Keep Calm AncestryDNA Changes Aren’t The End Of The World

You may have read Ann Swayne’s blog post regarding the upcoming changes to roles of users of the AncestryDNA site. To read the blog click HERE.

There’s no need to panic it may make setting up an account for an elderly person have a few more steps but it doesn’t have to change the access you have.

Let’s go through what the blog states (read carefully);

  1. Every adult who takes a DNA test is the Owner of that test.  But as the owner of the kit you are able to assign rights to the account and give various levels of access; Manager, Collaborator, and Viewer.
  2. If you manage your own test, you will see your role on the test change from Manager to Owner within the next several days.  Self-explanatory. So nothing changes for your own kit.
  3.  As of July 18, 2017, our process for activating multiple DNA kits will provide DNA test takers enhanced control over their information by limiting activation to one test per account. The only caveat to this is that parents of minor children will be able to activate more than one kit to their account. For the rest of us, it means that if you are testing someone else in your family you may need to help them set up their account. At that time after explaining the process  (I’m sure you were doing so before) you can confirm with them to set yourself as the Manager of the account.
  4. f you are a customer who currently manages multiple DNA kits in your account you’ll continue to have access to those DNA results and there’s no action for you to take. If you’re like me and have many of your families kits in your account, nothing changes. If you want you can give ownership to the person who tested (if they want it) and remain as the manager. Or you can just leave it the way it was.

What does all this mean? Well, it does mean that when you are setting up an activation for a member of your family that doesn’t want to deal with DNA that you will have to create an account for them and Yes that is another step but is it really that big a deal? Not really.  At that same time, you will be able to set yourself as the Manager of the account. Options for giving access to a test can be found on the Settings page accessed from on your DNA Results Summary page.

As the Manager, you are able to reply to inquiries about that DNA and also attach the DNA to your tree. Even as a collaborator you can link to the DNA to your tree. As the Manager, you will still have the drop down on your own account where you see all the accounts you have been given access to.

No there isn’t a fee for setting up an account or for being a manager of an account.  Creating an account is free and means providing your email address and creating a password. If you purchase a DNA test and wish to receive no further emails from Ancestry after your purchase, you can unsubscribe from email.  So that family member who doesn’t want to deal with it doesn’t have to.

You can see from the table below what each level of access means.

So you see there is nothing to worry about. Yes, there may be another step involved, and you may have to set up an email account when setting up an account for an elderly relation, but ultimately you can get the same access and view the kit the same way.



  • Nick says:

    Would I be able to register my 95year old grandfather as my child and then after the dna results come back change the account info with his correct birthday and info ?

    • Nick, that wouldn’t be ethical and it’s really not necessary. It’s really not that hard to work through the process. Create a written document (or print the documents found HERE) you can then have your grandfather sign it. Then create an email account for your grandfather and use it for activating his kit. At that time you can go into the setting and give yourself access as a manager. Then you’ll get the emails from matches. At the same time, you can go into the settings and turn off the notification to the email you set up for your grandfather. Sound complicated but it really isn’t and this way you have the legal right to the information.

  • Marie says:

    Thank you for the information.

  • Connie says:

    Sorry, but I don’t think it is quite that simple. I bought and paid for 5 DNA kits, waiting to send them to still unknown people. We recently found out (through DNA) that my husband’s mother had an affair with someone other than her husband, and that person is my husband’s biological father. We have the father narrowed down to 2 people, but are having some problems getting potential half-siblings to test (the potential fathers are both dead). Even if I can convince someone to use one of my kits, I am dependent on them to allow me to be a manager, which they don’t have to do. I will be able to see them as a match, but I won’t be able to download the raw data or use the results at other companies unless they make me a manager. If they chose to only have a free Ancestry account, the DNA data will not show Shared Ancestry Hints, DNA Circles or New Ancestor Discoveries (see Ancestry’s “Gifting a DNA test”), all features that I have because I am a paid subscriber and would be able to use under my account. These features are important to me as I try to build a new tree for my husband. So I feel taken by Ancestry and will probably quit buying kits from them unless something changes.

    Also you can not legally activate a kit for someone else unless they are your child or have given you LEGAL authority to do so. You might be willing to take the risk for an elderly family member who has given you verbal permission for the DNA test, but I personally am not willing to do this for complete strangers, or even some of my known cousins.

    • I’m not suggesting you activate a kit for someone else illegally. In my case I’m usually working with an elderly family member so I can help them set up an account. Your situation can be more difficult. But I do know of cases where possible half siblings are just as interested to know as you are. I’ve worked with people of unknown parentage so I do understand it is delicate.

  • jmcgrail3 says:

    I agree there is a work around for elderly family members or other family members who don’t want to handle all the details but if I understand correctly that will mean setting up an email address for someone who may not own a computer?

  • Marion Minall snow says:

    How do I get a DNA kit

  • Valerie Davies says:

    Everyone is jumping on the “don’t panic band wagon” or “see there is nothing to worry about” however, what several have said and I will continue to say – those I have tested and put on my tree (my half sister) my husband and was soon to be my sister-in-law don’t give three-hoots about being owner of their DNA. They did it to help me work on the tree. They have zero desire to even have to open a free account (in fact vehemently want nothing to do with it) and have zero desire to have to read and figure out how to give me permission to look after the results. Sorry, but I’m also extremely peeved that ANCESTRY saw fit to publish this in a Blog rather than an IMPORTANT NOTICE on everyone’s home page – or at the very lest the DNA page. I just sent a kit out to my sister-in-law and she did the test and dropped in the mail box (Quebec). But it hasn’t arrived yet in Ireland. So I’m going to be caught up in this and while she has a bit of an Android computer she can barely use it and wants nothing to do with Ancestry registration. IT IS INSANE. My opinion. I think Ancestry should RESPECT their customers with proper notice and time to adjust!!!!

    • Did you sister-in-law already activate the test? If she did then she’s already set up the account. Or if you did.. then you are golden. I have several kits that I’m going to activate with no one as the signup person and then I will change the name once I have someone spit. I know it’s annoying but Ancestry will do what they want .