FamilyTreeDNA Relaunch – New Feature Overview

The brand-new FamilyTreeDNA website is live!

I’m very pleased with the investment that FamilyTreeDNA has made in their genealogy platform and tools. This isn’t just a redesign, it’s more of a relaunch.

I spoke with Dr. Lior Rauchberger, CEO of myDNA, the parent company of FamilyTreeDNA briefly yesterday. He’s excited too and said:

“The new features and enhancements we are releasing in July are the first round of updates in our exciting product roadmap. FamilyTreeDNA will continue to invest heavily in the advancement of genetic genealogy.”

In other words, this is just the beginning.

In case you were wondering, all those features everyone asked for – Lior listened.

Lior said earlier in 2021 that he was going to do exactly this and he’s proven true to his word, with this release coming just half a year after he took the helm. Obviously, he hit the ground running.

A few months ago, Lior said that his initial FamilyTreeDNA focus was going to be on infrastructure, stability, and focusing on the customer experience. In other words, creating a foundation to build on.

The new features, improvements, and changes are massive and certainly welcome.

I’ll be covering the new features in a series of articles, but in this introductory article, I’m providing an overview so you can use it as a guide to understand and navigate this new release.

Change is Challenging

I need to say something here.

Change is hard. In fact, change is the most difficult challenge for humans. We want improvements, yet we hate it when the furniture is rearranged in our “room.” However, we can’t have one without the other.

So, take a deep breath, and let’s view this as a great new adventure. These changes and tools will provide us with a new foundation and new clues. Think of this as finding long-lost documents in an archive about your ancestors. If someone told me that there is a potential for discovering the surname of one of my elusive female ancestors in an undiscovered chest in a remote library, trust me, I’d be all over it – regardless of where it was or how much effort I had to expend to get there. In this case, I can sit right here in front of my computer and dig for treasure.

We just need to learn to navigate the new landscape in a virtual room. What a gift!

Let’s start with the first thing you’ll see – the main page when you sign in.

Redesigned Main Page

The FamilyTreeDNA main page has changed. To begin with, the text is darker and the font is larger across the entire platform. OMG, thank you!!!

The main page has been flipped left to right, with results on the left now. Projects, surveys, and other information, along with haplogroup badges are on the right. Have you answered any surveys? I don’t think I even noticed them before. (My bad!)

Click any image to enlarge.

The top tabs have changed too. The words myTree and myProjects are now gone, and descriptive tabs have replaced those. The only “my” thing remaining is myOrigins. This change surprises me with myDNA being the owner.

The Results & Tools tab at the top shows the product dropdowns.

The most popular tabs are shown individually under each product, with additional features being grouped under “See More.”

Every product now has a “See More” link where less frequently used widgets will be found, including the raw data downloads. This is the Y DNA “See More” dropdown by way of example.

You can see the green Updated badge on the Family Finder Matches tab. I don’t know if that badge will always appear when customers have new matches, or if it’s signaling that all customers have updated Family Finder Matches now.

We’ll talk about matches in the Family Finder section.

The Family Finder “See More” tab includes the Matrix, ancientOrigins, and the raw data file download.

The mitochondrial DNA section, titled Maternal Line Ancestry, mtDNA Results and Tools includes several widgets grouped under the “See More” tab.

Additional Tests and Tools

The Additional Tests and Tools area includes a link to your Family Tree (please do upload or create one,) Public Haplotrees, and Advanced Matches.

Public haplotrees are free-to-the-public Y and mitochondrial DNA trees that include locations. They are also easily available to FamilyTreeDNA customers here.

Please note that you access both types of trees from one location after clicking the Public Haplotrees page. The tree defaults to Y-DNA, but just click on mtDNA to view mitochondrial haplogroups and locations. Both trees are great resources because they show the location flags of the earliest known ancestors of the testers within each haplogroup.

Advanced Matches used to be available from the menu within each test type, but since advanced matching includes all three types of tests, it’s now located under the Additional Tests and Tools banner. Don’t forget about Advanced Matches – it’s really quite useful to determine if someone matches you on multiple types of tests and/or within specific projects.

Hey, look – I found a tooltip. Just mouse over the text and tabs on various pages to see where tooltips have been added.

Help and Help Center

The new Help Center is debuting in this release. The former Learning Center is transitioning to the Help Center with new, updated content.

Here’s an example of the new easy-to-navigate format. There’s a search function too.

Each individual page, test type, and section on your personal home page has a “Helpful Information” button.

On the main page, at the top right, you’ll see a new Help button.

Did you see that Submit Feedback link?

If you click on the Help Center, you’ll be greeted with context-sensitive help.

I clicked through from the dashboard, so that’s what I’m seeing. However, other available topics are shown at left.

I clicked on both of the links shown and the content has been updated with the new layout and features. No wonder they launched a new Help Center!

Account Settings

Account settings are still found in the same place, and those pages don’t appear to have changed. However, please keep in mind that some settings make take up to 24 hours to take effect.

Family Finder Rematching

Before we look at what has changed on your Family Finder pages, let’s talk about what happened behind the scenes.

FamilyTreeDNA has been offering the Family Finder test for 11 years, one of two very early companies to enter that marketspace. We’ve learned so much since then, not only about DNA itself, but about genetic genealogy, matching, triangulation, population genetics, how to use these tools, and more.

In order to make improvements, FamilyTreeDNA changing the match criteria which necessitated rematching everyone to everyone else.

If you have a technology background of any type, you’ll immediately realize that this is a massive, expensive undertaking requiring vast computational resources. Not only that, but the rematching has to be done in tandem with new kits coming in, coordinated for all customers, and rolled out at once. Based on new matches and features, the user interface needed to be changed too, at the same time.

Sounds like a huge headache, right?

Why would a company ever decide to undertake that, especially when there is no revenue for doing so? The answer is to make functionality and accuracy better for their customers. Think of this as a new bedrock foundation for the future.

FamilyTreeDNA has made computational changes and implemented several features that require rematching:

  • Improved matching accuracy, in particular for people in highly endogamous populations. People in this category have thousands of matches that occur simply because they share multiple distant ancestors from within the same population. That combination of multiple common ancestors makes their current match relationships appear to be closer in time than they are. In order to change matching algorithms, FamilyTreeDNA had to rewrite their matching software and then run matching all over to enable everyone to receive new, updated match results.
  • FamilyTreeDNA has removed segments below 6 cM following sustained feedback from the genealogical community.
  • X matching has changed as well and no longer includes anyone as an X match below 6 cM.
  • Family Matching, meaning paternal, maternal and both “bucketing” uses triangulation behind the scenes. That code also had to be updated.
  • Older transfer kits used to receive only closer matches because imputation was not in place when the original transfer/upload took place. All older kits have been imputed now and matched with the entire database, which is part of why you may have more matches.
  • Relationship range calculations have changed, based on the removal of microsegments, new matching methodology and rematching results.
  • FamilyTreeDNA moved to hg37, known as Build 37 of the human genome. In layman’s terms, as scientists learn about our DNA, the human map of DNA changes and shifts slightly. The boundary lines change somewhat. Versions are standardized so all researchers can use the same base map or yardstick. In some cases, early genetic genealogy implementers are penalized because they will eventually have to rematch their entire database when they upgrade to a new build version, while vendors who came to the party later won’t have to bear that internal expense.

As you can see, almost every aspect of matching has changed, so everyone was rematched against the entire database. You’ll see new results. Some matches may be gone, especially distant matches or if you’re a member of an endogamous population.

You’ll likely have new matches due to older transfer kits being imputed to full compatibility. Your matches should be more accurate too, which makes everyone happy.

I understand a white paper is being written that will provide more information about the new matching algorithms.

Ok, now let’s check out the new Family Finder Matches page.

Family Finder Matches

FamilyTreeDNA didn’t just rearrange the furniture – there’s a LOT of new content.

First, a note. You’ll see “Family Finder” in some places, and “Autosomal DNA” in other places. That’s one and the same at FamilyTreeDNA. The Family Finder test is their autosomal test, named separately because they also have Y DNA and mitochondrial DNA tests.

When you click on Family Finder matches for the first time, you will assuredly notice one thing and will probably notice a second.

First, you’ll see a little tour that explains how to use the various new tools.

Secondly, you will probably see the “Generating Matches” notice for a few seconds to a few minutes while your match list is generated, especially if the site is busy because lots of people are signing on. I saw this message for maybe a minute or two before my match list filled.

This should be a slight delay, but with so many people signing in right now, my second kit took longer. If you receive a message that says you have no matches, just refresh your page. If you had matches before, you DO have matches now.

While working with the new interface this morning, I’ve found that refreshing the screen is the key to solving issues.

My kits that have a few thousand matches loaded Family Matching (bucketing) immediately, but this (Jewish) kit that has around 30,000 matches received this informational message instead. FamilyTreeDNA has removed the little spinning icon. If you mouse over the information, you’ll see the following message:

This isn’t a time estimate. Everyone receives the same message. The message didn’t even last long enough for me to get a screenshot on the first kit that received this message. The results completed within a minute or so. The Family Matching buckets will load as soon as the parental matching is ready.

These delays should only happen the first time, or if someone has a lot of matches that they haven’t yet viewed. Once you’ve signed in, your matches are cached, a technique that improves performance, so the loading should be speedy, or at least speedier, during the second and subsequent visits.

Of course, right now, all customers have an updated match list, so there’s something new for everyone.

Getting Help

Want to see that tutorial again?

Click on that little Help box in the upper right-hand corner. You can view the Tutorial, look at Quick References that explain what’s on this page, visit the Help Center or Submit Feedback.

Two Family Finder Matches Views – Detail and Table

The first thing you’ll notice is that there are two views – Detail View and Table View. The default is Detail View.

Take a minute to get used to the new page.

Detail View – Filter Matches by Match Type

I was pleased to see new filter buttons, located in several places on the page.

The Matches filter at left allows you to display only specific relationship levels, including X-Matches which can be important in narrowing matches to a specific subset of ancestors.

You can display only matches that fall within certain relationship ranges. Note the new “Remote Relative” that was previously called speculative.

Parental Matching and Filtering by Test Type or Trees

All of your matches are displayed by default, of course, but you can click on Paternal, Maternal or Both, like before to view only matches in those buckets. In order for the Family Matching bucketing feature to be enabled, you must attach known relatives’ DNA matches to their proper place in your tree.

Please note that I needed to refresh the page a couple of times to get my parental matches to load the first time. I refreshed a couple of times to be sure that all of my bucketed matches loaded. This should be a first-time loading blip.

There’s a new filter button to the right of the bucketing tabs.

You can now filter by who has trees and who has taken which kinds of tests.

You can apply multiple filters at the same time to further narrow your matches.

Important – Clearing Filters

It’s easy to forget you have a filter enabled. This section is important, in part because Clear Filter is difficult to find.

The clear filter button does NOT appear until you’ve selected a filter. However, after applying that filter, to clear it and RESET THE MATCHES to unfiltered, you need to click on the “Clear Filter” button which is located at the top of the filter selections, and then click “Apply” at the bottom of the menu. I looked for “clear filter” forever before finding it here.

You’re welcome😊

Enhanced Search

Thank goodness, the search functionality has been enhanced and simplified too. Full name search works, both here and on the Y DNA search page.

If you type in a surname without selecting any search filters, you’ll receive a list of anyone with that word in their name, or in their list of ancestral surnames. This does NOT include surnames in their tree if they have not added those surnames to their list of ancestral surnames.

Notice that your number of total matches and bucketed people will change based on the results of this search and any filters you have applied.

I entered Estes in the search box, with no filters. You can see that I have a total of 46 matches that contain Estes in one way or another, and how they are bucketed.

Estes is my birth surname. I noticed that three people with Estes in their information are bucketed maternally. This is the perfect example of why you can’t assume a genetic relationship based on only a surname. Those three people’s DNA matches me on my mother’s side. And yes, I confirmed that they matched my mother too on that same segment or segments.

Search Filters

You can also filter by haplogroup. This is very specific. If you select mitochondrial haplogroup J, you will only receive Family Finder matches that have haplogroup J, NOT J1 or J1c or J plus anything.

If you’re looking for your own haplogroup, you’ll need to type your full haplogroup in the search box and select mtDNA Haplogroup in the search filter dropdown.

Resetting Search Results

To dismiss search results, click on the little X. It’s easy to forget that you have initiated a search, so I need to remember to dismiss searches after I’m finished with each one.

Export Matches

The “Export CSV” button either downloads your entire match list, or the list of filtered matches currently selected. This is not your segment information, but a list of matches and related information such as which side they are bucketed on, if any, notes you’ve made, and more.

Your segment information is available for download on the chromosome browser.

Sort By

The Sort By button facilitates sorting your matches versus filtering your matches. Filters ONLY display the items requested, while sorts display all of the items requested, sorting them in a particular manner.

You can sort in any number of ways. The default is Relationship Range followed by Shared DNA.

Your Matches – Detail View

A lot has changed, but after you get used to the new interface, it makes more sense and there are a lot more options available which means increased flexibility. Remember, you can click to enlarge any of these images.

To begin with, you can see the haplogroups of your matches if they have taken a Y or mitochondrial DNA test. If you match someone, you’ll see a little check in the haplogroup box. I’m not clear whether this means you’re a haplogroup match or that person is on your match list.

To select people to compare in the chromosome browser, you simply check the little square box to the left of their photo and the chromosome browser box pops up at the bottom of the page. We’ll review the chromosome browser in a minute.

The new Relationship Range prediction is displayed, based on new calculations with segments below 6 cM removed. The linked relationship is displayed below the range.

A linked relationship occurs when you link that person to their proper place in your tree. If you have no linked relationship, you’ll see a link to “assign relationship” which takes you to your tree to link this person if you know how you are related.

The segments below 6 cM are gone from the Shared DNA total and X matches are only shown if they are 6 cM or above.

In Common With and Not In Common With

In Common With and Not In Common With is the little two-person icon at the right.

Just click on the little person icon, then select “In Common With” to view your shared matches between you, that match, and other people. The person you are viewing matches in common with is highlighted at the top of the page, with your common matches below.

You can stack filters now. In this example, I selected my cousin, Don, to see our common matches. I added the search filter of the surname Ferverda, my mother’s maiden name. She is deceased and I manage her kit. You can see that my cousin Don and I have 5 total common matches – four maternal and one both, meaning one person matches me on both my maternal and paternal lines.

It’s great news that now Cousin Don pops up in the chromosome browser box at the bottom, enabling easy confusion-free chromosome segment comparisons directly from the In Common With match page. I love this!!!.

All I have to do now is click on other people and then on Compare Relationship which pushes these matches through to the chromosome browser. This is SOOOO convenient.

You’ll see a new tree icon at right on each match. A dark tree means there’s content and a light tree means this person does not have a tree. Remember, you can filter by trees with content using the filter button beside “Both”.

Your notes are shown at far right. Any person with a note is dark grey and no note is white.

If you’re looking for the email contact information, click on your match’s name to view their placard which also includes more detailed ancestral surname information.

Family Finder – Table View

The table view is very similar to the Detail View. The layout is a bit different with more matches visible in the same space.

This view has lots of tooltips on the column heading bar! Tooltips are great for everyone, but especially for people just beginning to find their way in the genetic genealogy world.

I’ll have to experiment a bit to figure out which view I prefer. I’d like to be able to set my own default for whichever view I want as my default. In fact, I think I’ll submit that in the “Submit Feedback” link. For every suggestion, I’m going to find something really positive to say. This was an immense overhaul.

Chromosome Browser

Let’s look at the chromosome Browser.

You can arrive at the Chromosome Browser by selecting people on your match page, or by selecting the Chromosome Browser under the Results and Tools link.

Everything is pretty much the same on the chromosome browser, except the default view is now 6 cM and the smaller segments are gone. You can also choose to view only segments above 10 cM.

If you have people selected in the chromosome browser and click on Download Segments in the upper right-hand corner, it downloads the segments of only the people currently selected.

You can “Clear All” and then click on Download All Segments which downloads your entire segment file. To download all segments, you need to have no people selected for comparison.

The contents of this file are greatly reduced as it now contains only the segments 6 cM and above.

Family Tree

No, the family tree has not changed, and yes, it needs to, desperately. Trust me, the management team is aware and I suspect one of the improvements, hopefully sooner than later, will be an improved tree experience.

Y DNA

The Y DNA page has received an update too, adding both a Detail View and a Table View with the same basic functionality as the Family Finder matching above. If you are reading this article for Y DNA only, please read the Family Finder section to understand the new layout and features.

Like previously, the match comparison begins at the 111 marker level.

However, there’s a BIG difference. If there are no matches at this level, YOU NEED TO CLICK THE NEXT TAB. You can easily see that this person has matches at the 67 level and below, but the system no longer “counts down” through the various levels until it either finds a level with a match or reaches 12 markers.

If you’re used to the old interface, it’s easy to think you’re at the final destination of 12 markers with no matches when you’re still at 111.

Y DNA Detail View

The Y-DNA Detail and Table views features are the same as Family Finder and are described in that section.

The new format is quite different. One improvement is that the Paternal Country of Origin is now displayed, along with a flag. How cool is that!

The Paternal Earliest Known Ancestor and Match Date are at far right. Note that match dates have been reset to the rerun date. At this point, FamilyTreeDNA is evaluating the possibility of restoring the original match date. Regardless, you’ll be able to filter for match dates when new matches arrive.

Please check to be sure you have your Country of Origin, Earliest Known Ancestor, and mapped location completed and up to date.

Earliest Known Ancestor

If you haven’t completed your Earliest Known Ancestor (EKA) information, now’s the perfect time. It’s easy, so let’s do it before you forget.

Click on the Account Settings gear beneath your name in the right-hand upper corner. Click on Genealogy, then on Earliest Known Ancestors and complete the information in the red boxes.

  • Direct paternal line means your father’s father’s father’s line – as far up through all fathers as you can reach. This is your Y DNA lineage, but females should complete this information on general principles.
  • Direct maternal line means your mother’s mother’s mother’s line – as far up through all mothers that you can reach. This is your mitochondrial DNA lineage, so relevant for both males and females.

Completing all of the information, including the location, will help you and your matches as well when using the Matches Map.

Be sure to click Save when you’re finished.

Y DNA Filters

Y DNA has more filter options than autosomal.

The Y DNA filter, located to the right of the 12 Markers tab allows testers to filter by:

  • Genetic distance, meaning how many mutations difference between you and your matches
  • Groups meaning group projects that the tester has joined
  • Tree status
  • Match date
  • Level of test taken

If none of your matches have taken the 111 marker test or you don’t match anyone at that level, that test won’t show up on your list.

Y DNA Table View

As with Family Finder, the Table View is more condensed and additional features are available on the right side of each match. For details, please review the Family Finder section.

If you’re looking for the old Y DNA TiP report, it’s now at the far right of each match.

The actual calculator hasn’t changed yet. I know people were hoping for the new Y DNA aging in this release, but that’s yet to follow.

Other Pages

Other pages like the Big Y and Mitochondrial DNA did not receive new features or functionality in this release, but do sport new user-friendly tooltips.

I lost track, but I counted over 100 tooltips added across the platform, and this is just the beginning.

There are probably more new features and functionality that I haven’t stumbled across just yet.

And yes, we are going to find a few bugs. That’s inevitable with something this large. Please report anything you find to FamilyTreeDNA.

Oh wait – I almost forgot…

New Videos

I understand that there are in the ballpark of 50 new videos that are being added to the new Help Center, either today or very shortly.

When I find out more, I’ll write an article about what videos are available and where to find them. People learn in various ways. Videos are often requested and will be a popular addition. I considered making videos, but that’s almost impossible for anyone besides the vendor because the names on screens either need to be “fake” or the screen needs to be blurred.

So hurray – very glad to hear these are imminent!

Stay Tuned

Stay tuned for new developments. As Lior said, FamilyTreeDNA is investing heavily in genetic genealogy and there’s more to come.

My Mom used to say that the “proof is in the pudding.” I’d say the myDNA/FamilyTreeDNA leadership team has passed this initial test with flying colors.

Of course, there’s more to do, but I’m definitely grateful for this lovely pudding. Thank you – thank you!

I can’t wait to get started and see what new gems await.

Take a Look!

Sign in and take a look for yourself.

Do you have more matches?

Are your matches more accurate?

How about predicted relationships?

How has this new release affected you?

What do you like the best?

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Disclosure

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Thank you so much.

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61 thoughts on “FamilyTreeDNA Relaunch – New Feature Overview

  1. I can hardly believe that you pulled together all these details in a day! I was poking around at FTDNA this morning. (Also slow for this Canadian customer.) I think I’ve lost all those Swedes who were my top matches at FTDNA… with too many little bits of very old DNA used to match us. My parents were born in Germany. I like a lot of the changes! I later went to a FB group – DNA genealogy in German (and thereby mostly with members living in that country) to tell them about these changes. It seems that Germans are not into FTDNA very much. Most kept telling me how I MH and Ancestryt are better, for different reasons. FTDNA… they need to promote more in Germany maybe!

    • Yes, Roberta. What a great post in such a short time!
      I am not finding German matches at Ancestry either. But quite a few at MH. (With very short trees) There are quite a few at FTDNA for YDNA in the projects.
      But, as always, people in their home country tend to just use records.
      There are some in Germany whose ancestors had to move over the last century who are using DNA to try to find kin, but they are few. It’s mainly we colonials.

  2. The girl never sleeps. How on Earth could you have analyzed & compiled so quickly? Well done.

  3. I like the changes, and thanks for the article! One feature I will request is that the chromosome browser allow you to compare two matches to see if they match each other on a segment. MyHeritage and 23andme have this feature, but FTDNA has the browser fixed so that “you” are always the one being compared to.

    • I would like that too. You can use the matrix to see if they match each other, but not necessarily on that segment. You’ll have to use the chromosome browser comparison to you for that.

  4. This looks great and I am so happy to have your detailed notes on it all! I will be going through it carefully and wanted to thank you in advance.

    Since you seem to have their ear at FTDNA, one comment. I have my own and my mom’s DNA there, but not my father’s (he’s deceased). You know at top of the family finder matches list, where you can choose to see “all,” “paternal,” “maternal,” or “both?” (Also, isn’t “all” the same as “both?” Maybe I’m missing some intricacy.)

    Anyway, I have long wished there was the option to select “not maternal,” to see just those matches that are, by default, paternal. There’s a lot of endogamy in my DNA so I have tons of matches, and it would be so nice to be able to select out the side identified as my mom’s and thus be able to focus just on my dad’s.

    Just thought I’d toss that idea out there in case anyone’s listening! Thanks for all you do. I love your posts.

    • Hi Leslie. There’s the “Not In Common With” option. But more importantly, no, both does not mean all. Both means they actually TRIANGULATE with people on your maternal and paternal side. These are triangulated or parentally phased matches. People are NOT in your maternal bucket are NOT necessarily from your father’s side. All you can say for sure is that they are NOT on your mother’s side at 8.5 cM or over, the bucketing threshold. Many of your matches, maybe 15% of so, will be false matches so even if you did have both parents, those matches would not match you plus either of your parents.

      • Thank you for this explanation! “It’s complicated.” But that makes sense. I appreciate it.

        Leslie

    • Is your Paternal filter at the top showing zeroIf so, link some of your paternal matches to your tree. Then your Paternal filter will start to populate with your paternal matches. I have the same situation as you with my parents. After linking about a dozen close paternal matches in my tree, I have over 1,600 noted in my paternal filter at the top.

  5. Unfortunately, at the moment my matches are down to 0. To understand how strange this is, you should be aware that I manage accounts at FTDNA for my father, my five full siblings, and my daughter, and I can still log into their accounts.

    So far I’ve logged into my father’s account and my daughter’s and these accounts seem to be stuck on “Generating Matches”.

    In my own account, I was able to see lots of matches earlier in the day — including the above family members, but also *many* more, so something has happened. Maybe the system is just overloaded, but isn’t trying to generate matches for me because it already did (but can’t find them)?

    Whatever, an update should never mess everything up.

  6. This is definitely a work in progress. 30 minutes ago I had almost 5000 Family Finder matches. Now I have none. My Y-DNA STR matches have disappeared as well. At least I still have my Big Y and mtDNA matches. I assume this is part of the recalculation process but I pity anyone who recently logged in without knowing about the changes.

      • There was no error message. It simply said I did not match anyone in the database. However, my matches are back now so, except for the issue with X matching I mentioned in another post, things seem to have calmed down.

  7. Thanks so much for the great work you do. Do you think FTDNA will ever have a feature
    that puts a circle around your segments that triangulates will matches? My Heritage has that feature and it is awesome. And you are awesome too!!!

    Thanks,
    Jeff

  8. I’m glad they’re no longer using tiny segments for cM totals but I’m mildly disappointed that segments shorter than 6 cM are no longer accessible at all. Having the option to see them was nice. But I understand. Analyzing tiny segs is not for the uninitiated or the faint of heart.

  9. Glad they changed X matching. Mom went from 2393 X matches to 113; Dad from 329 to 11; me from 1136 to 60. Although 34 of my Xers bucket maternal and 18 bucket paternal only 18 match either parent when I compared X lists, with 11 to Mom and 7 to Dad, I’m still scratching my about that.

    Each of us went up a few hundred in All Matches.

    Wish they had kept the original match dates. I actually used them from time to time.

  10. I downloaded my matches (actually it was for my motherʻs account) on the 30th but didnʻt realize that her account was already converted, so I couldnʻt compare the number of matches.

    But even with the removal of 6cM matches, and while I notice that we now can have matches as low as 7cM (vs. the 20cM total minimum but having a longest block size of 6cM or 5cM or whatever it was for us) the number of matches doesnʻt seem that much different.

    Looking at one of my kits (my cousinʻs who is not admixed) she has 2,452. My mother has 2,755 and I have 1,962. I know I barely has 2,000 so really not much difference.

    • You probably lost some due to the new algorithm and gained some due to the transfer kits being imputed, so the net for you is probably about the same. Take a look to see if the people are different. Also, the new matches weren’t in effect until 8 AM Houston time on the first, so check your mom’s kit again now.

  11. Ok I have posted to FTDNA but no response so far, that the search box is not working for me. For instance if I enter McClure to catch all matches with the McClure name nothing happens. I have tried all combinations in the choices given, such as ancestral name (both places, and yes I tried adding a given name ). Sometimes my list changes but none of the names in folk’s lists are McClure and I had plenty before the change. I have tried two accounts with different surnames, so am I doing something wrong? Also I have not seen any special instructions in the help section about the search box. Other wise I like the changes but wish they had changed the tree view. Thankfully my notes seem to be there, and whoopee they changed the notes and took the tiny pencil away and gave us room to write and read our notes. I love the colored notepad that tells me I have notes!

    • What device are you using? I have seen this comment about iPads which would include iPhones but I have not seen this mentioned for other devices.

    • Type in the name, select the drop-down ‘name’, then hit enter on your keyboard.

      I also thought it wasn’t working until I thought to hit enter.

      • Yes, I finally heard from FTDNA and I had a “Duh, why didn’t I think of that” moment. I don’t recall seeing anything about the search/box/enter anywhere, but problem solved, Thank you for the input.

  12. Hi Roberta, the last time we chatted was at Rootstech last year. Do you believe that people need to upload the revised Build 37 raw data to GedMatch?

    • Hmm, good question. I don’t know if GEDMatch does a leftover or alignment or not. I would ask them. I hadn’t thought about that, so thanks.

      • I uploaded the newest version of my raw data from FTDNA to GedMatch the other day and it had an impact on the values of my matches including total shared, longest segment and x-chr amounts. Being from an endogamous population it seems that my matches that are more distant than 2C1R have major changes in the values whereas the closer relationships of my known relatives see only subtle modifications. I am waiting to hear from GedMatch.

  13. Just FYI _ Followed the DNA Transfers Guide from FamilyTreeDNA help section, but Autosomal Transfers isn’t an option on the Add-ons & Upgrades button. Have sent it to FamilyTreeDNA, but thought I’d let you know too..

  14. You write: “Improved matching accuracy, in particular for people in highly endogamous populations. People in this category have thousands of matches that occur simply because they share multiple distant ancestors from within the same population. That combination of multiple common ancestors makes their current match relationships appear to be closer in time than they are. In order to change matching algorithms, FamilyTreeDNA had to rewrite their matching software and then run matching all over to enable everyone to receive new, updated match results.”

    Does this mean that new algorithms include something like Ancestry’s Timber so that amount of those distant matches should decrease? Or just that new relationship estimates should be more accurate?

    *All* Finns report decreases in matches and I wonder how it is possible when new matching criteria is not so tight than earlier ones.

    • FamilyTreeDNA will be publishing a paper describing what they have done. They have done both things, but I don’t have specifics.

  15. Great explanation. Thanks.
    I am curious about the male and female icons enclosed in the circle. I no longer have icons for my nieces and nephews or grandnieces and nephews but I have them for my sister and cousins (close-distant.) They were there on the old version. I looked in Help and watched the tutorial and didn’t see an explanation. I wonder if there was a reason for eliminating the icons for nieces/nephews or am I missing something I need to enable. Perhaps there will be an explanation on the paper they are publishing.
    I am so impressed with all you accomplish.

    • Martha, can you tell me what page you’re looking on and where the circles are located? Thanks. Also, thanks for checking the Help Center too.

      • Roberta,
        On the Family Finder Match page next to my sister’s name is a purple double stick figure indicating a maternal and paternal match. In the older version of ftdna.com each of my nieces and nephews had a single stick figure indicating they were related via the maternal (pink) or paternal (blue) branch. The stick figures for my nieces and nephews no longer appear on the new version.
        When I “Link Matches” on the Family Tree page these symbols should appear but the ones for my nieces and nephews do not. However yesterday they did appear one time on the Family Tree page but no longer.
        On the top of the Family Finder Match page it says, ” Please be aware, as we continue to refine the recent update to Family Finder matches, some customers may experience fluctuations in their match list as we synchronize matches. We expect this to complete by July 23rd.” So I suspect the situation I am describing is a glitch which will be taken care of by July 23rd.
        Thanks for your help.

  16. If you click the “Help” menu, there is an option to submit feedback. I did that, and there was a form to fill in with questions about what you like and dislike with the updated Family Finder pages, and what you would like to see in the future. I submitted a long wishlist of: triangulation, artefact testing or at least possibility to upload raw data from artefact tests, one login for all kits I manage, place names visible in trees, searchable place names (if you have ancestors with patronymics instead of “real” surnames, you desperately need easy access to places), automatic comparison of trees (like Ancestry’s Thrulines), to view notes by just hovering over the notes symbol, etc.

    I say go ahead and wish for everything you want, if we are enough people wishing for the same things, hopefully they will listen and provide it! Think carefully before you do though, it seems as if you can only submit feedback once per kit.

  17. Roberta,
    I don’t see my earlier reply but I wanted you to know that the paternal and maternal icons have returned on the Family Match page.
    Again, thanks

  18. I hate change as much as anybody but moving all the junk from the first page to the right side, it’s the stuff you don’t need in your face all the time. They moved the stuff I click on all the time to the left really makes me wonder if someone in charge is left handed. It is all backwards to me and uncomfortable to move my mouse that far away after two surgeries on my hands and one arm. It hurts and it didn’t hurt when right side objects were the ones I clicked on.

  19. Thanks for your hard work on this. I also like being able to give feedback to someone who has some ties with FTDNA. None the less, I will send my remarks to FTDNA.

    First a PROBLEM with Linked Relationships. I just downloaded my matches cvs file and there are NO Linked Relationship values, which I do want in this file.

    Second, as mentioned, the date of the matches. I also like to see this on the screen. However, the match dates are thankfully in the cvs export file.

    Third, I download my cvs data to a database ( not a spreadsheet ). It has always been a significant problem that FTDNA, unlike other companies, does not download the unique identifier for each match. They have to have one, or their own database would not work. SO – REQUESTING – Please add the match unique identifier to the cvs file.

    Fourth, Requesting that – Number of Segments – be added to the cvs file and the website views. Now that the tiny matching segments have been dropped, the number of segments is helpful to quickly understand a match.

    That said, I am thrilled to see FTDNA upgrading their product. Now if we could just figure out how to get Ancestry users to transfer their DNA data to FTDNA.

  20. I wonder if the FTDNA changes have affected their raw data file download. I have a test that completed today, so I downloaded the concatenated raw data file. When I tried to upload to gedmatch, it said the file size was too small even though the file is 5.47 MB. This same file successfully uploaded to MyHeritage. I’ve uploaded many tests in the past, but have never had this problem. It’s funny, I tried sending a message to Gedmatch, but their “Support Request” button doesn’t work. I’ll wait a while and then try again.

  21. The way the Family Finder page is now spread out it is not possible to easily scan, but instead you have to go back and forth. What used to be column headers are listed for each match. Thus, “longest block” takes up many more characters than the two digit number. Bring back column headers. The date is now at the far right and very small. Move it back to the left. There are so many simple adjustments that could be made.

  22. Hi Roberta,

    When I try to do a comparison using in common with a relative, I select from the relatives in common to compare and then hit the orange Compare Relationship box, it clears all my selected relatives.

    I never get the info transferred to the Chromosome Browser display. The orange Compare Relationship box disappears and my selected relative remains above the full list of all my matches.

    I’m not sure why it isn’t working. Any ideas?

    • I just tried this again and it works on my kits. You’ll need to contact FTDNA. If you are using an iPad, try a computer.

  23. Hmmm, well if I go to Results and Tools > Autosomal > Chromosome Browser it will let me select a relative for In Common With and then allow me to select the relatives I want to compare.

    Then the orange Compare Relationships works there–but I sure don’t want to go through that every time I want to compare.

    Also, I do not like having to click on the segment to see the details. Can’t we hover over it to get a float over to take a quick look? I’m fine having a click to display if I want it to remain visible after I move the cursor,

    • I’ve suggested the hover, but you should vote too. I’m not sure why the select doesn’t work for you. Please contact FTDNA.

  24. Hello, fellow ESTES cousin! I am 78.5 years old and these wholesale changes are way more than confusing to me, and I suspect, anyone in the “senior years”.

  25. I get the message
    “Generating Matches
    Your match list is being generated and will be ready momentarily.”
    Again and again, while the result is open. Sometimes it takes forever, sometimes a few seconds or a minute. But even after letting it complete the same procedure is repeated just a few minutes later. This must be some kind of bug, and I just reported it to FtDNA. Please do the same if this is a common problem due to the new code.

    I got this problem over-and-over again, trying to work with a resultset filtered to “Not in common with” a certain person, but it may very well apply to other scnarios as well.

    • II get this too but not as bad. They need to check and not renew more than once a day.
      I will send a note to customer support.

      • I really enjoy FTDNA but not a fan of the new format. FTDNA is the go to spot form Y-DNA and mtDNA testing. They do a wonderful job in that area. But I think the autosomal end is terrible. Their set up makes it very difficult to find matches that triangulate. I really wish FTDNA could be more like MyHeritage. MH puts circles around all matches that triangulate, makes it sooooo much easier.

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