Going raw and banking DNA

Downloading Ancestry’s raw data

During Tuesday night’s webinar on autosomal DNA testing, sponsored by the Association of Professional Genealogists, one question came up that needed a little longer answer than the format allowed:

      “How do you download your raw data from AncestryDNA?”

It isn’t hard; it’s just that there are a lot of steps.

First: Log in to your Ancestry account and use the DNA drop down menu to navigate to Your DNA Home Page.

Second: Click on the link for Manage Test Settings.

Third: Scroll down to the greyish area near the bottom and look for the Download your raw DNA data area. Click on the Get Started button.

Fourth: Enter your Ancestry.com password in the box that appears and click on Confirm.

Fifth: You’ll get this instruction to go over to your email and follow the instructions you get via email.

Sixth: The email instructions have a Confirm Data Download box. Click on that box and it will take you back to Ancestry.

Seventh: Back at Ancestry, you’ll have the option to Download DNA Raw Data. Click on that box and save the resulting file to your hard drive.

So… lots of steps, but nothing hard.

And fortunately, we’ve got plenty of time to get it right, since two of the big options of what to do with your raw data are on hold.

GedMatch, the very popular and free utility site with many tools to analyze and compare your raw data, is back up and running but not accepting new uploads until at least this coming week. Keep an eye out, though — the upload date shown on the website now is May 10th — that’s just a few days away.

For those waiting patiently (or otherwise) for Family Tree DNA to be able to accept uploads of Ancestry raw data, the latest word is that it may be another four to six weeks before that option opens up.

In both of these cases, of course, the advantage is being able to have vastly better analytical tools than Ancestry itself offers while picking up additional matches to your genetic cousins who’ve tested elsewhere.

In the meantime, those who are still thinking about sticking their toes in the DNA waters and are concerned about not being able to afford to test their oldest relatives as soon as they’d like, there’s this news: Family Tree DNA has lowered the price of both its entry-level YDNA test and its entry-level mitochondrial test to $49 each.

While neither of these tests, alone, is optimal for genealogical purposes, doing them now has the advantage of banking your oldest relatives’ DNA against the day when you can afford to expand to the autosomal tests. There’s almost always enough DNA left after the initial tests to be stored for the future, and you can order an additional test literally years after the first round of testing.

And if you’re going to do this, you might consider asking Family Tree DNA to include extra swabs in the test kit to make absolutely sure there’s enough banked for future testing.

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10 Responses to Going raw and banking DNA

  1. Nancy Schlegel says:

    Thanks for the alert on GEDMATCH, will be checking for that Friday!

    Downloaded my Ancestry raw data the day i learned about at RootsTech – yup, I’m in the waiting (otherwise) group :-)

    And thanks for a great webinar Tuesday – a great help in explaining autosomal to a friend yesterday.

    • Nancy Schlegel says:

      Just realized new FamilyTreeDNA target is Jamboree: would be funny to be uploading at Jamboree, after downloading at RootsTech :-)

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Nancy, and yes — we’re all hoping things open back up at GedMatch soon!

  2. So many exciting developments, so fast. I’m copying the link to this post to help me consider what to do about DNA. The quality of the analytical tools seems to be the key.

  3. Lynda Hensley says:

    I am trying to download my Ancestry DNA results as per your instructions, but, thee is no “Manage Test Settings” link to click on as per your step #2 ??? There is a “Settings” hyperlink that won’t open.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      You may need to switch to a different browser, but once you get the Settings page to load, on the right hand side is a section called Actions and one of them is Download your raw DNA data.

  4. Laura L. Keller says:

    Which test should I take.
    I found out my dad is step dad what a shock that was. all of a sudden I had a real Father, Grandmother, Grandfather and on and on. But I never got to meet or really know who they were and now there gone to a better place. I have names but with ancestry not really getting me anywhere. I have my dads name and burial place also my grandfather (his Dad) I know name of grandma and where she worked/Lived but cant track down any information. Any Idea’s?
    Thank you

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      As a female your only chance to get information about paternal ancestry using DNA is an autosomal test, and, for that, you can follow the suggestion outlined here. But to track down living relatives you might want to work with a professional — a forensic genealogist.

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