Michael Cooley's Genetic Genealogy Blog GEN • GEN
3 September 2016

FTDNA Account Settings

I've noticed lately that new FTDNA member's DNA results often do not show up on the results page. I suspect the company changed the default settings. Note that although your results would appear, your name and contact information does not, which ensures privacy. The results mean something only to genetic genealogists. First, the markers themselves might well match exactly — or near exactly — to dozens, scores, and even hundreds of other testers. (Of course, that's the whole point.) There's really nothing all that unique about them. And what is tested comes from that portion of your DNA that is still sometimes referred to as junk DNA. They're not genes and are not involved with health, race, or any other distinctive feature. To allow the results to show, on the other hand, is extremely useful to researchers.

To enable your results to appear among those of your project mates, log into your account at FTDNA.com and click through the following. The "Manage Personal Information" link is orange and is located below your name.

  • Manage Personal Information (orange link)
  • Privacy and Sharing (last tab)
  • My DNA Results
  • Who can view my DNA results in group projects?
  • Change to "Anyone"

It's also helpful to show your earliest known ancestor (EKA). Some ancestors will dominate a group, as does John Cooley of Stokes County, North Carolina in the CF01 Cooley group. This can be useful not only to genetic genealogists but to those genealogists merely looking for clues. Its presence might even inspire someone to test. This is, by the way, one of the few things that your project administrator can do for you.

  • Manage Personal Information (orange link)
  • Personal Profile tab
  • Most Distant Ancestor
  • Edit Most Distant Ancestors

Joining other groups can help your research, particularly geographic and haplogroup projects. The administrators for these projects are well-versed in genetic genealogy. The more data they have available to them the better the quality of their findings. It can also help you or your surname project administrator determine which additional tests should be taken. Although most everyone can benefit from doing the Big Y, it's $575! But an individual SNP test is only $39 at FTDNA ($17.50 at yseq.net). I've made recommendations to project members based on their placement in haplogroup projects. Here's an example using the R1a Project. (You must be of an R1a subclade to join this one!) I'll be happy to mmake recommendations.

  • Manage Personal Information (orange link)
  • Personal Profile tab
  • Projects
  • Join Projects
  • Y-DNA HAPLOGROUP PROJECTS (for example)
  • R (for example)
  • R1a Project (for example)
  • www.familytreedna.com/groups/r-1a (for example)
  • JOIN (upper right in graphic)

Every time FTDNA acquires a new member who matches your DNA profile in some way, they'll send you an email. Members with fairly common haplotypes might receive these notices regularly. Generally, however, 12-marker matches have little value. Some haplotypes will have hundreds of them. In most cases, I recommend that 12-marker notifications be turned off. (If you've tested only 12 markers, you should upgrade to 37.

  • Manage Personal Information (orange link)
  • Account Settings tab
  • Y-DNA12 Matches
  • Change to "No"

My apologies if I'm the first to break this news to you, but we all eventually hit the end of the road and put our bodies down to rest in eternal peace. Yet each of us is concerned with our legacy. That should be true for our genetic code. To help with that, you should assign someone as beneficiary. It doesn't have to be a close family member. It could be a researcher who has an interest. It could even be your project's administrator. In any event, it's important to have your account maintained.

  • Manage Personal Information (orange link)
  • Beneficiary Information tab

As always, feel free to contact me should you have any questions.