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How to Help Houston with DNA test purchases

The company that started the personal DNA testing revolution, Family Tree DNA, is displaying this banner on their home page.

That’s right, their headquarters are in Houston and they are donating a portion of their sales in September for Hurricane Harvey relief.

Bennett Greenspan, ftDNA CEO points out the Tecan machine, which adds chemicals to extract the DNA

So if you were dithering about testing your Y, or buying an upgrade to the tests you have done, now is the time to go for it. Also their kit uses a cheek swab which is much easier for your elderly relatives than the spit kits from other companies, plus they preserve the DNA for future tests. So get some of their autosomal test kits too (“family finder” kits). Stock up!

In that same spirit, I will also donate all of the September affiliate income that I get when you click on my links to Family Tree DNA and then buy from their site. (Yes their name is always an affiliate link.)

In case you missed it, I got a wonderful tour of their facility when I visited in 2015 and can vouch that their 8th floor, North loop location is free of flooding. However many of their employees were affected and I heard tales of 4 and 5 hour commutes initially. Today, for some, the commute was almost normal. Houston strong!

DNA transfers to Family Tree DNA are back!

It’s working again! At last …

You can upload your DNA test results from Ancestry.com and/or 23andme to Family Tree DNA again! You get a free look and then can pay a mere $19 to get all the tools and information.

Click here for an old blog post of mine for help on getting your DNA data and transferring it. You have to be logged out of any account you have there with family finder results (mtDNA and Y are OK), before you upload. First you sign up for a new username and password (each test result has its own log in). Also be sure to use the zipped download of your data.

I recommend that you download your raw data again to do this. When I rezipped an old ancestry file and tried it, I was told that it was the wrong format but when I downloaded it again, the new version worked just fine.

Click here for more details at Roberta’s blog.

Great New Features at Family Tree DNA

Family Tree DNA has some terrific new features for its Family Finder matches as well as for its tree. The most exciting addition is the ability to automatically assign matches to your mother’s and father’s sides via close relatives, even if you do not have a parent tested.

In my case, my Dad is tested as well as two of my maternal aunts, so my aunts provide me with matches on my late mother’s side. This is how my family finder match page looks now. Notice the Paternal and Maternal tabs each showing the number of matches assigned to that side. Also each match gets an icon indicating which side. Of course my brother is related on both sides. Clicking on a tab shows just those matches.

KittyFTDNAsmll

So how do you get a page like this? Well you need to assign your parents or other close relatives on your tree. If you do not have a tree at ftDNA yet, you can upload a GEDcom from your genealogy program.

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Christmas DNA Sales are here!

Family-Tree-DNA--Gift

Existing ftDNA customers get coupons

Both Family Tree DNA ($89) and AncestryDNA ($79) have Christmas sales for their DNA kits (those prices do not include shipping). I think the Ancestry.com DNA testing sale will last only until November 20th. Family Tree DNA‘s sale is on until the end of the year. In contrast 23andme just doubled their price but is adding new interfaces and health results.

Family Tree DNA  has special gift coupons for existing customers; so log in every week and see what you have. Roberta Estes suggested that people could put their unwanted codes in the comments on her detailed post about the ftDNA sale. That seems like a good idea to me. You can do that here too, but please indicate in a reply to each coupon comment when you have taken that one. I will list a few of my coupon codes also.

I have written up my recommendations for where to do your DNA testing on my comparison page. Here is a summary of my current thoughts on which company to use.

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Please upload your ancestry DNA data to a site with a chromosome browser

Today I sent the following email to a newly found DNA cousin match at ancestry whose great-grandmother lived right next door to my family in Kristiansand, Norway in the late 1800s. She moved to the U.S.A just a year after they did (1884 and 1885) and lived a block away from where my grandad eventually lived on Ovington Ave in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Monsen Home KristiansandDear cousin,

OK now I REALLY want to see where our DNA matches, because I have a large database (spreadsheets) of where my Dad, my brother and I match various known Norwegian relatives so it is likely that I can figure out from the matching DNA segment(s) where we are related and if it is really the 7th cousin match shown at Ancestry.com on the Eigeland line.

Pretty please either upload to GEDmatch or Family Tree DNA or both.

First you will need to get the raw data from Ancestry.com – here is how:
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