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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 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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