Thursday, September 25, 2014

New Family Tree Settings for ftDNA

FamilyTreeDNA new Family Tree button

A couple of weeks ago, FamilyTreeDNA (ftDNA) revamped their family tree tool on their website. You can access your family tree by clicking on the "Family Tree" button in the middle of your profile page.

The new family tree tool has the same search functions, but is supposed to be more interactive. Supposedly you can upload a GEDcom that contains collateral lines in addition to your direct line ancestors, which might be helpful in determining where your matches fit into your tree. You can also add people to your tree from within the Family Tree tool.

These are all good improvements.

However, there is one thing you should be aware of: Your tree now comes with a default setting of showing people born in the last 100 years as "Private." I can understand showing living people as "Private," but why people born within the last 100 years? Who decided this new rule? Has there been anything in the genealogy news about privacy for people born in the last 100 years? Maybe.

By itself, this is not a huge issue. However, if you look at the trees of some of your matches, you will find that a LOT of their ancestors are "Private." People born in the 1700s are listed as "Private." So what is the problem? I don't have an answer. From what I can tell by looking at the trees of people before they were upgraded and comparing to their trees after they were upgraded, that many of the ancestors listed as "Private" have no death dates. It is possible this new default setting is being applied to other "null" values as well. We just don't know yet.

So, until we get this figured out, my advice is to change your default settings for people born in the last 100 years from "Private" to "Public" or "Matches." There's another unanswered question - what is the difference between "Public" and "Matches?" I don't know that either. We are still trying to figure that out. There seems to be a lot of bugs....or something. The best I can tell is that "Public" means the project administrator can see your ancestor in addition to your matches seeing them.

This is how you make these changes:

1.  Click on your name in the upper right hand corner

FamilyTreeDNA profile

2.  Then click on the genealogy tab

FamilyTreeDNA genealogy link

3.  Then click the public radio button next to "Deceased people born in the last 100 years." Make sure the "Deceased people born 100+ years ago" is also set to public. 

FamilyTreeDNA privacy settings

4.  Make sure you click the Save button. 

Additional Resources: 

ftDNA webinar: Introduction of the new Family Tree Tool

ftDNA has a set of instructions for use of the new Family Tree Tool here.

There is a new thread to discuss the new Family Tree tool at ftDNA. Please feel free to join the discussion by leaving comments and suggestions here.

Additional GenealogyByGinger Posts:

The New Family Tree Tool for ftDNA - a look at the new Family Tree tool on ftDNA

How to upload a GEDcom to the new Family Tree Tool - if you don't have a GEDcom uploaded to your ftDNA profile, please do so because it helps your matches find connections

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