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Some are subscription only

Jonny Perl’s DNA Painter has proved to be one of the neatest new entries to the DNA toolbox.

Grand Prize winner of this year’s RootsTech Innovation Contest, it’s a tool that’s easy. That’s intuitive. And — best of all — that doesn’t take a whole lot of time before you can start seeing its power and usefulness.

Here’s what it does, in the website’s own words:

DNA Painter is a website that you can use to visualize and make notes on your DNA matches. The site is intended for genealogists and family history enthusiasts who have taken a DNA test. We have a natural desire to discover who our matches are and how we’re related to them, but interpreting test results can be a challenge, with unfamiliar names and pages of numbers.


DNA Painter helps by providing a platform where you can:


• Enter the numerical information provided by the testing company for each match and visualise it on your chromosomes

• Make notes and indicate how certain you are that you’ve identified correctly how you are connected to each person


… This process is known as chromosome mapping.1

The Legal Genealogist has already explained what you can get from this type of chromosome mapping in the April 2018 post “Time to paint”.2 So I won’t go back over those details except to say that it’s one of the biggest time-savers I’ve ever found when trying to organize my DNA matches and try to figure out what line or lines a new match might fit into.

DNA Painter subscription

The website has recently added some new features — and a subscription price to use some of them. And by subscribing in the next week, by 30 September 2018, and choosing auto-renew, you can lock in the introductory rate of $45 a year forever. The regular subscription price is $55 a year, or $30 for six months.

You can’t subscribe until you’ve registered for the website, so do that first. Then click on the Subscribe link.

Now the new free tools are mostly in the controls: users can now expand/contract the chromosomes, view settings, or perform a search by match name. There are refinements as well to the match detail and to the way the system works behind the scenes. You can read about the new features here on the Updates page.

So… what about the new subscriber-only functions? What do you get from a subscription? What new features does it unlock?

At the moment, there are two: the ability to have multiple profiles; and the ability to bulk-import custom segment lists and match lists from MyHeritage, 23andMe and Family Tree DNA with a tool that will skip already-imported matches and just add new ones.

Profiles: New users will be limited to one profile, and will need a subscription to create additional ones. This is an important option, since it lets us paint, say, a paternal side DNA tester and a maternal side DNA tester to get a deeper look at the lines where our matches may align. Plus it’s just plain fun to see how matches line up between siblings or between an aunt or uncle and a niece or nephew. Those who’ve already registered with the site and have created multiple profiles won’t lose the multiple profiles, but going forward, will need a subscription to create new ones.

Bulk import: This is the best part of the new tools, since it lets us import all or any select group of our matches from MyHeritage, 23andMe and Family Tree DNA, all at once. Using a comma-separated-values (CSV) file either directly from the testing company or custom file picking and choosing among matches and match details, users can now (a) bulk import of all matches from a testing company in order to view patterns and chromosome coverage; (b) adjust the thresholds for minimum and maximum cM values in order to import specific ranges; (c) assemble profiles offline and import directly into DNA Painter; and (d) restore exported DNA Painter profiles.

And blending the two subscription features, we can bulk-upload into a new profile just to poke around inside our results and see where, for example, we may have so many matches in a single segment that we’d want to consider whether a match in that segment indicates more a shared geographic origin (“we’re all German!”) rather than a shared genealogical origin (“we all descend from this German!”).

Oh, and there’s one more key benefit to subscribing to DNA Painter. We get to support the developer in doing more, developing more features, making the site better overall.

To me, it’s a no-brainer. I’ve already subscribed. Now excuse me… I need to go set up a new profile and bulk-import some matches…


  1. Help: What is DNAPainter?,” ( : accessed 23 Sep 2018).
  2. Judy G. Russell, “Time to paint,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 18 Apr 2018 ( : accessed 23 Sep 2018).
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