23andMe Changes – Download Matches Now or Lose Many

Recently, 23andMe implemented a new subscription model. In their new model, which requires retesting (with a new sample) on the V5 chip, you can pay a yearly subscription fee of $29 to receive up to 4500 matches.

The subscription service is by invitation, which you can see at this link, excerpt below:

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Current Customers Losing Matches and Losing Out

Unfortunately, without notice to customers, 23andMe is reducing (or has already reduced) the match cap for current, existing, customers from 2000 matches to 1500.

In the past, the 2000 cap was minus the number of matches that had not opted-in to sharing. The new 1500 cap is the top 1500 that HAVE opted-in to sharing.

In my case, I went from over 1700 matches to 1500.

In the past, you could actually retain more than 2000 matches if you had issued a sharing invitation or corresponded with your match. Now, all of that work is gone. One of my friends had more than 4700 matches through years of work and now has 1500.

This purge may not have happened to you yet, as they seem to be rolling through the database in stages. Check your matches and if you have more than 1500, work with them immediately.

More Features are Gone

Furthermore, other features have been removed, such as the ability to sort by haplogroup and notes and possibly more. I haven’t tested everything. What’s clear is that current customers are losing matches, features, and are being “downgraded.”

That’s very unfortunate, as this appears to be arm-twisting in order to encourage people to upgrade to the V5 chip and subscription service to retain existing matches.

Many people can’t upgrade because they have died. For example, if you manage a parent’s kit who is deceased, this purge will hurt you immensely because even if you do upgrade, you’ll not be able to phase your matches against their kit.

Preserving Matches

Unless you upgrade and subscribe, you can’t do anything to preserve your actual matches above 1500, but what you can do is to download your matches in spreadsheet format which, for now, still contains your previous matches.

This opportunity won’t last long, as 23andMe support has replied to an inquiry that they will soon be adjusting the download list to match your new 1500 match list.

We don’t know when this will happen, as 23andMe has communicated absolutely nothing about these changes to customers, so download now.

Downloading Your “Aggregate Data”

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On your DNA Relatives page, scroll to the very bottom.

Click on “Download aggregate data.”

A file will be downloaded to your system which will include a significant amount of information from your matches’ profiles. Of course, important information such as matches-in-common won’t be there, but at least something will be.

Download now before it’s too late.

Opinion

23andMe has always been focused on health, with genealogists being a means to an end. That’s why our matches have been limited and functions such as trees, similar to features at the other three major vendors, have never been implemented. This isn’t news.

23andMe has disregarded questions about where my DNA is being stored, which studies it was included in, and for what purposes before they implemented the opt-in system for medical research, as opposed to the opt-out system.

I opted out of research years ago, because I’m not comfortable not knowing how my DNA is being utilized, and by whom. Furthermore, I have an issue with the amount of money 23andMe is being paid for the DNA information I paid to test. 23andMe states that they have received $791 million in venture capital and lists their investors, here. With 12 million customers, that’s about $66 per customer or $99 for opted-in customer.

That being said, I have previously upgraded from V2 to V3 to V4, paying to retest each time, in part, so that I could write about my experiences for my blog followers.

This time, I’m not upgrading and I’m done. They’ve gone too far by reducing the match cap by 25% of the matches we were previously allowed, an artificial barrier not imposed by any other vendor. And that’s assuming you had done nothing to prevent matches from rolling off your list previously. Not only that, but this purge has been done without notice of any type.

I won’t be removing my DNA, because it’s already there (and I’ve paid for it 3 times), but I won’t be answering any questions for the 23andMe surveys which they aggregate for the data, I won’t be spending any money to upgrade, and I certainly won’t be recommending 23andMe except for adoptees and people seeking unknown close family who haven’t found their answers elsewhere.

As Kenny Rogers said; “Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away…”

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92 thoughts on “23andMe Changes – Download Matches Now or Lose Many

  1. I tested on the V4 chip. I assume that I would need to pay for the upgrade to the V5 chip in order to be eligible to become a “23andMe+” customer and, from what I can see, the upgrade is currently “on sale” for a “mere” $125 instead of $199. Not happening, no way. I have already been cut to 1500 matches without notice, but I will keep my data there because some of my remaining matches have only done 23andMe and have not uploaded anywhere else.

  2. Thank you so much for alerting us to these issues! Very disappointing. When I went to my DNA Relatives page, the site advised that it was showing me 1500 of 1500 relatives. No idea how many had been there before, because I haven’t done much digging with 23andMe. Downloaded my aggregate data, though, before any more is deleted!

  3. Thanks for this information, Roberta. Fortunately, I had just downloaded my own matches on 26 September — I had 1,931. But today I have 1,500. I had downloaded my dad’s matches and my brother’s matches in August — they, too, are at the 1500 limit as well. This is just pitiful — and I just paid the $199 to get my mom tested. She’ll be on the V5 chip at least, so I guess that means I’ll have the option to subscribe? I sure wish they had the decency to tell us! Bummer! At least Ancestry gave us some warning…

  4. Too late for me, unfortunately! All three V4 accounts I manage now have just 1500 matches showing. Makes me wonder about anti-trust violations, given that Ancestry did this database pare-down first. Although at least that company gave us some warning. But it may be a violation of federal law in the us for two or more companies to work together to coordinate a reduction in customer services like this. Smaller databases save both companies money, but it’s definitely a reduction in the service we were led to believe we’d get when we paid to test.

    I still see notes where I’ve made them at the bottom of match pages, though — do you definitely know that notes are soon to be deleted, Roberta? Like you, I opted out of research a while ago, after 23andMe angered me by banning me from its forums for being “sarcastic.” Sarcastic? Me????? The good thing about this is that my banning, along with that of two or three others at the same time, inspired Kelly W to take her active forum discussions off 23’s message boards and on to the new All Genetic Genealogy Facebook group she founded. That was 23’s loss!

    • You can’t search the notes. I don’t have any reason to think they will be deleted. Only the matches over 1500 are deleted. Other features may have disappeared or changed.

      • These should be the private notes about a match. As you can’t find the match anymore (unless it seems you have their URL saved) you will also not being able to access the private notes about matches.

        They aren’t gone as also your match isn’t gone, 23andMe hides them to “force us” to pay money. Sounds like ransom to me but they are obviously free to change their product features as they like.

        In the same way how we’re free where we’re buying the next DNA test 😉

  5. As an adoptee I agree with you that 1500 is more than enough to untangle the myriad connections and triangulations remotely necessary to determine parentage. Several years ago I had determined my birth-father’s family through a 2nd cousin match at 23andMe. And he, now deceased, is fourth on my list, and had not tested at Ancestry nor FTDNA. My opinion, anecdotal that it is, is that 3rd cousin or greater matches are tremendously difficult to unravel. Even at 2nd cousin, with 20 grandparent siblings, (they were French Canadian) it took a great deal of effort and research.

    Even with Ancestry’s recent reduction I still have 60,000 total matches with 4,329 4th cousin or closer. I guess 23and Me figured they couldn’t compete. I haven’t really used them for cousin matching since finding my birth-father’s family. I have more than enough work to do sorting out relations with Ancestry’s matches, their Thru-Lines and all the garbage trees so many people have put up. And I opted out years ago from any medical research as well. Thanks Roberta for the heads-up.

    • Mark, I agree, fellow adoptee here. For over five and a half years, I have been trying to piece together my heritage by using 3rd and 4th cousins, and it just isn’t possible.

      I was very, very lucky last month, a first cousin once removed, and his uncle (my first cousin) showed up about three weeks apart. The 1C1R was not very communicative, but he did tell me the surname of his paternal grandmother, and with his unusual surname (that of his paternal grandfather, of course) I was able to find their marriage in Quebec records from MyHeritage. From that, I was able to figure out down to three women who my biological mother is. One of them would have been the exact age of my mother per the non-identifying information I received several years ago.

      Of course, the parents of these three sisters have ancestry that is half of my ancestry. I took the pedigree tree all the way back to 1700 or so, and I came across a surprise: Some of the surnames were unfamiliar to me from having built trees for well over a thousand matches over the last five years.

      I have always compared my search with 3rd and 4th cousins to building a jigsaw puzzle. I told myself that I was building the edges first, and would fill in the middle as closer cousins arrived. But my analogy was flawed, because I don’t have access to ALL of the edge pieces of the puzzle. Since a great-great-great grandparent only stands about a fifty percent chance of showing up in my DNA, I simply will NOT find matching people for those ancestors. Imagine a puzzle that is eight pieces tall by eight pieces wide (64 pieces) and of the 32 edge pieces, you only have 16 of them!

      This reduction in numbers only means that I will spend less time on wild goose chasing. Hopefully, the finding of my mother’s family will make it slightly easier to find my paternal side, but I will have to get very, very lucky again, and hope that one of his close relatives someday decides to test.

      I’m not surprised that 23andMe is moving to a subscription model, their previous business model was run solely on growth, and heightened perceptions of DNA privacy in the last couple of years have throttled that down to a trickle.

  6. I am a DNA plus Health tester on 23andMe and I have not received this invitation. My matches are currently at 1500 as well so I am assuming mine were cut too. I dont remember how many I had before. My question is how do they determine who is to be cut? Since I am already at the threshold top, will a new match be added if they are above the lowest cM and the lowest cM dropped? Or will any new matches just not be added at all regardless of the cM’s?
    It is very disappointing the way the players in the DNA game conduct business. They must not realize that every company wants a subscription now. So while $29 may not seem much for one, if your radio, tv, internet, dentist, eyeglass, prescription, Costco, and many others charge that same subscription rate it only takes 10 to be $290 a year. This with the majority of DNA researchers being retirees and senior citizens on a fixed income.
    Very sad.

    • I thought I could view how many matches I had before the purge by looking at the Quick Links on the left after signing in. For me the 2407 showing there does not match with the 2721 rows in my download spreadsheet though.

  7. *sigh*
    Corporate greed, and its attendant, ever-increasing insensitivity toward its consumer population, is rapidly eroding what’s left of life as we once knew it.

    God help us all.

  8. Roberta, first thank you for this blog. I’ve recently joined your list and found this content fascinating, useful and easy to understand. I’ve googled this question without finding an answer – Do we know which of the 1500 relatives are deleted when new relatives are added? For example – is it those with the lowest percent related? As a note, my home page still shows 1394 relatives. My list of matches states – showing 1500 of 1500 matches. So another thanks due – I was able to download my data while all of my matches are still there.

  9. I don’t think it’s good advice to shun 23&me for genetic genealogy. Unfortunately, we still need them. I’m still solving problems by mapping chromosome regions to tree branches with matches at 23&me who are at no other site or might be at Ancestry.com where our match data is hidden from us.

  10. Thanks. Fortunately i have downloaded my matches regularly.

    But I’m not sure I clearly understand. Do we have to upgrade to v.5 in order to keep access to the matches we have now at the downgraded level, or, can keep access to those 1500 matches?

    Also, is there any particular advantage to upgrading to v.5 other than matches? I mean, version 4 lost half the SNPs in v. 3 or something and why on earth would I upgrade to that. How does V.5 compare to v.4 and v.3? And, does V.5 have SNPs of current medical interest that weren’t on version 3?

    • I dint know about the benefits if V5 or the SNPs. Their focus is clearly medical. You will have to ask them. As for the 1500, it appears that you will keep them, but you can’t get the others unless you upgrade to V5.

  11. How maddening! I’ve checked 3 in my account (have about 11–at least 2 have died) and we all are at the 1500, although it seemed a couple were in the process of “updating” the tree. Seem to have lost the relationships that I had confirmed. Now my sister, brother and I are all half siblings to our aunt, so our kids are all listed as half-niblings.

    I’ve invested so much in this company! My husband has the about the same number of relatives in his account.

    How dare they didn’t at least give us a heads up! So disappointing!

  12. Sadly all six of my kits have already been reduced. Two people I tested have died and another one could no longer do a spit test. I am a widow on no income right now, so I am just screwed, I guess. SO much for helping adoptees I match…

    • Have you considered downloading the DNA of the six kits and uploading them to FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage and Gedmatch?

  13. I signed up for 23andMe+ for all 3 kits I have there which were V5 Ancestry & Health. They had taken some of my matches, some were still there but under Your Connections rather than in the DNA Relatives list. I have my 5,000 matches for all the kits which includes those I lost a few days before. Those extra matches are the only reason I subscribed and they are keeping me busy.

    So many have responded to my sharing requests as we have a lot sharing 18cM to 25cM which has always been the danger zone but before all this happened we were at a 30cM 40% range to keep a match. I got messages from several of those I sent sharing requests. Maybe because I looked at their shared matches to get an idea of how they may be related and asked them a question and gave a little background on our family in the sharing request. Very surprising to have so many messages roll in so fast! My inbox is full of them as we’re continuing discussions now.

    They don’t have the new matches in the csv file yet but a friend showed me a message from 23andMe support saying they were working on it and they will be in the csv file. We shall see.

    I’m ok with it as there’s new tools in the 23andMe+ subscription for those that need to use them. It’s different but it’s ok. I never thought much of their health info from the original test and it’s just more of the same.

  14. Thank you form the advice. I have also been cut to 1500 matches on both of my samples. I downloaded my aggregate data for both. I am very disappointed in 23 and Me.

  15. Thanks Rebecca ….. you might have thought that they would have given some heads up ….. I’m at 1500 with all of my kits as well. Got right after too this morning …… but alas.

  16. Curious if we will receive new members. This is not mentioned. Will the 1500 be a rolling list, first in first out? Will it keep the highest? Or do you not receive any more? In any case, disappointing. Appreciate your thoughts.

      • I may be able to cope better with a rolling list, if there was criteria on how they would roll off. Then, I can manage it more directly. So if I were to get 200 new matches per year, then I would look closely at the 200 slated to drop off and save them and just focus on the new ones coming in. I would adapt. If there’s no clarity on how they roll off then it will be very frustrating, for sure.

  17. They’ll probably release the new v 5.9 ethnicity update to soften the blow they get from this soon then. People should also keep an eye out on Ancestry, it’s only a matter of time until they implement something like this.

  18. They are not a genealogists friend , it is all about health and research and your money , thanks for the heads up Roberta .

  19. I noticed another problem – at least 3 of my top matches disappeared. I ask 23&me what happened because I knew they hadn’t opted out-they told me that I needed to click on Sort by: “Percent Related” instead of “Strength of Relationship”. I did that and they appeared again. Strange.
    A month ago, I also purchased the Premium account for a month. I wanted to check out the Haplogroup listings. That was sure not worth any extra cost so I unsubscribed. It’s a shame that this company is making these changes as they will loose lots of customers.

  20. Thank you for your timely post! I saw only 1500 in my results (grr) and downloaded mine. (There are more than 1500 rows downloaded, but it looks as if a bunch are duplicates, so i may only have 1500.) I’m not sure why I never thought of downloading before- it’s incredibly useful to look at them in a spreadsheet! (It’s funny – I do very analytical work for my day job, but I haven’t yet applied a similarly analytical approach to my genealogy, mostly because of time.) But this was a useful nudge.

    • I actually like the spreadsheet better. The only thing not there is shared matches. However, if you run the Genetic Affairs cluster program, you can get a visual and a spreadsheet.

  21. Frankly, my sympathies to those who rely on 23, I never had that much use for 23. I have been a Family Tree DNA subscriber since their first years. About the only reason I did 23 is that FTDNA dropped their factoid Neanderthal test and 23 seems to have a good one. Other than that, the tree they generate put my mother’s relatives on my dad’s side and some of dad’s mother’s relatives on his dad’s side, even after some editing of my own. The tree sucks, editing is near impossible. A few weeks ago I sent in a half dozen or more ideas for “improvements”. Among these sorts (that FTDNA has) on the different columns of values in some of the charts. The customer service was satisfactory, but that is about it. I have a few pertinent matches with closer cousins that did not take the FTDNA Family Finder. Helpful but marginal.

    The one feature I did find helpful is the world map automatically showing locations for matches not in the U.S. With FT you need to open every match profile. Not helpful with 14, 000 matches.

  22. I have only been tested once and I can’t recall being urged to retest nor have I received any of the information that you have provided here (Thank You) from them. Had I not read this, I would not know any of this I guess. Thank you for the information! I am not “wealthy” enough to be retested over and over so, I guess I am done at 23&Me. I did enjoy it while I could.

  23. I don’t know if I’m fortunate or not. I found after I placed the order and sent in the sample the tree size is limited, they get to make it up and now the matches are limited too. I’m not liking any of what I’m hearing

  24. I am not going to fuss about losing the most distant matches, but I am noticing a trend in these DNA testing sites where new customers are not interested in genealogy and/or do not share any of their genealogical information such as location and surnames. I’ve been able to smash a few brick walls on my paternal line because I was able to have my dad tested on v2 (prior to his dementia worsening).
    However, I’ve been on 23andme long enough to recognize when they’re struggling to stay afloat, so they go and concoct a new revenue stream.
    In this case, it’s “threatening” existing customers to “upgrade or else”, and playing on the desperation of adoptees (or those researching adoptee family members) in hopes they will get that one golden ticket match.

  25. I had been thinking I would test at 23 and Me, more for being able to use it with my ancestry kit to create a “super kit” which would possibly work better in some situations. And there would be new matches there as well, of course. But with this development, I’m more reluctant than ever. I’m not sure it’s worth $120 plus tacking on $30 a year just to have the limited tools they supply.

    What’s your thinking on this, please?

    • It depends on your goals. You can also create super kit from MyHeritage or FamilyTreeDNA kits. Every vendor has some people that none of the others have.

      • Good point, Roberta, and I’ve looked into it a good bit. For ancestry, the older version, the most improvement is with 23, unfortunately. But I’ll look again, and see what’s my second best before I spend money with a company that seems to be heading down the same road as ancestry.

  26. Thanks for the info, Roberta!

    Just a heads-up to all fellow readers, our app “Your DNA family” not only automatically downloads all matches (as per 23andMe’s limit), it also allows you to load information from older versions which you have downloaded in the past.

    Our app then groups all matches neatly into “Possible triangulation” groups (matches that overlap on a chromosome) and are automatically checked for triangulation via a single click. The app sorts all triangulated groups (TG) by chromosome, position, and paternal or maternal side. For each TG you get a separate and private discussion forum where you can invite your DNA cousins of that specific TG to join for free and work together with yourself on identifying the common ancestors.

    When 23andMe hides your DNA matches you can still see the matching segments and all the information about them (eg surnames, locations, links to their family trees and haplogroups) in our app.

    We also have automatic surnames matches visualization, network graphs of all connections in a triangulated group, automatic identification of MRCA’s as we use a one-world family tree.

    See all the main features in our video “12 steps to identify your common ancestor”: https://youtu.be/rdnb8y-y3XA

    Head over to https://www.yourDNA.family to avoid losing any information about your matches from 23andMe. Secure your data with the “Your DNA family” app before it’s too late!

    PS: Roberta, still looking forward to your review of our app when you find the time!

  27. Unfortunately.. still, the one thing I really like about 23andMe is their ethnicity estimate which for me as partly mixed race person is still the most accurate out of all tests and the most insightful through the chromosome painter.

  28. Thanks to everyone for your comments. I did 23&Me in 2017 to see what they could do. I never had more than 1138 matches, 40 pages. I did find people there who are 1st and 2nd Cousins, many that I have met in WV. So, upon reading Roberta’s email, I logged in last night and 1500 appeared. I am not changing anything or updating with them. The actual value I did get from them was that my Ashkenazim came from a Parent or Grand parent who was 100% Ashkenazi Jewish and was likely born between 1890 and 1920 (which would be correct, 1918 or 1919).

    One thing I did notice, is that no matter who I sign up with, only my DNA kit at Ancestry.com yields the best and most results when used at labs that do accept ‘others’ kits. However, I am puzzled with 23andMe because their ‘thru lines/suggested tree, suddenly removed all suggestions for my Ashkenazim side. And, they moved my Nephew from that, to 1st C, yet I know his mother is a 1st C 6 X R with a different mtDNA designation, but her son matches my mother’s mtDNA – her daughter does not match my mtDNA either, and she comes out 2nd C 1 X R… It’s good for us all to have our DNA at a few other labs, I agree. I wish MyHeritage used X matches, so like John above stated, FTDNA is very helpful.

    Without all the recent updates we get from Roberta Estes, we might all be in quite a pickle… and I admit, I only like sweet pickles! Anniedear Thx SO much, Roberta!

  29. Like everything 23andMe, I don’t know what to do with this spreadsheet. It shows 1,931 rows so I guess I got it in time? (the online list says I have 1,500). I have little use for this website, horrible user interface.

    • It’s the least intuitive of the sites. I look for common surnames and tree links to identify common ancestors.

    • Robin, please see my comment about 2-3 responses further up. There are alternative ways in using the downloaded comma separated (.csv) files which are much easier.

  30. Hi Roberta, I appreciate your advice, but I am not an expert and would like your advice. I did downloaded my 1500 matches right now and save in Excel. The amount of data is a bit overwhelming to me. How do you organized, sort, etc. all these matches. Could you send a link for a basic reference of what to do. I would like to sort them in some meaningful way.
    Thank you,
    José DiMauro

    • In part, how you use the data has to do with your goals. Your larger matches will still be on your account. To find larger matches, sort by cM size. However, I look for surnames in my line. I also look for tree links and check those out. My goal is to identify our common ancestor. If someone has added surnames or a tree link, they are likely interested and may well reply to a message if they are still in your match list.

    • Allow me to jump in. I’d search for surnames of interest that you’re researching and also locations. That works pretty well in Excel. Then if you have an interesting hit, contact the person directly with as much information that you can give (eg. a link to your family tree, potential MRCA etc.) and also ask specifically what you want from them. That increases your chances of getting a reply.

        • Yes but you can find these people with their email address on GEDmatch for example, if you check your 1-to-many matches for their name. Has helped me many times, same for FTDNA and if one uses surname search on AncestryDNA it works quite good as well.

          But you make the right point, get in contact with your matches before they vanish. Exchange the important information (eg. their Grandparents names and event dates/locations).

  31. 23 and Me had the gall to send me a recent email asking me to suggest improvements to their website.
    I replied… “Why, you won’t listen if I did.”
    They did not reply. Says it all.

  32. Maybe a dumb question, but how do people have so many matches on 23andMe? 4700 is more than triple what I have, with just 1469 opted-in matches on 23andMe (2036 total on aggregate downloads). And mind you, I have some 120,000 (pre-recent-purge) matches on Ancestry, with ancestors on every single line who were in the US by the Revolution. I’ve always found it odd and annoying though that 23andMe doesn’t show any matches with under 20 cM total… unless there’s some way around that threshold that I just never knew about?

    • They would have contacted those people or send sharing invitations. That’s the only way before the subscription option.

      • Personally I wouldn’t mind paying for a subscription… but ONLY if they’d lower that 20cM match threshold to 10cM or less for subscribers.

        • On mine I regularly see matches in the 10-15cM range. I think that 20cM reference in incorrect. It is in my case.

    • There is no such 20 cM limit. This must be your personal limit due to the restriction with now 1500 matches.

      We do have a user with endogamous background with almost 19,000 matches. That is usually giving you a lot of matches in the 2nd and 3rd cousins range, though these predictions are misleading as in reality they are a combination of several different paths that they are related to the one with endogamous background.

      Unfortunately the invite or message “trick” doesn’t seem to work anymore as 23andMe has become desperate IMO to generate revenue.

      If they only would understand and listen what their genealogy interested users what like them to do but instead they do the opposite (or don’t listen at all like someone else commented).

      A real pity as they have an unique user base …

      • I’ve consistently downloaded aggregate reports since testing with them in early 2018, and I assure you that never once have I been shown a match that has less than 20 cM total.

        • I don’t doubt this, Dan. It only means that this is your threshold for the number of matches they show.

          As others have commented abd i can attest as well with my files, there is no such 20cM threshold.

          I hear it for the first time. But check what your last match (no 1500) is now.

          Curious to find out how much that ones shares with you. Order by centiMorgan please.

          • Okay, some clarification (but actually more confusion) now that I’ve dug into this further.

            I had actually always just assumed that 23andMe had a 20 cM threshold for displaying matches, since I’ve never been able to see any match whose total cM was less than 20.

            On my current report, and on every single report I have from them going back to the beginning of 2019, the lowest “Percent DNA Shared” for any match is .30%, which translates to about 22.5 cM.

            I do have a couple of aggregate reports from 2018 that include a few matches smaller than that, but the smallest on those reports had a Percent DNA Shared of .27%, or about 20.5 cM. When I saw this on my earliest reports, I made the assumption that there was a 20 cM threshold. Interestingly, these matches between .27% and .30% do not show up in my current DNA Relatives list or aggregate reports (nor have they since early 2019), but their individual DNA Relative pages are still accessible if I use the direct URLs for their pages.

            This makes it especially frustrating to know that there are potentially (if not likely) hundreds (if not thousands) of my unseen smaller matches just sitting there waiting to be accessed, if I only knew those URLs.

            Since I’ve transferred my raw 23andMe data to GEDMatch, I know that I (naturally) have many, many 23andMe matches smaller than 20 cM, but the only ones I’m specifically aware of at this point are others who’ve also transferred their data to GEDmatch.

            For what it’s worth, I’ve also regularly downloaded my 23andMe matches via the DNAGedcom Client, and have also never had a match there either of less than 20 cM.

            And it’s also worth repeating that this has nothing to do with the new switch to a subscription model, since my match total has never been more than 1500 (it’s currently at 1469).

            I’m grasping at straws here, but the only possible explanation I can come up for this threshold in my case is that I’m a fairly recent tester, in early 2018, so I was tested on the V5 chip. Perhaps smaller matches are only shown to people who tested on earlier chips?

          • Thanks Roberta, I will try contacting them. And thanks so much for your site, it’s always a source of great information.

            From reading back through other comments here, it’s sounding like perhaps those who like me have already tested on the V5 chip were never shown smaller matches below around 20 cM total. So this “expanded DNA relatives list” that’s being offered as part of the new subscription may be the only way that we’re ever going to be able to see those smaller matches. If that’s the case, I’d gladly pay the $29 subscription fee for at least one year, just to be able to see those matches. Unfortunately though, it also sounds though like it’ll require an upgrade to Health + Ancestry, so that’s another $125… which makes it a lot harder to swallow.

  33. Highly disappointed in 23andMe. I convinced my father to use 23andMe and it was helpful retrieving information I was seeking in regards to basic haplogroup information for his paternal and maternal lines. However, we all know time is important to us and we have to be patient when it comes to matches coming in. Now that they have pulled the rug out from under us on and strong arming us to make upgrades to our dna with an annual fee to boot, it’s no dice for me. Thank you for making us aware, so that we can pull what data we can from this.

  34. I guess I was unaffected as my account and my wife’s had only 1461 and 1402 matches respectively. Those numbers are actually up slightly from the last time I checked, so it doesn’t look like we lost any. I went ahead and downloaded in case they lower it again, so thanks for the heads up.

    • On the home page, mine says “1485 DNA Relatives found” when I checked today after reading Roberta’s warning. On the DNA Relatives page, it says “1500 of 1500 DNA Relatives.” I wish I had been checking and downloading all along to know whether I had any more before.

      I am really disappointed in both 23andMe’s and Ancestry’s recent lack of concern for their customers’ needs.

  35. Thanks so much for the warning.
    I had seen a couple of comments from people beginning about a year ago saying their lower cM limit had changed: increased by around 2cM. I guess that earlier one was just more bigger matches changing their overall number and cutting off the tiny ones. This recent change has far more impact.
    But really..
    23andMe used to have a $5/month charge but the others did not have one, so they dropped theirs. We really need to expect to pay something beyond our initial test for ongoing use, but it needs to be minimal. And maybe only when we want to access the site for some serious use.
    The last time genealogy users had some respect from 23andMe was when the FDA shut down their other business. I am not wishing ill on anyone, but we do seem to be the poor relation.

  36. Hi Roberta,

    Thanks for this article I wouldn’t have heard about 23andMe cutting down our matches to 1500 otherwise. I thought maybe I’d missed an email but checked thought hem all and there has been no notification like you said at least when Ancestry did similar they gave us some notice. I’ve checked both mine and Mum’s account and we both have exactly 1500 matches so I guess we’ve had the chop.

    I was reading comments further up about not seeing less than 20cM I think that’s probably because people just have lots of matches and it’s a sort of coincidence. I’m in the UK and we tend to have less matches than our US cousins I checked my last match and she only has 16cM if that helps anyone. Not sure what Version chip I’m on though, tested a couple of years ago but not getting that option to upgrade.

    I hope you don’t mind but I did a post on this in my Ancestry For All facebook group giving you credit for the info and a link to this post – I hope that’s Ok but thought it was important info to get out there Thanks Kathryn

  37. Someone in my group just spotted if you download the aggregated matches you get more than the 1500. I have 1813 and Mum has 1801 I downloaded a couple of hours ago so you should still get them hopefully  

  38. Roberta, have you seen this statement?
    FSA & HSA, Meet DNA
    The IRS has ruled that up to $117 of a Health + Ancestry Service purchase may be eligible for reimbursement.*

  39. I have noticed that a lot of the matches that have been eliminated (I too was reduced down to 1500 before I noticed what was happening), are still in the list of common matches with other kits shared in common. I’m not sure whether this nly applies to matches with whom you had previously connected.

    • I’m still on 2400+ matches for both my accounts so I can confirm that getting connected (via a share request for the ancestry abd/or health reports) is working despite the cut down to 1500 matches.

      The only menu that is now restricted to 1500 matches is the DNA relatives list but I can still perform triangulation with all my 2400+ matches (luckily).

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