As you begin your journey of building your 23andMe Family Tree, you will learn how to add new close relatives to your tree, and how to add or edit information about ancestors or other relatives who are not genotyped at 23andMe to help you fill in the gaps.
This article has a number of tips and tricks to help you get started building and editing your Family Tree. It might take some getting-used-to, but most of the editing actions available for your Family Tree should become more intuitive over time.
Here Are Some Quick Tips To Get You Started
- JUST A CLICK TO GET THERE QUICK
- Selecting a relative or empty circle on your Family Tree will open a window with actions you can take. These include viewing that relative’s profile (if they are a DNA relative), adding information about the relative (if they have not tested at 23andMe), and tree-editing actions such as: moving the relative, adding a sibling, partner, or child, and removing or adding generations.
- ADD A SPACE BEFORE YOU PLACE
- Before you add a new relative or move a relative within your tree, there must be a space (circle) for them on the tree. If the correct space does not already exist, first create that space by using the "add relatives" action (see above). Then you can add a DNA relative to that space, or add information about a relative who has not tested.
- IF WE DON’T GET IT, YOU CAN EDIT
- You can move individual relatives to a different space in your tree. You can also move entire branches in your tree to descend from the correct pair of ancestors. Moving a “branch” means that when you move a relative, you’re also moving their partner and all of their descendants.
Getting Started With Your Family Tree
Understanding the Circles on Your Tree
|Colorful circles indicate a relative who shares an ancestor with you, whether or not that relative has tested at 23andMe. This includes your direct ancestors and cousins, but not in-laws or other relative's partners. In the beginning, you may have many empty circles on your tree, which act as placeholders to show your predicted relationship to more distant cousins.|
|A circle with a question mark in the center indicates an unidentified ancestor such as a parent or grandparent. If you add any self-reported relatives to your tree, they will initially appear as a circle with a question mark until you add information about them.|
|Gray circles indicate a relative’s partner, who would typically not share DNA with you.|
|This pink and green chromosome badge indicates that this relative tested at 23andMe. You cannot edit personal information about these relatives, but you can edit their location within your tree and add relatives to them. If a circle on your tree does not have this badge, it means the relative represented by that circle has not tested at 23andMe or has not yet opted in to DNA Relatives.|
|When completing an edit, places that can be selected are shown with a dotted line, while places that can not be selected are greyed out.|
Selecting a DNA Relative on Your Tree
Selecting a relative on your tree will open a window with a preview of that relative, as well as specific actions you can take. These actions include:
- View profile: Select “view profile” to visit your relative’s profile. On their profile, you can learn more about what you have in common with them, depending on what information they have chosen to share.
- Edit relationship: Select “edit relationship” if you want to move this relative within your tree.
- Add relatives: Select “add relatives” to add a partner, sibling, half-sibling, child or generation above to this relative.
Selecting a relative will also highlight the path in your family tree that connects you.
Adding Information About Someone on Your Tree
For any ancestor or relative on your tree who has not tested at 23andMe (they do not have a pink and green chromosome badge), you can add information about them, such as their name, place of birth, date of birth — even a photo. First select the relative to whom you wish to add information. Then, in the window that appears, select “add information.”
If you mark a relative as deceased, this information will be visible to your connections and DNA relatives on 23andMe.* If you mark an ancestor or relative as living, they will not be visible to anybody but you.
*Please note that while this policy is communicated at the beginning of your tree-building experience to help all users understand privacy in their family trees, the ability to view the trees of your connections and DNA Relatives is not yet available. Stay tuned for updated Family Tree features over time.
To add a relative, select the relative to whom you want to add a partner, child, sibling, half-sibling, or additional generation above, then select “add relatives.”
Next, from the drop-down menu, choose the relationship you wish to add to this relative:
Once the new relative (or relatives) is added, you can add information about them and continue editing your tree.
Once you have the correct space to move them, select the relative you wish to move, then select “edit relationship.” This will take you to a short menu that will allow you to perform certain actions, such as:
1. Move person: This editing function is available if the relative has tested at 23andMe or is a self-reported relative.
2. Move this person’s branch: This editing function is available when the relative is not your direct ancestor.
3. Remove person from tree: This editing function is available for self-reported relatives added to your tree who have not tested at 23andMe.
4. Remove generation from tree: This editing function is available for empty placeholder circles on your tree. If you have added information to a relative but want to remove that generation, you must first select “edit info” and then “clear all information.”
Know you’re in control of any information you add.
At 23andMe, your data privacy is our top priority. For that reason, your full Family Tree, including any living family members you manually add, is visible only to you. However, relationships that you edited on your family tree will be visible to your DNA relatives on your profile page in the Relatives in Common table. To help you and your relatives discover how you're related, any information you add about ancestors that you mark as deceased can be seen by DNA relatives and connections. For more information about privacy, see our privacy frequently asked questions.
How do I add or remove a generation from a branch in my tree?
This is particularly helpful if you want to change a predicted 1st cousin to a predicted 1st cousin once-removed, etc.
- Add a generation: Select a relative in your tree. Next, select “add relatives,” and then select “generation above” from the drop-down menu.
- Remove a generation: If the relative you select is not genotyped and has no personal information added, you can select “edit relationship” and then “remove generation from tree.”
How do I remove a relative from my Family Tree?
At this time, you cannot remove any genotyped relatives from your Family Tree. You also cannot edit relationships in your tree to be more distant than fourth cousins. You can remove un-genotyped relatives, but you must first remove any information you added about them. Select “edit info,” and then select “clear all information.” At this point you should be able to remove an un-genotyped relative from your tree.
How do I move someone to the correct spot in my tree?
This is most relevant when we predicted a person or a branch of your Family Tree on the wrong side.
Move one person: Select the relative you wish to move. In the window, select “edit relationship,” then “move person.” At this point, you will be prompted to select the space (circle) on the tree to which you want to move your relative. Note: If the correct space does not yet exist on your tree, you will need to add the empty space to your tree first.
Move a branch: When you select “move this person’s branch,” you will move not only the selected relative but also all of his or her descendants. When you move a branch, you must select the correct parents for the person you wish to move. If your relative’s correct parents are not already in your tree, you'll need to add them first.
Example: Editing a 3rd cousin to a half-second cousin relationship
- Step 1: Identify the correct great-grandparent you share.
- Step 2: Add a new partner to that great-grandparent.
- Step 3: Select the grandparent of the relative you wish to move, and select “edit relationship,” then "move branch.” Next select the new great-grandparent’s partner you added in step 2. This will move the branch so that your tree now reflects the correct half-2nd cousin relationship.
My predicted 2nd cousin is actually my 2nd cousin once-removed. How do I update this in my Family Tree?
Select your 2nd cousin in your Family Tree and select “add relatives” in the pop-up window. Then use the drop-down menu to insert a generation above. This will automatically add a generation above your 2nd cousin, which updates the relationship to “2nd cousin once-removed.”
My predicted 1st cousin is actually my half-1st cousin. How do I update this in my Family Tree?
- First, identify which grandparent you share with your half first cousin. Next, select that shared grandparent, then select “add relatives,” and use the drop-down menu to add a new partner.
- Once you have added the new partner to your shared grandparent, you can move your half first cousin’s branch to the correct set of grandparents. To do this, select your half cousin’s parent with whom you share DNA (their parent with a colorful circle). Next, select “edit relationship,” and “move this person’s branch,” which will prompt you to select the correct parents.
There is a cousin (or entire branch) on the wrong side of my Family Tree. Why is that happening and how do I fix it?
- This may be happening because neither of your parents has tested at 23andMe, so we are unable to correctly determine on which side of your family tree an individual or branch belongs.
- To fix it, simply select the individual at the top of the branch you wish to move, select “edit relationship,” then “move this person’s branch.” At this point, you will be prompted to select the correct set of parents for the relative you selected. When you select the correct parents, the relative and any descendants or descendants’ partners will be moved as well. Note: you cannot move the branch of a direct ancestor, such as a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent.
I know my dad’s parents were second cousins. Can I show this on my Family Tree?
No. Currently in your Family Tree there is no way to show relationships in which a relative’s parents are genetically related to each other.
What is the unplaced relatives list?
- If you request a recalculation of your tree, any self-reported relatives you added to your tree will be moved to the unplaced relatives list.
- If a close relative opts in to DNA Relatives after your tree was first calculated, they will be added automatically to your unplaced relatives list, from where you can add them to the appropriate position in your tree.
How do I add a new genotyped relative to my tree?
To kick-start your tree, 23andMe looks at your closest 20 DNA relatives and predicts their relationships to each other. After this initial tree prediction, new close relatives who opt in to DNA relatives (2nd cousins and closer) will show up in your unplaced relatives list for you to add to your tree. From your unplaced relatives list, select the DNA relative you wish to place on your tree, then select the space you wish to place them, or first add the correct space if it does not yet exist.
If you’ve already added a space for this relative and added information about them before they tested with 23andMe, you can still add a genotyped profile to this space — any information added previously will be moved to your unplaced relatives list. Alternatively, you can clear all information before you add your new genotyped relative to that space.
Remember: Add a Space Before You Place
Before you add a relative to your tree (genotyped or un-genotyped), there must be an empty space on the tree into which you can place that relative or to which you can add information, such as name, birth date, and picture.
If the correct space does not already exist in your tree, you should first create an empty space which represents the correct relationship. Then you can add a genotyped relative to that space, or add information about an un-genotyped relative.
How do I add a record of a relative who has not tested at 23andMe?
Adding a partner, child, sibling or half-sibling: Select the relative to whom you want to add a partner, child, or sibling. Next, select “add relatives” in the window, then select the relationship you want to add from the drop-down menu. Adding a child to a relative will automatically add a partner to that relative as well if the relative does not already have a partner indicated in your tree.
Why can’t I add more relatives to my Family Tree?
There is currently a limit to the number of relatives you can add to your tree. We hope to expand the number of relatives you can add to your tree in the future.
I’ve made some edits on my tree. Will those automatically disappear if my tree is recalculated?
If you request a recalculation of your tree, any self-reported relatives you added to your tree previously will be removed and stored in your unplaced relatives list.