Sunday, July 16, 2017

It’s not the end of the world

Major panic attack on Facebook this week after Ancestry announced that starting July 18th each DNA sample will have to have its own Ancestry account.  Here is the official announcement by Ancestry:

Enhancing Collaboration and Roles on DNA Results

Many of us manage multiple kits under our account so this will be a change for us, however, it isn’t horrible. A little more work maybe but not horrible. If you manage multiple accounts at FTDNA you will be used to this sort of thing and Ancestry’s system will actually be less work than FTDNA’s in the long run. If you already have multiple kits under your account those won’t change. This will only affect new kits.

Since I need testers for specific dilemmas many of the people I ask to test are not genealogists and some don’t even have a computer so how will I handle this?

1) Set up a Gmail account for each test that you activate. You will need to come up with some sort of unique naming system for the accounts so that they follow a pattern to make it easier on you. Genetic genealogists already keep very detailed records so this isn’t going to be a big deal.

2) Have all mail from those accounts forwarded to your account. In Gmail click the gear icon and then go to Settings > Forwarding.

3) Create a new Ancestry account using the above address. One account per kit.

4) Log into this new Ancestry account and set yourself as “Manager” for that DNA.  When you log into your account you will see this DNA on your list.  Managers can do everything that the owner of the DNA can do except remove managers from the account.  You can even download the raw data.  If you have ever tried to talk someone through how to download their raw DNA so that you could get their DNA on GEDmatch you will know how nice this is. Since you have a paid account (most likely) you can do a lot more with the DNA from your account than you could if you logged into the free account.

Having said all of that.  Make your that you have PERMISSION from your test taker to do all of this. FULL DISCLOSURE is a MUST. You need to explain exactly why you need their DNA and what exactly you plan to do with it.  You also need to warn them about any surprises that could be uncovered. If they are comfortable with computers you can provide them with the login for their Ancestry account though you will be able to provide better information for them from your account.


  1. Michele - this has created a lot of panic, that's for sure. I manage several accounts and I'm not worried about them. However, I'd like to clarify what you said. In #3 you say "create a new Ancestry account using the above address."
    I thought that we had to create the Ancestry accounts using a separate email for each new DNA test? Yes, I see where you say to create accounts and then forward them, but then #3 confuses me.
    Since I purchased 5 new kits during Amazon's sale, I will be managing many more kits.
    Also, I don't like gmail, I only have an account because of my blog. I use Yahoo.
    Sorry, if I'm not understanding this completely.

  2. If you buy 5 kits you will need to create 5 Gmail (or Yahoo) accounts to go along with them. Each Ancestry account needs a unique email address.

  3. I have 3 new kits that I am going to use at up coming reunions, within the next 3 weeks. Can I activate the kit numbers today under my email like we have been doing?

  4. Hi Michele,
    You actually don't need to create separate gmail accounts if you already have one. Simply use aliases. For example, is your gmail account was, you could create an Ancestry account for your dad using as the email address. Any emails from Ancestry would go to You can then setup folders in gmail to re-direct messages to the appropriate folder. I've done this for where I've uploaded kits for me, my parents, and my husband using +mom, +dad, and +husband.

  5. Hi Michele, I bought an ancestry kit through the amazon sale and through a cousins ancestry account received an invite to activate it, which I did, and granted her admin. Having to still activate that test with a new account instead of hers Id like to link my test to a tree in her account not the new account required under this change. Can I have her do that somehow from her account? My test is only in the, it has arrived stage. Thank You. Amy

  6. I don't think you can activate the test through her account though you can give her manager privileges. You need to have your own account and then activate it there. If you only have a free account, if your cousin has a paid account and you give her manager access then she will be able to do more things with your DNA than you will be able to do.