

  5. When I put in my kit number to transfer to FamilyTree, I got a message saying my kit was already transferred? Don’t know what to make of that. I don’t see anything on FamilyTree indicating that was done. Is there something I should do? I thought I would call FamilyTree Monday to find out about this.

  6. Roberta,
    So if all these databases are closing down is it because of the GDPR or because of LE? Or a bit of both?
    Very sad indeed about the loss of these databases. I have not had the opportunity to get in some of them because of them shutting down. I almost feel that doing DNA Genealogy is taking a turn for the worse considering that this forum is becoming so split and divided. Basically for me they have sucked the joy right out of DNA Genealogy now especially not knowing if sites can be trusted to live up to their TOS anymore.
    I feel so lost as what to do anymore. I opened an account with GED Match but have been so hesitant to upload to them due to all this friction going on in the Genealogy Community. I do understand the necessity and importance of both sides but definitely both sides make it difficult for me to decide on this issue. All I ever wanted to due was find out about my ancestry and discover more about my Father’s biological past. I really just want both sides to come to terms and heal the rift…is this ever going to happen? Hopefully it will, but I not really sure how to proceed with this chaos in the Genealogy Community.
    I do love your articles and great job giving insight about genealogy…I have learned alot from you and will continue to.


    Cindy Carrasco

  7. For those who have an older Ancestry DNA Y or mt DNA test, don’t forget is now accepting your data. We are actively working on some of the other older sites. We also acxpe FTDNA as well as YSEQ.

  8. I recently ordered my and my husband’s test through AncestryDNA, do I need to transfer our information?

    • Ancestry isn’t involved in this, but you can transfer Ancestry results to three places to receive additional matches. Family Tree DNA, MyHeritage and GedMatch.

    • Remember besides transferring, AncestryDNA only does Autosomal DNA now. If you are looking at your husbands pure paternal line (father’s father’s fathers…), then a YDNA test would also be helpful.

  9. I originally tested Family Finder and Mtchondrial dna with FTdna. How does all this affect myself?? Do I have to transfer any of my Raw dna files?? and if so, does it mean that we loose all other contact and dna matches lists? Forgive me for asking, it’s all just a tad confusing.

    • If you tested at FTDNA, this doesn’t affect you at all.

      Having said that, downloading and transferring DNA files is NOT the same thing as deleting the files. Unless you delete the files, they are still at the vendor where you tested. If you delete you files, you will no longer receive matches.

    • I suspect that sales had slowed dramatically because of the price of the test plus the additional cost of the Helix processing made the price more than similar tests that also provided matching.

  10. With FTDNA starting to offer exome sequencing, is it possible that we will be able upload the HELIX data NG2.0 to FTDNA?

  11. Pingback: The Million Mito Project | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  12. What would be gained if I transfer my data to FTDNA? FTDNA characterized my maternal line in their Full mtDNA test 13 years ago. To date, there have been no matches, except my Mother (I wanted to test the system). They also characterized my paternal ancestry in their Y-111 and Big Y-500 tests. No matches here either (one of the FTDNA Groups actually paid for my Big Y-500 test because it was clearly in their Group, but also unique).

  13. Above it states that “The Genographic website will be taken down December. 31, 2020. Your results will be available for viewing until then, but not after that date.”
    Is that info current?

    Only cause it appears everything has been taken down already which is deeply disappointing. On a whim, I just tried accessing my results to see if there were any updates (my lineage was waiting on additional info) so was shocked to find out the entire project had been discontinued (at least archive the website!)

    I never received any comms about the discontinuation of project – even NatGeo social media (I know the project’s separate but it’s the parent company) never gave any notice that it was coming to an end – had I known I obviously would’ve done something about it. So bummed!

    Would you know if there’s any way to salvage results? I used Gen 2.0 kits.

    • It was only scheduled to run for 5 years and they extended it 15. The National Geographic Society was sold during that time too. So it was just time I think.

  14. I spent hours on the Nat Geo geographic project website reading. It was so fascinating! I went to read about it again and it’s gone! What! They say the information is no longer available for consumers to read. What! They did one of the most interesting studies on human genomes and where we originated and now it’s gone! Wow. Did science not agree with politics? How disappointing!

    • No, it has nothing to do with politics. The scientific work lives on in many ways and publications. National Geographic itself was sold. The Genographic Project was only supposed to last 5 years and it was extended to 15. They provided more than a years notice of the sunset of the customer-facing website.

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