FamilyTreeDNA DISCOVER™ Launches – Including Y DNA Haplogroup Ages

FamilyTreeDNA just released an amazing new group of public Y DNA tools.

Yes, a group of tools – not just one.

The new Discover tools, which you can access here, aren’t just for people who have tested at FamilyTreeDNA . You don’t need an account and it’s free for everyone. All you need is a Y DNA haplogroup – from any source.

I’m going to introduce each tool briefly because you’re going to want to run right over and try Discover for yourself. In fact, you might follow along with this article.

Y DNA Haplogroup Aging

The new Discover page provides seven beta tools, including Y DNA haplogroup aging.

Haplogroup aging is THE single most requested feature – and it’s here!

Discover also scales for mobile devices.

Free Beta Tool

Beta means that FamilyTreeDNA is seeking your feedback to determine which of these tools will be incorporated into their regular product, so expect a survey.

If you’d like changes or something additional, please let FamilyTreeDNA know via the survey, their support line, email or Chat function.

OK, let’s get started!

Enter Your Haplogroup

Enter your Y DNA haplogroup, or the haplogroup you’re interested in viewing.

If you’re a male who has tested with FamilyTreeDNA , sign on to your home page and locate your haplogroup badge at the lower right corner.

If you’re a female, you may be able to test a male relative or find a haplogroup relevant to your genealogy by visiting your surname group project page to locate the haplogroup for your ancestor.

I’ll use one of my genealogy lines as an example.

In this case, several Y DNA testers appear under my ancestor, James Crumley, in the Crumley DNA project.

Within this group of testers, we have two different Big Y haplogroups, and several estimated haplogroups from testers who have not upgraded to the Big Y.

If you’re a male who has tested at either 23andMe or LivingDNA, you can enter your Y DNA haplogroup from that source as well. Those vendors provide high-level haplogroups.

The great thing about the new Discover tool is that no matter what haplogroup you enter, there’s something for you to enjoy.

I’m going to use haplogroup I-FT272214, the haplogroup of my ancestor, James Crumley, confirmed through multiple descendants. His son John’s descendants carry haplogroup I-BY165368 in addition to I-FT272214, which is why there are two detailed haplogroups displayed for this grouping within the Crumley haplogroup project, in addition to the less-refined I-M223.

Getting Started

When you click on Discover, you’ll be asked to register briefly, agree to terms, and provide your email address.

Click “View my report” and your haplogroup report will appear.

Y DNA Haplogroup Report

For any haplogroup you enter, you’ll receive a haplogroup report that includes 7 separate pages, shown by tabs at the top of your report.

Click any image to enlarge

The first page you’ll see is the Haplogroup Report.

On the first page, you’ll find Haplogroup aging. The TMRCA (time to most recent common ancestor) is provided, plus more!

The report says that haplogroup I-FT272214 was “born,” meaning the mutation that defines this haplogroup, occurred about 300 years ago, plus or minus 150 years.

James Crumley was born about 1710. We know his sons carry haplogroup I-FT272214, but we don’t know when that mutation occurred because we don’t have upstream testers. We don’t know who his parents were.

Three hundred years before the birth of our Crumley tester would be about 1670, so roughly James Crumley’s father’s generation, which makes sense.

James’ son John’s descendants have an additional mutation, so that makes sense too. SNP mutations are known to occur approximately every 80 years, on average. Of course, you know what average means…may not fit any specific situation exactly.

The next upstream haplogroup is I-BY100549 which occurred roughly 500 years ago, plus or minus 150 years. (Hint – if you want to view a haplogroup report for this upstream haplogroup, just click on the haplogroup name.)

There are 5 SNP confirmed descendants of haplogroup I-FT272214 claiming origins in England, all of whom are in the Crumley DNA project.

Haplogroup descendants mean this haplogroup and any other haplogroups formed on the tree beneath this haplogroup.

Share

If you scroll down a bit, you can see the share button on each page. If you think this is fun, you can share through a variety of social media resources, email, or copy the link.

Sharing is a good way to get family members and others interested in both genealogy and genetic genealogy. Light the spark!

I’m going to be sharing with collaborative family genealogy groups on Facebook and Twitter. I can also share with people who may not be genealogists, but who will think these findings are interesting.

If you keep scrolling under the share button or click on “Discover More” you can order Y DNA tests if you’re a biological male and haven’t already taken one. The more refined your haplogroup, the more relevant your information will be on the Discover page as well as on your personal page.

Scrolling even further down provides information about methods and sources.

Country Frequency

The next tab is Country Frequency showing the locations where testers with this haplogroup indicate that their earliest known ancestors are found.

The Crumley haplogroup has only 5 people, which is less than 1% of the people with ancestors from England.

However, taking a look at haplogroup R-M222 with many more testers, we see something a bit different.

Ireland is where R-M222 is found most frequently. 17% of the men who report their ancestors are from Ireland belong to haplogroup R-M222.

Note that this percentage also includes haplogroups downstream of haplogroup R-M222.

Mousing over any other location provides that same information for that area as well.

Seeing where the ancestors of your haplogroup matches are from can be extremely informative. The more refined your haplogroup, the more useful these tools will be for you. Big Y testers will benefit the most.

Notable Connections

On the next page, you’ll discover which notable people have haplogroups either close to you…or maybe quite distant.

Your first Notable Connection will be the one closest to your haplogroup that FamilyTreeDNA was able to identify in their database. In some cases, the individual has tested, but in many cases, descendants of a common ancestor tested.

In this case, Bill Gates is our closest notable person. Our common haplogroup, meaning the intersection of Bill Gates’s haplogroup and my Crumley cousin’s haplogroup is I-L1195. The SNP mutation that defines haplogroup I-L1145 occurred about 4600 years ago. Both my Crumley cousin and Bill Gates descend from that man.

If you’re curious and want to learn more about your common haplogroup, remember, you can enter that haplogroup into the Discover tool. Kind of like genetic time travel. But let’s finish this one first.

Remember that CE means current era, or the number of years since the year “zero,” which doesn’t technically exist but functions as the beginning of the current era. Bill Gates was born in 1955 CE

BCE means “before current era,” meaning the number of years before the year “zero.” So 2600 BCE is approximately 4600 years ago.

Click through each dot for a fun look at who you’re “related to” and how distantly.

This tool is just for fun and reinforces the fact that at some level, we’re all related to each other.

Maybe you’re aware of more notables that could be added to the Discover pages.

Migration Map

The next tab provides brand spanking new migration maps that show the exodus of the various haplogroups out of Africa, through the Middle East, and in this case, into Europe.

Additionally, the little shovel icons show the ancient DNA sites that date to the haplogroup age for the haplogroup shown on the map, or younger. In our case, that’s haplogroup I-M223 (red arrow) that was formed about 16,000 years ago in Europe, near the red circle, at left. These haplogroup ancient sites (shovels) would all date to 16,000 years ago or younger, meaning they lived between 16,000 years ago and now.

Click to enlarge

By clicking on a shovel icon, more information is provided. It’s very interesting that I-L1145, the common haplogroup with Bill Gates is found in ancient DNA in Cardiff, Wales.

This is getting VERY interesting. Let’s look at the rest of the Ancient Connections.

Ancient Connections

Our closest Ancient Connection in time is Gen Scot 24 (so name in an academic paper) who lived in the Western Isles of Scotland.

These ancient connections are more likely cousins than direct ancestors, but of course, we can’t say for sure. We do know that the first man to develop haplogroup I-L126, about 2500 years ago, is an ancestor to both Gen Scot 24 and our Crumley ancestor.

Gen Scot 24 has been dated to 1445-1268 BCE which is about 3400 years ago, which could actually be older than the haplogroup age. Remember that both dating types are ranges, carbon dating is not 100% accurate, and ancient DNA can be difficult to sequence. Haplogroup ages are refined as more branches are discovered and the tree grows.

The convergence of these different technologies in a way that allows us to view the past in the context of our ancestors is truly amazing.

All of our Crumley cousin’s ancient relatives are found in Ireland or Scotland with the exception of the one found in Wales. I think, between this information and the haplogroup formation dates, it’s safe to say that our Crumley ancestors have been in either Scotland or Ireland for the past 4600 years, at least. And someone took a side trip to Wales, probably settled and died there.

Of course, now I need to research what was happening in Ireland and Scotland 4600 years ago because I know my ancestors were involved.

Suggested Projects

I’m EXTREMELY pleased to see suggested projects for this haplogroup based on which projects haplogroup members have joined.

You can click on any of the panels to read more about the project. Remember that not everyone joins a project because of their Y DNA line. Many projects accept people who are autosomally related or descend from the family through the mitochondrial line, the direct mother’s line.

Still, seeing the Crumley surname project would be a great “hint” all by itself if I didn’t already have that information.

Scientific Details

The Scientific Details page actually has three tabs.

The first tab is Age Estimate.

The Age Estimate tab provides more information about the haplogroup age or TMRCA (Time to Most Recent Common Ancestor) calculations. For haplogroup I-FT272214, the most likely creation date, meaning when the SNP occurred, is about 1709, which just happens to align well with the birth of James Crumley about 1710.

However, anyplace in the dark blue band would fall within a 68% confidence interval (CI). That would put the most likely years that the haplogroup-defining SNP mutation took place between 1634 and 1773. At the lower end of the frequency spectrum, there’s a 99% likelihood that the common ancestor was born between 1451 and 1874. That means we’re 99% certain that the haplogroup defining SNP occurred between those dates. The broader the date range, the more certain we can be that the results fall into that range.

The next page, Variants, provides the “normal” or ancestral variant and the derived or mutated variant or SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) in the position that defines haplogroup I-FT272214.

The third tab displays FamilyTreeDNA‘s public Y DNA Tree with this haplogroup highlighted. On the tree, we can see this haplogroup, downstream haplogroups as well as upstream, along with their country flags.

Your Personal Page

If you have already taken a DNA test at FamilyTreeDNA, you can find the new Discover tool conveniently located under “Additional Tests and Tools.”

If you are a male and haven’t yet tested, then you’ll want to order a Y DNA test or upgrade to the Big Y for the most refined haplogroup possible.

Big Y tests and testers are why the Y DNA tree now has more than 50,000 branches and 460,000 variants. Testing fuels growth and growth fuels new tools and possibilities for genealogists.

What Do You Think?

Do you like these tools?

What have you learned? Have you shared this with your family members? What did they have to say? Maybe we can get Uncle Charley interested after all!

Let me know how you’re using these tools and how they are helping you interpret your Y DNA results and assist your genealogy.

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58 thoughts on “FamilyTreeDNA DISCOVER™ Launches – Including Y DNA Haplogroup Ages

  1. Thanks, Roberta. This is very interesting. Oddly, I’ve done Big Y-700 at FTDNA , but I don’t (yet) have a “Discover More” button in the “Additional Tests & Tools” section of my dashboard. I’ve logged in and out several times. Perhaps they’re rolling it out gradually. I can, of course, access the free version. My cofirmed haplogroup is I-Y36144 at both FTDNA and YFull. YFull gives the TMRCA estimate for this haplogroup as 850 years ago with a 95% cofidence interval of 1300 to 475 years ago and FTDNA Discover gives it as 900 years ago with a 95% confidence interval of 1300 to 500 years ago. I find the close correspence between these estimates to be intriguing and will spend some time investigating this; I really thought there would be a bigger difference. I don’t expect the correspondence will be this close for other haplogroups; my I-Y36144 situation may be unique because all of us on this branch at FTDNA are also the only members of this branch at YFull.

  2. Thanks for this update, Roberta! I’m an administrator of the J-ZS241 YDNA haplogroup project. We’ve been waiting for this! It’s a beautiful marketing tool, I must say. Wonderful that it is open to anyone to use– not just FTNDA current testers. I’m waiting on our main analyst to give his A-OK as to the scientific results and his opinion on how it matches up to the yfull tree. 🙂

    I appreciate the way FTDNA has made this a user-friendly tool for those not well versed in YDNA testing. At the very least, it provides a tool for the beginner to begin to formulate what questions to ask of their project administrator. I foresee a bulk-email in my near future!

    One glitch that I’ve seen so far– when in the “Haplogroup Story” section, you can click on links to the parent branch(es) and go back in time, but I cannot return to the original haplogroup without starting over with the search process.

  3. First of all, thank you for your efforts and for sharing information about these new tools, Roberta! They are very much appreciated!

    My first reaction was excitement on reading this post and then I ran our groups’ current terminal SNP which is R-BY66743:

    https://discover.familytreedna.com/y-dna/R-BY66743/story

    Then I became a bit skeptical as that now puts our terminal SNP well within a genealogically meaningful time frame (1500 CE – 1900 CE with 1700 CE being in the middle) when our previous terminal SNP mutation R-BY64626 occurred about 2400 years ago, now recalculated at 2800 years ago… That seems like a quite jump to me. I wonder if the way the data is presented assumes there are a few, as yet, unidentified mutations between R-BY64626 and R-BY66743?

    There are 20 Daniel men in my group, only two who have done Big Y, but several of us have also tested positive for R-BY66743 at YSEQ.net. Only men in our cousin group have been found to have this terminal SNP and we all descend from William Daniel 1680-1765 of Virginia. This tends to support the findings but it seems like quite a coincidence that our ancestor is right in the middle of the calculated range for this mutation which makes me question the methodology. I will have to study all of this for a while to make sure that I understand it.

    So, mixed feelings, but cautiously optimistic about this new tool. We already knew that our terminal SNP was very useful for identifying descendants of William Daniel but it may not be that useful for finding his ancestors if he was the first mutation for this SNP and the next further back mutation was outside of a genealogically meaningful time frame. Hoping future SNP discoveries will clarify our situation.

    The Daniel DNA Project is at http://www.danieldna.com

    Cheers,

    Kevin

    • If additional Daniel men test, you may well find new branches that will help close the gap. I wasn’t convinced at first, but I’m very glad that several Estes men tested.

      • Thanks, Roberta!

        If any of our group of 20 men don’t match R-BY66743 at YSEQ,net we probably will try to get them to take Big Y 700 test. I doubt that that will happen as we can prove with a reasonable degree of certainty that all of us descend from one of three sons of William Daniel 1680-1765.

        I suspect that William’s grandfather was Hugh Daniel 1630-1665 who was imported into Northampton County, VA in 1652. He had only one son, William 1660-after 1680, who I suspect died fairly young and likely only had William 1680-1765.

        The potential for finding Daniel’s outside of our group in the U.S. to test is unlikely if the R-BY66743 mutation occurred with Hugh, William 1660-168? or William 1680-1765 which the FTDNA results suggest. If so, we are probably screwed.

        If the mutation occurred a generation or two before Hugh then we have some hope but would still be shaking the tree in the UK.

        I started the Daniel DNA Project in 2001 and have actively recruited new participants in the U.S. since and will continue to do so. I do not know of any of our Daniel, Daniels, McDaniels, etc., who have made a UK connection, though.

        It is a pretty common surname and there are many unrelated families using Daniel and similar surnames. We have dozens of unrelated Daniels in the project. Sigh.

        Hopefully, we will find some men with R-BY66743 in the UK and even if they are not Daniels, it may lead us to a geographic location where our Daniels lived at one time.

        Or further testing may turn up a closer ancestor SNP than R-BY64626 which mutated in a more helpful time frame.

        I shall try to cling to life long enough for something positive to happen!

        Best,

        Kevin

  4. Hello Roberta…you are awesome. I just put my dad’s new Big Y 700 haplogroup in but it said it had to be the shorthand R-M269 not the new R-FTA41701. How did you use the longer one?

    • If that haplogroup has only been assigned in the past 3 weeks or so, it’s not in the tool yet. If it’s older than 3 weeks or so, then please call their support number, email or do a chat with them.

  5. When I put in R-Y4010, it comes up with R-FGC5628. I have always had problems understanding the yDNA designations. I tried looking online but can’t find the connection.

    • That’s an equivalent SNP. You can see that on the Variants tab under the Science tab. I’ve made the suggestion though to provide this info on the first report page in the text so people know why they are receiving a different haplogroup.

  6. Great article and head-up about the BETA. Thanks Roberta.

    Do you know if the SNP Age estimations will be further refined? Looking on my Y Line, I see that the ybp (years before present) estimations are the same for a number of the SNPs. Is this likely to resolved by FTDNA? Interested to hear either way.

    Thank again.

  7. That’s great, I remember when I got my results from 23andMe over a decade ago, I didn’t have first or second cousins, so the only part I was interested in, i mean really interested, was the haplogroups section. I quickly fell in love with these little stories about what was happening around the time each of the mutations in my Y and MT DNA emerged and since then I have been looking to deepen this story and this new feature of FTDNA brings me a little closer.

  8. Roberta, this is great and much needed to replace the rules of thumb used up to now. I notice for example that the years per mutation vary a lot and I assume that is because FT is using information on mutation rates that differ depending on the segments involved.
    One big issue I see is when they convert “years ago” to calendar dates. In your Chumley example you said that the 300 years was from the birth of the tester, which I am sure is the right approach. FT is calculating the date from ‘today’ which I have seen can be 2000, 2050 or even 2100. For example, my summary report says my ancestor was born 350 years ago which corresponds to 1700 C.E. That is only true if I was born in 2050! I was born closer to 1950 so the date should be 1600 C.E. Since FT doesn’t know the tester’s birthdate, they would be better to omit the calendar dates all together. Note: in the Scientific view the calendar dates are calculated based on 2022.
    A smaller point is that the 95% date ranges are inconsistent between the Report and the Scientific Results. Since they have the Scientific results they should use them in the Report.

    • Russ, those are Years Before Present. Present is fixed as 1950, so your dates should line up better. Few people know “Before Present” since few people are interested in carbon dating, so there might need to be some adjustment or explanation there. Years Ago are from right now. But right now is a moving target – not always helpful for an academic paper that might be consulted a couple of decades later. I communicate to people as Years Ago because it is more intuitive.
      I am really liking the update, but the Beta needs a little tweaking yet here and there. That’s what Betas are for finding out.

  9. This is a fantastic start. A quick test run suggests that the calculator is coming up with TMRCA estimates that are way more recent than expected. This is going to mean that lots of folks in my sub-branches at least are going to be lead to believe they are more closely related than they had been thinking based on the Block Tree, TiP reports, and YFull. My question is this: is there a document available explaining the methodology used to arrive at these estimates?

    • TMRCA estimates nearly always start out closer to the present, and then as more and more descendants are found, they move backwards in time.
      The other way of estimating time is based on taking the previous Haplogroup up the chain and counting forwards using an estimate of so many years per mutation. In project groups and at other sites, these two estimates gradually grow towards each other as more becomes known.
      Hopefully that stuff is in the White Paper.

  10. “The great thing about the new Discover tool is that no matter what haplogroup you enter, there’s something for you to enjoy.”

    I’m sorry, but this is simply not true. Your haplogroup has to be fairly extensively tested for it to be of any value. R-BY19308, as an example, is the most boring haplogroup to be in, yet, anyway. 🙃🤣

    • I will check this out. And I’m sorry you feel it’s boring. What I means is that everyone received something on each page.

      • Sorry, I didn’t mean to be negative, it just didn’t give me any results that I didn’t already know. My haplogroup has been at standstill since I took the test in 2018. I’m just envious of the people who have breakthroughs and discover new things.

        • Hopefully a tool like this will encourage more testers because they receive something cool.

  11. Roberta,

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

    I share Q-BZ1234 with one other person.

    Please advise how I make contact with them?

    Kind regards,

    Gordon
    Gloucestershire, ENGLAND

    • Hello Gordon! I am Stephanie Martin, my dad is Kevin Martin. He is also a Q haplogroup Martin but isn’t a match with you. However, I strongly recommend joining the FTDNA MARTIN group if you haven’t done so already. The forum is open and in fact, your match Percy Martin is on the forum wondering pretty much the same thing, how to compare notes with you.

  12. Roberta: I notice they refer to “paternal ancestor” or “paternal line ancestor”. Shouldn’t this be “patrilineal”? Thank you, John

    • Yes. And I actually discussed this with the team. The challenge is that most people won’t understand what that means. Part of their goal is to make this attractive to non-genealogists to encourage them to test.

      • It might work if they approach it properly. Say at this entry, “He is the most recent paternal line ancestor of all members of this group.” Instead, “He is the most recent patrilineal line ancestor of all members of this group.” Followed by the male to male to male explanation. It would bring novices along and make things a lot more clear later on. But we can deal if needed…

        On the side, are they going to do a “Discovery” MtDNA?

        Thank you.

        • It wouldn’t make sense to do that until the new mt tree is complete. I certainly hope so.

  13. Great additional information —- Six (6) Trujillo male descendants have performed the Big Y all with confirmed Y Haplogroup Q-L400. FTDNA estimates the Haplogroup is approximately 150 years old + or – 100 years. The confirmed common male ancestors of all six Trujillo participants was born 1794 in New Mexico, 228 years ago. —- QUITE ACCURATE.

  14. Great additional information —- Six (6) Trujillo descendants have performed the Big Y, all with confirmed Y Haplogroup Q-L400. FTDNA estimates Haplogroup Q-L-400 is approximately 150 years old + or – 100 years. The confirmed male ancestor of all six Trujillo descendants was born 1794 in Abiquiu, New Mexico, 228 years ago. QUITE ACCURATE.

  15. Roberta, I made this entry a few days ago but do not see it in the thread.
    FTDNA Discovery refers to Y-DNA connections as “Paternal”. In all their information panels. As opposed to “Patrilineal”. I raised this issue with tech support. She forwarded my concern to the designers. If you find it an important nuance, please give them a call if you will. Thank you.

  16. The SNIP ages estimation for me and my cousin is close to our estimation through our records,and generations.The other features I did not check it yet.

  17. I am very interested in learning more about all this. My Dad is in the Butler Project; we tested him with FTDNA in 2004, shortly before his passing. I was his caregiver and durable power of attorney, but I’ve never done anything more with the results, except upload my own Ancestry tree to FTDNA. I don’t remember a haplogroup number being revealed. But I remember the mention of mutations which I still don’t understand. I am his oldest daughter and oldest child and have been working on my autosomal tree for 20 years. My GEDmatch #is: KF5985420. I have personally also tested with CRI but have not made any progress with that except for them telling me my mother’s haplogroup. My Dad descends from the Starnebrook Butlers and my Mom descends from the Ormonde Butlers.

    • Sign on to your father’s account. If he Y DNA tested, he will have a haplogroup badge in the lower right hand corner of his page. Go back and review his matches again. Also I have a Y DNA resource page for you to explain what you’re seeing.

  18. When I first checked this out after your post, everything was as you described. When I look at it again now, FTDNA appears to have taken away the six tools. I cannot access Notable Connections, Ancient Connections, etc. Do you know what is going on?

    • They are still there and have been. Maybe try another browser? Internet has been very glitchy lately.

    • They are all there right now for me.
      I had the same experience early on until I remembered to look for the pale headings up the top on each tab.

  19. Roberta:

    I’ve found interesting results in my “Discovery” searches for “Notable Connections”.
    I know the Big-Y Haplogroup projection for two distant (2C & 3C) cousins with different patrilineal lines and ancestral surnames. People which I know exactly how we are related. One on my father’s side, one on the other. This can be found in their Family Finder match with me. They have many of the same connections I have. That is not the surprise because these parts of my known family are largely British Isles and North Western Europe.

    What is curious is that they also have some connections that are different. Even when I use a higher Haplogroup from that long list FF displays. Distance to MRCA does not seem to matter.

    I’ve written FF and am awaiting a response. But do you have any idea of the algorithm they use to make the matches for “Notable Connections”? I’d think a patrilineal match to one ancestor is a patrilineal match to all descendants (at some point).

    Thank you,
    John

    • No, I’m sorry. I don’t. I think they serve trying for everyone with a similar haplogroup not to get all the same ones in the middle. Think about R-M269.

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