There has been lots of brouhaha in the genetic genealogy community this week! AncestryDNA just announced some dramatic changes coming July 18th for people who want to manage multiple kits. In a nutshell, AncestryDNA kits that are registered on that date or later must have their own unique Ancestry account, with its own unique email. This can be a free account, and we can still manage those other kits, but it involves a bit more effort, especially initially.
I have some relevant links that I’d like to share here, in two sets. Before we think about the AncestryDNA policy change, we need to think about some implications of managing other people’s DNA results in general. So that’s the first set. And then we can learn more about the specific impact of Ancestry’s announcement and how to deal with those changes—for that, see the second set of links.
Managing Other People’s DNA
- In 2014, the Genetic Genealogy Standards Committee developed and published standards—not for the testing companies but for us consumers. These are essential for those of us who manage or help with DNA kits and results for people besides ourselves. See the Genetic Genealogy Standards and download/read the PDF here.
- At his Facebook group Genetic Genealogy Tips and Techniques a few weeks ago, Blaine Bettinger provided sample WORD documents called Informed Consent Agreement and Beneficiary Agreement to download and tweak as desired and then share with any DNA tester we are recruiting. These are certainly questions we should be asking people that we’re soliciting for DNA. Written consent is always a good idea, but at a minimum, we should be asking verbal permission if we want to take any of the actions listed in the consent. Blaine has given me permission to provide those documents here–see the links above. (Or if you do join or belong to the Genetic Genealogy Tips and Techniques Facebook group (a great one for beginners and more experienced folks alike), you can find these documents by selecting Files from the options at the upper left of the group’s Facebook page, and then scroll down to find the two called “Informed Consent Agreement” and “Beneficiary Agreement”.
- Finally, last fall, our Central Indiana DNA Interest Group had a round table discussion on testing extended family and I posted observations about that on my blog here. I think we raised some good points about considerations when managing multiple kits.
The Change at AncestryDNA
- Before reacting to the alarm some have raised on social media, do read the AncestryDNA announcement for yourself. It’s here.
- Two bloggers have posted more eloquently than I could what this actually means to those of us managing multiple kits. See Debbie Kennett’s post An update to the AncestryDNA kit management system and Leah Larkin’s post Reality Check–Changes at AncestryDNA.
Right now, if you have any AncestryDNA kits in hand that you just haven’t given out yet, you can register those kits before July 18th to your own account, and they will still be managed as they have been. The change affects kits registered July 18th and after. I just did that with my one extra kit: named the person Pending Relative, and for now, indicated it was a male born the same year I was. AncestryDNA sent me confirmation that it was now registered as P.R. and admin by me. I can change that info later when I actually do have someone test. I did not link it to a tree – no reason to do that until the sample is sent in, whenever that happens, or when the results are in.
If you’ve been planning to get more AncestryDNA kits, they’re still on sale at Amazon for $79 and if you have Prime, see if the free shipping will get them to you by July 17th, so you can register them immediately.
I know I have one relative who has her kit already but hasn’t sent me the registration info, and likely won’t before the deadline. So I’ll get to experience the new changes soon. But considering how complex some of the genetic genealogy is that we do (remember being a newbie at GEDmatch.com?), I think I’ll get used to it pretty quickly.
Ann Raymont © 2017