GEDMatch Suspends FTDNA Transfers

This is unwelcome news for many who have used the services of GEDMatch. The following notice was posted on GEDMatch:

“We regret we had to make the decision to stop accepting FTDNA [FamilyTreeDNA.com] DNA uploads. FTDNA has threatened to sue GEDmatch over claimed privacy issues. We have been asked not to discuss the details, because it would be to FTDNA’s disadvantage. Suffice it to say that FTDNA’s own site seems to currently violate these same issues.

“We would prefer to work closely with FTDNA in solving this problem to everybody’s benefit, but we have not received a response to any of our suggested compromise solutions. The technical obstacles to satisfying FTDNA current demands are significant. It appears that our only alternative may be to remove all FTDNA DNA match results from GEDmatch. The issues raised by FTDNA do not apply to kits from other testing companies.”

The Family Tree DNA web site states:

“We have reached out to GEDMatch expressing our concern that their website could potentially lead to a breach in privacy of our customers. Given this, we proposed to discuss the subject with them, but in parallel we suggested that until further clarification and assurances that the privacy of our customers’ records are protected, Family Tree DNA uploads should be suspended. We hope that with the cooperation of GEDMatch we can reestablish the uploads in the near future.”

This has created a lot of discussion in the Family Tree DNA customer forums, discussions that are still ongoing. You can read many of the messages by starting at: http://forums.familytreedna.com/showthread.php?t=39354.

My thanks to the several newsletter readers who notified me about this controversy.

16 Comments

Thanks for posting about this, it significantly impacts which testing I would recommend that someone do if ftdna is excluded from gedmatch. Their testing base is smaller than the others, so potential matches are more limited; gedmatch helped overcome that.
Reading a little bit more about, the privacy issue (Alaska case) looks like it would be related to the ftdna projects (surname or haplogroup) and not gedmatch.

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    Tell me more about the Alaska Case. I belong to Ancestry, FTDNA, 23&me, and GEDmatch. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. I’d like to know more about the privacy issue.

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    Patti–patti4palpak@hotmail.com If, I would have known this, I would not have paid out the money for FTDNA, ‘family finder.’ As far as data privacy issues, I have had none with Gedmatch, 23AndMe or Heritage. Ancestry.com who I started with I had my tree almost done and Ancestry changed their format or menu and now my tree is off-key. What were direct ancestors are now cousins or uncles or aunts….and as far as data privacy, I had to put my tree on private because of the snide remarks made on ancestor’s who were long deceased. Now that the results have come back from FTDNA they are almost identical to Ancestry.com and their style is much different then the others.

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I’m sure all the experts on social media will help these two companies resolve this.

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People are choosing to upload “their” kits to Gedmatch. How can FTDNA have an issue with the choice people make? I have 10 kits on Gedmatch all but 1 from FTDNA.
If people feel insecure about what will happen, this will just damage DNA testing.

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    Many of the kits uploaded were not uploaded by the people who DNA tested, but instead by another family member, often the one who paid for the test. How many of those whose kits were uploaded were asked by the family before being uploaded to GEDmatch? Not only FTDNA kits, but also Ancestry and 23andMe kits? GEDmatch potentially opened a can of worms with its current lack of privacy controls. I am not a fan of FTDNA, but GEDmatch is doing itself and its users a huge disservice by its refusal to do some basic privacy stuff and by trying to pin all the blame on FTDNA. In terms of filling unsecure, people need to feel more insecure when it comes to DNA testing. Much as some other bloggers try and paint the naysayers as uninformed, unintelligent, or even less flattering terms, the naysayers have raised excellent questions the bloggers have ignored or brushed aside. Only a matter of time before the naysayers are proven right about why privacy needs to be an issue with regards to DNA results.

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First 23&me goes over to the Dark Side; now FTDNA. Are we now in the position of celebrating Ancestry.com as the last White Knight?

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I am giving a presentation on DNA to our local genealogy society today and I was going to recommend FT-DNA as the best option for doing an AT-DNA test which could be uploaded to GEDmatch. I guess I better make some changes to my presentation…

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Moving our results to Gedmatch was our decision… I don’t understand the issue.

Ordered my last FTDNA kit untill they figure it out!

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This is an industry wide problem that needs to be clarified. I hope it does not have a negative effect on DNA testing as a whole, but believe there are many issues to be resolved. I have 8 tests with FTDNA and five with AncestryDNA Autosomal.

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Excellent post by Roberta Estes – as always she cuts through the clutter
http://dna-explained.com/2016/03/19/family-tree-dna-and-gedmatch-dustup/

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I submitted a DNA sample with the understanding the results would remain private and only be shared at my request. I, for one, am pleased with the FTDNA stance in this matter and sincerely hope the matter is resolved keeping our right to privacy intact.

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I was just getting ready to order a FTY-DNA test kit for my cousin. Does this disruption with Gedcom mean we won’t be able to view matches that result from the Y-DNA test?

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In a world that is security conscious, ask yourself one question. Why would anyone want your DNA? If it is to process a crime scene, quite possibly, but I have doubts that anyone interested in genetics would have been there. If if is for cloning purposes, as for me, I doubt it. Perhaps what not to clone? I purchased several test and I own them, the processor of the test may think they own my test, but they do not. This level of arrogance is getting out of hand and needs to be reeled in.

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GREAT NEWS – I have been very concerned about FTDNA’s partnership with various companies that are not privacy conscious enough for me. I have 4 studies on FTDNA and am very happy with all the results. (3 Comprehensive Genomes and upgrades and 1 full mtFullSequence w/ FamilyFinder)
The included FamilyFinder matches, on all the tests, are sometimes overwhelming due to too many results and too so many air-heads that believe a 69 dollar test will give them all they need to know about their familytree. Hahah So I ignore most hits and then eventually a person contacts me who has a good tree I can view online but not via Ancestry or Myheritage and then bingo we find our 2nd or 3rd or 6th cousin connection.
I sent for a Comprehensive Genome for my dad, my mother’s brother and my husband. My husband told me to pull his tree immediately after FTDNA got together with MyHeritiage. I put up the surnames but took down all the trees after they went for the bouncy JavaScript. There are some serious DNA research scientists associated with FTDNA (as team leaders) and they have done a few published studies that included my dad’s side.
I love their (ftdna’s) Ydna results too. GREAT COMPANY, now I am a big fan of FTDNA again !!!

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