Both 23andMe and FTDNA allow you to download your raw DNA results for upload at other sites. It turns out that you can get a good deal by using both. Since 23andMe data is compatible with FTDNA, you can get tested at 23andMe and uploaded the raw data to FTDNA for only $89. So, for only $188 you can actually get both 23andMe and FTDNA. That’s less than the cost of a full test at FTDNA alone. So, that’s what I did.
Back in February I posted my results from my test at 23andMe and I just uploaded my data to FTDNA. Since it isn’t obvious how the process works, I thought I’d show it. It’s actually quite painless. If you have had your DNA tested at 23andMe here’s how to download the raw data and how to upload it to FTDNA.
Downloading Your Genome from 23andMeThe first thing you need to do is get the raw data from 23andMe. On the site, you can find your data by clicking under account and choosing “Browse Raw Data”.
This takes you to a page that offers tools for looking at the individual SNPs in the test. At the top of the page is a link to “Download Raw Data”. This allows you to save a file of your raw data.
This downloads a zipped text file to your computer. My file was about 8MB in size. Once you download it, you need to unzip it since FTDNA needs an unzipped text file to work with. The unzipped file is about 3 times larger than the zipped file was, so it can take a while if you have a slow internet connection.
This is what you should see:
Now that you have your data on your computer, it’s time to upload it to FTDNA.
Uploading to FTDNAThe first thing you need to do is to get an account and order the analysis. On the FTDNA Products page they list all the tests they perform. You can order a whole new test from here if you like.
Transferring the genome to FTDNA is much cheaper than having them perform the test. A full Family Finder test costs $289.00, but deeper in their list of products they will accept third party tests.
I chose the “Transfer Relative Finder” for $89. After filling out the information and supplying my credit card info, I got a welcome email with a “Kit Number” and a password. After logging in I clicked the button to upload my raw data. Make sure you upload the unzipped .txt file, and not the zip file. Since it mine was 24MB it can take a while. After a few minutes I got this confirmation:
The message says that my file was recognized and compatible with the FTDNA database. Surprisingly it says it will be processed in 6-10 weeks. I would have thought that an uploaded dataset would be faster than sending a DNA sample.
Sign the Release FormBack on the home page, I saw an interesting icon to sign a Release Form. When you click it it takes you to a release that allows FTDNA to provide your email contact information to people who match your genetic profile. Here is the agreement:
I give permission to Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) to make my information available to a genetic match.
If another party’s genetic DNA is a relevant match to my DNA, I want FTDNA to release to them my e-mail address or my mailing address if the e-mail address is not supplied.
Unless I sign this Release Form, my personal information will not be shared with anyone who may match my DNA markers in any form, now or in the future.
In the event I sign this document, I understand that FTDNA will share only my e-mail address with another person who shares my personal family genetic marker, and I hold FTDNA harmless for all consequences of sharing this information with that other individual(s).While some people might not want to give out their contact information, I figure that the main reason to use a genealogy-focused DNA testing service like FTDNA is to make contacts with potential relatives. That would be rather difficult if we couldn’t contact each other, so I went ahead and signed the release.
Now the Waiting StartsWell, that’s all there is to it. I’ve opened my account, submitted my data, paid my fee, and now I’ll just have to wait until they get through their batches. While I expect my overall results to be similar to 23andMe, I am hoping to find a few more relatives in their database. I came up pretty dry on 23andMe.
So, if you’re just getting into DNA as I am, this two-site method gets you a lot of bang for the buck.