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How to Upload to Family Tree DNA

If you have heard that you can upload your Ancestry DNA, My Heritage, or 23 and Me data to Family Tree DNA, then you have heard correctly.  Family Tree DNA is a very reputable company that has a lot to offer DNA testers, even if you didn’t do your autosomal DNA test with them. 

In this post, I’ll explain what you will get if you upload your DNA to Family Tree DNA, how to go about uploading your data, and what you can do with your results.

My own experience with Family Tree DNA has been wonderful, since it is how I connected with descendants of my mother’s Slovak relatives who live in Serbia.  I never would have found out about them had it not been for Family Tree DNA and the fact that they offer their kits internationally.  

For those of us with recent immigrant ancestors, we have a good chance at finding our DNA relatives on this site.  I suppose I could say that the biggest benefit for me, personally, was the “new” pool of DNA matches.

How much does it cost?  It’s free!  There are some additional features that you can access for a cost of $19, but I’ll explain the difference below, and you can decide whether or not it make sense for you to pay the $19 or just have access to the free results.

What you will get by uploading to FTDNA

I absolutely love Family Tree DNA.   Most people call it FTDNA, for short.  I think that the website is generally pretty easy to use and understand, and you can learn things from your results that you can’t from some of the other sites.  I will now describe to you what you will get for free when you transfer your results, and what you will get if you transfer your results and upgrade for $19.

Click here to buy the Understand Your DNA Results Ebook

What you will get for free from FTDNA if you transfer your results

If you do a free autosomal transfer to FTDNA, you’ll receive:

  • Access to your DNA match list, which includes their name, their family tree (if they have one posted), the size of largest shared DNA segment, and total amount of DNA shared – as well as contact information for your match.

Why you should upgrade your FTDNA transfer for $19

For only $19, you can “upgrade” your transfer.  For many people, the basic transfer is fine, but if you really want to unlock all of the information that your results can provide, the $19 fee is pretty reasonable.  If you do the upgrade transfer, you’ll get:

  • Access to your DNA match list, along with all of the details I listed above
  • a myOrigins ethnicity estimate, which could very well be different than the ethnicity estimate your testing company has given you
  • An Ancient Origins map, showing migrations patterns of certain groups of your ancient ancestors
  • Access to a chromosome browser, which is great for comparing your DNA to that of your matches at the chromosome level

Whichever you decide to do, you’ll definitely be happy with your results!

How to upload to FTDNA

Uploading (or transferring, as they call it over there at FTDNA) is a very simple process.  You just fill out some basic information about yourself (or the person who took the DNA test) and click the “Join Today!” button.  You’ll then be prompted to upload the file containing your DNA information (you will need to download it from Ancestry DNA or 23 and Me if you haven’t already).  That’s it!

If you are interested in uploading your DNA, you can click on the link below to start the process.  I should mention that it is an affiliate link, which means that if you purchase something (like the $19 upgrade for full results, or another DNA test), I might receive a very small commission.  It helps me out, and it doesn’t cost anything extra for you, so thanks!

What happens after you upload to FTDNA

Once you complete the process to upload your data, you should be able to access your complete results within about one week.  Until your results have finished processing, you won’t be able to see DNA matches or your ethnicity report.  You’ll still be able to log into your account and take a look around, however.

What to do with your FTDNA results

Once you’ve completed the upload and have access to your results, I would definitely do the following things:

  • Check out your myOrigins estimate, if you got the upgrade (learn here how to understand your FTDNA ethnicity estimate)
  • See who your top matches are on your Family Finder match list.  The top matches will be the people who share the most DNA with you, but you can also filter your list in several different ways which can really help you explore your matches.
  • Consider contacting a few of your closest matches to explore your relationship to each other
  • Don’t forget to take a peek at your Ancient Origins results.  While they can’t help you with family tree research, they are pretty interesting and can give you a glimpse at the type of ancient information contained within your DNA.

I always recommend keeping a notebook or a spreadsheet with information about your DNA matches on the different sites (read here about other sites where you can upload your DNA).


I hope that this post helped you understand what benefits you will receive from uploading your DNA to FTDNA, how to do it, and a little bit about what you can do with your results. 

If you have any questions about something that I have written here, or you would like to share what you are hoping to learn by uploading your DNA, I would love to hear from you in the comments.

Thank you for sharing your time with me today!

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Margaret Rose James

Thursday 21st of April 2022

Question, my mom is gone now,but I want to do DNA testing to find out about her FATHER'S SIDE . I've already got my father's side of DNA done. It's proven to be very helpful, considering he was an orphan and was released into the world with the wrong names. And had siblings that he never knew that died while in the orphanage. But,now it's time to move to the other side of my family and the dilemma I'm faced with is choosing the correct test for the results I'm looking for. I just this week did the DNA TEST for my mother ,that's be dead now 10 years. I'll find out information about all the female family members ,but I'd really like to look into HER FATHERS SIDE . Can you help me in choosing the correct test for that job? Yours truly-

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